LEWISTON — David Moorhead says the first time he saw Albert Flick, “I got a bad vibe. Not a murderer vibe, but a bad vibe.”
In the weeks before Kimberly Dobbie was fatally stabbed Sunday morning, Dobbie and Flick came to the Lewiston Public Library with her 11-year-old sons, according to Moorhead, the children’s librarian.
Flick has been charged with murder in Dobbie’s death.
The first time he saw Flick in the children’s department, Moorhead said, “I was about to tell him he couldn’t be there.”
“But then he said he was helping her,” Moorhead said Wednesday.” She backed that up. They were together a lot. He seemed to be part of her support team.”
Flick’s behavior at the library “was perfectly OK, as far as I could see,” Moorhead said. “(Dobbie) never approached any of us and said she didn’t want him around.”
Dianna Larrabee, a Community Concepts worker at the library, agreed.
She said she often saw Flick. He acted normal, appropriate, polite, she said.
“There were no issues,” Larrabee said. “He wasn’t giving me that vibe of creepiness. He seemed like a nice guy helping her out. He’d say, ‘I’m just helping Kim today,’” Larrabee said, breaking down into tears.
Larrabee staffs The Hub, a Community Concepts resource center at the library that offers help to those in need, including Dobbie and her sons. People often approach The Hub desk to learn what resources are available for food, clothing and shelter. Dobbie and her twins were living at Hope Haven Gospel Mission, a homeless shelter on Lincoln Street in Lewiston.
“Our goal is to help with immediate needs,” Larrabee said. “The No. 1 thing we deal with here is housing.”
She and other staffers got to know Dobbie and her sons. The library is not only a rich source of information, education, books, videos, movies and cultural programs for everyone. It also offers a quiet, respectful, nonjudgmental and welcoming day shelter for those who are homeless.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been poor, but people treat you very differently,” Moorhead said. “There’s a lot of waiting around, you have to be here at this time and have to do this and that.”
Dobbie was trying to navigate the bureaucracy of getting housing vouchers to get out of the homeless shelter and into an apartment, Moorhead said.
“She complained about the way she was treated in general,” he said. “People assume if you’re homeless, it must be your fault. Here, we try to be nice to people. We’re just librarians.”
When Dobbie came to Lewiston in May from Farmington, her sons were going to school in Farmington. With no car, she had to put them on a bus each morning, then go to the station to pick them up every day.
“Meanwhile, social services people were telling her they had to meet with her when she had to pick up her kids,” Moorhead said.
Her boys would spent hours at the library with her, reading or on the computer. Moorhead noticed one of her sons liked to do “serious reading” on the computers, such as exploring Google Earth or history maps, instead of playing video games.
Library workers were impressed by how Dobbie cared for her sons, Moorhead said.
“She was trying to give them everything,” Moorhead said. “I didn’t see her ever do anything that didn’t involve trying to make a home for the boys. She was as good as she could be. Homeless moms who wash up here for whatever reason, they come here and have to work hard to get back on track.”
After a couple of months, Dobbie got her housing voucher. Moving day was delayed after an inspection of the apartment showed problems that required correcting.
Monday, July 16, was to be moving day.
“She said goodbye to all of us on Friday,” Moorhead said.
When staffers found out she had been killed, “it was super shocking to our whole team,” Larrabee said. “Our whole team was helping her succeed. Her story was successful in that she did finally get Section 8 (housing) and did have a place to go. She was going to go there Monday morning.”
Lewiston Public Library patrons read by the window on the first floor on Wednesday. The library offers a quiet, respectful, nonjudgmental place for everyone, from the rich to the homeless. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Dianna Larrabee, right, talks with Brian Strouse of Lewiston at the Community Hub on the second floor of the Lewiston Public Library on Wednesday, where Strouse often comes to help out. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
A Lewiston Public Library patron looks at books in the stacks on the second floor of the library Wednesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)