BANGOR, Maine — As the investigation into a triple homicide nears the end of its third week, Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia still is certain the killer or killers will be caught.
The day the three bodies were found burned beyond recognition inside a car in the back parking lot of a Bangor business, the police chief vowed: “We’re going to solve this.”
“I am very confident that this case will be solved,” Gastia said Friday in an email. “Progress continues to be made, and this case will continue to be a priority until the responsible person or persons are identified and charged.”
The three homicide victims — Daniel T. Borders, 26, of Hermon, Nicolle A. Lugdon, 24, of Eddington, and Lucas A. Tuscano, 28, of Bradford — were found burned inside a white Pontiac with Rhode Island plates that was discovered on fire early on Aug. 13.
The person driving the car was caught by video surveillance cameras walking away from the burning car. Police are tight-lipped about who they believe was driving the out-of-state car and whether they have interviewed the person.
“I can’t give you that,” Bangor police Detective Sgt. Paul Kenison said Friday. “We would be premature to throw out any names or people of interest.”
Police also are not releasing how the three homicide victims were killed, whether they were dead before the fire was started, and whether an accelerant was used to burn the car, the detective said. “We never talk about evidence.”
Detectives are still asking for the public’s help with the investigation, Kenison said.
“If there are people who have not come forward, with direct information, we would like to speak to them,” he said. “Unfortunately, a lot of the calls [police are getting] are reports about what is on Facebook.”
The car was driven by an out-of-state man who comes to Maine on occasion, always in a rental car, the victims’ friends have said, using his name, which the Bangor Daily News is withholding because he has not been charged with any crime.
The out-of-state man, who friends say knew Lugdon and Borders, reportedly knocked on the front door of a Bangor apartment about 1 a.m. on Aug. 13 and left with the three homicide victims, possibly to go smoke marijuana.
A couple of hours later, at about 3:30 a.m., a woman driving to work discovered the Pontiac ablaze in the back parking lot of Automatic Distributors, located at 22 Target Industrial Circle.
Local police, in partnership with Maine State Police and the state’s fire marshal’s office, have spent the last three weeks interviewing people — in and outside of Maine, with some meetings held at the victim’s three funerals last weekend — and collecting evidence, including additional video evidence.
“We have to do certain things in a certain order,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards explained. “They’re working hard and they’re going to continue to do that.”
Capt. Michael Winquist of the Rhode Island State Police said Friday that his agency immediately contacted Bangor police after hearing about the connection to the Ocean State. He could not confirm whether the burned Pontiac was a rental car because it’s not a Rhode Island investigation, but he did say Maine police declined an offer of investigative assistance.
“It sounds like they really got it under control,” Winquist said in a telephone interview.
Edwards said repeatedly on the day the triple homicide was discovered that even though the car is registered in Rhode Island, that did not mean it was driven to Maine from Rhode Island.
While Bangor continues to be the lead investigative agency, the Maine attorney general’s office took over the case shortly after the medical examiner determined that the deaths were homicides.
No arrests had been made as of Friday.
“We don’t get cases like this every day,” Kenison said, stressing it takes time to do a thorough job. “We’re following the leads wherever it takes us. We are vigorously pursuing all the leads.”