BYRON — Four young people from Massachusetts and their dog were found dead Friday evening by a parent in the family camp at 10 Bateman Lane, Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant said Saturday.

The victims were Brooke Wakelin, 21, and her boyfriend, Keith Norris, 23, both of Attleboro; and Wakelin’s brother, Matthew Wakelin, 18, and his friend, Deanna Lee Powers, 22, both of Mansfield.

“It appears that this was an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning,” Gallant said. “They probably died Tuesday night. There was no electricity in the camp, so they had a generator running in the basement and a cord running from the refrigerator was plugged in to the generator.”

A beagle was also found dead on the bed in the downstairs bedroom with Brooke and Keith, he said. Matthew Wakelin was found on the bed in an upstairs bedroom and Powers was found on the bed in another upstairs bedroom, Gallant said.

He said the victims drove to the log cabin camp sometime Tuesday evening from Massachusetts to celebrate Matthew Wakelin’s graduation from school and Brooke Wakelin’s 22nd birthday, which would have been Saturday. Their parents were coming up Friday or Saturday for the celebrations, Gallant said.

He said the young people socialized Tuesday night, and then went to bed without shutting off the generator.

“It’s very tragic,” he said. The Wakelins’ father found them Friday night, he said.

Gallant said the father ran to a neighbor’s house on Dingle Hill Road on Friday night, because there was no cellphone service at his camp. The neighbor, Melissa Ramey, called 911, telling dispatchers in Paris that the father found his daughter and her boyfriend dead inside the camp, the sheriff said.

Deputy Sgt. George Cayer was dispatched at 8:30 p.m. Also sent were Detective Lts. Brian Landis and Chancey Libby, and Deputy Matthew Baker, Rumford police Sgt. James Bernard and two Med-Care ambulances.

While en route, Cayer radioed the dispatcher who was on the phone with Ramey and told him to tell her not to go to the house or let the father return to the house.

Initially, the responders believed the two victims found by the father may have died from an accidental drug overdose, so dispatchers were advised to contact Matt Cashman, the agents supervisor for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in Lewiston, Gallant said. Libby is assigned to the agency’s western task force.

When Cayer arrived on scene and began investigating, he radioed that he found two more bodies upstairs.

Cayer and Libby then suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and called for Mexico firefighters to bring their CO detector, Gallant said. They arrived at 9:39 p.m. A short while later, Libby canceled the need for Cashman and a request was made at 9:55 p.m. for an investigator in Auburn with the Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to head to the scene.

“After further investigation, every indication to them was that it was carbon monoxide poisoning and not drug overdoses,” Gallant said.

By 10:53 p.m., Cayer called for funeral home directors from Rumford. Gallant said Meader & Son and S.G. Thibault took the deceased to Rumford for the night.

“The victims are not going to stay in Rumford. though,” Gallant said. “The funeral homes are taking them to the medical examiners’s office in Augusta today where pending autopsy and toxicology reports will determine cause of death.”

The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro, Mass., reported that a sign posted outside the Wakelin home in Mansfield, Mass.,  had a “Do Not Disturb” sign on it. Green and red balloons floated above a fence and a small crowd was gathered outside. They asked a reporter to leave the property.

Friends and family posted condolence messages on Norris’ Facebook account.
David Bowen wrote of Brooke Wakelin and Norris, “I’m completely lost for words right now this can’t be real. You both were the nicest and some of the most genuine people I know and heaven definitely gained a couple angels. My prayers go out to your family and all friends that got the news today.”

Among them was a message from his cousin Katrina Niles who wrote, “Broken hearted is all I feel right now for my family! Life is too short and precious to be taken for granted! Live wholeheartedly cause we never know when it can be snatched away from you.! RIP to my baby cousin Keith Charles Norris gone too soon; will never be forgotten! Please pray for his mom, brother, nieces, nephews, cousin and uncle.”

According to The Sun Chronicle, gofundme account has been set up to collect donations to offset the costs of funeral services for Brooke and Matthew Wakelin. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/za2cgqc.


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