Alice Hawkes’ life was violently cut short at the age of 23. Her body was discovered in her Spring Street apartment on October 4, 1987. Her throat had been slit. Thirty-five years later, no arrests have been made, no suspects have been identified, and the Hawkes family has received no closure.
Alice Hawkes’ family has been frustrated for years that her murderer has not been brought to justice, and they are still determined to see her killer punished.
“I just know we’re not going away,” Hawkes’ older sister, Rosemary Driggers of Bangor, said. “I’m 74. My mother died without knowing the truth. Hopefully, she is aware of it now.”
Frances Hawkes, who died in 2009, never gave up on finding her daughter’s killer and kept in touch with Maine State Police, who handle all homicide cases in the state, Driggers said. Her and the rest of the family were irritated by law enforcement’s lack of communication.
“I’m not knocking the Maine State Police; it’s the system that’s the problem,” Driggers said. “I know some of these detectives want to say, ‘Let’s get this guy,’ but that decision is made by the (state) attorney general.” The AG will not prosecute because they do not want to jeopardize their chances of conviction. I have sympathy for the officers who work hard. Who wants to see a beautiful woman like Alice writhing in her own blood?”
Lt. Brian McDonough of the State Police told WGME in 2016 that “we have a pretty good idea of what happened and who is responsible.” Despite this, the family claims that no official suspect was ever named.
Prior to McDonough’s statement, the family had not received any significant updates from State Police in nearly seven years.
“We heard back a lot in the first few years, but after that, the only time we ever heard updates was when Rosemary initiated it, and even then it wasn’t often,” said Hawkes’ brother Mike Hawkes, who lives in Dyer Brook.
The American Journal’s calls and emails to the State Police were not returned.
What the police can reveal to the public about an active case is constrained. The family feels that they should, at the very least, be informed when a new detective takes over the investigation. Driggers claimed that even a simple phone call to clarify “that nothing has changed” would have been sufficient.
Lack of a ‘smoking gun’
Mike Hawkes claimed that although the authorities “lack the smoking gun” and sufficient evidence to make an arrest, it is their fault.
They messed up the case from the beginning, and it’s been dragged out for 35 years. I disagree with how they approach it and interact with the affected families. They won’t share any information with us because they claim it will harm the case, but what harm, 35 years later? Why don’t you show it to me?” he prompted.
On October 4, 1987, at 10:30 a.m., landlord Bob Margiloff, who had unlocked the door to the grizzly scene, dialled 911.
Margiloff and Hawkes’ boyfriend, Stephen Bouchard, were waiting for them inside 8 Spring St. when they arrived.
Peter Murray, a Westbrook police officer, entered Apt. 3 and noticed a dark bloodstain on the carpet in the living room and smaller bloodstains leading to other rooms. Early reports stated that Murray discovered Hawkes on the bathroom floor with what appeared to be a significant cut in her “torso area.” Both the tiny apartment’s one window and the door were secured from the inside.
Two days later, the coroner went public with his findings. Hawkes had been murdered. A kitchen knife had been used.
Mike Hawkes, who at the time resided in Portland, was the first family member to arrive at the Westbrook Police Department following the passing of his sister.
“They refused to even tell me how she died.” I had no idea if she had been in a car accident or what had happened to her. By the time I arrived, (Bouchard) was there, and his parents had already arrived in Westbrook from Hudson, so two hours had passed before (the victim’s family) heard anything, which is unusual.”
Cause of death not shared
“They wouldn’t even tell us how she died for two days.” “I’ve sat and thought about it a lot,” he said.
Even after the coroner’s report determined that Hawkes’ death was a homicide, the family did not learn the extent of her injuries until they were preparing her body for the funeral.
The family speculates on what might have happened if the case had been handled differently from the start.
Hawkes, who was born on May 26, 1964, was intelligent, family-oriented, and a hard worker who also knew how to have fun. “She brought my parents so much happiness and joy,” Driggers said.
Hawkes was asked to be her child’s godmother by her best friend, who lived in California. Hawkes agreed gladly, but preferred the title “Aunt.”
“I guess no one has had the opportunity to tell you what a wonderful mother you have,” Hawkes wrote to the infant in a letter. “You must have some luck on your side!” Not only are you beginning a new life, but you’re doing so with the most loving, caring, and special mother on the planet! So, let’s get this party started, shall we? Take care of your mother. I adore her, and I adore you as well. Alice, Aunt.”
Hawkes was a full-time employee at a bank in the Maine Mall. She shared an apartment in Westbrook with Bouchard, who worked in Portland.
Detectives believe she was in the process of putting away laundry when she was killed. On the morning of October 3, a neighbor noticed her bringing in laundry. That day, around noon, she called her mother.
“If that’s what happened, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for murder,” said Mark Swett, a professional researcher who has been following and researching the Hawkes case for years. He owns and operates alicehawkes.com.
Swett, a Westbrook resident who has worked with Frontline PBS, has interviewed nearly everyone involved in the Hawkes case, from family members to the landlord, police, and other tenants of 8 Spring St. He has also contacted Bouchard, who has “remained consistent with his responses,” according to Swett. Bouchard claims he gave police his statement and will not speak further.
Bouchard, then in his early twenties, returned home late in the afternoon from golfing with friends to find Hawkes’ car in the driveway but the apartment locked, he told police at the time. He didn’t have his key, so his friends invited him to spend the night with them in Portland.
“Why do you leave for the night if you come home and your girlfriend’s car is there but you can’t get in?” “That seemed odd to me,” Driggers said.
The key is the key
When Bouchard returned to the apartment with his friends the next day and found himself locked out, he contacted the landlord, Margiloff, who came and unlocked the deadbolt door.
“I believe the key is the case’s key,” he said.
Margiloff told Driggers that after the police arrived and took control of the situation, they questioned Bouchard and his friends together and then let them go. There was no evidence of forced entry or missing items in the home, according to police.
“I didn’t even know Margiloff told me that for a year or two after the murder.” Driggers wondered how they could not separate them and question them on their alibi at the scene, and then let them leave together, giving them time to strengthen their story.
According to Swett, police never considered Bouchard a suspect or even a person of interest, which confused the family.
“I remember (Bouchard) having a list of people he suspected did it,” Driggers said. “He said he thought it was a guy she worked with who had made some passes on her, but he was in Minnesota at the time.”
Bouchard did not respond to requests for comment from the American Journal.
Alice Hawkes’s Family still has hope
Despite the investigation’s stalemate, Hawkes’ family remains hopeful that justice will be served for their sister.
“There is always hope, but realistically it doesn’t look good,” said Rick Hawkes, his brother. “You always hope it will be resolved, but after 32 years, no one has said anything.”
A resurgence of public interest in cold cases in recent years, advances in DNA technology, and the hope that someone with information will finally come forward keep their dream of justice alive.
“We all became ‘Dateline’ viewers, and we watch true crime shows like ’48 Hours’ all the time.” We are always looking for new information or assistance. Those cases can still be solved; sometimes all it takes is enough guilt and a new show or story to get people to talk,” Mike Hawkes said. “I know we reached out to those shows years ago, but the Maine State Police won’t share anything with them, so what can they do?”
Swett believes the murderer is “still in Maine, and still alive,” he said a few weeks ago at the Westbrook Historical Society during an encore presentation of his talk, “Who Killed Alice Hawkes?”
“I believe (the murderer) is still out there,” Swett said during his presentation. “I believe he is someone who reads about himself or the crime to stay up to date on the case.” He could be watching my presentations or reading stories about him to see if anything new has come up in the case.”
“News and stories about it keep the case alive….” “Mark has been incredible to us in this regard,” Driggers said. “At the very least, it makes the murderer think of Alice, if only for a moment.” I want him to be unable to flee from this, to have to face what he did, as we all must.”
According to the family, their sister is never far from their thoughts.
“Whenever we get together, whether we’re fishing or just relaxing for the weekend, this conversation will come up,” Mike Hawkes said. “At some point, the subject of Alice will come up.” It’s something you see every day.”