PORTLAND — A brother of Dennis Dechaine said Thursday that the well-known prisoner continues to recover at Maine Medical Center, after being found near death Monday morning in his cell at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Don Dechaine of Madawaska said he intends to visit his brother at Maine Med today. He will be the first family member to see Dennis Dechaine since the emergency.

Don Dechaine said he doesn’t know what caused his brother’s heart rate and blood pressure to plummet.

“We have no idea what happened,” he said Thursday. “He has been pretty healthy. The good news is that he is getting better. He knows where he is, he knows who he is.”

Dennis Dechaine is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin in 1988. He maintains that he is innocent. A judge is expected to hear arguments later this year in his most recent bid for a new trial, based on DNA evidence.

Don Dechaine said he has not spoken with his brother since he was taken to the hospital. Family members are getting updates from employees with the Department of Corrections.

Denise Lord, a spokeswoman for the department, said this week that the circumstances of Dechaine’s illness are being investigated. She declined to speak about his condition or his health history at the prison, citing confidentiality laws.

Lord could not be reached for comment Thursday. A spokesman for Maine Med could not confirm that Dechaine is being treated at the hospital.

Dechaine was taken to Maine Med by helicopter Monday morning, his brother said. Doctors initially inserted a breathing tube, but Dechaine’s condition stabilized and the tube has been removed.

Don Dechaine said his brother suffered a similar, but less serious, incident about 10 years ago. He was hospitalized briefly at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport. Don Dechaine said the cause was undetermined.

He said he doesn’t think that Dennis Dechaine is on any medications, except for possibly one to lower his cholesterol.

“He is not a medication taker; that is what I don’t understand,” Don Dechaine said. He said he doesn’t know how long his brother will remain in the hospital.

Steve Peterson, the lawyer in Rockport who represents Dechaine in his pending bid for a new trial, said he is unaware of what caused the emergency.

He said Dechaine has gained weight recently but has not had any major health problems.

 

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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