A body found in Caribou over the weekend has been identified as a missing South Portland woman.

Sonja Knight Photo courtesy Geraldine Pinnette

Sonja Knight, 49, was found in Otter Brook near the outskirts of town on Saturday, Caribou Police Chief Michael Gahagan said.

“It’s been a nightmare wondering where she is and if she’s OK,” Knight’s aunt, Diane Morse, said Tuesday after a DNA test confirmed the identity of the body.

Gahagan declined to provide details about how Knight’s body was found on Saturday. He said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is working to determine the cause of death. If the death is ruled suspicious, it will likely be transferred to the Major Crimes Unit of the Maine State Police.

Knight’s mother, Geraldine Pinnette, described her daughter as a generous mother and grandmother who was always quick to help someone in need.

“She was a beautiful soul,” Pinnette said.


Police have released few details about Knight’s disappearance and death.

Knight had long struggled with her mental health, Pinnette said, and spent most of the last year living with her mother in Portland. Pinnette had planned to bring her daughter to an appointment in Saco on the morning of July 14, but when she woke up Knight already had left the house.

Notes in her room referenced bus tickets from Portland to Caribou with a connection in Bangor. She had taken her wallet and backpack.

Neither Pinnette nor Morse understood why Knight wanted to go to Caribou, a city they say she’d never visited. But because she was an adult and did not have a history of disappearing unannounced, Pinnettee said, they did not immediately report her missing.

When they did alert police on July 27, officers reviewed security footage from the bus station in Bangor that showed Knight leaving the station without boarding her connection to Caribou.

“From that point on, I don’t know what happened to her,” Pinnette said.

Knight’s family said that they have been in contact with police since the body was recovered Saturday, but they haven’t heard anything about how Knight died, how she got to Caribou, or what she was doing there. Morse said detectives told her the body was “unrecognizable.”

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