December 2, 2013

Divers search Kennebec River in Waterville for evidence in Vassalboro homicide

A State Police dive team is searching the Kennebec River for evidence related to the homicide of Thomas Namer, 69, of Waterville.

By Amy Calder And Jesse Scardina
Staff Writers

WATERVILLE — State police divers searched the Kennebec River Monday for evidence related to a Vassalboro homicide two weeks ago, but wouldn’t say what they found or were looking for.

click image to enlarge

UNDERWATER SEARCH: Divers search in the Kennebec River in Waterville Monday for evidence in the recent homicide of a Waterville man. The man accused of the murder of Thomas Namer may have been on the Two-Cent Bridge or near it within hours of the killing, according to police.

Staff photo by David Leaming

click image to enlarge

LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE: Divers with the Maine State Police prepare to enter the Kennebec River under the Two-Cent Bridge in Waterville Monday in a search for evidence related to the death of a Waterville man two weeks ago. The man accused of the murder of Thomas Namer may have been on the Two-Cent Bridge or near it within hours of the killing, according to police.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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State police called the search downtown near the Two-Cent Bridge successful, but wouldn’t elaborate further about the dive for evidence connected to the killing of Thomas Namer, 69, of Waterville.

“We found some items, but we’ll still be looking,” said Detective Sgt. Jeff Love of the Maine State Police.

Courtney Shea, 30, of Vassalboro, who is charged with the Nov. 21 murder of Namer, may have been on or near the foot bridge within hours of the killing.

Shea is believed to have been in that area between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

A dozen divers searched in the river, which at its deepest point is 38 feet, he said.

During an interview with police in November, Shea said that Namer molested him as a child, according to a police affidavit. Shea said in the interview that Namer made sexual advances toward him the night of the killing and that the advances happened after he called Namer to his residence in Vassalboro where he needed a ride. Shea said he later blacked out and stabbed Namer to death, the affidavit said.

Shea said he then drove Namer’s car to lower Water Street in Waterville and made a number of calls before returning to Vassalboro, according to the court records.

Namer’s body was found the morning after he was killed near Shea’s home on Riverside Drive, U.S. Route 201.

Divers on Monday arrived for the search at the Head of Falls area about 7:00 a.m. and worked until about 3:00 p.m.

The frigid temperatures and snowfall made things difficult during the search, Love said, but the divers are used to those conditions.

“We were able to accomplish today’s mission, but we take the safety of our divers into consideration,” Love said, adding that ice chunks were floating by the divers.

He said they may also return to the area to search again.

The footbridge spans the Kennebec between Waterville and Winslow. One entrance to the bridge is at Head of Falls off Front Street in Waterville.

Shea was ordered held without bail at an initial appearance in Kennebec County Superior Court. Another hearing is pending.

State police asked that anyone who may have seen Shea on or near the bridge Nov. 21 to contact them.

Amy Calder — 861-9247acalder@centralmaine.comTwitter: @AmyCalder17

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239jscardina@centralmaine.comTwitter: @jessescardina
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