Man found dead in Hampden apartment identified

Posted Sept. 14, 2010, at 3:34 p.m.
Hampden Police Chief Joe Rogers, top step on right, collects information from building maintenance man John Frost, top left, and Suburban Propane technician Steve Charette, bottom left, who both discovered a body Tuesday afternoon in a Hampden apartment building on the Main Road. Hampden Fire Department fire inspector Keith Barnhard is at the bottom right. Bangor Daily News photo by Nok-Noi Ricker
Hampden Police Chief Joe Rogers, top step on right, collects information from building maintenance man John Frost, top left, and Suburban Propane technician Steve Charette, bottom left, who both discovered a body Tuesday afternoon in a Hampden apartment building on the Main Road. Hampden Fire Department fire inspector Keith Barnhard is at the bottom right. Bangor Daily News photo by Nok-Noi Ricker
Hampden Police Sgt. Chris Bailey interviews one of the residents of an apartment house at 646 Main Road North after another of the residents was found dead on the second floor. (Bangor Daily News/Scott Haskell)
Hampden Police Sgt. Chris Bailey interviews one of the residents of an apartment house at 646 Main Road North after another of the residents was found dead on the second floor. (Bangor Daily News/Scott Haskell)
Keith Barnhard, fire inspector for Hampden Fire Dept., walks down an apartment house exterior stairway as he uses a gas detection device after a resident was found dead in his apartment Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Scott Haskell)
Keith Barnhard, fire inspector for Hampden Fire Dept., walks down an apartment house exterior stairway as he uses a gas detection device after a resident was found dead in his apartment Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Scott Haskell)
Beth Bishop, a third floor resident of a Hampden apartment house at 646 Main Road North, describes contacting the gas company after smelling what she thought was a gas leak in the house Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Scott Haskell)
Beth Bishop, a third floor resident of a Hampden apartment house at 646 Main Road North, describes contacting the gas company after smelling what she thought was a gas leak in the house Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Scott Haskell)

HAMPDEN, Maine — Police have released the name of the man found dead on Tuesday in an apartment on Main Road North.

John Boynton, 55, who had moved to the area from Greenville, died of an apparent suicide, Police Chief Joe Rogers said Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, a woman who lives on the third floor of the apartment building returned from work and smelled what she thought was leaking propane.

Beth Bishop called Suburban Propane about 12:45 p.m., and the company’s technician and a building maintenance man investigating the smell discovered a Boynton’s body inside an apartment on the second floor.

After checking the building for gas leaks, propane technician Steve Charette and maintenance man John Frost had entered the apartment from where the gas smell was coming. Charette “checked around the corner and found [the body] in the bathroom,” Frost said at the scene.

“He saw the body and we both left” to call police, Frost said, adding that the man’s body was found slumped in the bathroom with his head lying in the shower stall.

The man apparently had been evicted recently and his belongings were packed into boxes, Frost said.

“He was the only person in the building with a gas contract,” but the propane was not turned on, the police chief said.

Keith Barnhard, Hampden Fire Department’s fire inspector, used a device to check gas levels, which were strong in the man’s apartment. Windows were opened and the building was evacuated as a precaution.

“We initially told everybody to get out, but now it’s down to zero,” Barnhard said, referring to the gas reading.

Residents of the multiunit apartment house were allowed to return to their apartments after 15 to 20 minutes.

“There was no gas leak,” Charette of Suburban Propane said as he left the scene, obviously upset by what he had witnessed. “There was a rotten egg smell, but none of the tenants had gas on.”

When Bishop first walked through the apartment building’s front doors, “it smelled like rotten eggs,” she said.

She immediately called the propane company saying, “after what happened in San [Bruno] I wasn’t going to mess around.” A natural gas explosion on Sept. 9 ripped through San Bruno, Calif., leveling a neighborhood, killing four people and injuring more than 50 others.

Bishop, who just moved into her apartment during August, did not know the man who lived on the second floor. Even so, she was saddened by his death.

“It’s too bad,” she said.

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