ST. FRANCIS — The search continues for Jesse Marquis, wanted in connection with the shooting death of his longtime girlfriend Amy Theriault. The focus has been on an area behind Theriault’s home Sunday, where officials said witnesses have come forward reporting they heard one gunshot shortly after the shooting.

Dozens of law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies have been in the St. Francis area searching for Marquis since witnesses reported seeing him flee Theriault’s house on U.S. Route 161 and into the woods just before 6 a.m. Saturday.

“Two people heard a shot 45 minutes after the incident,” Lt. Chris Coleman of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Division said from the command center in St. Francis late Sunday morning. “He may be behind the house, and we are now focusing our efforts on that.”

At the same time, Coleman said plans were being made should the manhunt, which involves multiple law enforcement agencies, extend into Monday.

In addition to the Maine State Police, personnel from the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, United States Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Maine Forest Service are involved in a ground and air search for Marquis, who is considered armed and dangerous.

Marquis is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 150 pounds with black hair and blue eyes. He was wearing blue jeans, a green hooded sweatshirt and Cabela’s ball cap, according to McCausland.

The public is cautioned to not approach Marquis if seeing him but rather to call the police.

If the search enters a third day, part of the plan is to bring in police K-9 units, according to Coleman.

“All of our efforts are focused on finding Marquis,” Coleman said. “We are hoping for information from the public.”

As of Sunday, he said, there have been no confirmed sightings of the suspect.

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call at 5:45 a.m. Saturday about a domestic violence incident at 754 Main St., Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, said over the weekend. Witnesses in the home reportedly said they saw 38-year-old Marquis leave the residence and enter the woods behind the house with a rifle.

Coleman said miles of roadways and trails have been searched in addition to numerous camps, vacant homes and cabins over a large area surrounding the crime scene.

No one has come forward to report any contact or sightings of Marquis, McCausland said, adding there is no way to know if he has left or is still in the area.

“We won’t know until we find him,” McCausland said.

St. Francis, 15 miles west of Fort Kent, is in a heavily wooded area of northern Maine that borders the St. John River, and New Brunswick, Canada is located directly across the river.

Agents at the border crossing into Canada in Fort Kent were on high alert this weekend and could be seen armed with high-powered rifles.

“You can see the terrain is rugged and heavily forested,” Coleman said. “The trees now have leaves on them and that is impacting our ability to see far into the woods.”

As the search continued, officers with the state police crime lab continued to process the crime scene, Coleman said, adding an autopsy was expected on the body of Theriault Sunday afternoon at the State Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta.

While some state troopers were pulled from the search Saturday to respond to a standoff situation in Ellsworth, McCausland Sunday said “a considerable” police presence remained in St. Francis.

About two miles of U.S. Route 161 was closed to all traffic for much of Saturday while police searched for Marquis. The only road in and out of the western end of the St. John Valley reopened late Saturday.

All weekend residents expressed shock that such a violent crime had taken place in their community where Marquis is well-known and drives a school bus for SAD 27.

“We are all in shock right now,” Mary Landry, a resident who lives several miles east of the crime scene, said Saturday. “Things like this just don’t happen in St. Francis, [and] this is about two young people who were genuinely cared about by this community.”

Landry said she knows everyone involved in the case. She also said Marquis is the driver of her children’s school bus, and the victim had two small children, whom law enforcement confirmed were not in the home at the time of the shooting.

“Our children felt safe with him, and us parents felt our children were safe with him,” Landry said. “This just shocks me because I never thought he’d be capable of something like this.”

A group of residents unable to reach their homes on the other side of the roadblock were on the porch of the nearby Store on Sugar Shack Road discussing the crime Saturday afternoon.

“It is just so sad,” resident Darren Connors said. “Here you had a mother with two little children, and she was probably all they had in the world.”

The group said they did not hear any concrete information about what transpired at the house, but all said they had seen upward of 30 vehicles from a variety of law enforcement agencies speeding up the road that morning.

“It looked like the NASCAR police 500 going past my house this morning,” one resident said.

“As far as any of us know, this is the first crime like this in our little town,” Connors said.

In a town with a population just over 400, according to the latest census, residents are not accustomed to always locking their doors or feeling unsafe in their homes.

That changed for some in the aftermath of the shooting, when some residents reported a sleepless night and others said they will stay with friends or family in neighboring towns until Marquis is found.

The crime and the victims continued to be the primary topic of conversation in St. Francis Sunday, when residents were remembering a young woman described as having a big heart who worked at Forest Hill Manor in Fort Kent and always willing to help anyone in need.

“She was a sweetheart,” Joe Kelly, owner of Joe’s Store in St. Francis, said from his store Sunday. “She will be missed, I already miss her.”

Resident Monica Jandreau agreed.

“She was so good to her kids,” Jandreau said. “She loved those kids so much.”

Throughout the tightly knit community, residents continued to grapple with the aftermath of a violent crime so close to home.

“I found out Saturday morning when I saw Amy’s father come out on his porch,” Judy Jandreau said. “He told me, ‘The bastard killed her,’and I still can’t get my head around it.”

Amy Theriault, she said, was never seen without a smile on her face and her love for her children was well known.

“She had such a big, big heart,” Judy Jandreau said. “She lived and breathed for those kids [and] she will be dearly missed.”

The community will be there for the victims and their families, Landry said.

“We are a strong community here, and there are families on both sides of this who are hurting so much right now,” she said. “This community will be here for them 100 percent.”

If you have any information or see someone who matches the description of the suspect, call the state police in Houlton at 532-5400 or the Aroostook County Crime Stoppers at 800-638-8477.

The Aroostook Mental Health Agency is preparing a team to help first responders, friends, family and anyone else affected by the shooting deal with the aftermath. They may be reached 888-568-1112.

The Hope & Justice, and domestic violence advocacy group in Aroostook County, is also available for people who have been affected by what happened and may contact them at 800-439-2323.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.


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