Since police charged 17-year-old Andrew Balcer with the murders of his parents Monday, those who loved Alice and Antonio Balcer continue to express shock and sadness at the Winthrop tragedy.

Alice and Antonio, who were both 47, met each other while serving together in the Coast Guard. They got married, eventually had two boys and bought a home 16 years ago on quiet Pine Knoll Road in Winthrop.

“It is a complete tragedy to know something like this could have happened,” Antonio’s mother, Christine Doval, of Fairbanks, Alaska, said Wednesday. “It’s very difficult. They were a wonderful family. They were good people.”

The Balcers lived at 10 Pine Knoll Road, a white ranch-style house in a quiet, wooded neighborhood that runs parallel to U.S. Route 202. Police were called there shortly before 2 a.m. Monday and found the parents dead in the home. Andrew Balcer has an older brother in his 20s, and both of them were at home when police arrived.

For the last two days, coroners at the state medical examiner’s office have been performing autopsies on the bodies of Antonio and Alice, said Mark Belserene, an administrator in the office. But the agency did not release information about the autopsies Wednesday.

After characterizing the deaths as “highly suspicious” on Monday morning, police said later that day that they had charged a teenage boy with two counts of homicide. Andrew Balcer’s defense attorney, Walter McKee, confirmed that 17-year-old Andrew, a Winthrop High School senior, was charged with the murders.


On Tuesday afternoon, Andrew made his first court appearance at the Capital Judicial Center. During that appearance, a judge ordered that the probable cause affidavit detailing police findings in the case — including how Antonio or Alice Balcer might have been killed — be sealed from public viewing.

A judge also has ordered that Andrew undergo a psychological evaluation. The prosecution has requested a hearing that would allow Andrew, who turns 18 next month, to be tried as an adult on two counts of knowing or intentional murder.

The news shocked many in the Winthrop area. Andrew was smart, pleasant and close with his family, according to several Winthrop area residents.

“He always seemed like a normal, happy kid,” said Doval, his grandmother, who visited her son’s family every couple of summers and stayed in touch with them on social media. “There was nothing that would have led anyone to think this could happen.”

Doval described her son, Antonio, as “a wonderful person” and “a pillar in his community” and her daughter-in-law, Alice, as someone “with a great love for animals.”

Antonio belonged to the Exiles Motorcycle Club, which has a clubhouse in Pittston, and also was a devout Christian whose nickname was “Rev.”


Antonio was “a great father, the kind of guy you could always turn to,” Dustin Nadeau, an Exiles Motorcycle Club member, said Monday, while Alice “was a huge-hearted person … one of the best people you could know.”

In recent years, Alice, who went by Ali, was committed to helping stray and domestic animals. She worked at both Winthrop Veterinary Hospital and the Kennebec Valley Humane Society, which on Tuesday posted a remembrance on its Facebook page.

“Yesterday we lost a valued and beloved former staff member, volunteer, committee member, friend, and tireless advocate to animals in our community,” the organization wrote. “Ali spent more than a decade working with animals and inspired those around her to always do their absolute best. She was a mentor and friend to our staff and volunteers. Her passion, dedication, and laugh will be sincerely missed.”

Several animal lovers responded with their own comments thanking Alice and offering their sympathies.

One wrote, “So sad when ‘we’ (us and our furry friends) lose a true animal advocate and defender of our four legged friends!! This world needs more people like Ali!! Deepest sympathies to her family and close friends!!”

The Balcer family owned several animals that were removed from their home this week as part of the murder investigation, but it was unclear where they are being housed. On Wednesday morning, Hillary Roberts, executive director of Kennebec Valley Humane Society, said the pets were not taken to the humane society.


Another person who shared his sympathies with the Balcer family was Steve Lindsey, a Coast Guard veteran who served alongside Antonio on two icebreaker vessels in the late 1980s. Lindsey learned of Antonio’s death after stumbling onto an online news story this week, then proceeded to write a remembrance in the comments section.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Lindsey, who is 56 and lives in Keene, New Hampshire, said he hasn’t spoken with Antonio Balcer in more than 25 years. But he remembered Balcer as someone who listened to punk rock and Metallica and seemed at odds with the culture of the uniformed service, yet still managed to be a leader while serving.

“He was a rock,” Lindsey said. “He was unflappable. I wasn’t close with him, but I admired him.”

Lindsay recalled one trip he and Antonio made together in which their World War II-era vessel hit a great storm and salt water leaked through the deck and into their bunks.

The crew was miserable, Lindsay said, but “Tony’s undaunted spirit carried him and everyone through seven months at sea.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: