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PORTLAND, Maine — Friends of a man found dead alongside his wife in a Portland apartment Tuesday admitted the building has a history as a “crack house” but they said residents have been trying to clean the place up and they believe the man, who they called “Angel,” was happy and sober.
Richard Allen, who lives in one of the apartments in the building at 255-259 Oxford St. where two people were found dead just after noon Tuesday, said Wednesday neighbors are anxiously awaiting news from the state medical examiner’s office to learn what killed them.
Mark Belserene, administrator of the medical examiner’s office, told the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday afternoon further toxicology tests will be necessary before a definitive cause of death can be determined, a process that could take four to six weeks.
“We are able to say that there was no foul play involved,” Belserene said. “There was no trauma.”
Portland police have identified the couple as 30-year-old Miguel Angel Vega-Hernandez and his 25-year-old wife, Felicia Danielle Vega. Residents said the man was more widely known by the nicknames “Angel” or “Heavy.” Neighbors said they were less familiar with Vega but said the couple had been living in the building for just a few months.
“He was a good person,” Allen said of Vega-Hernandez. “He never would have done this to himself. Someone must have done this to him. He was always happy, and he never let anything bother him.”
Allen and three other people who identified themselves as acquaintances of the couple but declined to give their names mingled briefly outside the Oxford Street apartment building Wednesday. They discussed the couple’s struggle to regain custody of an 8-month-old baby, who they said had been taken away by the state, but disagreed among themselves on whether the grief from losing the child — even temporarily — might have caused the couple to take drugs.
“He knew he was going to get the baby back,” Allen said. “Everybody here that knew him is dumbfounded by his death.”
Another woman said Miguel was a big “teddy bear” who loved his kids — she said she thought he had another child in addition to the baby.
“I don’t know that they were into drugs,” she said. “I know a lot of people around here who are asking around for stuff, but they weren’t.”
The 255-259 Oxford St. apartment complex has a sordid history in which almost a year ago it was deemed a “disorderly home” under city ordinances because of the frequency of police calls at the site. As a result, the landlord at the time was required to more vigilantly screen tenants. Soon thereafter, in early February of this year, 39-year-old David Ring reportedly was found dead of unknown causes in a snowbank near the building.
In July, the troubled apartment building was sold to a new owner at an auction, according to a report in the Portland Daily Sun.
Allen acknowledged that the site is “an old crack house” but said residents are trying to turn around the corner building’s image.