AMITY, Maine — An Orient man wanted in connection with the grisly slaying of three people, including a 10-year-old boy, was arrested late Friday evening and charged with three counts of murder.
Thayne Ormsby, 20, was being held on a fugitive charge in Dover, N.H., where he told Maine State Police Detective Dale Keegan that he had stabbed all three to death, according to an affidavit written by Maine State Police Detective Josh Haines.
The victims — Jeffrey Ryan, 55, of Amity, his son, Jesse Ryan, 10, and the elder Ryan’s close friend Jason Dehahn, 30, were found stabbed to death June 23 in a mobile home on U.S. Route 1 in this town of 200 residents in Aroostook County near the Canadian border.
According to the affidavit, police tied Ormsby to the crime scene using fingerprint and DNA evidence. A key witness also told police he saw Ormsby covered in blood around the time of the slayings.
Robert Strout, 63, of Orient told police that Ormsby told him that he “knifed Jeff in the wood shed” because he believed Ryan was dealing drugs.
Ormsby had been staying at Strout’s residence. Strout is the father of Tamara Strout, who has a 16-year-old daughter with Jeffrey Ryan. Ormsby is a son of Maria Ormsby, who is a longtime friend of Tamara Strout.
Ormsby also told Strout that after he killed Ryan, he went back into the residence and saw Dehahn and Jesse Ryan sitting on the couch. Ormsby told Strout that Dehahn ran outside with Ormsby chasing him. He punched Dehahn, according to the affidavit, stabbed him with the knife and punched him before he “knifed him again then drug his body to the brook.”
The 20-year-old then went back inside where young Jesse Ryan was running around and stabbed him in the back bedroom of the mobile home, according to the affidavit.
Ormsby gave no motive for killing Jesse Ryan or Dehahn.
A criminal background check on Jeffrey Ryan revealed no history of drug-related offenses.
Strout at first told police that he had gone to Sanford by himself on June 25 — two days after the deaths — and returned the next day. During a simultaneous interview with Taunya Strout, one of Strout’s daughters, Detective Keegan learned that Thayne Ormsby had been staying at Robert Strout’s residence for several weeks. Strout later said that he actually had taken Ormsby to stay with Robert Strout II, presumably the elder Strout’s son, in Dover, N.H.
According to the affidavit, the victims were found the evening of June 23 after Robert Dehahn, Jason Dehahn’s father, arrived at the mobile home to look for his son. He entered the residence and found Jesse Ryan’s body. Robert Dehahn told police that Jeffrey Ryan’s 1989 Ford F-150 truck was missing from the scene and he couldn’t find Jason DeHahn. During a subsequent search of the property, investigators found Jeffrey Ryan dead in a small shed next to the residence and found Dehahn dead at the end of the driveway.
Police believe the slayings occurred in the early morning hours.
Police collected evidence from the scene, including cigarette butts and beer bottles, and submitted it for forensic DNA testing. Haines said in the affidavit that testing revealed a full DNA profile of an unknown male on a beer bottle and cigarette butt that were found at the Ryan home.
Ormsby was interviewed by Keegan and Detective Adam Stoutamyer in Dover, N.H., on June 29. Ormsby told detectives he came to Orient to stay at the Strout residence just after Memorial Day and left when Robert Strout drove him to New Hampshire. Ormsby told detectives that he planned to move up to Tamara Strout’s residence in Weston, fix it up and live there with Strout and Ryan’s daughter, Mariah Ryan.
Ormsby told detectives he met Jeffrey Ryan once and that the only time he ever went to Jeffrey Ryan’s house was two to three weeks before the slayings. He said that while he was there he drank a bottle of beer and left the bottle on the kitchen sink. Ormsby told detectives he had never met Jason DeHahn or Jesse Ryan. He vol-untarily gave detectives his DNA and fingerprints.
During the interview, Ormsby also reportedly told police that he smokes.
The next day, the State Police Crime Lab informed detectives that Ormsby’s fingerprints matched a latent print from a beer bottle that was collected from the kitchen counter in Jeffrey Ryan’s residence. The next day, the lab determined that Ormsby’s DNA matched the unknown male profile collected from that bottle and from a cigarette butt in the ashtray on the kitchen table.
The burned remains of a pickup truck that had been sought in connection with the case was found last Saturday in Weston about 15 miles from the Ryan home. According to the affidavit, a witness told investigators that he and his girlfriend were traveling on Bancroft Road in Weston and saw a maroon four-wheel-drive Dodge extended cab pickup stopped at the entrance to the field road leading into where Jeffrey Ryan’s burned truck later would be discovered. The witness said he saw a male get out of the truck and head into the woods, reportedly carrying a container out in front of him with two hands. It appeared the top of the container had been cut off and the male was walking as if he was trying not to spill the contents of the container. The witness said that it looked like a truck owned by Robert Strout.
The witness said he saw the truck head toward Danforth, leaving the male behind as he walked up the field road toward where the Ryan truck was located on Saturday.
On June 27, Detective Darrin Crane went to Strout’s residence in Orient and saw footwear impressions in the dirt path leading to the residence doorway. Crane said that he previously had observed similar footwear impressions next to Ryan’s burned truck.
On Friday, Detectives Crane and Haines returned to Robert Strout’s residence. He then told police that on Tuesday or Wednesday, June 22 or 23, he was sitting on his porch when Ormsby came through the woods with his bike and went out behind the Strout residence. Strout then saw that Ormsby’s shirt, pants and shoes were covered in blood. According to the affidavit, Ormsby told Strout that he killed Jeffrey Ryan and then said he “killed them all.”
Strout said the 20-year-old threatened him, telling him that if he didn’t help him he would kill Strout’s family.
Ormsby denied threatening Robert Strout or any member of the Strout family, according to the affidavit.
Ormsby also reportedly told Strout that he took Jeffrey Ryan’s truck and that he had to get rid of it. Strout followed Ormsby in Jeffrey Ryan’s truck to Tamara Strout’s Springer Road residence. Police believe that Ormsby parked Ryan’s truck behind Tamara Strout’s residence and went into her home still wearing the blood-soaked clothing. Robert Strout told police he left Ormsby there and returned to his Orient residence. Robert said he later returned to the Springer Road residence and saw Ormsby leave the home wearing nothing but his underwear.
Ormsby reportedly burned the bloody clothing in the furnace of Tamara Strout’s home.
Strout, driving his own vehicle, followed Ormsby in Ryan’s vehicle to the field road on Bancroft Road where Ryan’s burnt-out truck eventually was found. Ormsby burned the truck, according to the affidavit, and came running back and told Strout “it’s done.” Ormsby then told Strout that he had to dispose of the knife, so Strout drove the 20-year-old to a bog on U.S. Route 1 and Ormsby threw the knife into the water.
Members of the State Police Dive Team were searching the bog Friday evening.
Ormsby’s arrest came as state police and Maine Drug Enforcement agents were nearly six hours into the apparent execution of a search warrant at the home of Robert Strout and his wife, Joy.
State police detectives, MDEA agents and members of the State Police Criminal Investigations Divisions and Evidence Response Teams were among those at the 2948 U.S. Route 1 residence.
Joy Strout talked to the Bangor Daily News last Thursday, just one day after the triple homicides. Sitting at her kitchen table, she spoke of how her daughter had a child with Jeffrey Ryan. Ormsby also was at the table, smoking cigarettes as he listened to Strout answer questions.
Jake Dehahn, 27, of Amity, who is the brother of Jason Dehahn, was flabbergasted at news of Ormsby’s arrest. Looking at a picture of Ormsby on a newspaper website, Dehahn declared, “I have never seen that kid before.”
“He’s an out-of-towner, obviously,” Dehahn said, adding that he had already heard that Tamara Strout had brought Ormsby into town a month ago.
“It could not have been just him [to commit the homicides],” Dehahn said of Ormsby. “There’s no way he could have overpowered my brother.”
A Facebook profile belonging to Thayne Ormsby listed Ellsworth as his hometown. Many of his friends were from Ellsworth High School. Tamara Strout and Mariah Ryan also were listed as friends. His quote was: “I have but two passions… Love & War.”
BDN writer Nick Sambides Jr. contributed to this report.