DEXTER, Maine — Two years after Steven Lake murdered his wife, Amy, and their two children, Coty and Monica, the town of Dexter is still healing.
It’s also looking at ways to prevent such tragedies in the future.
More than 600 people took part in the third annual Amy, Coty, Monica Memorial 5K Race/Walk to End Domestic Violence on Sunday. This year, the money raised will help fund a multiagency team aimed at ending domestic abuse in the area.
“The purpose of this event is to keep [the problem of domestic violence] in front of people,” said race organizer Kelly Gay. “It’s not just all about Amy, Coty and Monica, but it’s to make sure people in those same situations can hopefully get help.”
Dexter Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs announced before the start of the race that a team will be assembled to help combat domestic violence in the area.
“We have a multiagency team that’s going to be meeting once a month,” Briggs said after the race. “It’ll be [represented by] government, social services — primarily the area’s Spruce Run and Womancare — police, fire, [Penobscot County] district attorney’s office, mental health workers and clergy. The whole idea is to make sure we … identify the violators and figure out what it is we need to to do prevent it and what we can do to help the victim’s escape.”
Amy Lake and her two children, Coty and Monica, were murdered in their Dexter home on June 13, 2011, by her estranged husband, Steven Lake, who then shot himself.
Money raised at the race, in part, will go toward the team. The total number of people who participated and how much money was raised was not immediately available.
“The committee will help people in the same situation Amy was in — to provide housing, legal aid and things like that,” said Gay.
Gay is a kindergarten teacher at Ridgeview Community School in Dexter, where Amy Lake also taught.
“She was my best friend. We taught in this district for 17 years together. She was an excellent, well-loved teacher,” said Gay.
Admiration for Amy Lake, her children and the cause to end domestic violence was evident as the majority of people wore purple — the color that represents domestic violence awareness.
“It’s huge. It’s getting bigger every year,” Briggs said of the race. “The sea of purple today was overwhelming for many of us. It’s bringing that awareness, and it’s continuing to grow.”
Dexter Police Chief Kevin Wintle led the walkers with his pickup.
“Seeing 300 walkers behind the cruiser all dressed in purple is amazing,” said Wintle, adding that the town is “still healing.”
The race started and ended at Dexter Regional High School, with the final mile of the course uphill.
Glenburn’s Greg Leavitt crossed the line first for the runners with a time of 21 minutes, 46 seconds.
“I just want to support the cause and end domestic violence,” he said. “I’m from Dexter originally, so it was important to come back.”
Bangor Daily News Editorial Page Editor Erin Rhoda was first among the women, and fourth overall, with a time of 25 minutes, 8.4 seconds.
Ralph Bagley, Amy Lake’s father, walked the course and said he was touched by the turnout.
“It’s just wonderful. The turnout is not just from this town, but from all around,” he said.