HARTFORD — Maine State Police charged a local man Thursday with murder in the death of his longtime girlfriend.

Rondon Athayde

Rondon Athayde, 41, was charged with killing Ana Cordeiro, also 41. The couple have two children, ages 3 and 4.

The death was reported just after midnight Thursday inside a house on Bear Mountain Road, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Cordeiro lived at the house with her boyfriend and their two daughters, according to Maine State Police Lt. Mark Holmquist.

“(This is a) death investigation, and cause will be released at a later time,” Holmquist said.

The couple are from Brazil.

Athayde was detained Thursday afternoon at the Oxford police station, where he was cooperating with the investigation, according to Holmquist. He was later taken to the Oxford County Jail.

Maine State Police are investigating the death of a woman found in her home Thursday morning. (Sun Journal photo by Abigail Austin)

The home is owned by Armand Rowe of Turner, who has been renting it to Cordeiro and Athayde on a rent-to-own basis since October 2016.

The daughters were in the residence at the time of the incident, and they are in protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services, according to Holmquist. Their closest relatives are in Brazil, and victim advocates are working to bring family members north, Holmquist said.

“(Cordeiro) loved her girls,” said neighbor Linda Porter. “I saw one little girl wearing glasses, and I said, ‘I didn’t know she wore glasses.’ She said, ‘She doesn’t, she just wants to be like (her mom).’”

“They were good tenants,” Rowe said. “They always paid the rent on time. I never had to go up there.”

“(Athayde) would shovel from his house to here by himself,” Porter said. “He is a nice guy.”

Athayde has no criminal record in Maine.

McCausland said Athayde called 911 just after midnight. State troopers, Oxford County Sheriff’s deputies and state police detectives went to the home.

An autopsy was performed Thursday, although a cause of death was not released.

Staff Writer Mark LaFlamme contributed to this report.

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