GARDINER — Authorities identified a 34-year-old from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, as the man who shot and killed himself during a traffic stop Thursday evening, but they have not identified the woman whose body was found in the trunk of the car he was driving.

A Maine State Police spokesman said the man who killed himself was Gyrth Rutan, but said the unidentified woman did not die in Maine and that the investigation of the deaths now would be handled instead by the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

Worcester County District Attorney spokesperson Lindsay Corcoran said late Friday that the woman’s death is being investigated as a homicide, but she had no further details about her and Rutan’s relationship, or a motive for the killing.

“Our role (in that investigation) is fading out,” Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a Friday evening phone call. “We will share information with our counterparts in Massachusetts.”

Rutan does not have a criminal record in Maine or Massachusetts, according to statewide public records searches conducted Friday by the Kennebec Journal.

A blue Subaru with Massachusetts license plates that Rutan was driving was pursued by police Thursday afternoon after they received a report of erratic driving on Interstate 295. Police pulled Rutan over at 4:45 p.m. on Timberwood Drive, a residential development in Gardiner, according to Maine State Police.


“The trooper reported that Rutan got out of his car armed with a shotgun and turned the gun on himself,” McCausland said in the Friday release.

Gyrth Rutan, 34, of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, appears in an undated photo on his Facebook page, which Maine State Police referenced Friday in identifying him as the man who shot and killed himself during a traffic stop in Gardiner. Police investigating at the scene then found a woman’s body in the car’s trunk. Rutan’s Facebook page says he previously worked for the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department.

A woman’s body was found in the car’s trunk as police investigated at the scene.

McCausland said an autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office confirmed that Rutan had died by suicide from “a shotgun wound to the head.”

A state police tow truck took the Subaru away from the scene shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday. The Gardiner Fire Department arrived around 9 p.m. to clean up the scene. McCausland said there was no threat to the public after the incident.

A red streak still could be seen on the road Friday morning at 46 Timberwood Drive, a short distance down the road from where police had blocked the road Thursday.

McCausland said it was unclear why Rutan drove to Maine but said his Facebook page “indicates that he grew up in Brewer.” That Facebook page lists him as a former employee of Bangor’s Parks and Recreation Department, where officials could not be reached for comment Friday evening. A Connecticut-based labor union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Missouri-based Par Electrical Contractors, with branches in Massachusetts, also are listed as employers.


The page said he attended both Brewer and Hermon high schools and was living in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts authorities gather Friday outside the apartment building in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, where Gyrth Rutan lived. Maine authorities said Rutan shot and killed himself Thursday evening after his vehicle was pulled over in a traffic stop in Gardiner, and that a woman’s body was found in the car’s trunk.

A public records database report associated Rutan’s name with six addresses: one in each Bangor, Holden, Brewer, and Sturbridge, Massachusetts; and two in Dedham, Massachusetts.

On Friday afternoon, Massachusetts State Police troopers and homicide detectives could be seen searching for evidence at an apartment building in Sturbridge, where Rutan lived, according to TV news reporter Steve Cooper for 7NEWS in Boston.

“It is a shock,” Ron Renaud, a neighbor to the Fairview Park Road building, said Friday to the TV news reporter. “It’s a real good neighborhood. There are never any issues here.”

Staff writer Charlie Eichacker contributed to this report.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

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Twitter: @SamShepME

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