ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Nicole Mokeme, a South Portland woman who founded a retreat for Black and Indigenous youth, was killed over the weekend in a hit-and-run collision on the Schoodic Institute campus in Acadia National Park.
The registered owner of a vehicle sought in connection with the crash had been in a relationship with Mokeme as of last year, according to reporting in the Portland Press Herald.
Mokeme, 35, was killed sometime between Saturday night, June 18, and the early hours of Sunday morning, June 19, according to police.
Following the hit-and-run, Maine State Police asked the public for help in locating a black 2016 BMW X3 SUV registered to 35-year-old Raymond Lester of Portland. The BMW has Maine license plate 5614WM, according to state police.
“The vehicle may have front-end or undercarriage damage,” police said. “If you see or locate this vehicle, do not approach but immediately call the State Police” at (207) 973-3700.
Authorities have released few details about the circumstances surrounding Mokeme’s death. The Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit North and Troop J, with assistance from the National Park Service, are investigating.
The Maine Department of Public Safety had no update as of press time Wednesday.
Mokeme was the creative director of the Rise and Shine Youth Retreat, which offers wellness retreats and other programs. She was an organizer of the Black Excellence Retreat 2022 at the Schoodic Institute, which was taking place when the hit-and-run occurred this past weekend. The event was described as “a getaway for Black folks and their friends and families of all backgrounds to join together in community to celebrate Juneteenth, liberation and Black excellence,” according to a post on the group’s Instagram page.
“She was always planning the next thing on how to bring community together to heal and build,” Desiree Vargas, co-founder and co-director of the Racial Equity and Justice Organization, told the Portland Press Herald. “She was a light to everybody.”