Waterville police identified the man found dead in a school bus Monday as Anthony Engelhardt, 24, of Naples. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The body found Monday in a school bus at Waterville Junior High School off West River Road was that of a Naples man who had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police announced Wednesday.

Anthony Engelhardt, 24, had no known connection to Waterville Public Schools and had driven to the area for reasons that remain unknown, Waterville police Chief William Bonney said Wednesday afternoon.

Engelhardt’s car was found abandoned on Interstate 95 near mile 125 and towed from the scene on Feb. 20, according to Bonney. Mile 125 is just north of Exit 124, for Trafton Road in Waterville. The distance from there to the junior high is about 3 miles.

While Engelhardt’s car was towed six days before his body was discovered in the bus, Bonney said police do not know how long the body had been there. Buses were not being used the week of Feb. 19, as it was school vacation. There had been no report issued of a missing person prior to the discovery of Engelhardt’s car, according to Bonney.

Police got a call around 4:30 a.m. Monday this week reporting someone was slumped over the steering wheel of a bus parked in the lot at the junior high school. Police responded to the scene and found the body. All Waterville Public Schools were closed Monday as a result of the discovery.

Detectives determined it was an isolated incident and there was no threat to the public.



The body was taken to the Maine Office of Chief Medical Examiner, which conducted an autopsy and determined Engelhardt died of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Asked if he had information as to why Engelhardt took his own life, Bonney said he did not.

Engelhardt attended Lake Region & Fryeburg Area Adult Education and was lauded as one of its successful students, according to a newsletter issued by the institution at the time. It said he dropped out of high school as a senior and after a couple of years, enrolled in adult education classes.

“He enrolled in our HiSET diploma equivalency program and worked hard with our academic instructors to prepare for exams,” the newsletter said. “He did more than pass the tests — he ended his high school career as an honor graduate, receiving college and career ready scores on all five HiSET exams. Those scores are quite an accomplishment as the HiSET is a rigorous set of five exams in reading, writing, math, social studies and science.”

Engelhardt then went on to work with the adult education program’s college, career and academic advisor and, at graduation, was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Rotary Club of Bridgton-Lake Region. He later enrolled in Southern Maine Community College, pursuing a major in cybersecurity.


Waterville Schools Superintendent Peter Hallen, who went to the scene of the body discovery at the junior high, said in a phone interview Wednesday that he is not sure how the man got into the bus.

“I don’t know if the bus was locked or if they broke in — I didn’t get that close to see,” he said. “As far as I know, we haven’t had any issues before with anyone breaking in, or vandalism, or anything like that.”

When not in use, the buses are parked at the junior high school, according to Hallen.

He said a bus driver shows up early each day to start the buses when it is cold outside and that driver on Monday discovered the person slumped over the wheel. “He was going through the buses and he noticed that the doors were open on one of them,” Hallen said.

Hallen said buses have sliding locks on their emergency doors in the back, and at the front of the buses there are two doors that flip open and there are locks on those doors, so one would have to break in to get inside.

He said the bus the body was found in was towed from the property so people would not have to view it.

On Tuesday, Hallen met with bus drivers before they went off on their runs. Later in the day, he said people in the school community had rallied around to support each other after hearing about Monday’s discovery.

“I saw what I’ve come to expect from our staff and what I will never take for granted,” Hallen said. “They were there, ready to take care of each other so that we could do our best for students.”

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