HOULTON, Maine — Christopher Roof, who was identified earlier this fall as the man whose body was found 10 years ago in the Stacyville woods, spent parts of his childhood in Maine while living with his mother Marcia Moore.
Maine State Police identified Roof, a teacher from Concord, Massachusetts, after a former student recognized the description of the body’s clothes when she heard it on a podcast discussing the case. The manner of Roof’s death strongly resembles that of his mother, whose remains were found in the woods near her home in 1979 in Washington state after she had been missing for two years.
A new book reveals more about the family’s connection to Maine. “Dematerialized: The Mysterious Disappearance of Marcia Moore” looks further into the circumstances of Moore’s death, but also gives glimpses into Roof’s childhood during his mother’s marriage to Simon Roof.
The book describes Moore’s son as the “most sensitive and closest to his mother” out of all her children, and he was nicknamed “Chrishna,” a reference to the Hindu god Krishna. He seemed to have followed his mother in some of her alternative lifestyle, practicing vegetarianism and spent time living in an ashram, a type of monastery originating from the Indian subcontinent.
“He was pretty deeply affected by the Vietnam War era and what was happening,” said Joseph DiSomma, who co-wrote the book with his wife, Marina.”He never really wanted to be in just a regular 9-to-5 jobs kind of thing.”
Roof would go on to graduate summa cum laude from Emerson College in Boston with a degree in English, and wrote children’s books and poetry while also working as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. It would eventually be one of his former students who identified his remains, which finally allowed the Maine State Police to solve the case.
Some the books Roof wrote were poetry for children and adults, with titles like “A Winter Night’s Revels,” “Halloween to Halloween,” “Idylls,” “The Mythical Magical Poetry Book,” “The Pink Sheep” and “The Spook House,” according to the Concord Public Library.
Moore, who was married four times, had been known as an author of esoteric books on astrology and yoga and had experimented with drugs such as LSD and ketamine, leading some to conclude her death was a drug trip gone awry.
The book describes her attempts to have Roof try ketamine as well, but he was adamantly opposed and would plead with her to stop. Roof had explored all possibilities regarding his mother’s disappearance, including a possible kidnapping, but also seemed to have accepted that she may have died by suicide, according to the book.
While Moore died in Washington, it was when she lived in Maine with her third husband, Mark Douglas, that she had her most creative output, DiSomma said.
“It was really such an immense source of activity for her,” DiSomma said. “She wrote her magnum opus ‘Astrology: The Divine Science,’ which is probably her most successful book, which she wrote together with Mark Douglas.”
Moore and Douglas lived together with their children, including Roof, at Greystone Manor, a large home in the small coastal town of Cape Neddick in York County. Moore, who was the daughter of hotel magnate Robert Moore, financially backed Douglas’ opening of a publishing company that focused on topics such as astrology.
“Marcia held affection for the Maine coast, having spent pockets of her childhood at her grandmother Jane’s home in Cape Elizabeth, where she was introduced to Spiritualism and psychism,” the book said. “To Marcia it was another sign of fate; Mark finds this mansion that she felt truly destined for.”
In addition to her grandmother, Moore had other relatives in the state, as her uncle was a Unitarian minister in Portland. The book also said that her children, including Roof, spent time at summer camp, although it doesn’t specify where in Maine the children attended.
But despite the connections, the book doesn’t explain what Roof may have been doing in Stacyville, far from the southern coast, when he died.
Roof, an avid reader of Henry David Thoreau, was not reported missing for the past decade because many, including his family, believed he had gone in search of a Walden-like lifestyle in the woods.
“I think Christopher was just really enchanted with the whole forest and wooded areas up in that part of Maine,” DiSomma said. “If there was any connection, I think it had more to do with that, or maybe it was some people he may have known up there, but as far as I know he had cut ties with most of his friends and family back in 2010.”
The DiSommas’ book is set to be released on Nov. 16.
Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of times that Moore was married.