WOODLAND, Maine — It is coming up on four years since the body of a 56-year-old Woodland man was found inside the small sawmill he operated adjacent to his home, and while the reward for information has increased over time, it has not helped police find the killer.
Still, investigators with the Maine State Police are hoping that keeping the Darrel Smith homicide case on the public’s radar eventually will help them crack the case.
“There have been no substantial developments over the past year,” state police Detective Sgt. John Cote said Monday. “The reward is now at $40,000 for information that will lead us to the killer.”
On Feb. 6, 2008, someone walked into Smith’s sawmill on Thomas Road in Woodland, robbed him and shot him to death. The victim’s wife, Barbara, found the body.
Darrel Smith owned and operated Smith’s Sawmill and Logging, which was next to his home in this community of about 1,400 that abuts Caribou in Aroostook County.
State police said Smith was shot to death in the early afternoon, and they believe robbery may have been the motive. He was found dead inside his workshop in the evening.
Smith’s wallet was taken and a safe was missing from the residence.
Cote said that police have always believed the killer or killers were familiar with the sawmill, which looks like a private residence. Smith had no signs advertising the establishment, and word of mouth was used to secure business. Police believe the perpetrator or perpetrators knew he was running a cash-only business and would have money on hand since he did not accept credit or debit cards at his facility.
Police have not released details about the crime scene or said whether there were signs of a struggle. Police have recovered the safe and the murder weapon, but would not comment on where the items were found.
Cote said multiple pieces of evidence have been submitted to the State Police Crime Lab in Augusta for examination. He said on Monday that some of the evidence also has been sent to FBI laboratories for analysis.
Over the past few years, police have characterized Smith as a simple, hardworking man who was well-liked. No one has come forward to give police the name of any enemy he might have had. Investigators have looked at the family and those close to the victim and eliminated them as suspects.
The Smith family initially offered a $30,000 reward for information and increased it in 2009 to $40,000, a record amount for any Maine State Police case. Police hope the reward will lead to information that results in the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for Smith’s death.
Members of the public who have any information about the crime are encouraged to call the Maine State Police at 800-924-2261 or Crime Stoppers at 800-638-TIPS.