Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Horrific" murders rock ski area

The news has been splashed with unexpected headlines from Newry, Maine this week, after state police uncovered a trail of killings allegedly done by Christian Nielsen. Originally from Farmington, Nielsen was working as a cook at the Sudbury Inn, a prime apres ski stop in Bethel, where the popular Sunday River ski resort is located. He was renting rooms at the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast nearby, in Newry, which became the focal point for the murders.

So far there are 4 victims (police do not anticipate finding any more), three of whom were shot and then dismembered with chainsaws, and one of whom was burned and buried after being killed. Add to that the three pet dogs he killed. Eeriest of all is the detached smile on his face caught in press photos as he was led in and out of his preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

The killings spanned four days according to Nielsen's statement to police, starting on Friday with the murder of James Whitehurst of Arkansas, another guest at the B&B. Whitehurst, 50, was in Maine to attempt to gain custody of his two children that live here. Police believe he was killed in Upton, Maine, where Nielsen burned the corpse, dismembered it, and buried the remains in a shallow grave in the woods off of Campbell Brook Road, north of Grafton Notch State Park.

On Sunday Nielsen killed Julie Bullard at the B&B, which she owned and had been trying to sell since February. Bullard's daughter, Selby, and her friend Cynthia Beatson were the next victims on Monday when they arrived at the B&B, worried because they hadn't been able to contact Bullard, who suffered from asthma attacks.

One wonders how many other people might have been killed if Nielsen's father and stepmother hadn't attempted to visit him at the B&B on Monday evening, at which time they discovered a woman's body and blood outside the building. Nielsen's father, a teacher from Dixfield, alerted the authorities and told them his suspicion that it was his son that was the perpetrator. What a horrible discovery to make about your son.

Sources tell me that not only were the people dismembered with chainsaws, but also at least one of the dogs was killed in similar fashion, first shot and then dismembered. The whole thing is very, very creepy and brutal.

Further info:
Article at the Boston Herald

Courtroom photo portrait of Christian Nielsen in the Lewiston Sun Journal's article from this morning

Christian Nielsen's disturbingly placid mugshot at the Bangor News

Extensive discussion of elements of the case at CrimeBlog


Chris said...

"Horrific" is the right word. I was over that way last weekend visiting my parents. It's creepy to think what was going on just a few miles away.

There have been plenty of murders in Oxford County, but probably nothing this gruesome since 1841 when Moses Butterfield of Sumner killed his wife and two children in a fit of religious frenzy. That crime too made national news.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what happened to the inn after the murders. I can't imagine anyone would want to stay there after all of that.