SKOWHEGAN — Donna Almeida Carter, 63, of Biddeford has spent the past two years wondering what happened to her missing daughter.

The last known sighting of Tina Stadig, 40, occurred on May 28, 2017.

Since then, there have been searches for her remains led by the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit, Skowhegan police and game wardens, but there have been no clues as to what might have happened to Stadig, whom family members described as suffering from mental illness.

“I’ve been having a very, very hard time,” Carter said by phone. “It’s been two years, but you know what? Every day I’m still living in hell. Every single day. I’m not doing good. I’m not doing good with this.”

Carter said the past two years have been so hard for her that she has contemplated suicide.

“It’s been hard for me, so hard for me,” she said, crying into the telephone. “Losing somebody to death when they die like that – it’s not knowing – not knowing where she is and wanting her home.”

Stadig was reported missing in July 2017.

The Skowhegan Police Department initially sought the public’s help in locating the Skowhegan-area woman, who was seen last by people she was staying with.

Tina Stadig

The missing-person alert was posted on the police department’s Facebook page.

Police searches have centered on an area around a home on Route 150 in Skowhegan on the outskirts of town, where Stadig was last known to be staying.

Lt. Jeffrey Love, head of the state police Major Crimes Unit, said the missing person case of Stadig has been turned back over to Skowhegan police.

Police Chief David Bucknam said the case is still active and open.

“The Skowhegan Police Department continues to review the case into the disappearance of Tina Stadig,” Bucknam said in a statement. “Over the last two years, information has been sporadic and investigative leads have been exhausted.”

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Stadig is asked to contact Detective Michael Bachelder of the Skowhegan Police Department at 474-6908 or the police department’s non-emergency dispatch at 474-6386.

Carter said she believes her daughter is dead and has heard tips and rumors of what might have happened to her, but she needs to find closure. She said she hasn’t heard any investigation updates from state police detectives.

“I think she’s dead,” Carter said this past week. “I think whoever murdered her had taken her body somewhere else. I can’t get people to help me. I can’t get no help to do anything.”

Tonia Stadig, Tina’s sister, said she sees the case of her missing sister differently than her mother does. She thinks Tina is finally safe and out of harm’s way.

“I feel like I will see her again and that she’s safer and happier than she has ever been in her lifetime,” Tonia Stadig said. “That she is not hurting, suffering or in jail, or drugged out of her mind and that’s what I have always wanted for her. So I am content knowing that if she has passed away that she’s much better off now than she would have been.

“I’m at the point that I just want to tell everyone I know that if they can get me the real information on her that I won’t give out a single name,” Tonia continued. “We just want her to bury her and put her at rest. That is what I want mostly out of all of this. If we could just find that out. Yes, she is in heaven. She would be in heaven. God doesn’t punish those who have no mind of their own. And that’s what my sister was like.”

Tonia said her sister suffered from mental illness, including schizophrenia, a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves.

Tina also experienced paranoia, bipolar depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, her sister said.

Investigators in December 2017 were seen poring over debris and junk in and around an abandoned house near the roadside at the property about 3 miles north of downtown Skowhegan. The primary residence is at the back of the property and is the home of a man who police say was known to Stadig. She occasionally stayed there.

A state police evidence response team truck was at the scene, as were several unmarked state police cruisers in December 2017. Investigators took photographs of items in and around the abandoned house.

Using an excavator, police also searched the property over two days in June 2017.

Stadig reportedly was seen July 10, 2017, at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter by a case manager at the shelter and might be using the name of her sister Tammy, or Jen, a fake name, Bucknam said in December 2017.

Since then, the leads in the case have all but dried up.

Then in December 2018, police and firefighters were sent to the property on Route 150 for a report of a structure fire in the abandoned house near the roadside.

Skowhegan Fire Chief Shawn Howard indicated at the time that a person might have been involved in the fire but couldn’t be sure.

“Obviously, with no heat sources, no electricity, what that leaves is a human element to the fire,” Howard said in December. “Whether that was accidental or done on purpose, that’s what we’re not sure of right now. Certainly, we would suspect that there was a human element.”

No one has been charged in connection with the fire.

Bucknam said at the time that he didn’t think there was any connection between Stadig’s disappearance and the fire.

“Do I think there’s any relevance as to the fire and her? Most likely not,” Bucknam said. “We did a very thorough search in that area and didn’t come across anything. The building burning, at this point, would not really be relevant to Tina’s disappearance.”

The house was owned by Patricia Irwin, whose son, Wade Irwin, lives in another building on the property, according to officials.

Maine State Police maintains a missing persons page on its website, where the agency lists 30 missing persons, some dating back to the early 1970s. Stadig’s name is not on the state police list, as it is now a Skowhegan police case.

The state police list includes Ayla Reynolds, the Waterville toddler reported missing Dec. 17, 2011, by her father, Justin DiPietro. It also includes Shirley Moon-Atwood, who was living with her husband, Shannon Atwood, on Hartland Road in Canaan. In July 2006, state police started a missing persons investigation to determine the whereabouts of Cheryl Murdoch, who had recently moved in with Shannon Atwood at that same address. Murdoch’s body was located in August 2006. State police continued to investigate in an attempt to locate Shirley Moon-Atwood. Shannon Atwood was convicted in the murder of Cheryl Murdoch. Extensive searches have not located Shirley Moon-Atwood.

Also on the list is George Boardman of Bingham, missing since the fall of 2000. Numerous leads and interviews have been conducted over the years with no resolution. Boardman has never been located.

Pauline Rourke of Fairfield also is on the list of 30 missing persons. Rourke was reported missing in December 1976. She lived in a mobile home with Albert P. Cochran. Cochran was convicted of the murder of Janet Baxter in 1998 and denies any knowledge of Rourke’s disappearance. Rourke was last seen by her daughter, who reported overhearing her mother and Cochran arguing the night before she disappeared. Rourke was scheduled to be interviewed by state police investigators in reference to the Baxter homicide as a possible witness against Cochran. Rourke’s body has not been recovered.

Anyone with information on people missing in Maine can call the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit at 624-7143 or 800-452-4664.

Residents may also report information about possible crimes using the leave-a-tip form.

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