BANGOR, Maine — Friends of Brooke Locke, the Husson University student who police found strangled in her apartment earlier this week, remembered her as a “great young lady” with a ready smile who had recently broken up with the man facing a murder charge in connection with her death.
Locke, 21, a third-year occupational therapy student at Husson and member of the Epsilon Tau Epsilon sorority, was a 2010 graduate of Edward Little High School in Auburn. Police say she was strangled by Zackery Mailloux, 21, who graduated from Houlton High School in 2010 and was a continuing education student at Husson.
Mailloux was charged with murder on Monday shortly after police arrived at the Essex Street apartment he shared with Locke.
Fellow sorority member Nikki Raney said Wednesday that Locke and Mailloux had recently broken up. She posted memories on a Facebook page set up to honor Locke by her Edward Little classmates, and also gave permission to the Bangor Daily News to reprint them.
“I spoke with her on Facebook chat the other day and asked her why [she] and Zack had broken up,” Raney posted. “She didn’t go into much detail, but I wish there was more that could have been done. It’s so hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I will never see her at the deli or around campus, or at a sorority event.”
Locke, who worked in the deli at the Broadway Hannaford grocery store, was a dedicated student and sorority sister who had an infectious smile and would get hyper whenever she drank caffeine, Raney recalled. She will be missed by everyone who had the opportunity to meet her and make memories, Raney said.
“It breaks my heart that those memories are truly all I have left, but I am so thankful that I have these memories,” Raney posted. “I’m so thankful I was able to have Brooke in my life and be part of hers. I wish I could tell her one more time how much she meant to me.”
Edward Little classmates will hold a candlelight remembrance for Locke near the school’s bell tower at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, said Cassandra Hartford, who along with 2010 class president Chris Camire has created the Facebook page “In Remembrance of Brooke Locke.”
“It’s to help everybody kind of cope with it,” Hartford said Wednesday. “We’re all having a hard time. It hits close to home when you realize it can happen so fast.”
Edward Little Assistant Principal Steve Galway said he plans to attend to pay tribute.
“Faculty remember her as a great young lady, sensitive, shy, quiet, who excelled,” he said Wednesday. “Many of them will be at the vigil.”
During Mailloux’s initial appearance before Justice William Anderson at the Penobscot Judicial Center on Tuesday, the judge sealed the police affidavit until Mailloux is indicted and ordered that he undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial and whether he has any mental health problems.
Mailloux could be indicted Nov. 30, which is the next time the Penobscot County grand jury convenes, Anderson said.
Neither Mailloux nor Locke had any criminal history, according to a background check done by the BDN through the Maine State Bureau of Identification. Police had not gone to the Essex Street apartment in the year before Locke’s death, Bangor police Sgt. Cathy Rumsey said Wednesday.
Relatives of Mailloux were at the Bangor apartment on Wednesday removing items from the apartment but declined to comment. Locke’s vehicle, which was parked in the lot on Tuesday, had been removed, but Mailloux’s vehicle remained.
Emily Linehan, an upstairs neighbor of the couple, said Tuesday that Locke “was always really nice and really quiet.” She said Locke and Mailloux moved into the apartment in August with a male roommate.
“It’s pretty eerie knowing this happened,” she said.
Raney said she and Locke always parted ways with a hug and a message.
“We always left one another with a hug and a reminder that we loved each other,” she posted. “Brooke, you’re a beautiful angel now and I hope you watch over us. Your memory will live on and there will not be a day that goes by that I don’t miss you. Rest easy, no one can ever hurt you again. I love you.”
Nearly half the homicides in Maine this year have involved domestic violence — people killing a family or household member — Assistant Attorney General William Stokes said Wednesday.
“We’ve had 21 homicides in Maine this year, nine of which involve domestic violence,” said Stokes, who leads the criminal division in the Maine attorney general’s office, which prosecutes homicides in the state.
“I can’t speak to this case, but many of the domestic violence cases [the attorney general handles] have instances of control or jealousy,” Stokes said, adding often there are signs of potential problems to come.
Increased education about domestic violence over the decades has helped raise awareness in Maine, but often witnesses still stay quiet, he said.
“I think there is a reluctance to believe it’s happening or a reluctance to get involved,” Stokes said of those who notice the signs of abuse. “What we encourage people to do, if they notice an instance of domestic violence, is to provide assistance to that person. Contact the authorities so it doesn’t escalate into something.
“In some of the cases we’ve seen, people have seen instances of assault or verbal assault that they disregarded or ignored and the next thing we know it’s a homicide,” he said.
Because the police affidavit has been temporarily sealed, details of what happened at the Essex Street apartment are not known.
The apparent act of domestic violence is not the first involving a Husson student in recent years. A 34-year-old female nursing student was attacked by her husband in a campus parking lot and stabbed as she arrived for classes at Husson on May 5, 2010. The woman had taken out a protection from abuse order against her assailant, according to officials.
Five female students who were nearby when the attack occurred came to the woman’s assistance and subdued Horst Wolk, 45, of Bangor, until police arrived.
Wolk later pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault, criminal threatening and violation of a protection order. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in October 2011.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the candlelight remembrance would be near the school’s water tower. It is the bell tower.