A Maine State Police trooper was reunited for the first time in six years with four children whom he stood guard over while police searched for their mother’s killer.

Trooper Nathan Jamo was the first on the scene after Renee Sandora and her friend Trevor Mills were fatally shot on July 25, 2011, at her home in New Gloucester. While police searched for gunman Joel Hayden, Jamo stood guard on a neighbor’s porch to protect Sandora’s four young children, state police said in a Facebook post.

When other police arrived that night, Jamo stayed to make sure the children were brought safely to family members before leaving them.

He didn’t see the children again until Sunday – six years later.

Pat Gerber, the mother of Renee Sandora, adopted her daughter’s four children with her husband, Mark. The children – Ja’kai, 13, Javanni, 8, and 6-year-old twins Jiselle and Julissa – now live in New Gloucester, where they are doing well, Gerber said.

Last week, Jamo pulled into the Gerbers’ yard for an unrelated reason and ended up chatting with Gerber. It wasn’t until he told her he’d been working in the area for 16 years that Gerber recognized him as the trooper who responded to the shooting and took care of the children while the search for Hayden was going on. On Sunday, he spotted the children playing in the Gerbers’ yard and stopped by to say hello and take a photo.


“I thought it was great. I was hoping it was some type of closure for him, too,” Gerber said. “It was just amazing to me that he showed an interest after all this time.”

During his visit, the children sat in Jamo’s cruiser and peppered him with questions about his equipment. He gave each child a state police patch. Gerber said the youngest children did not remember him because they were so young at the time of their encounter in 2011, but were still excited to visit with a police officer.

“Trooper Jamo is excited to report that all four children have been cared for and raised by their grandparents and are happy, healthy and active,” state police wrote in Facebook and Instagram posts that included a photo of Jamo posing with the children.

Sandora was 27 when she was killed in what police and prosecutors described as a domestic violence homicide. Her friend, Mills, 28, was from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Hayden was sentenced to two life sentences in prison after a trial during which his oldest son, who witnessed the shooting, testified against his father.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:


Twitter: grahamgillian

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