People who knew Evaristo Deus were stunned to hear that he is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend by driving his SUV into her from behind as she walked home from adult education classes where she was working to improve her English.

They also were startled to learn he had been plucked from a jet Wednesday morning at New York’s JFK International Airport just 10 minutes before it was due to take off for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He now faces a charge of murdering Laudrinha Kubeloso, 32, who had been his fiancee. Both are recent immigrants from Angola.

“It doesn’t make sense. He was a very nice man. He went to church,” said Rose Henry, who lives in the same building where Deus has lived for about four months. She described him as very neat and said he was happy about recently getting a job at Wal-Mart. “It’s a shock to us all,” Henry said.

Not everyone saw Deus in such a positive light. Pastor Jean Pierre Tschamala did not think he was a good match for Kubeloso.

“I personally did not appreciate the idea (of their relationship),” said Tschamala, senior pastor and founder of the Church of All Nations in Auburn. Kubeloso had been attending church every Sunday and Thursday. Deus’ attendance was spotty and people who knew him from Angola doubted he was sincere.

“When two people love each other it’s very difficult to intervene. … The guy decided to take Laudrinha out of the church,” Tschamala said.

Deus and Kubeloso became engaged, but their relationship deteriorated. After Kubeloso’s death, Tschamala learned from people in the community that Kubeloso caught Deus having a relationship with another woman and that Deus had threatened to kill her after she called off the wedding.

“She told Evaristo, ‘I’m not going to marry you.’ They heard Evaristo threatening her: ‘I’m going to kill you one day,’ ” Tschamala said.

Kubeloso and her fetus died at the hospital Tuesday night, four hours after the hit-and-run. Tschamala said he didn’t think Kubeloso has any family members in Maine.

On Wednesday, friends mourned the loss of a cheerful and hard-working woman who was eager to volunteer to help others and was working to improve herself.

“We all loved her. She brightened our place up,” said Jan Wilson, director of Hope House, a community support organization that works with many immigrant women. “It’s amazing somebody who was here such a short time would impact so many people.”

Fellow volunteer Sally Knight said she only learned about Kubeloso’s pregnancy about two weeks ago, adding that Kubeloso did not talk about it much. She also did not speak about her relationship with Deus. Authorities haven’t yet determined whether Deus was the father.

SHOP OWNER ‘HEARD A BAD THUD’

Kubeloso was volunteering at the Trinity Church soup kitchen Tuesday morning before she left around noon for the adult education center in the basement of Longley Elementary School.

Kubeloso left class at about 4:40 p.m. and was walking up Howe Street when she was hit. She apparently was walking in the right lane, which is not paved because of ongoing roadwork. It’s not clear why she was not on the sidewalk.

Gary Deschambeault was working inside his shop about 100 yards from the intersection of Howe and Birch streets when he heard a loud and unsettling noise.

“I heard a bad thud,” he said. At first he thought Kubeloso had fallen. But as he caught sight of a blue car speeding up the hill, he realized she had been badly injured. He called 911.

It’s not clear how fast the car was going, but the force of the crash dislodged clothing and ripped hair from her head. Her backpack and cellphone were strewn on the ground. Deschambeault found one of her rings 40 feet away.

“I’m just kind of horrified, actually,” he said. “Everybody has their ups and downs but nobody deserves to be treated that way.”

Police arrived and after looking through her cellphone, quickly left in the same direction the blue car had driven, Deschambeault said.

Soon after the hit-and-run, local and state police began searching for Deus, who owns a blue 2001 Suzuki SUV. Police issued an alert for other departments to be on the lookout for the vehicle and provided the license plate number. State police alerted the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, in part because they feared Deus might try to leave the country. A warrant for his detention as a suspect in the case was issued through the National Crime Information Center.

Just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, officers with the Port Authority Police boarded a Haiti-bound jet and removed Deus. He was being held until Maine detectives could go to New York to interview him.

Police said they plan to charge him with murder. He is likely to face an extradition hearing unless he waives his right to one and returns to Maine. Deus has no criminal record, according to the State Bureau of Identification.

A short while after the arrest, security officers at the University of New England’s Portland campus, which is located a little more than two miles from the city’s bus station, found Deus’ SUV in a parking lot. They suspected something was wrong because it was missing its license plates.

SUSPECT ‘CHARMED’ HIS NEIGHBORS

Wilson, the Hope House director, met Deus a couple of months ago, when Kubeloso stopped in one night to offer to help. She introduced him as her friend.

“He charmed us. He seemed really nice,” Wilson said. “I wish I had tuned in a little more.”

Deus’ apartment at 37 Union St. is about a block away from where Kubeloso lived.

Bobbi Anctil lives across the hall from Deus’ apartment, where a state trooper stood guard Wednesday outside his door. She said Deus could often be heard singing along with gospel music in his apartment. Others said he would regularly get picked up in a van to be taken to church.

Constance Madeda, another building resident, said Deus would go to church, then not attend for a while, and then come back.

Tschamala said he and his wife came to know Kubeloso through her church attendance, where she sang in the choir.

Deus also was introduced to the church when he arrived in Lewiston earlier this year, but stopped coming. After he proposed to Kubeloso, they both stopped coming.

“People thought maybe he wasn’t sincere,” Tschamala said. “They thought maybe the guy is just a playful boy. He wanted just to destroy her life by cheating.”

Kubeloso often staffed the front desk at Hope House. She recently applied for many jobs, and several employers had called the neighborhood service organization for a reference, Wilson said.

Hope House was started in 1986 as a home for teen mothers and has grown to offer a number of services to women in the neighborhood, including access to a community garden in Mechanic Falls, where Kubeloso had recently collected a harvest of corn.

The center also now does outreach around domestic violence.

Kubeloso’s death “hits home because so many of these women suffer through unsafe situations,” Wilson said. “Their community had to go through so much, and to have it happen when she was just rebuilding her life … it breaks my heart.”

Kubeloso came from Angola, in southern Africa, about a year ago. Her friends say they do not know specifically what drove her to leave.

Both Deus and Kubeloso were seeking asylum.

Relatively few people from Angola have settled in Maine. Portland’s Refugee Services Program and Catholic Charities Maine Refugee and Immigration Services reported that in fiscal year 2013, the programs served 79 people from Angola. The most common country of origin was Iraq, followed by three central African countries.

SafeVoices, which works to end domestic violence in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, can be reached at (800) 559-2927.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @Mainehenchman

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.