Family members gather to remember, dedicate monument to murder victims

Posted June 29, 2014, at 5:53 p.m.
A family member runs her hands across the name of a loved one inscribed on the Maine Murder Victims Memorial.
Beth Brogan | BDN
A family member runs her hands across the name of a loved one inscribed on the Maine Murder Victims Memorial.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Sandy Miller of Nobleboro said Sunday the granite monument that bears the names of her son, daughter-in-law and grandson will provide a place for her to visit and remember the family that was taken from her Feb. 20, 2008.

Miller’s son, Christopher Bolduc, his wife, Carol Bolduc, and grandson Joshua Bolduc were murdered in Old Orchard Beach by Carol Bolduc’s son, Matthew Cushing. The victims’ names are among the 83 inscribed on the Maine Murder Victims Memorial, which was dedicated Sunday afternoon in Holy Family Cemetery.

Families from across Maine gathered at the granite monument Sunday and recited the names of their lost loved ones, one after another.

“I hope that the mention of your loved ones name brings a smile to your lips, even though it may bring tears to your eyes,” said Arthur Jette, leader of the Maine chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, a national organization for the survivors of homicide victims.

Jette’s step-grandson, 21-month-old Treven Cunningham, was murdered in 1999 along with his 20-year-old babysitter, Mindy Gould, by Gould’s former boyfriend, Jeffrey Cookson.

“We wanted something simple … to be able to remember them as murder victims in a way that would give the public the opportunity to see the effects of violence in our state, which we all actually consider to be safe,” Jette said of the memorial. “This is going to tell people that [the] death wasn’t natural, it wasn’t accidental. It was a life that was stolen by someone else. That’s really important to people who have experienced it.”

Vicki Dill of West Gardiner arrived early Sunday to plant echinacea, hosta and German iris at the monument, which bears the name of her sister, Debra Dill, who was murdered in 1973 at the age of 18.

Sunday’s ceremony was particularly poignant, Dill said, because her family only recently attended a parole hearing for Michael M. Boucher Sr., the man convicted in 1991 of killing her sister and leaving her body along a road in the Tacoma Lakes region of Litchfield.

More than 500 people have been the victims of murder in Maine, according to Jette, but only 83 names will be engraved this year. Jette said the organizers will hold annual dedication ceremonies as additional names are added after family members of the victims are contacted.

Sometimes, he said, families are not ready to see that name appear on such a list.

“This whole murder grief is really like no other grief,” he said. “There’s something about the intentional taking of the life of someone near and dear to you that is hard to wrap your head around and really hard to accept. There’s something so unreal about it. It takes a period of time before there’s even a willingness to put a stone monument on a gravesite. Something about that action forces you to try to believe the unbelievable.”

Following the ceremony, families stood in line along a cobblestone path around the monument, some snapping photos with a cellphone and others running a finger over a name inscribed in the granite.

“A lot of people want to just forget, but that doesn’t happen,” Christopher’s stepfather, Jerry Miller, said. “We lost a whole family, and we don’t want to ever let that go.”

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