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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Maine mystery remains unsolved

Life at Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church, New Sweden, Maine, has returned to as close to normal as possible, considering last spring's events and the continual parade of guest pastors each Sunday.

On April 27, 15 members became ill and one died after the social hour coffee was poisoned with arsenic. Five days later, member Danny Bondeson died of an apparent self-
inflicted gunshot. Officials say he left a note indicating he didn't act alone in the poisoning (June, page 35).

Lt. Dennis Appleton, head of the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation Division, says the case is "not easily solvable ... no one is talking."

Appleton says he's confident the case — worked by two agents and described as one of the largest files in the system — will be solved.

The police have questioned many people, including Bondeson family members. Appleton wouldn't speculate on the motive, but said he was aware of "disagreements and power struggles" in the congregation.


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