NEWPORT, Maine — Authorities advised area residents to be on guard Tuesday as 55 law enforcement officers on the ground and in the air searched for Perley Goodrich Jr. in connection with a Monday night homicide.
Police warned that Goodrich Jr. was armed and dangerous and wanted for questioning concerning the shooting death of his father, Perley Goodrich Sr., 76, whose body was found at about 11:40 p.m. Monday inside his 146 Rutland Road home. Responding to a call from a neighbor, police also found Goodrich Sr.’s wife, Sandra Goodrich, 64, who was attacked and suffered a severe beating to her head and face.
She was taken to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield. A hospital spokeswoman would not release details about Sandra Goodrich’s condition, but police said she remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon with non-life-threatening injuries.
Newport patrol officer Amanda Smith was the first on the scene of the shooting, but officers from Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department and the Maine State Police soon followed.
Maine State Police Lt. Wesley Hussey, commander of Troop E in Orono, and Lt. Jackie Theriault, commander of the state police’s criminal investigation division 3, addressed questions from reporters in an early afternoon press conference Tuesday. They provided scant details about what might have happened during the attack, but said Goodrich Jr. — the 45-year-old son of the Goodrichs — was the only other person there.
“We need to talk to him,” said Hussey. “We need to get his side of the story because we know he was at the residence.”
Police would only say that Goodrich Sr. had been shot, but would not say how many times or with what weapon.
According to Theriault, Sandra Goodrich fled the small, one-story home during the attack and sought help from a neighbor, who called police. Officials did not name the neighbor. Theriault declined to say whether Sandra Goodrich witnessed the shooting.
Goodrich Jr., who Theriault said has lived with his parents off and on for years, gathered multiple guns and left the scene of the attack in his parents’ green Chrysler Town and Country minivan. Theriault said it was unclear how many weapons Goodrich Jr. took with him, though she said it was more than one.
“We have been told that there were weapons at the residence,” said Theriault. “We have reason to believe that those weapons are not at the residence now.”
What Goodrich Jr. did then is a mystery, though authorities found the minivan at approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday on Clark Hill Road in Newport about 2.5 miles from the Goodrich home.
Surrounding the location where the minivan was found are woods, cornfields, residences and several empty shacks and camps in various states of repair. Approximately 55 law enforcement officers combed and re-combed the area until late afternoon Tuesday, but to no avail. State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said a heavy police presence would be maintained overnight and that the search would resume this morning.
A helicopter, at least one airplane, police canines and dozens of heavily armed officers searched a wide area Tuesday. Nearby residents were warned throughout the early morning hours to lock their doors and remain indoors.
A woman who lives near the intersection of Rutland and Mullen roads said officers knocked on her door at 5 a.m. Tuesday. She drove her four children to school because morning school bus runs in the area were canceled, she said.
“They told me to keep the doors and the vehicles locked,” said the woman, who asked to not be identified. “I have a big dog, so I feel a little safer.”
Hussey said police received at least four reports from people who thought they saw Goodrich Jr. In each case, officers rushed to the scene and a helicopter began a continuous tight spiral overhead.
At the North Newport Christian Church at the intersection of Pratt and Mullen roads, around which much of the search activity took place, a crew of four inmates from Charleston Correctional Facility were replacing the roof. Corrections officer Dan Dugan said all four men were minimum security prisoners locked up for motor vehicle violations.
“When I saw all the cruisers, at first I thought we’d been broken into,” said Dugan. “I asked a state trooper if we should be here at all and he thought it was OK.”
Participating in the search Tuesday were officers from Newport Police Department, the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Response Team, the Maine State Police Tactical Team and Crisis Negotiation Unit and aircraft from the border patrol and state police.
Goodrich Jr. has a history of violence against family members, according to Bangor Daily News archives. In January 2001, he was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon after allegedly threatening his brother Kenneth Goodrich with a knife. He was released on bail two days later with the condition that he not return to his parents’ home. The case was transferred to superior court but it was unclear Tuesday what the outcome was.
In May 1991, according to BDN archives, Goodrich Jr. was arrested for criminal mischief and assault after allegedly smashing the windshield on the family car and striking his mother, Sandra Goodrich, breaking her glasses. Goodrich Jr. was sentenced to 30 days in jail for that incident, all suspended, with one year of probation.
Goodrich Jr.’s full criminal record was not available by press time.
Newport Town Manager James Ricker, the town’s police chief for more than 20 years before taking his current job, said he had run-ins with Goodrich Jr. over the years, but he declined to discuss them while the investigation into Monday’s events continues.
Ricker said the town office received numerous calls from concerned residents Tuesday.
“We’re concerned for the safety of our citizens,” said Ricker. “I’ll rest a lot easier when this guy’s arrested, and the citizens of this town will, too.”
McCausland said late Tuesday evening that investigators were “surprised” they hadn’t received more reports from people who have seen Goodrich Jr.
“He could still be in the woods,” said McCausland. “He could also be anywhere.”
Authorities asked anyone with information about Goodrich Jr.’s whereabouts to call the state police at 800-432-7381 or dial 911.