SKOWHEGAN — State police detectives and game wardens with tracking dogs fanned out Tuesday into the woods and hay fields along Route 150 in Skowhegan, searching for clues in the 6-month-old disappearance of a Skowhegan woman.

The renewed search efforts came as officials said the state police Major Crimes Unit and the Maine Warden Service now are assisting in the search for 40-year-old Tina Stadig, an indication that authorities think the case may involve suspicious circumstances.

Lt. Jeffrey Love, head of the Major Crimes Unit, said detectives were there with Skowhegan police and game wardens, working on the missing-person case.

“Investigators, detectives have been trying to retrace her footsteps,” Love said at the scene. “A certain amount of time has gone by, so you have to go back to the beginning of this and where she was last and then work from there. We’re looking for clues, any signs of anything that may tell us where she may be.”

Stadig reportedly was seen July 10 at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter by a case manager at the shelter and might be using the name of her sister, Tammy, or Jen, a fake name, Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam said in July.

Now, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, the state police and game wardens have taken on the case. McCausland did not say immediately why those agencies are involved, but the Major Crimes Unit is routinely called upon in cases involving suspicious deaths or disappearances.

State police detectives and members of the Major Crime Unit’s evidence response team, along with game wardens were searching the area of a home along Route 150 in Skowhegan and an adjacent 3-to-5-acre wooded area, McCausland said in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Three police tracking dogs also are involved in the search. The home is occupied by a man who was a friend of Stadig, and she occasionally stayed there, McCausland said.

Tina’s sister, Tonia Stadig, said in a message Tuesday to the Morning Sentinel that she knows who lives at the home where police were searching and she suspects the man who lives there might have had something to do with her sister’s disappearance.

“He lives out in the woods you can’t see his house or his junk yard from the road,” Tonia Stadig said in the message.

A small, vacant house with missing doors and windows and a yard full of junk are visible from the roadside, with the primary residence farther back along a dirt driveway, which in recent months was barricaded with lengths of sticks and small trees. Earlier, there also was a hand-scrawled sign warning passers-by that the resident was “the guy with the pit bulls.” The sign was gone on Tuesday. A fallen “No Trespassing” sign lay by the side of the driveway.

The property is about 2.5 miles north of downtown Skowhegan on Route 150, which leads to Cornville and Athens, near Hilton Hill, a small stream and the Cornville town line.

A woman who lives next door and said she was the mother of the man who lives there, drove up to reporters, crying and saying “they don’t need to be doing this.” The woman declined to give her name or her son’s name and did not want to be photographed or interviewed.

Love said Stadig has not been heard from in almost six months and there are a lot of unanswered questions. Family members and friends have said that Stadig has not tapped into her benefits programs in several weeks.

“We’re hoping for the best,” he said.

Love said the Route 150 property and the adjoining woods are one of several locations where police are searching for Stadig. He said many items have been found during the search and detectives will have to determine if those items are related to Stadig and the investigation.

Love said the search in Skowhegan would continue into the evening Tuesday and that more searches were planned. He said everyone who has been interviewed as part of the investigation has been cooperative.

The last known sighting of Stadig was on May 28 in Skowhegan. Stadig is 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs about 140 pounds and has brown hair and hazel eyes. Anyone with information on her is asked to call either Skowhegan Police at 474-6908, or state police in Augusta at 624-7076.

Stadig was seen last by law enforcement on May 25. Her friends and family last saw her on May 28.

Donna Almeida said in a Facebook message to the newspaper that Tina Stadig is her daughter and that she suffers from mental illness.

“We are really worried about her because she has severe mental illness and has been thinking there are people out to kill her,” Almeida wrote in July. “She does have warrants for her and I know the cops are thinking she’s probably just hiding out, but we do not believe that. She has not called any of her family members or her friend that she lived with since June.”

Almeida did not reply immediately Tuesday to messages seeking further comment.

Police have said Stadig might be carrying a backpack and a trash bag containing her belongings. She could be in the areas of Skowhegan, Waterville or Bangor, police say.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]



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