SIDNEY (WGME) – State police are looking into how a murder-suicide and a fire that destroyed a house earlier this week are connected.
State police said Autumn Bryant, 44, was shot to death by her husband, 48-year-old Kenneth Bryant, at Autumn Bryant’s brother’s home on Fairview street in Gardiner. Kenneth Bryant committed suicide at the same home.
The couple separated in November, according to authorities. They said an autopsy was being done and they were working to figure out what led up to Autumn Bryant’s murder.
Meanwhile, domestic violence prevention workers have been speaking out, saying women who want to get out of a relationship safely should know they are not alone.
“There are domestic violence resource centers throughout Maine, in each of the counties. The phone number is 1-866-834-HELP,” said Faye Luppi, director of the Violence Intervention Partnership.
Luppi, who works with agencies across the state, said one of the best prevention tools is knowing what can lead to abuse.
“If the abuser has threatened to commit suicide, that’s a very high risk. Stalking is another high risk,” she said.
Luppi said knowing more about the partner’s history — “whether they’ve violated protection orders in the past, whether they have a history of sexual violence or serial battery” — also is important.
State police said Tuesday’s domestic violence case is related to a fire in Sydney that destroyed a home on Poppy Lane. They said the house belonged to the victim’s stepfather.
The state fire marshals office is investigating the cause of the fire and is working with state police.
Luppi said anyone else who thinks they need help should pick up the phone.
“Help is a phone call away,” she said.