Oxford, ME House Fire, Jul 1967

Autopsies Set For Fire Victims.

OXFORD, Maine (UPI) – Autopsies were scheduled today on three victims in a fire which killed eight persons. The possibility of murder still had not been ruled out.
State and local police were assisted by the State attorney generals office in the investigation. The fire broke out at dawn Tuesday, ripping through a four-room wooden shack on Cold Water Brook Road and killing the eight as they slept.
A pet dog also perished in the fire.
MRS. BEVERLY GAUTHLER, 24, and her four children – RAYMOND, 5, PATRICIA, 3, DANIEL, 2, and ROLAND, 1 – died in the blaze with three visitors. The visitors were identified as BRENDA LEE WILLARD, a 14-year-old babysitter from Berlin, N. H., and two soldiers – GERALD F. GARDINER, JR., 18, of nearby Waterford and CLIFFORD DUVELL, 19, of Florida.
The young mother, babysitter and DUVELL had skull bruised and lacerations, authorities said. Autopsies were ordered on their bodies.
A medical examiner said fallen beams in the fire may have caused the bruises and lacerations.
GERALD GARDINER, SR., told officials he had taken the soldiers and MRS. GAUTHLER to a movie Monday night. They returned early Tuesday and when he left, the babysitter, MRS. GAUTHLER and his son were talking at a kitchen table. DUVELL had fallen asleep on a couch.
Authorities said DUVELL'S body was found on a couch. The other bodies were found in the shack's two bedrooms.
MRS. EVA HALSTED, mother of MRS. GAUTHLER, identified her daughter. She said the husband was estranged and lived in Colebrook, N. H., where he was contacted by fire officials and informed of the deaths.

Bennington Banner Vermont 1967-07-05