State medical examiner says man was choked to death

A man who allegedly used a baby monitor to bug his estranged wife’s house, then listened in from a nearby cornfield, was choked to death Sunday, the state’s medical examiner has ruled.

Christopher Darner, 37, of Corinth apparently was choked by a man who was at the house during a confrontation there at 2:30 a.m., police said.

Kirt Damon Jr., 24, of Searsport is recovering from stab wounds to the neck and abdomen that he suffered in the confrontation.

Zachary Joseph, 21, of Belfast told police that he saw Darner stab Damon and went to Damon’s aid, putting Darner in a choke hold, police said. Joseph and Darner’s estranged wife, Miranda Darner, were not injured.

Miranda Darner had a protection-from-abuse order against her estranged husband.

Nevertheless, he entered the house Saturday and rigged baby-monitoring equipment so he could watch and hear the people inside, police said. He went back in Sunday morning, and that’s when the confrontation occurred.

No one has been charged in the death, which has been ruled a homicide. Police are considering self-defense or defense of a third person as Joseph’s possible motivation.


Girl’s condition still critical after crash Sunday on I-295

A Massachusetts woman and her 9-year-old daughter remained hospitalized Monday night following a single-vehicle crash that destroyed their car and caused traffic on Interstate 295 in Bowdoinham to back up for several miles Sunday afternoon.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, identified the victims of the crash as 39-year-old Angela Andrade and her daughter, Caitlyn Andrade.

A nursing supervisor at Maine Medical Center in Portland said the girl was in critical condition. Her mother was listed in satisfactory condition Monday evening.

According to state Trooper Niles Krech, who arrived at the accident scene just moments after it happened, Andrade’s 2007 Honda Accord was heading south on I-295 when it veered off the road before crossing back into southbound travel lanes. Her car then entered a median strip and rolled over, landing on its roof.

Krech said a witness told him that Andrade appeared to have reached into the rear seat area just before the crash. Krech and several motorists had to dig a hole in the ground in order to pull Andrade out through a window.

The girl, who remained trapped in a booster seat in the rear of the car, had to be extricated by firefighters.

The crash, which took place around 3:45 p.m., delayed southbound traffic for nearly three hours.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.


Woman charged in attack on man with wine bottle

A Portland woman faces charges of aggravated assault and criminal threatening after allegedly stabbing a man in the face and neck at Union Station Plaza on St. John Street about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Belinda Libby, 45, who has no fixed address, was held in the Cumberland County Jail on $1,000 bail pending a court appearance.

Libby got into a drinking-related argument with a man in the woods behind D’Angelo’s on St. John Street, according to police.

The man tried to avoid a confrontation by crossing the street to the plaza, but Libby followed, broke a wine bottle and stabbed him with it, police said.

The man was treated at a hospital and released.


Rescuers from two states assist injured teen hiker

Rescue teams from New Hampshire and Maine aided a 4-H camp participant who injured her knee along the Appalachian Trail and couldn’t move.

New Hampshire Fish and Game officers said both states received the rescue call Sunday morning for an injured teenager in the Mahoosuc Mountains, on the border of Maine and New Hampshire.

Teams carried Aisling Clifford, 18, of Boston down the mountains, coming out on the Success Mountain Trail shortly before 7 p.m. She was treated at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.


Coast Guard calls off search for fishing boat in distress

The Coast Guard suspended its search Monday for a 55-foot fishing vessel that reportedly was taking on water Sunday night in the area of Mount Desert Rock.

The Coast Guard called off its search at 5:28 p.m., after searching a 2,000-square-mile area, including shorelines of several islands. The vessel reportedly had two people on board.

Petty Officer Myeonghi Clegg, a Coast Guard spokeswoman in Boston, said the search turned up no evidence that a boat had sunk.

Clegg said the call for help, received at 6:41 p.m. Sunday, appeared to be legitimate.

“At this point we have no indication that this was a hoax,” Clegg said, but the Coast Guard had not received any reports of missing fishing boats.

Clegg said the caller gave the Coast Guard his vessel’s longitude and latitude. Mount Desert Rock is about 18 nautical miles south of Mount Desert Island.

Some fishing boats have electronic radio beacons that emit signals that can be used to identify their position, but in this case Clegg said the Coast Guard did not receive any signals.


Police identify man’s body pulled from river Saturday

The body that was pulled from the Kennebec River in Pittston Saturday has been identified as that of a Readfield man who was reported missing last week.

Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Monday that the body is that of Jonathan Barber, 23. The man’s family has been notified, he said.

The cause of death is pending further study by the state medical examiner, but nothing criminal is suspected, McCausland said.

Barber was reported missing on Sept. 11. McCausland said Barber was last seen alive in Waterville on Sept. 8.

The body, which showed no signs of a crime in an autopsy on Sunday, was found by residents of Pittston’s Smith Town Road on Saturday night.

Barber graduated from Maranacook Community High School in 2008, according to Kennebec Journal archives. In 2005, he was an honor-roll student.


Maine honor guard wins regional drill competition

The honor guard for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office took first place out of 30 New England teams in a precision drill competition in the annual Yankee Doodle Homecoming Parade in Billerica, Mass.

The seven-member team marched Saturday. It was the team’s first year in the parade at the seven-year-old festival.


Tom’s of Maine seeks votes in grass-roots grant contest

Tom’s of Maine is looking for voters’ opinions on which organization should win grants in its fifth annual “50 States for Good” initiative.

People can now vote online for one of the 51 finalists, one in each state and the District of Columbia. The 15 organizations with the most votes will receive $10,000 each.

The program run by the Kennebunk-based natural personal care products company aims to fund grass-roots community projects. Previous winners have gotten grants for initiatives such as sustainable nature trails, community playgrounds and a shelter for the homeless.

People can vote daily through Oct. 15 at

– From staff and news services

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