A community in downeast Maine is devastated — and in the dark — about the murder of a popular teenager, and the arrest of a well-known athlete.
Police say 19-year-old Mikaela Conley was reported missing from her home in Bar Harbor last Thursday. She was found dead Saturday near a Bar Harbor elementary school. Investigators arrested and charged her former Mount Desert High School classmate, 21-year-old Jalique Keene, in her murder Monday night.
"This is a small community and everybody knows everybody," said Joe Minutolo, owner of a downtown Bar Harbor business. "It's just really difficult to imagine this could happen in our community."
Keene made his first court appearance Wednesday morning. A judge denied him bail, and ordered all court documents in the case sealed — leaving many questions about the circumstances surrounding Conley's death.
Minutolo said Conley was a vibrant, well-known teenager in the community who worked at a local bakery. "She was just a sweet girl behind the counter," he said.
Her parents own the popular breakfast spot, 2 Cats, in Bar Harbor. Their Facebook page had a message thanking the community for its support and concern, adding "Life is too short."
Keene was a star running back at Mount Desert who went on to play college football at West Virginia State University. Most recently, he played in a professional league in Serbia. According to social media accounts, Keene recently returned to the country.
"This is a tragedy — a plain tragedy," said Minutolo. "We don't understand what has happened."