Auburn police identify woman’s body found Sunday in The Basin

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AUBURN — Auburn police have identified the body found Sunday in The Basin as Jessica Gallant, 34, of New Gloucester.

Jessica Gallant

Gallant was found early Sunday by fishermen near the shoreline of The Basin, a popular fishing spot off the northern tip of Lake Auburn.

The cause of death is undetermined by the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office pending toxicology exam results, which could take up to four weeks.

Auburn police are investigating the circumstances with the assistance of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit.

Her body, which was not clothed, was found by Scott Peters of Lewiston and Jim Hixman of Auburn just before dawn as the two were preparing to launch their canoe.

They saw what they thought was a plastic bag floating about 20 feet offshore, and Hixman paddled out to investigate. As soon as he realized it was a body, he returned to shore and the men called 911.

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Gallant’s body was pulled from the water just before 11 a.m.

According to Peters, when he and Hixman were preparing to launch their canoe they didn’t see anything unusual on the shoreline. There was another angler who was also putting in the water at the time, but no one else was around.

In an undated post on her Facebook page, Gallant wrote that she grew up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and moved to Portland in 1998. Her timeline notes she moved to Auburn in 2008 and Sabattus in 2012.

She wrote: “Happiness does exist. And I am blessed to have discovered this.”

She thanked her family “for showing me unconditional support and encouragement. … You will always be a huge part of my recovery. I am growing and will continue growing into the person we have all known me to become.”

She said she had been living a healthy life since May 26, 2013, and “man isn’t life beautiful. … I am truly blessed to have today and every day that follows.”

Lewiston attorney Donald Hornblower, who knew Gallant, said she “was a wonderful person. She had a great capacity to love people.”

He said she “had enormous challenges that we were struggling to know how to handle. But the people in her life who loved and supported her, from my point of view, really helped her to live and appreciate her life.”

According to Sun Journal archives, Gallant was the mother of a boy born March 1 of this year. The father is Joshua Smith of Lewiston.

By noon Monday, condolences were flooding Smith’s Facebook page.

Police have declined to release additional information at this time.

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