DETROIT – State police Friday identified a man found dead in his home early Thursday as 47-year-old Ricky Cole, and authorities still considered the death suspicious.
Cole had lived in a mobile home at 24 Main St. for about a year and lived elsewhere in the area before that, according to a news release from Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.
Cole’s mother, who lives in New Hampshire, was notified of her son’s death overnight Thursday, according to the release. A team of detectives continued to gather evidence and conduct interviews Friday.
Police said Cole’s death remained suspicious, but released no further details. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Friday at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta, but a woman who answered the phone there at 4 p.m. Friday said Cole’s cause of death would not be available.
According to Somerset County Jail records, Cole was booked on June 24 on a warrant for failure to appear in court on a charge of criminal threatening.
The criminal threatening charge was filed in connection with an incident May 4 at the Pittsfield Motor Inn, according to Skowhegan District Court records. No additional details about what happened there were available in court documents, but a Pittsfield Motor Inn employee who would not identify himself said today that Cole had stayed at the motel and, after he checked out, called to say he had burned cigarette holes in items inside his room and disposed of those items.
The employee said he did not believe Cole threw the items away, but believed he took them. The employee said Cole told him if he made a big deal out of the issue, Cole would come and shoot him.
Cole pleaded guilty to the threatening charge and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with all but 48 hours suspended, and one year of probation, according to court records.
In Detroit Friday, at least one diver searched a pond in a swampy area near the mobile home where Cole was living. More than a half-dozen state police cars were parked in the long, muddy driveway leading to the mobile home and the state police Major Crimes Unit was on scene with its vehicles.
State police Lt. Christopher Coleman declined to comment on the case at the scene.
A two-bay garage separates the mobile home from another mobile home. A sign hangs over the garage doors that reads Whetstone Pond, with an arrow pointing to the mobile home Cole lived in.
An employee at The Maine Store nearby declined to comment, saying she knew Cole only as a store customer. Some people in town would talk about the case only off the record, while others had nothing to say.
About a mile from the crime scene, across the Detroit line in Palmyra, a state trooper appeared to be monitoring a mobile home on Hurd’s Corner Road, a dead-end street. It was not clear how that site was related to the Cole case.
Somerset County sheriff’s deputies and Pittsfield police officers were called to the Detroit home just after 3 a.m. Thursday for a report of a man who was dead in his home.
Somerset County Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Carl Gottardi said when investigators from the department arrived they found Cole’s body and called state police, which handles most homicides in Maine. The state police Major Crimes Unit arrived and processed the scene, and the body was removed from the home about 10 a.m. Thursday, police said.
Later, a member of the State Police Evidence Response Team was seen leaving a mobile home on remote Dogtown Road in neighboring Palmyra carrying paper shopping bags marked as evidence. A state police detective could been seen speaking with a man in his police cruiser at the end of the mobile home driveway.
Police said the activity in Palmyra was related to the Detroit death, but would not comment further.
Amy Calder — 861-9247