WILTON — Dana “Mikey” Craney, charged Sunday with killing his grandmother, often dressed all in camouflage and was seen walking along the side of the road carrying knives or swords he had fashioned himself, neighbors recalled on Sunday.

Craney, 22, had lived with his grandmother, Joanne Goudreau, for about eight years in a mobile home at 1130 Weld Road, they said. He seemed odd, and although no one thought he would murder Goudreau, one neighbor said that in recent weeks Craney had confessed to domestic violence against his grandmother.

“I don’t think people really understood him. I think he was a lost soul and he wanted attention. I guess he figured that bad attention would be better than none,” said Gail Tourtelotte, a neighbor who lived near Craney and his grandmother.

On Sunday, Craney was arrested on a charge of murder. Police had gone to the home Saturday afternoon because relatives asked them to check on Goudreau’s well-being, and they had found her body in the backyard, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Police have not said how they think Goudreau died, and the results of an autopsy being performed on her body Sunday were unavailable, McCausland said.

The Weld Road property, where a few chickens wandered around the front yard Sunday morning, was lined with yellow police tape. Neighbors said they were sad to hear of the death of Goudreau, 67. She lived off Social Security payments with her grandson and was trying to make extra income selling pillows and other hand-sewn items at craft fairs. Some said they were shocked that Craney had been charged with murder, while others said they weren’t surprised.

Within about the last month, Goudreau started telling neighbor Tim Gregory and his wife, who live across the road, that she didn’t feel safe and that her grandson was hitting her, Gregory said. He said he had talked to Craney about his behavior, and Craney told him he knew he had to stop.

One day Goudreau arrived at the Gregorys’ door with her face all bloody, Gregory said. He thought the situation was getting worse but didn’t know what to do.

“I told her, ‘You have to stop this. Go to the police and stop this,'” he said. “But she protected him so well. She said, ‘I’ll just say I fell down.’ It wouldn’t have done any good if I’d gone to the police.”

Gregory said he got a phone call around 11:15 a.m. Saturday from Goudreau, who said she was having problems with Craney and that she was calling him from the porch outside the house.

Then in the early afternoon, Craney called their house two or three times, he said. “He wanted to know if she was here. Did we find her? It just didn’t add up,” Gregory said. “None of it made any sense, and we had a feeling something was wrong.”

Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox said Craney had mental health problems, but she wasn’t sure what they were. She also didn’t know whether he had a criminal record, although she said police have responded before to reports of disturbance at 1130 Weld Road.

Tourtelotte said she had gotten to know both Craney and his grandmother since they moved to the area around 2006. Goudreau used to work at Camelot Home Center in Auburn doing cleaning work, but she injured her back and was laid up recently. Goudreau’s grandson, who went by the name Mikey, attended Wilton schools but didn’t work after high school, she said. Craney’s mother lives in Chesterville, but the two didn’t get along and Goudreau had always raised him, she said.

“He was an odd duck,” Tourtelotte said. For about the last three weeks, Craney had dressed in a ghillie suit, a camouflage suit designed to look like foliage and used as a disguise by hunters, and often would walk along the road carrying knives, Tourtelotte said. In the summer he never wore shoes, a decision that Tourtelotte said she thought was partly because of his nature but also because he couldn’t afford them.

“He had one pair of winter boots, but they were so full of holes and the soles were falling off,” Tourtelotte recalled. She remembers both Craney and his grandmother being extremely appreciative when she offered him some wool socks.

“‘You are such a blessing. I’ve been ravaging my house trying to find him a sock,’ she said. She was very appreciative of everything,” Tourtelotte said. “They both were.”

Tourtelotte and her husband, Robert, got to know the pair because Craney often went over to their house asking to borrow tape or other items, and his grandmother would ask for a ride to the store. Neither of them had a car.

On Thanksgiving, Goudreau was in the hospital and Craney was alone. He went to the Tourtelottes’ home and asked for a peanut butter sandwich, Tourtelotte said. She made him a big turkey sandwich with leftovers.

“He was always carrying a knife, but he wouldn’t hurt a flea,” she said. “When I heard he was charged with murder, I couldn’t believe it. He never said a bad thing about his grandmother. She was his only support.”

People called the police routinely to complain about Craney, Tourtelotte said.

“Most people around here were afraid of him for no real reason except that he carried a big knife,” she said. “He was almost like a child in an adult body, just a lost soul looking for attention. The thing is, everyone that he reached out to responded negatively. I think it was a conflict for him. He was odd, and you can’t expect people to warm up to that.”

Craney was afraid people would kill him, so he filled the mailbox at 1130 Weld Road with moose bones as a warning for people to stay away, Tourtelotte said.

Tim Gregory said that while the pair didn’t associate with a lot of people, they often went to him and his wife, asking for rides. He said Goudreau also went by the name Samantha Groves, but he wasn’t sure why. Craney also helped Gregory cut and sell firewood. “I would always keep an eye on him, because, of course, he liked to do things his way; but he was a good kid. One time I took him fishing with me, and all he wanted to do was talk to everyone,” Gregory said. “He tried to make friends, but no one wanted to.”

According to the news release from McCausland, relatives called Wilton police around 4 p.m., asking the police to check on Goudreau’s well-being, and her body was discovered in the backyard. Craney, who was home at the time, was questioned at the Farmington Police Department. He was charged with murder early Sunday morning after authorities consulted with the state attorney general’s office. He was taken to the Franklin County Jail. McCausland said he didn’t know whether Craney had a criminal history.

Around 3 a.m. Sunday, the Tourtelottes were driving home — they were just returning from a trip to Texas, where Robert Tourtelotte had back surgery — and noticed the police tape around their neighbor’s house. Just before they left, Goudreau had given them a beautiful hand-sewn pillow with a blue velvet cat wearing a red bow in the center as a Christmas present.

When they got home, they had a voicemail message from her. She was calling to learn how the surgery went. They thought maybe some sort of accident had happened next door. Around 7 a.m., Gail Tourtelotte went to talk to police, who told her that Goudreau was dead and that Craney had been charged with murder.

“I’m going to miss her. I really am. They pretty much stayed to themselves, and we were just getting to know them,” Tourtelotte said, hugging the pillow and wiping away tears. “Even Dana, I feel like I need to take care of him.”

“Everybody around here is just really sad,” said Kevin Howley, another neighbor, who said he sometimes gave Craney rides when he saw him walking along the road. “It surprises me. I didn’t know him very well, but he always seemed grateful.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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