AMITY – As forensic technicians combed through a mobile home on Route 1 where two men and a boy were stabbed to death Wednesday, state police appealed to the public Friday for help in finding a pickup truck that might have been stolen as part of the crime.

Anyone who has seen the blue-and-silver 1989 Ford F-150 could play a “huge” part in helping police catch whoever killed Jeffrey Ryan, 55, his son, Jesse Ryan, 10, and Jason Dehahn, 30, said Maine State Police Lt. Gary Wright.

“We have probably had about 25 calls in with descriptions of the vehicle, but nothing that has led to it,” Wright said Friday afternoon.

More than 20 state police detectives and others from various law enforcement agencies worked on the case as autopsies of the victims were done at the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta.

“It might appear to the public that this investigation is moving very slowly, but these are in fact very comprehensive cases,” Wright said. “The fact of the matter is that it’s very early on in the investigation.”

Police are awaiting the results of investigations of reported sightings of the truck in southern Maine, Wright said.

The truck, registered to Jeffrey Ryan, has white wheels in the front, silver wheels in the back, and orange running lights on top of the cab just above the windshield, police said.

State police have posted a photo of a similar truck on the state of Maine and state police websites. Anyone who has seen the truck should call the Houlton state police barracks at 532-5400 or 911 on a cell phone.

Residents in the Amity area should be careful and report any suspicious activity to police, Wright said. “We are asking people to pay attention to their own safety and lock their doors and vehicles.”

Ryan and his son lived at the home, according to police. Dehahn lived elsewhere.

A man who identified himself as Jason Dehahn’s brother said in a telephone interview that he and his father found the boy’s body in a back room when they went to the home in search of Dehahn on Wednesday night.

They returned home and called police, who found the other bodies, he said.

Investigators Friday appeared to collect several pieces of evidence from the floor of a tan car owned by Ryan that was parked outside his trailer.

Friday evening, friends and family members had left nine flower arrangements along the road outside the trailer, including three crosses.

Whoever killed the three was likely known to at least one of the men, said Shannon Ryan, 35, of Texas, one of Jeffrey Ryan’s children.

He speculated that several people had to have killed the three, because Jeffrey Ryan’s two Rottweiler dogs and Ryan and Dehahn wouldn’t have let anyone into the home.

State police have told the family that nothing appears to have been stolen from the house except the pickup truck, Shannon Ryan said.

“No way could one person overpower two guys,” he said in a telephone interview Friday. “My dad told me that if you did not know the dogs, they would bark and sound pretty aggressive. You couldn’t just walk on past them.”

Ryan objected strenuously to claims by his father’s ex-wife, Jamie Merrill of Lewiston, that Jeffrey Ryan was selling and using prescription drugs.

Jeffrey Ryan, a disabled veteran, was a doting father who won custody of Jesse Ryan after a bitter fight with Merrill, Shannon Ryan said.

He wouldn’t have won custody had he been the bad man his ex-wife describes, his son said.

State records show only one conviction against Jeffrey Ryan, for disorderly conduct in 1992, for which he was fined $100. Dehahn was convicted of drunken driving in 2004, jailed for seven days, fined $400 and put on one year’s probation.

Records of the divorce of Jeffrey Ryan and Jamie Merrill, obtained from Houlton District Court, show that the two shared custody of their son but that Jesse Ryan lived primarily with his father.

The divorce was finalized in October 2007. The couple had been married since September 1998.

Shannon Ryan described his father as a practical joker who loved to hunt, fish and grow his own vegetables. He said he spoke to his father every week or so, and said his father sounded fine during their last conversation.

He described Dehahn as a close friend of Jeffrey Ryan who lived a mile down the road. “They were friends for about 11 years,” Ryan said. “They were like brothers.”

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.