BANGOR, Maine — A local man was taken into custody after a dramatic police raid at a downtown apartment building Tuesday and was later arrested and charged with the murder of a 19-year-old woman from Old Town whose body was found Sunday near the Bangor waterfront.
Colin Koehler, 34, of Bangor was taken into custody after members of the Bangor Police Department’s Special Response Team used tear gas to drive him from his apartment at 92 Columbia St. Police said Koehler refused to open his door when sought for questioning about the homicide of Holly Boutilier, who was found dead in a shack hidden among trees along the Penobscot River near the Veterans’ Remembrance Bridge.
A dozen Bangor police officers, including snipers and others, surrounded the apartment building just after 5 p.m. Tuesday after Koehler refused to cooperate, according to Bangor police Lt. Timothy Reid. A high-risk-search warrant was issued, and police entered the building after breaking windows of the apartment and tossing in tear gas canisters.
A little before 6 p.m., police emerged from the building escorting Koehler — a tall man with a shaved head, wearing a white T-shirt and khaki pants with no shoes or socks, witnesses said. He was taken to the Bangor police station, where he was questioned for more than four hours before being arrested in Boutilier’s murder. He was then taken to Penobscot County Jail. Koehler is scheduled to appear in 3rd District Court Thursday morning.
The apartment building, which sits between Main and Columbia streets, contains a mix of businesses and apartments, and was evacuated during the raid.
Police cruisers had blocked off parts of Columbia, Middle and Cross streets, but dozens of spectators gathered to see what was going on. Most knew little, except what they had witnessed.
“They came in fast. I’ve never seen so many officers in Bangor,” said one young man.
“Look at that sniper over there,” said another, pointing to a cluster of trees about 200 feet from the building.
When officers emerged with Koehler, the crowd cheered. Then, heavy rain began to fall and everyone scattered.
Boutilier’s body was found Sunday at a shack that is hidden in trees along the Penobscot River between where Dutton Street ends and the Veterans’ Remembrance Bridge.
An autopsy performed by the State Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday indicates she was a victim of homicide. The cause of death was not released.
Surveillance videotapes recorded Saturday by businesses in the area around the shed have been invaluable in helping to identify who might have killed the Old Town woman, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said Tuesday afternoon.
“There are a number of videotapes that have been helpful,” he said.
Police took 24 hours of tapes from the Circle K store on Main Street, manager Anna Bailey said Tuesday morning. The cameras record those who enter the store and various other points, she said. It was not known if Koehler appeared on those tapes.
Koehler had previous convictions for operating a vehicle without a license and possession of marijuana, according to Bangor Daily News records.
Investigating officers deemed Boutilier’s death suspicious Sunday, and police could be seen Monday scouring the area around the shack, which is behind the Fireside Inn on Dutton Street and is known to be used by area homeless people as a place to congregate and drink.
Police were gone Tuesday morning and the shed where Boutilier was found looked desolate. Test strips believed to be used by police to test for blood could be seen in the entrance of the 8-by-10-foot green shack, and a large spot of blood was visible in the right corner of the structure.
Other police evidence markers and blue rubber gloves were discarded inside the shed, lying beside dirty blankets and clothing, old magazines and books, and other items.
Boutilier was last seen alive walking in downtown Bangor on Saturday. Her body was removed from the shack Sunday evening by employees from an area funeral home.
Boutilier was born in Houlton but lived in Old Town with her two sisters and her mother, Kathy Ingraham. Her father, Gene Boutilier, lives in Linneus.
“Holly was a beautiful and kind person with a heart of gold,” according to the obituary the family submitted to the Bangor Daily News. “She was loving and protective of her sisters and loved her family.”
A funeral service is planned for 1 p.m. Thursday at Birmingham Funeral Home on Main Street in Old Town. In the obituary, the family asks for memorial contributions to be sent to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.