For many in the recovery community, self-compassion is difficult.

Jess Schwartz said Danielle Goodwin would always tell her to “put down the bat, pick up the feather.”

“Like, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself,’” Schwartz said of how Goodwin supported her recovery from substance use disorder. “It’s stuck with me, to this day.”

Danielle Goodwin Photo courtesy of Stephanie Doyle

Goodwin, 52, was found dead near the Home Depot in South Portland on Tuesday, according to Maine State Police. Her death has been ruled a homicide, but investigators have yet to publicly identify any suspects or release a cause of death. A spokesperson for the department declined to answer questions about the case Friday.

Police are searching for a blue 2016 Honda CRV with Maine license plate 2773VM that they say Goodwin was last seen in.

Attempts to reach Goodwin’s family were unsuccessful Friday. Goodwin is from Maine, but her friends said she spent several years in Florida before moving back.


She was engaged in 2022, but the man died last fall, friends said. It’s unclear how he died.

Goodwin was passionate about helping others enter recovery. As someone in long-term recovery from substance use disorder, she mentored many others. She was a pillar of strength during some of the most difficult times in her friends’ lives, they said.

Schwartz said she met Goodwin in 2017 through a mutual friend. Goodwin was already supporting others in recovery around the state.

Goodwin would drive to Bangor to meet with Schwartz, who was living in Caribou at the time. Schwartz said they talked almost every day for several years.

“I felt I could tell her anything and there’d be no judgment,” Schwartz said.

Goodwin knew when Schwartz was having a bad day. She was always a text or call away. She made people feel important, Schwartz said.


Stephanie Doyle said Goodwin was her best friend.

Stephanie Doyle, left, said Danielle Goodwin was her best friend and supported her through substance use recovery for several years. Goodwin was found dead in South Portland on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Doyle

The two met in 2015 through a recovery support group. Goodwin was studying for a substance use counseling degree as she supported Doyle through recovery.

“I could go on and on about all the qualities this woman had,” Doyle said. “She had a way of making anybody feel special just by being in her presence.”

Even those who knew Goodwin tangentially said she was good with others.

She was working at Antonia’s Pizzeria in Freeport as a bartender last year, said Jordan Rogers, one of the managers. Goodwin also worked at Antonia’s around 2018 while taking college classes.

“She was kind of bubbly,” Rogers said Friday. “She was a nice lady as a whole, caring and kind.”


Niki Curtis, who knew Goodwin for nearly a decade, said Goodwin treated those she helped with dignity but didn’t always have that grace for herself.

“She was really able to highlight how you were valuable as a person,” Curtis said. “She struggled to give herself the stuff she gave to others.”

Curtis said Goodwin was like family.

“We were like recovery sisters,” she said. “It’s a person you can always reach out to – even if I wasn’t always talking to her, if I needed anything I could ask her, and vice versa.”

She said Goodwin struggled with her own demons, even more with sharing them.

“When she’s struggling, she doesn’t want other people to know, so she turns away from her closest people,” Curtis said.


Goodwin’s friends said she had been reaching out less over the last year.

Curtis said she last saw Goodwin a few weeks ago.

“I was able to give her a big hug, and tell her that I love her, and that I was there for her,” Curtis said.

Schwartz, who said she hadn’t heard much from Goodwin in the last couple of years, said Friday that the news of Goodwin’s death came as a shock.

She credits Goodwin with much of her success in recovery.

“Just reading the articles, and seeing how she was found, was very shocking,” Schwartz said. “It doesn’t paint a pretty picture. And that’s a hard pill to swallow for a community that has seen that person in such a different light.”

Anyone with information about Goodwin’s death is being asked to contact the Maine State Police at 207-624-7076, extension 9.

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