BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Maine man charged with killing his girlfriend and her two young children told investigators he chased down and strangled the 10-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl because they had seen their mother's death, according to court records released Monday.
The details are contained in an affidavit about the case against Keith Coleman, who faces three counts of murder in the deaths of Christina Sargent, 36; Duwayne Coke, 10 and Destiny Sargent, 8. Coleman, 27, was ordered held without bail during an appearance in Bangor.
Investigators said the three bodies were found Saturday in the mobile home Coleman shared with the victims in Garland.
A state medical examiner's autopsy of the mother and children found all three were killed by "ligature strangulation," said Timothy Feeley, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.
"Two of the deaths involved other forms of asphyxia as well," Feeley said.
Court-appointed attorney Martha Harris represented Coleman during his appearance. She did not return messages seeking comment.
The affidavit said Andra Medina, an occasional resident of the mobile home and an aunt of Sargent, "had concerns about domestic violence problems" involving the couple. Medina asked a cousin to check on Sargent after she was unable to contact her on Saturday, and the cousin and others found the bodies of Sargent and Destiny before calling 911.
According to the affidavit, Coleman told police he fled in a van to a friend's home after killing Sargent and the two children. The affidavit said troopers found Sargent displaying "obvious indicators of strangulation," Duwayne with a USB cord wrapped around his neck, and Destiny with a cord around her neck and a plastic bag stuffed in her mouth.
The children attended Ridge View Community School in Dexter, where Duwayne attended fourth grade and Destiny attended third, according to district Superintendent Kevin Jordan. He described the children as typical grade-schoolers who were "happy to come to school, happy to be here."
The district will have social workers available on Tuesday and counselling available when students return from break on Jan. 5.
"It's unbelievable," Jordan said. "I wonder where we've come to in this world when things like this happen."