Thursday, 4:30 PM
Maine police investigate an apparent quadruple homicide
(AP Photo/Oxford County Jail)
Christian C. Nielsen, 31, faces four counts of murder.
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Police today are unraveling a murder spree in Western Maine that appears to have begun with the murder of a man on Friday and claimed the lives of a three women – including a mother and daughter – at a bed and breakfast over Labor Day weekend as authorities say the killer tried to cover up his first crime.
The mother and daughter and the body of another woman were discovered Monday at the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast in Newry, about 70 miles west of Augusta in a popular ski region along the New Hampshire border. Investigators discovered what is believed to be the body of the male victim in a wooded area 10 to 15 miles north in Upton.
Christian C. Nielsen, 31, has been charged with four counts of murder. He was taken into custody Monday night after police received a 911 call from the bed and breakfast at about 5:30, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Nielsen lived in a converted farmhouse behind the bed and breakfast and has been blamed for the deaths of his landlady, her daughter, a friend of her daughter and a 50-year-old man. Officials are still piecing together the details from the bloody weekend and plan to hold a press conference this afternoon at the Newry Fire Department.
On Friday, prosecutors allege that Nielsen killed a man named James Whitehurst, 50, according to William Stokes, chief of the criminal division of the Maine attorney general's office.
Investigators would not discuss what they believe motivated Nielsen to kill Whitehurst. His body was the last to be found when investigators discovered it late Monday in woods in Upton, north of Grafton Notch State Park.
"Teams are gong in this morning to hopefully excavate the remains," state Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland, declining to give more specifics.
Nielsen, who had worked as a cook at the Sudbury Inn in nearby Bethel, had been staying at the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast owned by Julie Bullard, 65, according to Stokes and police. As suspicion mounted about the disappearance of Whitehurst, Nielsen continued killing to eliminate witnesses, Stokes said.
On Sunday, prosecutors allege that Nielsen killed Bullard at the her bed and breakfast. Her disappearance aroused more suspicion and on Monday the slayings continued, Stokes said.
Prosecutors allege that when Bullard’s daughter, Selby Bullard, 30, and a friend, Cynthia Beatson, 43, came to check on Bullard on Monday, Nielsen killed them too, Stokes said. Investigators declined to say how prosecutors allege that Nielsen killed his victims.
Nielsen was taken into custody Monday night after police found the women’s bodies at the bed and breakfast. He is being held in the Oxford County Jail.
Nancy White, the co-owner of the Sudbury Inn, told the Associated Press that Nielsen had been hired as a cook this summer.
"This is a surprise to me," White said. "He's a reliable, soft-spoken employee who has cooked with us since late June."