Community honors Amy Theriault five years after her murder, family continues fight against domestic violence
FORT KENT, Maine — Nearly 200 people came together in Fort Kent on Saturday, June 15, to remember Amy Theriault, a St. Francis woman who lost her life to domestic violence homicide at 31 years old.
Theriault’s ex-boyfriend Jesse Marquis is serving a life sentence at a Maine State prison for killing Theriault in her St. Francis home on May 31, 2014.
The Hope and Justice Project sponsored “A Walk to Remember Amy Theriault” on Saturday, five years after her death.
Among those who spoke was Kris Malmborg, Amy’s cousin and a former Aroostook County Sheriff’s deputy who was one of the first to respond to the call at Theriault’s home on the morning she died.
Malmborg said he received a call from dispatch on the morning of Theriault’s murder, which he expected was a routine complaint.
“That’s not what happened,” Malmborg said. “I got there — a friend, a family member, a classmate had lost her life. I did not know I was expecting that when I arrived. My entire life changed at that moment. I’d been in law enforcement for 15 years; that’s what I signed up for. You never expect it to hit home.”
Malmorg said he gathered his emotions together as best he could, knowing he had to continue with his job until other responders arrived on the scene.
His most dreaded duty he said was walking down to a roadblock on Route 161 leading up to Theriault’s home, where he knew he would encounter Amy’s closest family members, including Amy’s father, Ricky Theriault.
“Amy’s dad was the first one that I met at that roadblock. Ricky didn’t know what was to come and facing him was what I was dreading for the two-minute walk from Amy’s house to Rick.”
Malmborg said he and Ricky Theriault didn’t need to exchange words, and that moment has haunted Malmborg ever since.
“I’ll never forget his face,” Malmborg said of Amy’s grief-stricken father.
“Domestic violence affects everybody, whether it’s your job, whether it’s your friends or family; that changed my life forever,” Malmborg said.
“[Amy] was definitely a great person, a great mother, great friend,” Malmborg added.
“Keep her in your heart, and just know that carrying on the message of domestic violence not only goes for your family who are affected by it but for all of us. We all hope we can make strides in making this problem disappear.”
Amy’s former colleague of 8 years at Forest Hill Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center where she worked as a certified nurse’s aide before she died, Carla Caron, and Caron’s grandchildren, Trevor Boucher, 12, and Caleb Boucher, 8, also walked in memory of Amy on Saturday.
Carla Caron of St. John fought back tears as she recalled her friendship with Amy Theriault.
“She was loving, outgoing, and strong-headed, and she loved her girls,” Caron said of Amy’s two daughters. “If there was a task to be done, she was there to do it and she loved the residents she worked with.”
Caron recalled that Amy Theriault took a short break from her job each year to participate in the Fort Kent International Muskie Derby.
“She’d take the weekend off from work; she had to be out there to get a muskie,” Caron said.
Caron said she chose to walk to remember Amy’s life.
“To me she is still here because she is within my heart. We made memories that are still here to remind me of her life.”
Caron said she also walked in the event to support other victims of domestic violence who are unable to speak out.
The family of Amy Theriault has worked to change laws regarding domestic violence.
Maine legislators unanimously passed LD 449, An Act To Add Domestic Violence against the Victim as an Aggravating Factor in Sentencing for Murder, also known as “Amy’s Law,” in April.
State Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash sponsored the bill last year at the request of Amy’s mother, Barbara Theriault.
“There have been some positive changes since Amy’s death. Batterer intervention therapy and Amy’s Law have impacted victims’ and families’ lives,” Amy Theriault’s mother Barb Theriault said. “The loss of Amy was a tragedy that affected a lot of people’s lives, and it resulted in increased awareness in our community as people still remember and turned out to walk after five years.”
The Hope and Justice Project sponsored A Walk to Remember Amy Theriault. They included a memorial path containing wooden purple ribbons planted in the ground with the names and ages of the 30 individuals as young as 1 year old who have lost their lives to domestic violence in Aroostook County since 1973.
“We put the ribbons to take time to reflect and remember these individuals,” said Tammy Albert, prevention and volunteer coordinator for the Hope and Justice Project.
“Yesterday was a tribute to the kind, loving, giving life that Amy led. Her death caused people to listen and take action to prevent it,” Barb Theriault said on Sunday. “I believe her death has probably saved lives because people now know that doing nothing about domestic violence can result in death.”
Barb Theriault added that although domestic violence affects everybody, Amy’s children have especially suffered as a result of Amy’s murder.
“Taylor and Rikki will be a lifetime with no mother. That is the greatest tragedy of all,” she said.
U.S.Customs and Border Protection, the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Kent Police Department provided police escorts during the walk.
Jim’s Corner Grocery of Frenchville provided funding and the River Ukes performed live music at the event.
The Hope and Justice Project works with anyone who has experienced or been affected by abuse or violence in Aroostook County.
For help 24 hours a day, call the organization’s hotline at 1-800-439-2323. Services are free and confidential.