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LePage's 1st year as gov is named top Maine story

By Clarke Canfield

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 24 2011 2:11 p.m. MST

The discovery of the body of a 6-year-old boy along a rural dirt road in southern Maine was the No. 8 story of the year. Julianne McCrery of Texas was arrested three days after the body of her son, Camden Hughes, was found in South Berwick. She pleaded guilty in November to smothering her son with pillows in a New Hampshire motel room before disposing of his body in Maine.

Maine also had other high-profile homicide cases.

In June, 37-year-old Steven Lake shot and killed his estranged wife and their 12- and 13-year-old children at her home in Dexter, despite having a protection-from-abuse order against him. In Lewiston, the human remains of a woman last seen 28 years ago were discovered in a freezer in a storage unit rented by her former boyfriend. Kitty Wardwell's remains were found in October by the family of Frank Julian shortly after his death at the age of 80. In July, a Massachusetts man was charged with double murder for allegedly fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and his longtime friend outside her New Gloucester home in front of their four young children.

Paul Violette's 23-year reign as the executive director of the Maine Turnpike came crashing down with his resignation in March amid allegations of lavish spending and misappropriation of turnpike funds. Violette has agreed to pay the authority $155,000 of his own money to settle a civil lawsuit, while a criminal investigation by the attorney general's office continues in what was the No. 9 story of the year.

An unresolved missing child case comes in at No. 10. Twenty-month-old Ayla Reynolds was reported missing from her Waterville home on Dec. 17, and scores of officials and volunteers have searched for her since.

Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, told police he last saw his daughter when he put her to bed, but that she wasn't there when he checked on her the following morning.

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