Woman’s body found near river

Posted Aug. 09, 2009, at 7:58 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Police are investigating the suspicious death of a woman whose body was discovered late Sunday morning inside a shack used by the homeless on the riverfront behind the Fireside Inn on Dutton Street.

Bangor police Lt. Timothy Reid, who declined to identify the woman or give her age, said early Sunday evening that no other information would be released until Monday after an autopsy has been completed at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta.

The woman’s body was removed from the scene at about 6:30 p.m. by employees from an area funeral home.

Police were informed at 11:51 a.m. Sunday that a body had been found in the green shack located between the railroad tracks and the Penobscot River. About 3:30 p.m., they blocked off Dutton Street just past the entrance to the Hollywood Slots parking lot and before the road passes under a railroad bridge.

A man who might be a witness in the case spent the afternoon near the scene with investigators while they waited for the medical examiner to arrive. The man appeared to be in his 30s or 40s and had long brown hair.

People who regularly drive over the Veterans’ Remembrance Bridge from Brewer to Bangor may be familiar with the shack where the woman’s body was found. The small, green building appears to be abandoned. Drivers and passengers have reported seeing clothes and sleeping bags hanging on a makeshift clothesline strung between two trees.

The shack was not visible Sunday afternoon from Dutton Street.

Because of where the body was found, the woman may have been a member of the city’s homeless population. If her death is ruled a homicide, it would be the second in Bangor in 16 months.

Stephen James, 58, pleaded guilty last month in Penobscot County Superior Court to manslaughter in the April 2008 death of fellow transient Clyde Worster, 63.

Worster was found dead of blunt force trauma on April 27, 2008, at his transient campsite near the University College of Bangor campus between the water tower and Interstate 95.

The two men had been drinking together at a makeshift hangout on the day Worster was killed and had fought over beer earlier in the day, James told the Bangor Daily News an hour before his arrest on April 28, 2008.

James, who has been behind bars since his arrest, was indicted for murder last year.

In a plea agreement with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes all murder cases in the state, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter on July 16.

James is expected to be sentenced next month. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

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