OLD TOWN, Maine — Grief counselors were sent to Old Town High School on Tuesday morning after police found a body believed to be that of missing Glenburn teen Nichole Cable on Monday night.
Residents in Orono and Old Town reacted with shock and sadness after hearing about the discovery of the body and the arrest of Kyle Dube of Orono, who was charged with murder in her death.
RSU 34 Superintendent David Walker described Cable, a sophomore at Old Town High, as a “bright, charming, friendly and engaging young lady.”
“When notified early this morning of the discovery of a body here in Old Town, we activated an all too familiar protocol which provides for the care and support of our students and staff in response to such a tragedy,” Walker said on Tuesday. “Guidance staff from all schools within the RSU were on hand at Old Town High School to respond to student and staff needs. We are grateful for the support and offers of additional staff support from surrounding school systems.”
Riverside RSU 26 Superintendent Doug Smith said schools in Glenburn, Veazie and Orono also have crisis teams at their schools. Cable has two half-sisters attending RSU 26 schools.
The counselors will stay as long as needed, Smith said.
Cable, 15, came to Glenburn School in eighth grade, said Smith. She transferred to Old Town High School partway through her freshman year and was a sophomore this year, said Walker.
The Store Ampersand owner Robert Bradson said the Orono business’s customers had been talking about the case all day.
“Everybody who’s come in here has mentioned it and talked about it,” she said. “Half the people already know about it. Half the people want to know about it. Everybody coming in here is really dazed by it all. Just shocked. But there’s a sense of relief too [because the person believed to have killed her was arrested].”
“It’s too bad they found the girl too late,” said Zac LaBree, who works at Birmingham’s Family Market in Old Town and also coaches track at Old Town High School. “It’s crazy to think that 4 miles away somebody had been killed that’s under the age of 18. It’s just not right.”
“It’s devastating. It’s hard to believe with it being so close to home,” said Darryl Ogden, co-owner of Johnny’s Restaurant and Pizza in Old Town.
Jessi Sader of Orono said she was also in disbelief because it happened so close to home.
“I’ve been crying about it for a week,” she said. “It will always be hard when it’s right in your backyard.”
LaBree said people had been coming into the store and discussing Cable for the past week, but on Tuesday, people were hanging their heads knowing that a body had been found and it was believed to be Cable’s.
“Obviously your heart is just aching for the parents,” said Corina Larsen, owner of Gossamer Press in Old Town. Larsen said she donated 1,000 fliers last week in an effort to help find Cable.
There are no plans at this point for any special activities at Old Town High School regarding Cable, said Walker. Old Town High School baseball and softball games on Tuesday were postponed, as was a band concert.
Walker said several students, including those who were close to Cable, received counseling in the high school library on Tuesday.
“We [are also providing] an opportunity to write memories [of Cable],” said Walker. “What we will do is gather those memories together in a book and we’ll present that to the family at some point.”
Larsen said she was encouraged to see the rallying of support in helping to find Cable, including hundreds turning out over the weekend to search fields and woods.
“I think [that] speaks to Old Town and the kind of community we have here,” said Larsen. ”Which is probably why it’s a little bit harder for us. We’re a close-knit community and when something like this happens, everybody feels it.”
Students at the high school were supportive of each other on Tuesday, Walker said.
“[Students’ reactions have been] very subdued. I think anytime you lose a friend or classmate, it gives you pause to think about your own mortality. And at 15 years old, it’s not a great thought,” said Walker.
Old Town High School has had its share of tragedies, he said, including a car crash that claimed the life of Cody Hamm of Alton in 2010.
“Unfortunately, all too often in my career, I’ve dealt with the loss of students for various tragic reasons,” he said. “I think anyone who’s a parent thinks about their own children. In my case, my children and my grandchildren, and my heart goes out to that family today. High school students don’t like it when I refer to them as children, but they are our children. When we lose one of our children … there’s a sense of grief.”
Walker said the crisis response team will be at the school for as long as it’s needed, but said many students will need a return to normalcy as soon as possible.
“My experience has been for many students there is some need to return to normal as soon as they can,” he said. “They find school becomes a place where things go on and our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family. We have to remember the school of 500 students. For some of those students there needs to be a return of a normal place to go.”