Autopsies slated for today on two found in apartment

Portland police say they are awaiting the results of an autopsy before drawing any conclusions about what may have caused the deaths of two women whose bodies were found inside an apartment at Longfellow Commons, 206 State St.

Lt. Gary Rogers said the bodies of the women, both 61 years old, were discovered Monday. Their names are being withheld. There does not appear to be anything suspicious about their deaths, Rogers said.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office is scheduled to conduct autopsies on the women today, a process Rogers hopes will shed some light on what may have happened.


State investigating blaze that damaged local church

A fire caused heavy damage to a church on Raymond Hill Road on Tuesday night.

A Cumberland County dispatcher said fire broke out in the Raymond Hill Baptist Church, which is next to a cemetery, around 5:30 p.m.

Crews from five towns fought the flames. Firefighters were able to save a number of religious artifacts from the building.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the state Fire Marshal’s Office.


Driver, car’s owner sued in crash that killed teen

The family of a teenager who was killed in a car crash last fall has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and the car’s owner.

Nineteen-year-old Thomas McClendon of Oxford was killed last October while riding in a car driven by Morgan Kesseli of Paris that crashed into some trees in Harrison.

McLendon’s parents have now filed a suit against Kesseli and the car’s owner, Lisa Palmer of Paris, accusing them of negligence.

The Sun Journal of Lewiston reported that Kesseli, who was 17 at the time of the crash, was charged last week with manslaughter and other counts in connection with the crash.

Police said excessive speed was the primary factor in the crash. Two other passengers were seriously hurt. 


Homeowner puts out fire caused by lightning strike

Quick thinking by a homeowner whose house had been struck by lightning Tuesday night most likely prevented a fire from spreading to other parts of the structure.

Lt. Lou Cavallaro said fire broke out in a clothes dryer and wall at 24 Noyes St. shortly after 7 p.m. after lightning hit a metallic fence and entered the basement area.

The home’s owner, Elliott Randall, grabbed a fire extinguisher, which he used to put out the fire.

Cavallaro said the lightning strike also split a natural gas line that had the potential to accelerate the fire.

“We were very lucky,” he said.


Prison search yields knives, syringes, other contraband

Officials say homemade syringes, knives and tattooing materials were among the items they found during a three-day lockdown of the Maine State Prison in Warren.

Associate Corrections Commissioner Jody Breton said the search of prisoner cells from July 12 to 14 also turned up drugs and razor blades.

Breton told the Bangor Daily News that most violations involved prisoners having too many of the same item, in violation of prison policy. Inmates are allowed to have only a set number of shoes, mattresses, video games, CDs and other items, but many prisoners had too many of those possessions.

Breton said every prison in the state will have at least one lockdown and search each year.


Bodies of two swimmers recovered from deep lake

Maine Warden Service divers have recovered the bodies of two swimmers from Lower Richardson Lake, north of Andover.

The bodies of the Boston men were recovered Tuesday after being located by sonar. It was the fifth day of the search. Spokesman Edie Smith of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said the lake is up to 100 feet deep in places.

Officials said that 26-year-year-old Hoang Vo and 30-year-old Phil Le were last seen Friday when they decided to go swimming while camping with a large group.

Smith said the men had been drinking before they went into the water and alcohol is considered to be a factor in the incident.


Florida fisheries enforcer to oversee federal office

A high-ranking fisheries cop in Florida is taking over the top post at the embattled federal fisheries law enforcement office.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that Bruce Buckson has been named head of that office.

Buckson is an FBI National Academy graduate and since 2007 has been deputy director of the law enforcement division at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Buckson succeeds acting Director Alan Risenhoover.

NOAA’s fishery law enforcement agency was heavily criticized after a federal review found financial mismanagement and abusive treatment of fishermen in the Northeast by some officers. In May, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke ordered $650,000 in unjust fines returned to fishermen.

The former director, Dale Jones, was replaced last year after ordering dozens of documents shredded during the federal review.

— From staff and news services