The Waterville Public Schools were closed Monday after a body was discovered in the driver’s seat of a school bus parked at Waterville Junior High School at 100 West River Road. Above, traffic passes Waterville Junior High School on Monday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The discovery of a body early Monday in the driver’s seat of a school bus at the Waterville Junior High School parking lot prompted the closure of all Waterville schools for the day.

Police did not release the name of the person found dead, pending further investigation and notification of next of kin, police Chief William Bonney said just after 11 a.m.

In a statement released through a messaging program and an automated telephone call at about 1:30 p.m., Peter Hallen, the city’s superintendent of schools, said the person who had died was neither a student nor a staff member at the Waterville Public Schools.

“You may have seen the WPD (Waterville Police Department) Press Release about their investigation on the campus of Waterville Junior High School. Today’s decision to cancel school was made to afford WPD the time and space they need to conduct their investigation,” Hallen said in the statement.

Hallen said earlier in the day he could not release many details, and certain details could have raised concerns and anxiety, but due to the sensitivity of the situation, he could not share more than he did.

Waterville schools are expected to reopen Tuesday.


Bonney said police received a call at 4:30 a.m. Monday reporting a person was slumped over the steering wheel of a bus parked at the school lot at 100 West River Road. Police responded and found the body, he said.

“Detectives investigated and concluded it was an isolated incident and there was no threat to the public,” Bonney said.

He said police do not suspect foul play.

The body was taken to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta, where an autopsy is planned, according to Bonney.

The Waterville Public Schools were closed Monday because of an “unforeseen situation,” according to a notice posted early Monday on the Waterville Senior High School website and Facebook page.

Hallen said the schools’s administrative team met Monday to develop a plan for Tuesday’s reopening, and school officials would be working with bus drivers to help them answer questions students might have on their way to school.

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