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'There’s a murderer walking amongst us': Maine State Police investigating new tips on 1999 murder of Saco teen Ashley Ouellette

Police said they received roughly four tips in the last two months that they are now investigating. The 15-year-old girl was killed in 1999.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Maine State Police are investigating new tips received in the 1999 murder case of Ashley Ouellette of Saco.

The 15-year-old girl was found in the middle of Pine Point Road in Scarborough on February 10, 1999. Police determined she had been strangled.

Police have not publicly named any suspects, but they have a "great deal of persons of interest, [and] a few suspects that are probably more of a higher priority for us," Lt. Scott Gosselin with the Major Crimes Unit Southern Division said.

That night in 1999, Ouellette had gone to the home of her friend, Alia Page, for a party and sleepover. At the time, police said she left the home and was last seen at a home on Mast Hill Road in Saco, belonging to two of her Thornton Academy classmates, Steven and Daniel Sanborn.

At the time, police said Sanborn was the last person to see Ouellette alive until a driver found her in the middle of Pine Point Road in Scarborough.

How she got to Scarborough, when she was killed, and why remain a mystery. Police are not discussing the facts of the case.

“There’s a murderer walking amongst us. You could be at the Maine Mall and that murderer could be walking right beside you," Ouellette's uncle, Denis Lehouiller, said. "There’s people out there that know what happened and say nothing.”

Lehouillier and Ouellette's childhood friend, Angie Presby, manage the "Remembering Ashley E. Ouellette" Facebook page. Lehouillier said they receive tips there, too.

“We do know information is being withheld from us. There are people that know more, and we want those folks to come forward," Gosselin said.

Gosselin said police have a "good idea" of who is responsible for Ouellette's death. 

“There’s a pretty big gap between probable cause and beyond a reasonable doubt," said Gosselin, speaking about the burden of proof to bring a case to a grand jury. “It could be that the next tip we get, the next lead we get, might put us right over the top.”

The State Police Unsolved Homicide Unit is helping detectives with the investigation.

“We don’t like to call them cold [cases] because in our unit, they’re never cold. As those tips come in, they warm up," Gosselin said.

Police hope that with the amount of time that has passed, relationships will have changed—once nervous teenagers may no longer interact with their same social circles. Gosselin said those changes could lead to more tips.

Still, after 22 years, police and family are waiting on someone with intimate information of what happened to be brave enough to speak up. The family is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

“I think it’s fear. Fear of the people who did this," said Lehouillier, when asked why he thinks no one has come forward with that critical piece of information.

“There’s a murderer walking amongst us. You could be at the Maine Mall and that murderer could be walking right beside you," Lehouillier said.

He said the family will never have closure, only relief, when the killer is held responsible.

“You took one of my family members who was a great kid and killed them and threw her out like a piece of trash. Do I care what happens to you if you get caught and convicted? Absolutely not.”

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