March 23, 2018
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Prentiss couple identified, autopsied in Augusta

By Nok-Noi Ricker and Nick Sambides Jr., Special to the BDN

PRENTISS, Maine — Autopsies were being conducted this morning on the bodies of a man and woman found inside their Averill Road home Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Wednesday.

The spokeswoman confirmed the identities of the couple as Dean and Debbie Meitzler, both of 993 Averill Road.

“We do not have any [more] information at this time,” the spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The bodies were found and authorities were summoned at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday by a relative, state police said. That relative is believed to be the couple’s son.

A Penobscot Regional Communications Center dispatcher initially said the case involved a firearm, but Maine State Police Lt. Gary Wright and Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland declined to discuss whether the deaths were a murder-suicide, another form of homicide or whether a firearm was involved.

Calls to Wright and McCausland were not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Wright described the incident as isolated. Two neighbors said three people lived at the home: Dean Meitzler, a retired Pennsylvania factory worker; his wife, Debbie, a nurse or medical assistant at a Lincoln retirement home, Colonial Health Care; and the couple’s son, who works at Old Town Canoes & Kayaks and whom they identified as Jacob.

Both apparently in their 50s, the couple “moved here about a year ago,” said Scot McAlpine, 40, of Springfield. “They seemed to be real nice people. I’ve only known them for about six months. I’ve gone hunting with him a couple of times.”

McAlpine and his father, Carroll McAlpine, said the recent transplants to town built the home they lived in, which looked like a large cabin, and seemed in good spirits during a recent visit. The Meitzlers had no health or financial problems to their knowledge.

“They stopped by the house to visit just yesterday,” said Carroll McAlpine, 69, who also lives in nearby Springfield. They appeared to be just fine, he said.

“They have always seemed good,” Carroll McAlpine said.

Jacob Meitzler moved into the house about 1½ months ago, recalled Scot McAlpine, who said he doesn’t know the man very well. He appears to be in his 20s or 30s, McAlpine said.

The incident began for police when the communications center received the 911 call at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday from a relative in the home, who said that the couple were deceased. A Penobscot County sheriff’s deputy arrived first, a state trooper soon after, and they soon verified that both were dead, Wright said.

Wearing protective cloth boots and hand coverings, evidence techs milled around the house and a Chevy Suburban with commercial Maine license plates, apparently gathering evidence, for much of Tuesday afternoon.

The couple’s house is less than a half-mile southwest of Daffodil Drive in Prentiss, a tiny town about 25 miles northeast of Lincoln and almost directly east from Mattawamkeag in northeastern Penobscot County.

The Meitzlers built the home and moved into it 13 or 14 months ago, Scot McAlpine said.

“There really isn’t anybody around here who knows them,” he said. “Just a few people at the nursing home.”

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