Memorial held for Maine mom found dead in NH pond

Posted April 28, 2011, at 10:54 p.m.
Last modified April 28, 2011, at 11:18 p.m.

BRIDGTON, Maine — Family and friends of a Maine woman whose body was pulled from a New Hampshire pond days after her abandoned car was found nearby with her toddler sleeping inside it held a candlelight memorial for her Thursday night.

More than 500 people turned up to remember 20-year-old Portland resident Krista Dittmeyer, whose body was recovered by divers a day earlier near the Cranmore Mountain ski area in Conway, N.H.

The gathering was at an elementary school 25 miles from Conway in Bridgton, where Dittmeyer grew up. Dittmeyer’s mother, sister and 14-month-old daughter attended.

Sister Kayla Dittmeyer called the victim “the best sister and the best mother ever.” She said her sister would have been proud to see how many people turned out to celebrate her life and mourn her death.

New Hampshire authorities said it could take six to eight weeks before they receive toxicology report results to help determine what killed her. They said an autopsy failed to conclusively establish the cause of death.

“The case remains active and ongoing,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young at a brief news conference.

Dittmeyer’s body was recovered Wednesday from a pond several hundred yards from the spot where her car was left with its engine running and its hazard lights blinking in Conway, a town of 10,000 people.

Young said Dittmeyer’s death has not been declared a homicide.

“We are continuing to investigate it as a suspicious criminal case,” she said.

Young declined to comment on the possible relevance of a Conway police log entry indicating two men who said they were friends of Dittmeyer’s discovered a flip-flop she might have been wearing while searching on their own.

The police log entry was made minutes before midnight Tuesday. One of the men had the same last name as the father of Dittmeyer’s daughter; the father is serving 18 months in prison in Maine for drug charges.

Dittmeyer’s mother, LaNell Shackley, is caring for the toddler at her Bridgton home. Shackley said she last spoke with her daughter the night of April 22 and was supposed to see her on Easter. The daughter’s car was discovered early Saturday.

Dittmeyer was working as a waitress at a South Portland restaurant at the time of her disappearance. She was living in an apartment in Portland.

 

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