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Varney daughters detail a harrowing scene on night of their parents’ murder

Audrey and Shelby Varney each testified Thursday before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee about their parents’ murder last February. Screenshot from video

The two daughters of Troy and Dulsie Varney told legislators Thursday horrifying details of what they remember about the night their parents were killed last winter in Turner.

Audrey Varney said she spoke with her mother Feb. 11 after a troubling incident involving one of their tenants, 24-year-old Patrick Maher, who is awaiting trial in the killing of the couple.

Dulsie Varney told her daughter that Maher was “causing serious disturbance to other tenants and to his own mother” that included chasing his mother around the building at 419 Turner Center Road and locking her in his apartment there.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, Audrey Varney was told, Maher and his mother denied any serious threats had occurred.

But Shelby Varney said other tenants heard Maher saying he possessed a gun and knives — and that he wanted to kill his parents. But, they said, he added it would be wrong to “kill them both.”

She said the other tenants heard him say he might also kill others.

Audrey Varney said she did not know of any explicit threats against her parents by Maher. But her father had an intuition that Maher posed a danger.

She said her father told police, “If anything happens tonight, it’s on you.”

The deputies on the scene sought for a long while to try to sort out what to do, ultimately deciding they could not take Maher into custody.

Hours later, after 1 a.m. Feb. 12, Maher walked to the Varneys’ home half a mile away, Audrey Varney said, and broke in to “brutally attack and murder them.”

Police had left her parents “alone to fend for themselves against a man with a knife, a gun and murder on his mind,” she said.

Shelby Varney, 19, who was in the house with her 18-year-old boyfriend, said she awoke to the screams of her mother and a gunshot.

“I kind of knew exactly what was happening,” she said.

She raced with boyfriend, Kristian Woodhouse, down the stairs to see her father wrestling with Maher in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. Her mother was in an adjoining bedroom, able to call 911.

Shelby Varney talked to 911 after racing to her dying mother. Woodhouse helped a badly injured Troy Varney hold down Maher.

She said it took police 11 minutes to arrive at the house, despite their promise earlier to keep an eye on the area that night.

When they got to the house, she said, they entered “and kind of stood right in the doorway in awe” at the bloody scene in front of them.

When Woodhouse asked for their help, Shelby Varney said, the police put on their gloves before doing anything else.

“It took them a very long time even to initiate to do that,” she said, calling it a “very awkward” scene. She suspected the officers, who hailed from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department, didn’t want to step in the blood on the floor and disturb the crime scene.

They moved Maher so they could try to help her father, she said, and took Maher into a computer room downstairs. “They kind of grabbed him and dragged him” there, she said.

Deputies put Shelby Varney and Woodhouse in an adjoining gun room, she said, and then left them there for “three or four hours.”

She said they could hear Maher in the next room the entire time.

“He was vomiting, throwing up, just chanting on and on” in words that were not in English, getting “louder and louder and louder” over the course of several hours, Shelby Varney said.

She and Woodhouse were not allowed to contact anyone, even an uncle next door, and were mostly left on their own the entire time, listening to Maher throwing up and asking “disturbing questions to the police officers.”

Deputies only came in a few times to ask if they needed anything, she said. An officer twice escorted her to the bathroom.

“We were left completely alone. It was just Kristian and I,” she said, treated as potential suspects perhaps.

“It was not appropriately handled,” Shelby Varney said, adding that it would have been better to have taken them or Maher elsewhere with “a lot less trauma.”

She said she believes deputies were waiting for Maine State Police to arrive and take over the investigation, including the arrest of Maher.

This story will be updated.


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