Authorities and relatives hope autopsies today by the state Medical Examiner’s Office will reveal what’s behind the tragic deaths of a father and son from Saco at their camp outside Dover-Foxcroft.

The son, Dustin Giroux, 25, was engaged to be married later this month and he and his fiancee have a seven-month-old son.

His father, Andrew Giroux, 49, was a gregarious storyteller, a “force of nature” with a wealth of friends.

The older man was found not breathing by some of his son’s friends about 10 a.m. Sunday outside the camp in Sangerville. Andrew Giroux had been inside sleeping at 7 a.m. when a cousin left the camp.

Dustin Giroux seemed to be sleeping around the same time, but the friends couldn’t wake him. He then started having trouble breathing. They and rescue workers tried to resuscitate him but could not.

Maine State Police were called but said there was nothing to indicate foul play. Their initial suspicion, carbon monoxide poisoning, proved false.

If today’s autopsies are inconclusive, or if the men died from some toxin in their systems, the required blood tests usually take two weeks or more for results.

Investigators, family members and friends are looking to the autopsies to determine why the men died.

“I don’t have a clue. We were right there. Everybody did the same things,” said Brian Johnson of Kennebunk, a close friend of the Giroux’s who had sold the camp to Andrew Giroux after buying a new one nearby.

The pair had been with a group of friends and fellow hunters gathered to prepare bear hunting spots for the upcoming hunting season, and to celebrate Dustin Giroux’s wedding to Ashleigh Dixon, scheduled for Aug. 21.

Dustin Giroux proposed last year and the couple had started their life together. They already had a house and young Dustin Jr., and planned to have a large family.

The group of men went out Saturday night to the Bear’s Den in Dover-Foxcroft to celebrate.

“Andy was a regular there, had his own stool and everything,” Johnson said of his friend.

Johnson doesn’t drink, so he had driven to and from the Bear’s Den, dropping the Giroux’s and three companions at their camp about midnight. They sat around a bonfire until about 1:30 a.m. and then went to bed, Johnson was told. He had already returned to his own camp with others in the group.

The next morning, one of the younger Giroux’s friends called him about 10 a.m. to say Andrew Giroux wasn’t breathing.

“It was shocking, unbelievable. I didn’t know what to do,” he said.

Friends and family recalled Andrew and Dustin Giroux as good people, outgoing and popular.

Andrew Giroux, in particular, was widely known for his engaging, upbeat and larger-than-life personality, said Bob Giroux, a brother who had been with the group earlier in the weekend and returned to Saco on Saturday because he had to work the next day.

“No matter what he did, he did it large,” he said of his brother, a lifestyle that befitted his girth at more than 400 pounds. “His knees are kind of shot, but that didn’t stop him from living life to the fullest.”

“He was a gi-mongous teddy bear,” Johnson said.

The victims’ family expects a huge crowd for the memorial service.

Andrew Giroux was the middle child in a family of five brothers. Dustin was his only child.

Andrew and Dustin Giroux were close friends as well as father and son. They ran the family heating service company, A&D Giroux Heating, and were outdoorsmen who enjoyed hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and riding motorcycles.

“They were like brothers. They liked the same things,” said Joseph Giroux, another of Andrew’s brothers.

The son continued his father’s story-telling tradition and also had a wide circle of friends.

“He inherited that trait, you might say, the gift of gab,” said Tom Giroux, another brother. “When you put two of them together, they’d both do it and go all day. That’s the trait of a good hunting and fishing partner.”

People used to call Dustin Giroux “Giggs” because he was always laughing and giggling, Tom Giroux said. His fiancee, Ashleigh Dixon, had the same fun-loving appreciation for life, he said. Dustin Giroux proposed to her last year at a backyard party attended by both families.

“They were very happy with each other,” he said. “You could see these two were in love.”

Family members were still making funeral arrangements and planning a benefit fundraiser for Dustin “D.J.” Giroux Jr.

Bob Giroux said the getaway to the camp was like a bachelor party for his nephew and Andrew Giroux couldn’t have been more pleased with the approaching wedding.

“Instead, we’re going over to funeral homes and discussing where you want your brother to rest and how you’d like him to look in a casket rather than how you want him to look in a tux walking down the aisle,” Bob Giroux said.

“It was supposed to be a great month,” he said, “and it went from that to probably the worst day of my life.”

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]