Police and FBI agents gather around multiple armored SWAT vehicles near Robert Card’s residence on West Road in Bowdoin on Oct. 26. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald

The Maine State Police searched the main building of a Lisbon recycling business once during a two-day manhunt for Lewiston mass shooter Robert Card, according to a timeline released Thursday that raises questions about previous statements from authorities.

A detailed itinerary of the 48-hour search released by the Maine Department of Public Safety sheds new light on the sprawling manhunt and numerous unfounded tips about Card’s whereabouts.

The timeline notes that the recycling center’s main building was swept just once, on Thursday afternoon. At a briefing Saturday morning, Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said it was “cleared” twice, once by the Lisbon Police Department.

Card, who killed 18 people and wounded 13 others on Oct. 25, was eventually found dead at 7:45 p.m. last Friday when police searched a trailer at an overflow parking lot owned by the recycling company, where he previously worked. The discovery was made about a mile from where Card’s vehicle was found abandoned at a boat launch.

The two-day search for Card led to lockdowns across the region, with schools and businesses closed and events across the region canceled.

While detailed in some respects, the timeline includes gaps in which police teams had assignments to search certain areas, and at times contradicts the Maine State Police’s previous statements about aspects of the manhunt.


It is also limited to the Maine State Police’s coordinated actions and does not appear to reflect steps taken by many of the other local law enforcement agencies involved.

The document, for example, contains a gap of more than 14 hours during which members of law enforcement were in Bowdoin at Card’s home on West Road on Thursday, and executing warrants on Meadow Road, both at the home of Card’s father and the adjacent property where Card’s brother reportedly used to live.

The timeline, meanwhile, appears to corroborate a local law enforcement official who told the Portland Press Herald earlier this week that some 12 hours passed between when police discovered Card’s abandoned vehicle with a rifle inside and when they began intensive efforts to track him from that location.

In the aftermath of the Lewiston shooting, the Maine State Police learned Card’s vehicle was discovered at a Lisbon boat launch at 10:08 p.m. amid tactical coordination – about three hours after the first 911 call reporting the killings.

Tactical teams arrived at the Papermill Trail boat launch at 10:23 p.m. on Oct. 25, and 30 to 40 police officers surrounded Card’s vehicle. Within an hour, law enforcement found the rifle and magazines inside the car, sent a helicopter to track a heat signature along the trail – an inconclusive effort – and searched the surrounding woods.

At 10:44 p.m., tactical teams searched a trail and surrounding area near the boat launch, but 10 minutes later were chasing a tip at a farm a mile away that turned out to be unfounded.


In police affidavits released this week, the state police say Card’s vehicle was transported to the Maine State Police Crime Lab in Augusta at an unspecified time before a Maine District Court judge issued the first of multiple search warrants at 9:38 a.m. on Oct. 26

In the timeline, the last mention of Card’s vehicle is when members of law enforcement discovered the rifle inside the vehicle on the night of the shootings. At 8 a.m. on Oct. 26, law enforcement teams and agencies were assigned different search tactics, including the use of police dogs to search the trails around the boat launch. There is no mention of how Card’s vehicle played into that assignment.

A police dog expert told the Press Herald this week that canines should be deployed immediately as the first search tool at the location where a suspect was last known to have been.

The timeline indicates the main building of the recycling center, which is about a mile from where Card’s vehicle was found abandoned, was searched by an unspecified agency sometime in the afternoon of Oct. 26. State police investigators did not return to that area again until the owner of the Maine Recycling Corp. told them late Friday to also check the overflow parking lot.

A search warrant affidavit filed by officials says that when police asked Card’s brother Wednesday night where the shooting suspect might go, the brother “said Maine Recycling where Robert had worked,” and that Card had had an issue with an employee there. Police spoke with the manager of Maine Recycling, “and they were not aware of Robert having any problems with a co-worker,” the affidavit states.

According to the itinerary, law enforcement did not search the Maine Recycling property again until they found Card’s body at 7:45 p.m. last Friday.


The Maine State Police did not specify when law enforcement received a tip about the overflow lot from the owner of the Maine Recycling Center.


Tactical teams and law enforcement agencies, including the Maine Information and Analysis Center and all major crime unit detectives, were following leads across the state, all of which were dead ends, from Wednesday night on.

Police spent the early morning hours Thursday chasing additional leads while sending a tactical team to a residence where police believed Card’s ex-girlfriend lived because “police had concerns that Card might go to her residence.” They eventually located her in Auburn at 6:40 a.m. Thursday.

The timeline also makes it clear that officials considered the possibility that Card was still alive and at large during the 48-hour manhunt. Even as late as 6:33 p.m. last Friday, tactical teams responded to a “sighting” on an all-terrain vehicle that was determined to be unfounded.

At 7:45 p.m. Friday, tactical teams searching the Maine Recycling overflow lot discovered “the body what is believed to be Robert Card deceased.” The command post was notified at 7:48 p.m., and the Office of the Maine Attorney General and Card’s family were informed at 8:10 p.m.

A news conference announcing the discovery was held shortly after 10 p.m. that night.

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