Just after 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, I got a Facebook message from a local man with a question about local goings on. 

“Sorry to bother you,” he wrote. “Have you heard anything about a death at 242 Park St. this morning?” 

By that point, I was already shoulder deep in fragmented news of a killing coming out of Poland. With that in mind, I hoped rather ardently that this rumor of a death in Lewiston would not rise to the level of news. 

Then my tipster uttered the name of the fellow believed to have died that morning on Park Street and it was clear at once that this matter, too, would require investigating. 

The man who fell from a third-story window to his death earlier that morning was none other than Jason Lavoie, and news of his demise was spreading fast. 

Minutes after receiving that first report, I got a phone call. Have you heard anything, this caller wanted to know, about the death of Jason Lavoie? 


Another Facebook message soon followed. Then another and another after that. Smack dab in the middle of their Thanksgiving dinners, a whole lot of people were desperate for answers about the death of this popular local figure. 

And that hasn’t changed much since. 

Nearly two weeks after that sad and mysterious death on Park Street, I’m still getting regular messages from a wide range of people on the topic of Lavoie. What have you heard? What are the police saying? Why is nothing more being released about this tragic puzzle? 

Even during the mad clamor surrounding news of the vicious killing in Poland, people didn’t forget about Jason Lavoie and their thirst for fresh information has gone unabated. 

You can rather understand the interest — very few readers of this column will need me to explain who Jason Lavoie is or to elaborate on the reasons why so many folks were rattled by the grim news of his death. To many, Lavoie was a lovable underdog, a man who overcame his own mental health challenges to become an educator and an advocate for the homeless. 

“He struggled with mental illness but he never let that bring him down,” said Lori Cloutier, one of Lavoie’s closest friends. “He achieved a lot more than people expected. He strived to be the best at anything he did.” 


That was the popular consensus in the hours and days following Lavoie’s death. He was described as humble. Selfless. Sincere. Supremely likeable. 

“A great person and advocate,” wrote one woman on Facebook. 

“His heart and voice will not soon, if ever, be replaced,” offered a Lewiston man. 

“A sweet, caring soul.” 

“A tremendous loss for the community.” 

“A man with a big heart.” 


Some deaths hit particularly hard in the local community and this was one of those from the start. And the sad news was compounded a great deal by the inexplicable nature of Lavoie’s death. 

Was it really a suicide, some folks mused? Was it an accident … or possibly something else? 

Just a week before Lavoie’s death, he posted a photo of himself standing next to Congressman Jared Golden. In the photo, Lavoie is smilingly happily, seemingly content and at ease. The idea that he intentionally pitched himself out a window just seven days later — on Thanksgiving morning, no less — was a bitter pill, for some, to be swallowed. 

Linda Scott, left, a Lewiston City Council member, opens a vigil with a moment of silence Nov. 25 for Jason Lavoie, who died Thanksgiving morning after falling from a window on Park Street. Scott recalled how Lavoie, a local educator and one-time candidate for the School Committee, spoke passionately for the homeless community and on mental health issues. “He was not afraid to speak about his own process and life as an example of what needed to happen,” Scott said. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file

And so once the memorials and vigils and heartfelt commentaries started wrapping up, some in the community launched into that next stage of grief so popular in matters such as these: the blame game. 

He did what he did because he’d been bullied on social media, was a popular theory for a time. He did it because all of his political friends had abandoned him a year ago once the race — for a school committee position — was lost. 

Some insisted that Lavoie had been depressed in the days before his passing while others hotly disputed that point. 


“He was looking forward to work that day,” says Cloutier, “so nothing makes sense, honestly.” 

Days passed, theories were offered and then dismissed and exactly zero official details emerged about the manner and cause of Lavoie’s death. 

By and large, those who loved Jason Lavoie have accepted that he is gone, but they still want to know how and why. The sad and frustrating fact is that nothing further will likely be revealed on that front. Police investigated the death as a probable suicide and by department policy, in the interest of decorum, they generally don’t comment on suicides. 

Whatever the final moments of Jason Lavoie entailed we will likely never know. Those details have been banished to the realm of speculation and when people write to ask me for the latest news, I have nothing much of anything to tell them. Nothing but the clank of an investigative dead-end and a whole bunch of unsubstantiated rumors they’ve already heard. 

Thanksgiving 2022 will be remembered as a particularly dark day in our little community. In Poland, one man was slain in brutal fashion and police say the victim’s brother, a man with a long history of mental illness, is the killer. 

In Lewiston, under a cloud of doubt and uncertainty, the community lost a man who by all accounts was a good-hearted sort and a friend to all who wandered into his orbit. 

“Anyone that knew him loved him,” said Cloutier. “He was a good man and my very best friend. 

“I miss him,” she said. “And I want answers.” 

Mourning, waiting and wondering, in other words. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

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