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  • Bangor Daily News

    Parents of missing Washburn man upset police didn’t tell them a body was found

    By Michael J. Dowd,


    The parents of a missing Washburn man criticized police for not informing them about the discovery of a dead body in Caribou.

    The deceased male was discovered at around 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Maine State Police press release. The body was taken to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy and positive identification, but authorities have not yet publicly identified the body.

    Erik Foote, 39, was last seen in Presque Isle near a convenience store on Jan. 30. His disappearance and the subsequent search for him have rocked Washburn, a town of about 1,500 people in Aroostook County.

    His parents, Allan and Brenda Foote of Washburn, said Tuesday evening that they learned about the discovery of the body through a news report. They said they had not been contacted by police.

    “There’s only one man missing in Aroostook County, and that’s our son,” said Allan Foote.

    The Footes said they are upset with police for not contacting them about the discovery of the body.

    “We are suffering and no one had the decency to let us know what happened,” Brenda Foote said. “They haven’t contacted us. They could have, as a courtesy, said we found a body and even though we haven’t identified him, we don’t want you to get upset [by media reports].”

    Maine State Police Public Information Officer Shannon Moss said it is protocol not to say anything to a family in the case of a dead body being discovered until a positive identification is made.

    “Once a positive ID is made, we would do a formal next of kin notification,” Moss said.

    The Footes were also critical of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office for its handling of the search for their son.

    “The Sheriff’s Department has had no communication or very poor communication with us over the 84 days he’s been missing,” Brenda Foote said.

    A dispatcher for the Aroostook Sheriff’s Office referred all inquiries about the case to the state police.

    A former Washburn police officer was arrested on March 29 in connection with the search for Foote on charges of falsifying records. Chandler Cole, 54, was still with the department when he encountered Erik Foote and was the last to see him, according to court records.

    While Cole’s police reports said he had dropped Foote at Freshies, he told Allan Foote he had dropped his son off at A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital in Presque Isle, court records state.

    Cole then allegedly altered his police reports to indicate he had taken Foote to the hospital.

    Cole remains free on $2,500 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Maine District Court in Presque Isle on May 8.

    Assistant editor Paula Brewer contributed to this story.

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