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DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A local teen was remembered as a friend to everyone on Tuesday, a day after his body was found after an apparent swimming accident in Sebec Village.
Dacano Arno, a 17-year-old junior at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, was swimming with five other teens in the Sebec River around 7 p.m. Monday when he did not resurface, according Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service.
Arno’s friends flagged down a vehicle for help and also went to Warden Dan Carroll’s residence, which was close to the scene, according to the release.
Arno’s body was discovered near the base of the dam in Sebec Village. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“All of us are in shock over this,” said Angela Bonacasa, executive director of the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft. “To lose somebody so young and so full of promise is heartbreaking.”
“It’s such a shock to this neighborhood and community. I didn’t want to hear that this morning,” said Tom Lyford, a former teacher and clerk at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft.
Lyford said he watched Arno and his twin brother, Darango Arno, grow up as they visited the library over the years.
Foxcroft Academy Head of School Arnold Shorey said Dacano Arno was well known in the high school.
“He was a very nice young man and well liked by everybody — faculty, students; freshmen and seniors. He was that popular,” said Shorey.
A long sheet of paper where students can sign messages about Arno was in a hallway along with a sculpture made by the teen.
Grief counseling is being provided to the school from Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and therapy dogs are also at Foxcroft Academy, said Shorey.
“We will continue to provide that support until we don’t need it anymore,” said Shorey.
Arno volunteered all around town.
“He would volunteer to do things around the school and would volunteer at the snack shack during some athletic events,” said Shorey.
At the Center Theatre, Arno helped run movies and ran the concession area as a volunteer, said Bonacasa.
“Some people told me they enjoyed seeing his smiling face when they came into the theater,” she said.
Other volunteers enjoyed his company as well, said Bonacasa.
“They thought he was a lot of fun. When we had high school kids and young students into the theater, it tickled them to see someone their own age doing all the grownup stuff,” she said.
It seemed everyone had a story about Arno.
“He and his brother used to sneak out in the night when it was snowing and go out shoveling their neighbor’s dooryard,” said Shorey.
Lyford, who is a neighbor of the Arnos, also remembered the story.
“One winter, I had the horrible job of shoveling snow, but there was already a path shoveled,” said Lyford. “[Dacano and Darango] were over to my neighbor’s house. I said, ‘How come you’re doing that?’ They said, ‘We’ve got nothing to do. We’re bored.’”
Lyford described Arno as funny, bright, quick, humourous and mischievous.
“He always had his friends. That was part of the problem,” Lyford remembered. “He’d go with his friends out of sight [at the library when he was younger] and then I’d find a spitball up on the ceiling. He’d say, ‘We didn’t do that. It was the old people who did it.’”
He and his brother were also quick to lend a hand, he said.
“My neighbor had this great big RV. It was huge. One day, the air conditioning wasn’t working. There was this tiny place you could crawl. I wasn’t quite small enough to get in there, so I said maybe one of those guys would,” Lyford said. “They came right over and crawled in with flashlights and everything and took care of it.”
Arno’s death occurred a little more than a week before the last day of school at Foxcroft Academy.
Assisting in the search for Arno were Sebec, Dover-Foxcroft and Milo firefighters, the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office and the Brownville Police Department, the release stated. The incident remains under investigation.
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