The 20-year-old man who is charged with murdering three people in northern Maine told the family he was living with that the killings followed a confrontation over a $10,000 drug debt, according to a man who let the suspect live in his home.

Robert Strout, 63, said he and his wife opened their home in Orient to Thayne Ormsby, who showed up covered with blood one day a few weeks later, after Jeffrey Ryan, his 10-year-old son, Jesse, and Jason Dehahn were stabbed to death in the nearby town of Amity.

Ormsby told Strout that he had gone to Ryan’s home because Ormsby’s father had told him that Ryan owed him money.

“He said Jeff Ryan owed his father $10,000 on a drug deal and that his father wanted to collect it,” Strout told The Associated Press on Monday. Ormsby’s father could not be located for comment.

Ormsby was brought to Maine on Monday from New Hampshire, where he was arrested July 2 and later waived extradition. He is being held in the Aroostook County Jail without bail pending arraignment July 21. An attorney will be appointed for him, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The victims’ bodies were discovered on June 23 by Dehahn’s father and brother, who had gone looking for him after he had failed to return home.

In the weeks before the killings, Ormsby lived with the Strouts. Robert Strout’s wife, Joy, said that she and her husband are disabled and that Ormsby helped them by cooking and cleaning and tending to their pheasants, quails and other birds.

Ormsby’s mother is a good friend of one of the Strouts’ daughters, she said.

Ormsby was respectful, polite and helpful, she said. He didn’t drink alcohol, and he rolled his own cigarettes. He sometimes smoked marijuana, but never at their home. The Strouts encouraged him to earn a GED diploma and find a job, she said.

The Strouts’ image of a smart and polite young man soon came crashing down.

Robert Strout told police that after the killings, Ormsby rode up to Strout’s home on a bicycle. Strout saw that Ormsby’s shirt, pants and shoes were covered with blood.

Strout, who said he feared for his life, drove Ormsby to Strout’s daughter’s house in the town of Weston, where Ormsby burned his clothes in a furnace.

He said he then drove Ormsby to a rural road, where Ormsby set fire to Ryan’s truck, which Ormsby had taken after the killings.

Two days later, Robert Strout drove Ormsby to his son’s house in Dover, N.H. He said he feared for the safety of his family after Ormsby threatened him.

“He said, ‘Keep your mouth shut and nothing will happen. If you say anything, I will hurt your family,’” said Strout, who has not been charged with any crime.

Maine State Police and the Attorney General’s Office declined comment Monday.

Details of the motive for the killings have been scarce.

According to an affidavit, Ormsby told police that he killed Jeffrey Ryan because Ryan was a drug dealer.

Jason Dehahn’s brother, Jake, offered another potential explanation, in which Ormsby was angry after being told to stay away from Ryan’s 16-year-old daughter, who lives with her mother in another town.

None of the theories — including Robert Strout’s comments about the drug debt — help explain how Ormsby turned from a decent person into a “monster,” Joy Strout said.