The Fort Fairfield Murders: Cyrus Everett and Donna Mauch

“…With this note, we tempt you to peek,

Searching in areas you first didn’t seek.

Perchance an answer you may uncover, 

To two unsound corpses you did discover.

And soon, Fort Fairfield PD, 

I will approach to find this clue you need, 

Before time and nature turn it to seed…”

-The Mystery Guest

That poem was the beginning of the end of a 20 year saga that cast a dark shadow over the small Aroostook county town of Fort Fairfield. Two murders, highly publicized, plagued by inexperience and political drama, would go unsolved for two decades until finally, the spider himself got caught in the tangled web he believed he was weaving.

Cyrus Disappearance Summary

Cyrus Everett was 14-years old when he left his home on Presque Isle Street in Fort Fairfield around 6 p.m. the day after Christmas in 1964. He hollered to his mother that he was going to collect payment on his paper route, and off he went into the frozen winter evening.

As he knocked on each door, his customers greeted him with a smile. They handed off their payments due, and some slipped Cyrus an extra tip inside Christmas cards. Something extra in the spirit of holiday giving.

By 8:30 p.m. that Saturday night, he was rounding out his route and turning off onto Depot Street, near the Bethel Baptist Church in the center of Fort Fairfield. But after his final knock on his final door, Cyrus Everett didn’t return home.

His mother, Mrs. Mary C. Everett reported her son Cyrus missing.

The Investigation Begins

She told the Bangor Daily News, quote, “I don’t feel he’s gone away on his own free will. I could be wrong but that’s the way I feel about it.” Unquote.

Cyrus was in eighth grade at Fort Fairfield Junior High School. He came from a family of four kids — himself, two brothers, and a sister. Cyrus was 100 pounds and five feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes. He’d left home wearing a red and white school jacket, and brown corduroy trousers.  

Detectives obtained a copy of Cyrus’ route list from his boss and retraced what they believed to be his steps that evening. With the sighting around 8:30 p.m. the night of December 26 near the Bethel Baptist Church, they began their canvassing in that area of town.

From door to door they went, speaking to 68 of Cyrus’ newspaper customers but they learned no new information each time they knocked, nothing of note or concern, that is until they stepped into the dooryard of an apartment building on Depot Street. 

Who is Philip Adams?

Harold Adams owned the building; he was also the owner of a small trucking company in town, and the father to a son who was quite familiar to local authorities. When the door of the apartment building swung open, it was Harold’s son, Philip Leroy Adams, on the other side.

Philip had moved into an apartment in his father’s building after his release from jail where he’d been serving time for forgery, but that offense was the least of his crimes. People Magazine covered Cyrus Everett’s case in 1985, and writers Ross Drake and David W. Grogan reported that Philip Adams was a known pedophile.

Police assessed the man before them, explaining as they had at every other door, that they were looking for anyone who might’ve seen 14-year old Cyrus Everett on Saturday evening. Phil didn’t have much to offer in their search for the boy, he said he would’ve been in the basement hanging his laundry at the time he was supposedly at his door, but Phil did have his own incident to report. He told police that the day before, the same day Cyrus was reported missing, Phil had been outside in his dad’s garage when someone attacked him from behind. He didn’t get a good look at his assailant, but he motioned to the back of his neck, half turning to reveal the scratched and broken skin just below the base of his scalp and around his neck.

Incredulous, the pair of detectives nodded as Phil explained away his injuries. Phil wasn’t one to inspire trust amongst law enforcement, but the story he told didn’t really raise alarm bells in their search for Cyrus Everett. At this point, despite what Cyrus’ mother felt about her son’s disappearance, the strongest working hypothesis amongst the investigative team was that he simply ran away. 

The Case Continues

The case of Cyrus Everett unfolds over two decades, and another murder, just two blocks away, raises even more fear and speculation in the small northern Maine town of Fort Fairfield. For the complete story, press play on the episode above, or find The Fort Fairfield Murders: Cyrus Everett and Donna Mauch on Dark Downeast, wherever you get your podcasts.

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