GoFundMe Dulsie and Troy Varney
A beloved Maine couple is dead — and a man who was renting a room from them is charged with killing them early Friday inside their home, say police.
On Friday at about 1:30 a.m., Androscoggin Sheriff's Department deputies responded to a 911 call "for what was reported as a home invasion scenario with possible gunshot(s)," Maine State Police spokeswoman Katherine England said in a release.
When deputies arrived at the home on Knight Farm Road in Turner, they found a man identified as Troy Varney, 52, unresponsive on the floor, and his wife, Dulsie Varney, 48, in medical distress.
They were rushed to a local hospital where they later died.
Deputies found the suspect, identified as Patrick Maher, 24, of Turner, inside the house and took him into custody.
Police have not said what might have led Maher to kill the couple.
Sources told the Sun Journal that Maher allegedly "ambushed" the couple inside their home.
A family member told the Sun Journal that in recent days, Dulsie Varney "had become afraid of Maher," though it's unclear why.
The victims allegedly were stabbed multiple times, the Sun Journal, citing unidentified sources, reports. It's unclear if they were shot.
Despite life-threatening wounds, Troy Varney is believed to have fought with Maher, holding him until deputies arrived, the Sun Journal reports, again citing unidentified sources.
Maine State Police Detectives charged Maher with two counts of murder.
He is being held in the Androscoggin County Jail without bail.
He has not yet entered a plea.
It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
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As authorities continue to investigate, the couple's family and friends are mourning their loss.
"It's just unbelievable," Dulsie Varney's cousin, Barbara Varney Beedy told CBS13. "Two people so well-loved, such hard-working people."
"Dulsie and Troy were sweethearts from a very young age, and just the perfect pair," she said. "She and Troy absolutely adored his two daughters. Just lovely parents."
A nursing instructor at Lewiston Regional Technical Center, Dulsie Varney "was a great teacher in the nursing program," Lewiston Schools Superintendent Jake Langlais said, the Sun Journal reports. "Truly one of the best in her field."
LRTC Director Rob Callahan wrote in a letter Friday, "LRTC is in shock over this tragic loss. There are no words to express this loss to both the Varney family, and fellow RTC family."
"Dulsie was that sort of educator that every student should be blessed with at least once in their school careers," the letter continued.
"Her enthusiasm and energy drew students in and invited them to devote themselves to public health and community service. She was a passionate health care professional, but even more so, she loved her students and helping them realize their goals in learning and in life."
A GoFundMe has been started in the couple's honor and to support their daughters.
"Troy and Dulsie's lives were their children," Donna Varney wrote on the GoFundMe page. "They were very proud parents who loved their daughters and family very much. They would do anything to help others in need."
The hope is that their daughters will "return back home to the legacy of living on the farm that their parents left for them," she wrote. "A place that should be their safe haven. Their father's dream is having his girls take over the farm which has been a home where four generations of Varneys have lived.
"Troy and Dulsie leave such a void in so many lives and in so many ways. Let's pull together and help these girls pick up their shattered lives and help with their future."