Men wanted in dog’s death turn themselves in Tuesday

Nathan Burke

Justin Chipman

ELLSWORTHTwo suspects in the kidnapping of a Boston terrier-pug mix named Franky, whose body later washed up on the property of the district attorney, turned themselves in to the Hancock County Jail Tuesday.

Bail has been set at $5,000 cash for Nathan A. Burke, 37, of Hancock and Justin T. Chipman, 22, of Steuben and Winter Harbor, according to Hancock County Jail officials.

As of Wednesday morning, the men were still incarcerated.

Winter Harbor Police Chief Danny Mitchell Jr. had issued warrants for the men last week.

Mitchell said Burke and Chipman have been charged with one count each of aggravated cruelty to animals, aggravated criminal mischief, burglary, theft and unauthorized use of property.

Of all the shorefront properties in Hancock County, Franky’s body, which had been wrapped in a plastic bag, floated to the shorefront residence of Hancock County District Attorney Matt Foster on Aug. 30. Foster and his family reside in the town of Hancock.

Foster’s wife saw the bag containing the remains and called her husband outside.

“She thought it looked suspicious and so I opened it to see what was in there because it didn’t look like normal garbage,” Foster said Tuesday.

While Foster and his wife are witnesses, his office will still be prosecuting the case.

“Unfortunately, my being a witness means that I can’t personally handle the case in court, but it does not mean that this office can’t handle it,” Foster said. “Mr. Toffolon [Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon] will be handling the case.”

The incident began on Aug. 26 when Franky’s owner, Phillip Torrey, called police to report a break-in at his home.

Torrey advised officers that someone had entered his house while he was traveling to New Hampshire for a concert. Burglars had stolen Torrey’s Hummer sport utility vehicle, went mudding with and damaged the SUV and stole his dog, police said.

The chief said Burke had been employed by Torrey.

Mitchell said the dog’s remains are at a laboratory for processing.

Further investigation will follow by the Winter Harbor police, the Gouldsboro Police Department and Officer Eli Brown, who took the initial complaint, Mitchell said.

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