Police arrested a man in Dover, N.H., Friday afternoon and charged him with the stabbing deaths of a boy, his father and another man last week in Amity, Maine.
Thayne Ormsby, 20, of Orient, Maine, was arrested after detectives tracked him to Dover and questioned him about the attacks on Jesse Ryan, 10, of Lewiston, Jesse's father, Jeffrey Ryan, 55, and Jason DeHahn, 30, both of Amity.
Investigators said Ormsby admitted to the killings.
According to a police affidavit, 10-year-old Jesse Ryan was stabbed to death after the men were already dead.
Police have been interviewing potential witnesses and collecting evidence since June 23 when the three bodies were discovered in Jeffrey Ryan's home at 163 U.S. Route 1.
By Friday night, Ormsby remained jailed in Dover on three counts of murder. Police did not say whether other arrests were anticipated.
“This is just turning into a bigger mess,” said Jamie Merrill, mother of the slain 10-year-old.
A detective called her on Friday and told her that a man had been arrested in the slaying of her son and ex-husband. Merrill had thought she would recognize the name of the suspect once it was given to her.
“I’ve never heard of that guy,” she said of Ormsby.
Ormsby lived in Orient, a town just south of Amity. According to a police affidavit, detectives linked him to the crime scene through DNA and fingerprint evidence recovered from Budweiser bottles and cigarette butts.
A possible motive emerged, police said, as Detective Dale Keegan was interviewing Ormsby at the police station in Dover.
“Thus far,” the affidavit states, “Thayne told Det. Keegan that he killed Jeffrey Ryan in the wood shed at the Jeff Ryan residence because Jeff Ryan is a drug dealer.”
Police said there was also evidence, including eye-witness accounts, that it was Ormsby who stole Jeffrey Ryan’s pickup truck after the killings and later set fire to it in a field in the town of Weston.
Investigators say Ormsby had been staying with Joy and Robert Strout in Orient around the time of the killing. According to the affidavit, Robert Strout told police that on the morning of the slayings, Ormsby had come back to the home with his pants, shirt and shoes covered in blood.
Police who interviewed Strout said Ormsby told his friend details about the killings.
“Thayne gave Robert further details about the incident, saying he ‘knifed Jeff in the wood shed,’” according to the affidavit. “Thayne told Robert he went back into the residence and Jason and Jesse were sitting on the couch. Thayne told Robert that Jason ran outside and Thayne chased after him and ‘knifed him.’ Thayne told Robert he punched Jason and ‘knifed him again then drug his body to the brook.’ Thayne told Robert that he went back inside and Jesse was running around. Thayne told Robert that he ‘knifed Jesse in the back bedroom.’”
In the court affidavit, police said Strout indicated he did not turn Ormsby in — and in fact, helped him — because he was afraid of the suspected killer.
“Thayne told Robert (Strout) that if Robert did not help him, he would kill Robert’s family,” according to the affidavit.
Police said Strout told them he helped Ormsby get Jeffrey Ryan’s truck to the field in Weston and that the pair later returned there to set the vehicle on fire.
“Robert said Thayne ran back into where Jeffrey’s truck had been concealed and moments later, Robert heard a ‘whoosh,’” the affidavit states. “Robert said Thayne came running back and told Robert, ‘It’s done.'”
According to the affidavit, Thayne told police he burned his bloody clothes in a furnace at the home of Tamara Strout, a friend who lives in Weston.
In the court affidavit, investigators said they had learned that Ormsby kept a Facebook page and that he last used it on June 21, around the time he was staying with the Strout family. Police did not say whether they had searched the computer for evidence.
On his Facebook page, Ormsby describes himself as single, a Republican and Christian Protestant. His personal message on the page states: “I have two passions, love & war.”
When Ormsby was found in Dover, police said, investigators conducted two warrant searches there. More searches are planned in Amity and the surrounding area, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.
In Lewiston on Friday night, Merrill said her son had been staying with her at their Lewiston home until last week. She let the boy stay with his father so they could celebrate Father’s Day with some fishing.
Merrill, who is pregnant, said she last heard from her son Tuesday night over the phone and they exchanged text messages.
Knowing that someone had been arrested did little to mitigate the death of her son, she said. There were still too many unanswered questions.
“I just feel like crawling into a corner,” she said. “My son was my world. This does not bring him back.”