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More than 400 attend vigil to remember Amy Theriault

Posted June 08, 2014, at 9:33 p.m.
Last modified June 08, 2014, at 9:49 p.m.
Members of Amy Theriault's family toss purple carnations -- the color of domestic violence awareness -- into the St. John River following the memorial walk and candlelight vigil in her honor.
Julia Bayly | BDN
Members of Amy Theriault's family toss purple carnations -- the color of domestic violence awareness -- into the St. John River following the memorial walk and candlelight vigil in her honor. Buy Photo
More than 400 people attended the Sunday night memorial walk and candlelight vigil for Amy Theriault who was shot and stabbed last week, allegedly by her longtime boyfriend.
Julia Bayly | BDN
More than 400 people attended the Sunday night memorial walk and candlelight vigil for Amy Theriault who was shot and stabbed last week, allegedly by her longtime boyfriend. Buy Photo
Purple carnations were placed in the St. John River in memory of Amy Theriault, killed last week in her St. Francis home, allegedly by her longtime boyfriend.
Julia Bayly | BDN
Purple carnations were placed in the St. John River in memory of Amy Theriault, killed last week in her St. Francis home, allegedly by her longtime boyfriend. Buy Photo

FORT KENT, Maine — Thirteen-year-old Ian Dubois learned to fish from his aunt Amy Theriault, and at the memorial vigil held in her honor Sunday evening, the youngster said those fishing trips are some of his best memories.

More than 400 family members, friends, co-workers and community members attended the vigil — a half-mile walk starting from Forest Hill Manor — in memory of the 31-year-old woman killed last week, allegedly at the hands of her longtime boyfriend, 38-year-old Jesse Marquis.

Marquis is at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton where he is set to be arraigned Monday morning by video link to the Presque Isle District Court for allegedly shooting and stabbing Theriault to death.

Just about everyone at the vigil wore purple — the color of domestic violence awareness. On Sunday night, most of them were focusing on how Theriault lived her life and what can be done to prevent future domestic violence tragedies.

“Amy was the most compassionate, fun-loving person,” her sister Pamela Dubois said. “If we can learn anything, it must be that we all must do what we can to prevent something like this from happening again.”

The crime shocked the St. Francis community, in which Theriault and her two daughters lived.

“It can happen to anyone, anytime,” Dubois said. “Even in this tight-knit community.”

Instead of dwelling on the violent nature of Theriault’s death, Dubois said all who knew her sister should “live the life Amy exemplified: a life of patience, compassion and love.”

Theriault worked as caregiver at Forest Hill Manor, a residential elderly care facility, where co-workers remember her as one whom residents often asked for by name.

“She adored her children and would give anyone the shirt off her back,” Dubois said. “I am not sure how we will go on after this loss to our family and to our community.”

Like nephew Ian, it seemed every person at the vigil had a special memory to share about Theriault.

“She was my first cousin,” Beth Malmborg of Fort Kent said. “I used to joke I was older, because my birthday was two days before hers.”

Growing up and playing in the woods around Fort Kent, Malmborg said she and Theriault used to drive their grandmother to distraction building club houses in her favorite lilac bush.

“Growing up with Amy was always a blast,” Malmborg said. “She always had a smile, and we loved getting into trouble together.”

In recent years, backyard barbecues and family reunions replaced tree forts and mischief making.

“We will miss our barbecues and baseball games in the backyard,” Pamela Dubois said, pausing to fight back tears. “Those are the kinds of memories I will cherish.”

Theriault had a reputation as an outdoorswoman and was passing that love down to her nephew, whom she took on his very first fishing trip.

“She loved to be on the river and muskie fish,” he said. “We wanted to go bass fishing just recently,” he added, shaking his head.

During the six days dozens of law enforcement personnel searched for Marquis around St. Francis before his arrest Friday, Pamela Dubois said they were kept constantly in the information loop.

“They were phenomenal, and I can’t say enough about them,” she said. “They’d come in after a day of searching, their clothes would be drenched, and they would update us on what was going on.”

The community has also rallied around the family, and a special fund set up for Theriault’s children has already raised more than $20,000.

“Thank you just does not say enough,” Pamela Dubois said.

Sunday’s event was organized by the Hope and Justice Project, the domestic violence resource center in Aroostook County. Its 24/7, free and confidential hotline is available to anyone affected by this tragedy at 800-439-2323.

After the vigil, 150 purple carnations were handed out and placed in the current of the nearby St. John River.

“She should be here with us now,” Pamela Dubois said.

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.

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