Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Suicide pact alleged in double stabbing

Published in the Current; co-written with staff writer Ken Tatro

SCARBOROUGH (March 8, 2005): Police believe a 15-year-old Scarborough girl and a 20-year-old Scarborough woman suffered stab wounds Tuesday in the woods off Route 114 because of a suicide pact.

Police found the two in the woods next to the Scarborough Public Library, after the older of the two, Barbara Kring, called from her cell phone just before 5 p.m. Tuesday to report that she and a friend were bleeding and needed help, according to police.

Kring is a 2004 graduate of Scarborough High School. The 15-year-old is a freshman at the school.

Scarborough Police Chief Robbie Moulton said Tuesday night that the two females were the only people involved in the incident. He did not know whether one or both of them used the knife police recovered and believe to be the only weapon involved.

What information the police do have so far comes from brief conversations officers had with the women before ambulances took them to Maine Medical Center, where both underwent surgery Tuesday night.

Both were listed in stable condition Wednesday afternoon, police said.

A family member of Kring’s declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday.

Keith Matassa, coordinator of marine mammal rehabilitation at the University of New England, said Kring was “a great person” and “a really, really good volunteer” for the program, where she has helped treat stranded seals for three years.

A relative of the 15-year-old also declined to comment for this story.

Kring told dispatchers that the pair had a poisonous substance with them, according to police.

Police did recover an unknown liquid at the scene, and sent it to a lab for identification. The substance was not identified by press time, and police were not sure whether either of the women had injected the substance, though two syringes were recovered from the scene.

Grover said police didn't know the nature of the relationship between the two young women. He said police had not yet fully interviewed them, and were withholding some information until the end of the inquiry.

"It is part of an ongoing investigation," Grover said. No charges have been filed.

Scarborough police officials kept the Maine State Police abreast of events through Wednesday morning, before it became clear that both women would survive.

The Maine State Police has jurisdiction over murder investigations throughout the state, except in Portland. But Wednesday, state and local police agreed Scarborough's detectives should handle the case, Grover said.

At Scarborough High School Wednesday, students could get counseling if they needed it, said Principal Andrew Dolloff. The school has several staff members who are trained to help students affected by these types of incidents.

Dolloff said early in the morning he happened past the guidance area and noticed that a couple of the counselors were meeting with small groups of students.

But, for the most part, the school ran normally. There was no formal announcement to students about the incident.

"It's not that you try to downplay the significance ... but we do try to reduce the amount of hysteria or misinformation that is out there," he said.

The location, just yards from the Scarborough Public Library, is a wooded area within view of Wentworth Intermediate School and the Scarborough Middle School.

The general area – and especially the library – is a common place for students and young people to congregate in the afternoons.

"It was like Grand Central Station yesterday," said Assistant Library Director Susan Winch Wednesday.

Library staff were expecting to close early because of the bad weather, and were telling kids to arrange to get picked up before 5 p.m.

"There were just tons of kids in and out and in and out," Winch said. She said she did not know Kring or the other girl involved, and said that library staff often don't know the names of all the kids who spend time in the building after school.

She said "nothing unusual" happened at the library throughout the afternoon.