The Portland Press Herald

A musician from Freeport whose disappearance from an outdoor party in Howland last weekend prompted a two-day search died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Thursday.

Police believe that Dean Levasseur, 24, died about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, shortly after he sent a text message to a friend. They did not disclose the message’s content.

Police say they recovered a .380 semiautomatic pistol that Levasseur had bought earlier this month from a gun shop in Brunswick.

News that Levasseur committed suicide was a blow to his friends, who learned of his death Wednesday, after his body was found near the site of the party. More than 100 planned to attend a vigil for the Caribou High School graduate Thursday night at the park near the Caribou Recreation Center.

Facebook pages that were used to organize volunteers to search for Levasseur after he was reported missing became memorials to a lost friend.

“You were loved, didn’t you know that?” read one post. “You saved my life. I could talk to you. I would have saved yours if only I knew.”

“That is just crazy,” read another. “Poor Dean must have been going through a really rough time that no one knew about.”

Deanna Jordan, a close friend of Levasseur’s sister Deidra, said he was part of a circle of friends who grew up and attended high school together.

“It’s a small community and everyone pretty much knows everyone else,” Jordan said. “If something bad happens to somebody you went to school with, you feel for them and you want to support them and be there for them in any way you can.”

Although she hadn’t seen him recently, Jordan said Levasseur was usually happy and fun to be around.

Jordan knew Levasseur from the time he was a child annoying his big sister. Over the years, she visited the family’s home often. She said dinnertime gatherings showed they were a close-knit group.

“They always kind of teased each other and poked fun at each other. You could see they were a very caring family and had a lot of fun together,” she said.

Levasseur, originally from Caribou, lived with his mother in Freeport recently. After studying audio engineering at the New England School of Communications in Bangor, he attended Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

Levasseur was scheduled to play with his band, Roots, Rhythm & Dub, at 11 p.m. Saturday at Chickenfest, a party organized at a different location each year by University of Maine students.

Between 200 and 400 people gathered on a remote parcel of paper company land in Howland, north of Bangor, mostly dense woods with a small clearing for the bandstand and the crowd.

Levasseur was last seen about 10:30 p.m. near the stage. He didn’t appear for the show and didn’t respond to announcements over the public address system summoning him.

After an extensive search Tuesday involving scores of friends and others, a state police canine found Levasseur’s body Wednesday morning about a quarter-mile from the stage.

Police estimate he shot himself in the head at 1:30 a.m. He sent the text shortly after 1 a.m., said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state police.

“It was to a girlfriend. There were some troubling aspects to it but no specifics about what he planned to do,” McCausland said. Levasseur left no note.

The state medical examiner determined how Levasseur died after conducting an autopsy Thursday.

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