RICHMOND — Maine State Police on Monday identified human remains found early Monday in a wooded area off Lincoln Street in Richmond as 56-year-old Leroy Smith II of 16 Cannard St. in Gardiner.

The death is being investigated as suspicious, but the state medical examiner has not yet determined whether to treat the case as a homicide, Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said after a news conference Monday afternoon.

The dead man’s son, 24-year-old Leroy Smith III, also of 16 Cannard St. in Gardiner, was arrested early Monday morning on an unrelated, out-of-state warrant in Westbrook, McCausland said Monday. He remained at Cumberland County Jail on Monday evening.

Westbrook police obtained information during that arrest that led, ultimately, to the older man’s remains.

The human remains were discovered about dawn Monday by Sagadahoc County sheriff’s deputies. The sheriff’s office then called state police, who were on scene about 7 a.m.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to McCausland.

State police closed one end of Lincoln Street to traffic while sheriff’s deputies blocked traffic from the other end.

“This investigation has been extremely fast-paced, and extremely complicated,” Lt. Christopher Coleman of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit said during a news conference Monday afternoon at the Gardiner police station.

Coleman said it was too early to determine how long the remains had been in the wooded area off Lincoln Street, a few blocks from downtown Richmond near the town’s transfer station. Wooded areas line both sides of the dirt road. The paved area of Lincoln Street is residential.

Coleman declined to release many details, and did not reply to questions about whether Smith had been reported missing. He made a point of describing what searchers discovered as “human remains.”

State police were at the Cannard Street apartment building throughout the day Monday, canvassing the neighborhood. Yellow police tape cordoned off the entrances to Apartment 2, where the Smiths lived, as well as a dumpster in the parking lot.

John Williams, who lives directly across Cannard Street from the apartment building, said the father and son had lived there for about six months. But neighbors said they hadn’t seen either of the men since Saturday.

At about 6:45 p.m. Monday, police removed a couch cushion from the dumpster.

“We still have a great deal of work to do and we have detectives working throughout the state tonight on that,” McCausland said Monday evening.

Coleman said Monday that he doesn’t believe any of the events in this case should cause the public to be more concerned about safety than usual.


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