June 24, 2018
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Freeport man missing after attending Chickenfest in Howland

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

HOWLAND, Maine — A Freeport man who arrived late Saturday night with a carload of friends at Chickenfest — a party hosted every spring by University of Maine students at different, secret locations — is now missing, Maine State Police Trooper Thomas Fiske said Monday.

“He arrived with a group of folks. There was a lot of people there and they lost track of him during the night and never saw him again,” the trooper said. “Nobody has seen or heard from him since.”

Freeport police issued an attempt-to-locate notice for Dean Levasseur, 24, who is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. He weighs approximately 145 pounds and last was seen wearing a green jacket and bluejeans, Fiske said.

“Anybody who heard from this guy or saw him since Sunday, we’d be interested in speaking to,” the trooper said, adding that those with information can call the Orono State Police barracks at 866-2121.

Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department officers found the annual secret drinking party off Lagrange Road on Saturday and called state police for assistance. Sheriff’s deputies covered the area until 4 a.m., when state police took over coverage, Fiske said.

“Chickenfest started on the UMO campus years ago until it was banned,” the Maine State Police website said, referring to the University of Maine. “It then moved off-campus and is usually held in a different area of northern Penobscot County, so law enforcement can’t find the location, (although we do every year).”

Fiske described Chickenfest as a mini-Woodstock for college-age people.

“They had bands out there playing. It’s just a big party,” he said. “There [were] cars from all over — New York, Canada.”

In recent years, Chickenfest has been held in LaGrange, Argyle and just outside Greenfield, Fiske said.

Fiske, Penobscot County Deputy Chief Troy Morton and five others from Penobscot County were at Chickenfest on Saturday night trying to stop the influx of students heading into the party, which was located on private land owned by a logging company.

Morton, who after leaving the party scene got into a crash with a moose that sent the deputy chief to the hospital with a concussion, charged at least one person with underage drinking, Fiske said. The total number of people charged by Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies was not available on Monday.

“There were probably several hundred folks already there [by the time police arrived],” the trooper said. “We did the best we could from that point” stopping cars heading down the property’s dirt driveway.

To get around the law, attendees “ended up parking elsewhere and hiking through the woods to get there,” Fiske said.

The college-age attendees brought beer, wine and alcohol and left a pile of litter in the woods in their wake, the trooper said, noting that Sunday was Earth Day.

“It seems like everything they carried in got left behind — tents, tarps, broken glass,” Fiske said.

After Chickenfest ended, state police learned from Freeport police that Levasseur was missing.

The Maine Warden Service was first tasked with searching for the missing man and state police assisted by providing a search dog, Fiske said.

“When the weather clears and if he is still not located, the plane will be used as well,” the trooper said.

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