BINGHAM — The man who was found dead on Sunday in a driveway on Baker Street left a trail of blood on the snow, road and the ice where he came to lie, but police say there is no indication of foul play.

Responders covered the blood with dirt, but some spots still showed through on Monday. It’s still not clear how the man, Ernest Sayers, 61, of Haverhill, Mass., died. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner had no information to release Monday.

“The question that we don’t have an answer to is why he died. That’s what we’re looking to the medical examiner’s office for,” Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said.

Bingham residents are also looking for answers.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” said Sayers’ girlfriend of 17 years, Janice Gitschier, Monday as she stood near the spot where he was found.

“He was my best friend,” Gitschier, 63, said. “He would do anything for anybody. He was a sweetheart.”

On Sunday night or early Monday, Sayers was walking from a card game at a house on Main Street to Gitschier’s house on Baker Street, less than half a mile away. McCausland said he had been drinking alcohol, and it appears he took a snow-covered path between Main and Baker streets, directly across the road from the beauty salon Karen’s Cutz.

Jay Strickland was the one who found Sayers’ body Sunday morning, west of the path and four houses away from Gitschier’s home. Strickland said he had just left his house for his nearby office at New England Field Services, both on Baker Street, when he saw Sayers lying face down and spread eagle on his icy driveway.

He knew immediately Sayers was dead, he said. His skin was gray and his head and hands were covered in blood. His crumpled, thin jacket was a couple hundred feet up the road.

“There wasn’t anything I could do for him,” Strickland said. Sayers hadn’t been wearing a hat or gloves.

Temperatures hovered around zero Sunday night, and it’s clear that Sayers was not dressed for the weather, McCausland said. Maine State Police Lt. Christopher Coleman said on Sunday that it’s common for people with hypothermia to remove their clothing.

Mark Belserene, administrator for the medical examiner’s office, said he had no information to provide Monday. Whether he would have more to say today “depends on how soon we get results and information.”

Strickland said Sayers’ body was about 35 feet off Baker Street, with his head aimed in the direction of the street. He wondered why Sayers didn’t knock on any doors in the residential area if he needed help.

McCausland said Somerset County Sheriff’s Office deputies had questions about the scene, so they called in investigators from the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit.

“Obviously there were questions initially that Somerset County deputies had. We sent a team of detectives to Bingham to look at the scene to do as many interviews as we possibly could. Those have continued (Monday). … There is no indication of foul play in this death,” McCausland said.

Gitschier said she and Sayers had been in a relationship for 17 years. They both lived many years in Haverhill, Mass., about three and a half hours away, before moving to Bingham several years ago.

Sayers moved back to Massachusetts in September and had been visiting Gitschier in Bingham for two weeks when he died.

Gitschier said Sayers liked watching science fiction TV shows, playing cards and talking with people at the local coffee shop. He was a helpful person, and had recently painted her front steps, she said.

He was on disability and had survived an accident years ago when a drunk driver struck him as he was walking on the side of the road, she said.

He took walks every day in order to get in better shape, and could often be seen heading down Main Street to get the mail at the post office, she said.

Diane Pooler, who owns Village Variety Internet Cafe & Consignment Shop on Main Street, said Sayers stopped by for a coffee nearly every day he lived in Bingham.

“He was a very, very nice man. He loved coming here. He wouldn’t hurt a flea,” she said, sitting at a table in her store.

The five-minute walk from the house where the card games were held to Gitschier’s house on Baker Street was “no distance for him,” she said, describing how he took several walks a day, often in cold weather.

He came into the shop for coffee on Saturday, the day before he died. She said she is having a difficult time comprehending his death.

“I was proud to call him a friend,” she said.

Joyce Warren is one of Gitschier’s neighbors on Baker Street and said nothing unusual has happened on the street before.

“I will say we have excellent neighbors. We watch out for one another,” she said.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]


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