David and Cynthia Eaton, left, and friends Patti and Bob Eger, were found dead in the Egers’ home in Bowdoin on Tuesday. The Eatons’ son, Joseph Eaton, is charged with four counts of murder in their deaths. Contributed photos

Patti and Bob Eger had been friends with David and Cynthia Eaton for decades, ever since they lived in Maine when David Eaton was in the Navy.

The Eatons moved around a lot and eventually settled in Ocala, Florida, but the two couples never stopped being close.

Patti Eger recently went to Florida to visit the Eatons. It was a given that the Eatons would stay with the Egers when they headed to Maine to be there when their son got out of prison.

After Cynthia Eaton, known as Cindy, picked up Joseph Eaton at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham on Friday, she drove him back to the Egers’ home on Augusta Road in Bowdoin.

Four days later, both couples were found shot to death on the Bowdoin property – Bob and Patti Eger and Cynthia Eaton inside the house, David Eaton in a barn.

Patti Eger’s sister, Lisa Shea, who stayed with the Egers over Easter but had left to make room for the Eatons, tried to reach her sister Tuesday morning by text to say she was dropping by to pick up a sweatshirt she’d left behind. Patti never replied. And when Shea arrived at the house, she discovered the gruesome scene. Two hours later, Joseph Eaton was in custody.


Police say he quickly confessed to killing his parents and family friends and to wounding three others he shot at while driving on Interstate 295.


When Patti Eger’s mother died, she started calling Cindy Eaton’s mother “Mama.”

That’s how close the two couples were, said Cindy Eaton’s mother and stepfather, Betty and Kenneth Fagan.

The two extended families were intertwined, often commenting on one another’s social media posts.

When Patti Eger posted a photo on Facebook of her and Bob with their son and daughter-in-law on their wedding day, Betty Fagan left a comment: “Beautiful family.”


When Cindy Eaton put up a new profile picture of her and David a day later in 2021, Patti wrote: “Two of the bestest people I know – love you both! Thanks for always being there for me!”

Another photo of Patti with a lighthouse in the background drew this comment from Cindy: “Hello my beautiful friend. Love you.”

And in 2018, when Joseph Eaton posted on Facebook thanking friends and family who had stuck with him through hard times, Patti Eger was the first to comment. “We love you!!” she wrote.

The Fagans did not want to speak about their grandson or the shooting. It’s not something they can make sense of.

“Why?” Betty Fagan said. “Why? Because his parents were wonderful people. I don’t know of any reason why he would want to do that to them and their friends.”



Joey Eaton was just a little boy when Bob and Patti Eger met him. That’s what Patti Eger wrote in a 2010 letter to a Kansas court that was considering ending Eaton’s probation in that state.

Eaton, who was 21 at the time and expecting a baby with his fiancée, had become active in his church and wanted to move back to Maine.

The Egers, devout Christians, were among more than a dozen people who submitted letters to the court saying he had changed, found his faith and wanted to do right by his family.

“Knowing him since he was 4 years old, watching him grow up, making some wrong decisions like we all do, makes it nice to know such a human being,” Patti Eger wrote. “He’s becoming the fine young man I knew he would with God’s guidance. He’s doing his best to stay on the straight-and-narrow and I see changes in him that will benefit him long term.”

Bob Eger told the court that Joseph Eaton had “a great Christian background” and that his Maine community “would work hard for him to try and help him overcome the mistakes that he has made.”

“I believe in personal influences and he being in the area could help him in obtaining a profession and foundation to build the rest of his life with,” he wrote.

Staff Writer Rachel Ohm contributed to this report. 

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