SCARBOROUGH — A 15-year-old Saco girl was found dead in the middle of Pine Point Road early Wednesday, and state police said her death was a homicide.

It took hours of investigation by more than a dozen state police and local detectives to identify the girl as Ashley Ouellette, a Thornton Academy student. Police then began interviewing family members and friends at the Scarborough police station.

State police declared the death a homicide Wednesday night, but withheld many details, including the results of an autopsy that was completed Wednesday afternoon.

Ouellette’s body was face down on the pavement, lined up on the center lines, according to Michael Lopes of Old Orchard Beach, the person who found her. Her hands were by her sides, legs out straight, hair combed and clothes buttoned, he said.

“It was almost like she was placed there,” said Lopes, who was driving home with his mother at 4 a.m. when he saw the body in the road. They stopped their car and called 911 on a cellular telephone, and Lopes began to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Ouellette had no pulse and her skin was blue, but her body was still warm, he said. Lopes, who is trained in CPR, said he saw no bruises or scrapes on the body, and just a small amount of dried blood around the nose and mouth.

Ouellette was wearing two lightweight shirts, black leggings and platform shoes but no coat. “She sure wasn’t dressed for the weather,” Lopes said.

State police had trouble identifying Ouellette at first. They checked local schools for girls who might be absent, reviewed missing persons reports and talked to people in the neighborhood.

Local television stations broadcast a description of the body on the noon news, and several people who knew Ouellette called the Scarborough police station.

Her parents, Robert and Lise Ouellette, identified their daughter.

“She was a good person who was a very warm and sincere person,” Robert Ouellette said Wednesday night. “We’re at a loss to everything that happened.”

“She’s such a sweet girl,” said Delores Hans, whose daughter Kimberly Vaughn was very close with Ouellette. “She’s very petite and grown up for her age, very responsible. She’s very caring.”

Three weeks ago, when Vaughn had a baby, Ouellette was one of her coaches during labor.

“She stayed with her through labor and delivery. Then she stayed four days at her house with the baby and got her whatever she needed,” Hans said. “She was a true friend.

“When our house was robbed, Ashley was the first one who came and said, ‘Can I do anything?’ ” Hans said.

She said Ouellette was a responsible teen-ager, outgoing and liked to laugh. She liked to do things with older kids, but would call Vaughn or Hans to pick her up if she didn’t like the crowd she was with.

“I pray that they find who did this as fast as possible,” Hans said, “so he doesn’t hurt one of our other children in the community.”

Carl Stasio, headmaster of Thornton Academy, said teachers and guidance counselors described Ouellette as a caring student with many friends. She wasn’t involved in extracurricular activities. “She was a spirited kid,” Stasio said.

Thornton Academy will have 10 counselors on hand to talk with students today, and there will be an all-school meeting this morning in the gym.

Ouellette’s parents are well-known in the community. They own Prudential Realty, directly across the street from the high school their daughter was attending. Robert Ouellette is on the city’s Historic Commission and is a trustee of Dyer Museum.

Art Tardif, who works for the agency, said Ashley Ouellette would come in from time to time to talk to her parents or get a ride from them.

“Her parents would do anything for (her and her younger sister),” he said. “She was very happy-go-lucky.”

He said she was a quiet person, always well-dressed and polite.

At the Scarborough police station, 10 to 12 state police detectives and four Scarborough detectives were working well into the night on the case.

Around 9:30 p.m., state police spokesman Stephen McCausland confirmed the death was a homicide. He said police want more information from the Medical Examiner’s Office, but didn’t say what kind of information. State police provided updates to the media throughout the night, but would not discuss when Ouellette was last seen, the condition of her body or the cause of her death.

Several teen-agers went into the police station during the evening, some with their parents.

Police detectives examined a blue Eagle Summit driven to the police station in the afternoon, apparently by someone connected to the case.

Detectives peered through the car’s tinted windows with flashlights and later loaded the vehicle onto a flatbed truck so it could be examined at the state police crime lab. They would not say what they were looking for. Also Wednesday night, the state police mobile crime lab arrived at the Scarborough police station.