August 26, 2013

Police rule out homicide in Portland parking garage death

The man who fell to his death on Sunday is identified as David Thorne of Portland.

By Dennis Hoey
Staff Writer

and Matt Byrne
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The man who fell to his death from a downtown Portland parking garage Sunday was identified by Portland police Monday as David Thorne, 54, of Portland.

click image to enlarge

Portland police use a screen to prevent passers-by from seeing the investigation of a man’s death outside a downtown parking garage on Sunday.

Photo by Beth Quimby / Staff Writer

The identification came after police ruled out homicide as the cause of Thorne's death.

"I want to put to bed the thought that this was a homicide. It's not," said Lt. James Sweatt. "It appeared to be something this gentleman did."

Thorne was identified through police fingerprint records, but his name was withheld until his family was notified.

Witnesses told police that before Thorne's fatal fall, they saw him sitting on the garage's sixth-floor ledge -- the top floor of the garage -- with his legs dangling.

Thorne's body was found on the Free Street side of the One City Center parking garage around 1:45 p.m. Sunday.

The garage has two entrances, one at 22 Free St. and one off Federal Street facing Monument Square. The garage is closed to the parking public on Sundays, with both entrances gated. The doors to the garage were not locked.

Jim Thorne, who lives in Carmel, described his older brother Monday night as "a sensitive guy with a big heart."

The Thorne family moved to Presque Isle, in Aroostook County, in the late 1960s. His brother said that David Thorne graduated from Presque Isle High School in 1977.

After high school, Thorne attended Northern Maine Technical College in Presque Isle, where he studied carpentry.

Thorne moved to Portland in the 1980s, his brother said. He had lived in an apartment at 10 Congress Square for a number of years.

He never married but has one son, in his late 20s. He was not employed at the time of his death.

"Things didn't come easy for Dave," his brother said. "But he was trying to do the best he could."

Thorne said he spoke with his brother by telephone on a regular basis. He gave no indication that anything was amiss during a conversation they had about one week ago.

Thorne said his family still is not sure what happened at the parking garage.

David Thorne had six siblings.

"It was an unfortunate ending to a life," Jim Thorne said. "He had a big heart and he tried his best every day."

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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