SEARSMONT, Maine — Police are crediting a neighbor with taking quick and heroic action last weekend in Searsmont when she intervened in a tense domestic violence situation to help a screaming young woman she said she saw being assaulted by a young man.
“I heard her scream, got in my car and went over as fast as I could,” Melissa Lamont McGaw said Tuesday. “It was loud and long, and the kind of screaming you know you have to react to.”
She said that when she sped to her neighbor’s house Saturday morning, about a quarter-mile from her home, she saw 18-year-old Devin Aldus wrestling an 18-year-old woman on the icy snow outside.
“I had to get out of my car and get him off her,” Lamont McGaw said. “My strength didn’t do it — he’s very strong. I was just determined. Her not getting in the car was not an option.”
The incident, which also allegedly involved a knife, was severe enough to trigger Waldo County’s new high-risk domestic violence response team, according to Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office. It also led to the Searsmont man’s arrest on several charges.
Aldus remained at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset on Tuesday, with bail set at $10,000 cash.
“It was a very serious situation,” Trooper Benjamin Sweeney of the Maine State Police, who went to the scene, said Tuesday. “In my opinion, [the woman] is a hero in this situation. She went above and beyond to help the victim.”
Lamont McGaw said that she was glad she acted quickly and without hesitation.
“I did not feel like a hero,” she said. “I felt like a mama bear.”
By the time Lamont McGaw managed to get the young woman in her car, she said, Aldus had opened the passenger’s-side door and was on top of the victim by the time she ran around to the driver’s seat.
“I started taking off and rolled the window up on his fingers,” Lamont McGaw said, adding that she decided to go to her home because her husband was there and it seemed safe. “When we got out of the car, he was screaming. ‘Give me my girlfriend! Get out of my business!’ I just said, ‘Don’t listen to him. His words have no meaning for either of us.’”
Sweeney wrote in the domestic violence report filed at Waldo County District Court that when he answered the emergency call, the victim showed him scrape marks on her back and said Aldus had assaulted her because “he didn’t want her to leave.”
Earlier that morning, Aldus also allegedly threw her down on the bed and put a knife to her face, she told police, then stabbed the bed next to her head. He also made threats to kill her and her family, according to the report, and when she tried to call police, Aldus took her phone, she said.
Police went into the residence where the assault allegedly took place and found cut marks in the bed, according to the report. Officers also collected the knife, according to the police report.
“She stated that he was punching her and when she tried to get away he would pick her back up and try to carry her back into the residence,” Sweeney wrote.
When Sweeney interviewed Aldus at his parents’ home, he said that the couple had fought about money and told the officer that the woman had bit him. He explained a wound on his hand by saying he punched a wall and hurt himself.
“He stated that he did put her down on the bed but indicated that it was about self-defense because ‘things had gotten crazy,’” Sweeney wrote. “He denied having dragged her outside.”
When the trooper moved to arrest Aldus for domestic violence assault, he resisted.
“He fought getting in handcuffs,” Sweeney wrote. “He became extremely aggressive physically and verbally. We ended up restraining him on the ground and calling the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office for transport.”
Police charged Aldus with domestic violence assault, criminal restraint, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, obstructing a report of a crime and refusal to submit to arrest or detention. Should he make bail, he will be subject to conditions that include having no contact with the victim or Lamont McGaw; abiding by a curfew from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, except for work or counseling; not using or possessing of alcohol, illegal drugs or dangerous weapons, including firearms; and submitting to random searches and testing.
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.