BROOKS, Maine — A local man was charged with murder over the weekend after his wife was found shot to death in their home Friday evening.
Deborah Littlefield, 49, already was dead when emergency crews arrived at the family’s Veteran’s Highway residence at 7 p.m. in response to a 911 call made by a relative, Sgt. Anna Love of the Maine State Police said.
Love said Saturday that after a search, police located Michael Littlefield, 48, who reportedly was speaking with a friend in his truck at a nearby residence on Back Brooks Road. Police also recovered a rifle they believe was used in the shooting, according to a press release sent by the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Littlefield, who Love said has been cooperative with investigators, was being held in Waldo County Jail on Sunday. He will be arraigned Monday or Tuesday in a Belfast court.
“It’s early stages,” Love said Saturday outside the couple’s home, where the evidence response team’s white truck was parked in the driveway. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of things.”
There is no indication that drugs are involved, she said, adding that police are treating the case as a domestic violence homicide.
“They had no history that we’re aware of,” Love said.
Deborah Littlefield worked at the Residence in Tall Pines, a retirement home in Belfast, where she helped care for elderly residents. News of her death has been “devastating” to the community there, said Cindy McIntire, the resident services director and Littlefield’s supervisor.
“She is the most wonderful person I have ever known in my entire life,” McIntire said Sunday of Littlefield. “For all the residents that she cared for, and for everyone’s life that she touched, she made their life better. She made it special. She was a jewel, a gem, a diamond.”
Littlefield’s family meant everything to her, McIntire said.
“She loved her children, she loved her grandchildren, she loved her husband very much,” she said. “It’s a horrible tragedy for everyone involved.”
McIntire said Michael Littlefield was a longtime employee at a local lumber company, but she was not sure which one.
The Tall Pines executive director met with the residents and some staff members Saturday to tell them about Deborah Littlefield’s death.
“We are at a horrible loss,” McIntire said. “Debbie is loved by everyone at Tall Pines, and we are all behind the family just as much as we possibly can be.”
Crews from the Maine State Police criminal investigation division spent much of Friday night and Saturday working at the blue-and-white home where the shooting happened. Troopers kept the press and others away from the home, a well-kept property screened from the road by a line of trees. A for-sale sign on the road said the single-family house was listed for sale for $199,000. Photographs on the website of real estate agency Jaret & Cohn show a spacious, immaculate home that the agency describes as “exceptionally nice.”
After the couple’s children moved out, they wanted to make a change, and that’s why the home was for sale, McIntire said.
Laundry hung on a clothesline Saturday morning and a newer-looking Wilderness RV trailer was parked in the driveway near a sporty-looking black car. A child’s toy truck could be seen on a stone wall. According to Love, the couple’s grandchildren visited them occasionally, but police believe no one else was home when Deborah Littlefield was shot.
A neighbor working on his farm next door to the Littlefields’ home said Saturday that he didn’t know anything about the situation and didn’t want to talk about it. Another neighbor said he was a relative of Michael Littlefield’s and had no comment.
According to Love, the Littlefields have a lot of family in the area, and many people are reluctant to discuss the couple or the homicide.
“They’re in a tough spot,” she said.
Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Sunday afternoon that there was no new information about Littlefield’s death.
“Anything new will come out in the form of court documents,” he said.
Outside J.P. Wentworth’s General Store in Brooks, the news of yet another killing in rural Maine — just two days after two men and a 10-year-old boy were stabbed to death in Amity — provoked shock and worry from several people who were talking in the parking lot.
“I don’t know what the hell is happening in this state,” Rob Roberts of Swanville said Saturday morning. “I’ve never seen so many murders. It’s ridiculous.”