Taken too soon: family, friends remember Bangor murder victim Nicolle Lugdon

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20 August 2012

ST. JOHN VALLEY– Nicolle Ashley Lugdon, one of the victims in a triple homicide that occurred in Bangor last week was a 2006 graduate of Madawaska High School and attended the University of Maine in Fort Kent before relocating to the Bangor area. The people who knew her in the St. John Valley want to share the many positive and loving memories they have of a girl whose life ended tragically and too soon.

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Nicolle Ashley Lugdon - Contributed image

“She was a beautiful person,” said Harmony Ward of Presque Isle, her foster sister. “She was the most beautiful person, inside and out.”

Firefighters found the remains of three people in a burning car located in a parking lot in the Target Industrial Circle off of Outer Hammond Street in Bangor after a passerby reported the vehicle fire at approximately 3:30 in the morning Monday, August 13. Police later identified the deceased as Daniel Thomas Borders, 26, of Hermon; Lugdon, 25, of Eddington; and Lucas Alan Tuscano, 28, of Bradford. Police ruled the incident a homicide without releasing official details pending their investigation. 

Though reports have indicated a troubled life for Lugdon leading up to the tragedy that occurred a little more than a week ago, friends, family, and former co-workers remember her for how caring and loving the young woman was.

Ward described Lugdon’s childhood as rough, saying, “She had a life of hell.”

She was referring to the fact that Lugdon witnessed a murder of a family member as a young child and after her father went to prison for committing the crime, she grew up in group homes.

But Lugdon’s sister stressed that the young woman was a “survivor” and had overcome many setbacks with her determined spirit, including a learning disability that caused the honors graduate to struggle in school at first.

Ward said in spite of all of the violent things that Nicolle had seen and experienced, “She still didn’t harden her heart. It still didn’t harden her.

“Nothing ever took away her smile,” she added. “I miss her smile.”

Ward’s mother, Barbara Pineau, was the Special Education Director in the Madawaska School System when she met Nicolle, who was then living in a group home in Grand Isle.

Her mother “just couldn’t stop thinking about her,” Ward said. This was one of the essential characteristics of the young woman.

“Everyone who met her loved her,” her sister said. “When she smiled, it did something to you.”

She shared how Nicolle loved for her foster mother to rock her, even as a teenager, when she was upset.

“Love was foreign to her when we found her,” said Ward.

In her foster home, Nicolle discovered a family who welcomed her with open arms.

“I loved her just like I love Shena and Buck,” said Ward, referring to her biological sister and brother. Shena is currently living in Presque Isle and Buck is living in Portland.

“She called my mom “Mom”. Shena is her sister and Buck is her brother.”

Her foster mother insisted that she give up smoking and refrain from swearing and that she abide by the rules of the house, just like all the other family members. She was a bridesmaid at Ward’s wedding.

In fact, the metal plate in Lugdon’s wrist that helped police identify her body after they found her at the scene of the crime was as a result of a car accident which occurred shortly after Ward’s wedding. Ward brought two of her young children to the hospital while Lugdon was going through surgery after the accident.

“It taught her that she didn’t have to be a survivor for a little while,” said Ward. “She could just rest. It just made her heart rest.”

“I’m really grateful we got a chance to love her,” she said.

Ward described Lugdon as a dancer, saying she did a lot of dancing in the kitchen with spoons, a family tradition.

“My children loved her,” said Ward.

A friend who asked to remain anonymous said Lugdon’s favorite comfort meal was mashed potatoes and canned corn, and that she was a great athlete in school.

“She will be greatly missed by not only this community but by anyone who knew her. Wherever she went she was the center of attention and lit up the room with her smile and great personality,” she said.

After Lugdon graduated from high school in Madawaska, she went to the University of Maine at Fort Kent for two years.

“She was a normal college girl,” her sister said. “Of course she went to parties. She never did heavy drugs.”

Ward last saw her in March, and said, “She looked like a beauty queen. I’ll never forget. She was such a beautiful young lady.”  

Lugdon had a young daughter who is now safe with the child’s father, said Ward. She and a friend described how much Lugdon loved her daughter and loved being a mother.

Ward said she thought maybe Lugdon found it too easy to blend in, that she had fallen in with the wrong crowd easily just as she found it easy to relate to everyone who met her. Or, more likely, she had asked for a ride from the wrong people.

“She touched people’s lives wherever she went,” she said. “I don’t know what happened to make her go back [to Bangor]. I wish she’d never left.”

Ward said she is hopeful that whoever did this to Lugdon will be brought to justice swiftly.

Her family will bury Lugdon with her biological mother, Stacy Lugdon, in a cemetery in Brewer. The ceremony is this weekend, although the foster family has asked that details about the funeral remain private.