Suspect held at Wiscasset jail; State Police continue investigation of multiple shootings in Bowdoin and Yarmouth

UPDATE: Maine State Police identify four murder victims in Bowdoin, and three injured from I-295 Yarmouth gunshots

Wed, 04/19/2023 - 8:30am

    Update, 3:30 p.m., April 19: In a 3:30 p.m. news release from the Maine Dept. of Public Safety, the identities of the murder victims and those injured by gunshot on I-295 were provided, along with details of the April 18 chain of events in Bowdoin and Yarmouth. It follows:

    On Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at approximately 9:21 am, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a family member requesting a check at a 1459 Augusta Road in Bowdoin. 

    A family member who had not been able to reach anyone drove to the home to try and make contact. 

    This family member entered the home and discovered a deceased person. Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at 9:40 a.m. and found three more victims. Deceased in the house was homeowners 72-year-old Robert Eger and his wife 62-year-old Patricia Eger, as well as 62-year-old Cynthia Eaton. Outside in the barn, 66-year-old David Eaton was found deceased. 

    Autopsies conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office determined all four died of gun-shot wounds and all were ruled as homicides.

    Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Yarmouth, Falmouth, and Cumberland police responded to Interstate 295 to support State Troopers with multiple people and vehicles being hit by gunfire. 

    One northbound vehicle was struck by stray gunfire and three southbound vehicles were struck by gunfire in this incident.

    Three people were transported from the I-295 scenes to Maine Medical Center with gun-shot wounds. 

    Transported from the Yarmouth scene was 51-year-old Sean Halsey and his two children, 29-year-old Justin Halsey, and 25-year-old Paige Halsey, who are from Bowdoinham.

    Paige Halsey is still in critical condition. Sean and his son Justin received non-life-threatening injuries.

    During this time searches were conducted between Mile Marker 17 South and the Southbound off ramp at Exit 15.  In these searches, 34-year-old Joseph Eaton of Bowdoin was detained in a wooded area near the Exit 15 Southbound off ramp at 10:50 a.m. The vehicle being operated by Joseph Eaton was removed from the scene to be processed at a secondary location with the other involved vehicles.

    Eaton was transported to Maine Medical Center where he was medically cleared and then transported to the Portland Police Department where an interview was conducted. 

    Eaton confessed to killing his parents and their friends in Bowdoin and believed that the vehicles he had shot on the interstate were police vehicles that were following him, the release said. Eaton was then transported to the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. He is being charged with four counts of murder and being held without bail. Further details of the interview will be released as this case proceeds in the court system. 

    Joseph Eaton was released from Windham Correctional Facility on April 14, 2023, after serving a sentence for Aggravated Assault.  Upon his release his mother Cynthia Eaton met him at the prison and brought him to Bowdoin to stay with family friends Patricia and Robert Eger. 

    If anyone has information regarding these incidents, please call the Augusta Regional Communications Center at 207.624.7076 Option number 9.

    Update 7:40 p.m.: Maine State Police have arrested and charged Joseph Eaton, 34, of Bowdoin, with the murder of the four victims located in an Augusta Road residence in Bowdoin this morning. Investigators will be working throughout the night processing multiple scenes and continuing to interview people involved with this incident, according to a news release from the Maine Dept. of Public Safety.

    Eaton was transported to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset and will make his initial appearance in court later this week. A press briefing will be held later in the day on April 19 to address the depth of the investigation, the release said.

    If anyone was involved or witnessed the incident in either location, please call the Augusta Regional Communications Center at 207.624.7076 Option number 9.

    The Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta will perform autopsies and formally identify the deceased as is standard procedure. Maine State Police will not confirm any identities until the OCME confirms and next of kin is notified. 

    Update (4:41 p.m.): As of 4:40 p.m., Interstate 295 is back open except for Exit 15 SB in Yarmouth, according to Shannon Moss, Public Information Officer, for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

    Initial press release (3:30 p.m.) Interstate 295 will remain shut down from Exit 17 in Yarmouth to Exit 15 in Yarmouth, according to Maine State Police, in an April 18, 3:30 p.m. news release. Traffic is being diverted off of the Interstate to allow the State Police to continue investigating a crime scenes.

    “This will take several hours,” said Shannon Moss, Public Information Officer, for the Maine Department of Public Safety. “It is highly recommended if the option exists to use the Turnpike as an alternate route of travel.” 

    Maine State Police are currently investigating several shootings that occurred in Bowdoin and Yarmouth on Tuesday morning, April 18, 2023. Both shootings are connected, according to MSP. Investigators are currently working these scenes and will result in the road closure of I-295 southbound at Mile Marker 20 in Freeport to the Exit 15 off-ramp in Yarmouth for an undetermined amount of time. A person of interest has been detained in this matter. Through investigation Law enforcement has determined there is no threat to the public at this time, said the release.

    As a result of the shootings, four people were found deceased inside a home on the Augusta Road in Bowdoin. A short time later at approximately 10:30 a.m., three people were shot while driving their vehicles southbound near Mile Marker 17 and Exit 15 in Yarmouth. The victims were transported to a local hospital with one person is in critical condition. The four deceased individuals in Bowdoin have been transported to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta where an autopsy will be performed to determined manner and cause of death.

    If anyone was involved or witnessed the incident in either location, please call the Augusta Regional Communications Center at 207.624.7076 Option number 9.