BANGOR, Maine — The state medical examiner’s office has positively identified the three people whose bodies were found early Monday in a car that was left ablaze in the back parking lot of a local business.
Daniel Thomas Borders, 26, of Hermon; Nicolle Ashley Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; and Lucas Alan Tuscano, 28, of Bradford are the three homicide victims, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards announced Friday evening.
“The manner of death has been ruled a homicide and the cause of death is being withheld for investigative purposes,” he said.
Lugdon and Borders both have young daughters, their Facebook pages and friends have said. Little information was available about Tuscano, and attempts to reach family members of Lugdon and Borders were unsuccessful Friday night.
Crying could be heard in the background when a call was placed to the phone listed under Tuscano’s name, and the voice of the woman who answered the phone was filled with obvious grief.
“He was the love of my life,” she said, not identifying herself. “I can’t talk about this. I need to go.”
Lugdon’s name was released about 1:20 p.m. Friday by Bangor police because her family is upset that a vigil and fundraising effort are being planned without their consent.
“They think it’s people trying to gain by exploiting their granddaughter,” Edwards said. “The family of Nicolle Lugdon is asking for them to stop.”
A longtime friend of Lugdon, who has been speaking with her family, said Lugdon was positively identified earlier this week by a metal plate in her arm.
The burning car was discovered by a woman on her way to work at about 3:30 a.m. Monday in the back parking lot of Automatic Distributors, located at 22 Target Industrial Circle. After the flames were extinguished, firefighters found inside three bodies that were burned beyond recognition.
The Maine attorney general’s office took over the case shortly after the three autopsies were completed Tuesday and announced Wednesday that the three people in the car died by someone else’s hand. Brenda Kielty, a special assistant in the attorney general’s office, said Friday that she could not answer questions about whether investigators have identified a person of interest in the triple homicide.
Police are searching for a person seen on video surveillance images from Automatic Distributors walking away from the burning car.
“The investigation is progressing and we’re moving forward,” Lt. Tim Reid, who leads the Bangor Police Department’s detective division, said Friday.
Reid also said he could not disclose whether the department has identified a person of interest.
Bailey Jankowski of Bangor said Friday that she organized the candlelight vigil, planned for next Friday at Cascade Park, so she and other friends of Lugdon could gather and say goodbye to her.
“I started this whole thing in remembrance of her,” she said Friday in a telephone interview. “Others took it upon themselves to do fundraising and T-shirts.”
The Lugdon family has not been contacted about the vigil or the fundraising — which according to a Facebook page Jankowski set up in memory of Lugdon would benefit Nicolle’s young daughter — and that has made them uneasy and upset about the effort, Edwards said.
“They have not authorized this vigil and want no part of it,” he said.
Jankowski said she didn’t think about contacting her friend’s family because Lugdon told her they were not a big part of her life.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Jankowski said. “If the family wants to attend [the vigil], they are more than welcome.”
Friends of Lugdon and Borders gathered at the scene of the car fire Monday night after talking to Bangor police detectives. They said they feared that their friends were dead because they got into a white Pontiac with Rhode Island plates after leaving a birthday party early Monday and afterward no one was able to get in touch with them.
Lugdon’s sister was dating Borders, according to their friends and to the Facebook pages of the sister and Borders.
The car found ablaze was identified by police as a white 2001 Pontiac with Rhode Island plates.
While police have not mentioned drugs in connection with the triple homicide, Borders and Lugdon both have drug convictions, according to court listings printed in the Bangor Daily News.
Borders’ criminal history includes convictions for unlawful possession of scheduled drugs in September 2009, assault in December 2010 and a Massachusetts arrest for trafficking in cocaine in June 2009.
He attended Hermon High School, according to his Facebook page.
Lugdon worked at Staples, graduated from Madawaska High School in 2006 and studied at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, her Facebook page states.
She was convicted of possessing marijuana in 2008, when she was 19, and she has an operating a vehicle while license suspended conviction from June 2011, the BDN listings state.
Tuscano has six convictions for traffic violations and one theft conviction from 2004, the BDN listings state.
About 150 people have already said they would attend the memorial gathering for Lugdon, designed as “a night to remember a beautiful mother, daughter, sister and granddaughter,” the memorial Facebook page states.
“It’s still going to happen,” Jankowski said Friday. “This was never about what happened. This was about holding a remembrance for her friends to bring back memories of her.”