No one was inside the St. Francis Elementary School on Monday. Students, teachers, and staff were all sent to Fort Kent Elementary School, as their bus driver and head custodian is wanted in connection with a shooting death of his girlfriend over the weekend.
SAD 27 Superintendent Tim Doak said, “with the increase of police presence, and the exposure of law enforcement in the area, and the exposure of guns, the loud sirens, the helicopters in the area, we thought it’d be best for the emotional safety of the kids and overall health we thought it would be better if we brought them to Fort Kent. There’s fear, and alleviating some of that is the best thing we can do.”
Lieutenant John Cote with the Maine State Police said the St. Francis school was searched on Saturday.
“Only because of the connection between the suspect and the school as an employee there, so we wanted to eliminate that as a place where he might be concealing,” said Cote.
Doak says about 28 students currently go to the St. Francis Elementary school..he says SAD 27 officials spent Sunday afternoon contacting parents of those students — who were happy to know their kids will be in good hands until police find 38-year-old Jesse Marquis..who police suspect shot and killed 31 year old Amy Theriault.
“With the understanding that Mr. Jesse is still out there, it’s a relief to know our kdis in Fort Kent where they are safer and where he doesn’t have access,” said parent Carrie Jandreau.
Over the phone, SAD 27 board member and St. Francis resident Keith Jandreau told NewsSource 8 his concern is that Marquis may still have the key to the building. Carrie Jandreau says the community is still in shock – no one ever suspected Marquis to do something like this. She had a conversation with her 1st grader, who used to look up to Marquis.
“He’s hurt by it. Ya know because it’s a trusted adult..it hurts them. And their trust is broken with a person like that. He was a little worried that he would drive the bus again but we promised him that wouldn’t happen,” said Carrie Jandreau.
Though police won’t release details, Marquis had a mugshot before this incident. Doak says he wasn’t superintendent when he was hired, but he says all employees go through a background check.
“This is somewhat of a surprise to all of us and we feel saddened for all the families that were involved on both sides and hopefully this situation will come to an end,” said Doak.