SOUTH PARIS — A Hartford man has been charged with murder in the death of his longtime girlfriend and was ordered held without bail following his initial appearance at Oxford County Superior Court on Friday morning.

Rondon Athayde, 46, is charged with killing Ana Cordeiro, 41. The couple from Brazil have two daughters, ages 3 and 4.

A follow-up hearing, at which Athayde may enter a plea, had yet to be scheduled, according to a clerk at the Oxford County Superior Court.

Cordeiro’s death inside a house at 62 Bear Mountain Road was reported just after midnight Thursday, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Cordeiro lived at the house with her boyfriend and their daughters, Maine State Police Lt. Mark Holmquist said.

Superior Court Justice Thomas E. Delahanty II granted a motion by Assistant Attorney General Robert Ellis to seal the arrest affidavit, a sworn statement detailing the investigation.

Ellis said an autopsy was performed on Cordeiro on Thursday, but a final report on the cause of death “may not be released until January.”

Jeff Wilson, who is serving as Athayde’s attorney, requested that Cordeiro’s body be held for 30 days so an independent pathologist could perform a second autopsy.

Ellis said he objected to the request and was “not comfortable with it.”

“The reality is that the deceased is from Brazil and we’ve had difficulties getting in touch with her family or a next of kin,” Ellis said. “I don’t like the notion of her being held if her family wishes to take custody of her body, bring her home and have a proper burial service.”

Delahanty allowed Cordeiro’s body to be held for seven days.

Neighbors in the small neighborhood where the couple lived said they kept to themselves. Although they exchanged Christmas presents with their neighbors, they found ways to avoid get-togethers, neighbors said.

“I would invite them down for cookouts, but they usually kept to themselves,” neighbor Valerie Patenaude said.

Armand Rowe of Turner, who rented the property at 62 Bear Mountain Road to Cordeiro and Athayde on a rent-to-own basis, also noted the couple’s reticence.

“I used to joke how it was like they were in the witness protection program,” said Rowe, but he wrote of his perception to Cordeiro and Athayde being from a different country and culture.

According to Rowe, Athayde said that he and Cordeiro came to Hartford to farm blueberries. Athayde told Rowe that he had a business connection in Brazil that would help him sell blueberries to yogurt companies.

Rowe said Cordeiro had purchased more than 100 acres in Hartford off Church Street to use the property for blueberry growing and may have been in the process of buying another similar parcel.

Rowe said that three days before Cordeiro’s death, the couple had paid the property taxes and their rent was paid ahead. “He had 20 (thousand) or 30,000 (dollars) already invested in the property,” Rowe said.

Cordeiro worked at the Lowe’s in Auburn. Maureen Wallace of Lowe’s public relations department declined to comment, saying only that grief counselors had been on site.

Sun Journal Staff Writer Abigail Austin contributed to this report.


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