CASTLE HILL, Maine — The last time John Kennedy saw his old friend Roger Ellis was just a few hours before Maine State Police discovered two bodies in a pickup truck not far from his house.
Found inside the truck were 51-year-old Roger and 25-year-old Allen Curtis. Friends and neighbors said that the two were celebrating Curtis’ birthday earlier in the night. Kennedy said he last spoke to both of them around 10 p.m., when they stopped by his house for a visit.
Kennedy didn’t know exactly what happened after they left. He tried calling both of their phones, but neither picked up.
Authorities have released few details about the killings, leaving friends and neighbors to fill in the gaps of what they think happened to their loved ones during the early morning hours of Aug. 13 in Castle Hill.
Autopsies of the bodies confirmed that both men had been shot but authorities haven’t released any new developments in the case. Stephen McCausland, spokesman of the Maine Department of Public Safety, would not say on Thursday, Sept. 19, if any arrests have been made.
Despite being 26 years apart in age, Ellis and Curtis were well-known on State Road, where they grew up. They formed close relationships with neighbors who became like family.
One neighbor said Ellis and other local kids would frequently stop by her house after school for homework help and ice cream.
Kennedy said he met Ellis shortly after moving to Castle Hill in 2004. The two became great friends, exchanging gifts and spending time with each other’s families.
Ellis was a collector of sorts, Kennedy said. He had his own personal collection of Slim Jim mugs and antique Coca-Cola bottles that he was unlikely to part with.
“He wasn’t much for change,” Kennedy said, remembering how rarely he was able to get Ellis to venture outside of Aroostook County.
On his phone, Kennedy scrolled through a collection of photos with both men from years past — pictures of Ellis stacking wood on his land, some of Curtis playing with Kennedy’s grandson during the annual Balloon Festival in late summer.
Pulling up an August 2017 photo taken of Ellis driving his truck, Kennedy described the history behind his signature red felt hat.
The hat was a staple for Ellis but since it had been ruined after years of hard work, Kennedy promised he would find another just like it for his friend. After six years of searching, he and his wife, Krista, finally stumbled upon a single red felt hat on the last day of the Presque Isle fair.
Ellis made it his own by sticking a brown pheasant feather out from under the hatband.