Convicted rapist charged in murder of Freeport woman

Nov. 3—Eight weeks after the body of a Freeport woman was discovered near the Home Depot in South Portland, police have arrested convicted rapist Gary Mariner, 65, and charged him with her murder.

The body of Danielle Goodwin, 52, was discovered on the evening of Sept. 5, off Clark's Pond Road in South Portland. On Thursday, investigators with the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit obtained a warrant and arrested Mariner of West Newfield early Friday morning in Saco, according to a release from the Maine State Police.

In October of 2015, he was charged with gross sexual assault while impersonating a police officer. Two years later he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years with all but four suspended, according to state criminal records.

Police at the time said Mariner used the badge of his dead father, who had been a one-time police chief in Cape Elizabeth, to intimidate a prostitute into giving him free sex.

He allegedly picked up the woman in Portland and told her that he had been called back from retirement to work for the Maine State Police as part of a special prostitution unit. He then drove her to the parking lot of Concord bus station at Thompson's Point, where he pulled a pistol from the door pocket of his Toyota Corolla, rested it on his leg and demanded she perform a sex act on him, Portland police Detective Maryann Bailey wrote in the report.

Mariner has a criminal history dating back to 1978 when he was arrested for assault by Cape Elizabeth police. He is expected to make an initial appearance in York County District Court on Nov. 6.

Goodwin was well-known for her support of people in the area's recovery community. As someone in long-term recovery from substance use disorder, she mentored many others.

I'm still in shock about it it," Goodwin's mother, Patricia, said Friday. "I don't know how any of this happened."

After struggling with addiction and achieving sobriety, Goodwin dedicated her life to helping others overcome substance abuse issues. She met her friend Stephanie Doyle in 2015 at a recovery support group while Goodwin was working toward a substance use counseling degree. Goodwin became a key support for Doyle, as she was for many others around the state, Doyle told the in September.

"I could go on and on about all the qualities this woman had," she said. "She had a way of making anybody feel special just by being in her presence."

Those who knew Goodwin describe her as bright and bubbly but also an emotional rock — someone with whom friends felt comfortable discussing their demons and struggles without any fear of judgment.

But as generous as she was with others, she sometimes struggled to forgive herself for her own faults, said friend Niki Curtis, who knew Goodwin for more than a decade.

"She struggled to give herself the stuff she gave to others," Doyle said. "When she's struggling, she doesn't want other people to know, so she turns away from her closest people."

Goodwin lived in Florida for several years before moving back to Maine, according to her friends. She was engaged in 2022, but the man died last fall. It's unclear how he died.

Curtis said she fell out of contact with Goodwin in mid-2021. Then Goodwin eventually reached out again, but their conversations became sporadic — sometimes Goodwin would text her every day for a month, other times she'd disappear for weeks on end.

Her mother said she began using drugs again. Danielle would stay with her mother between her binges, but Patricia's efforts to get her help didn't take. One day in September, Goodwin didn't come home.

"I tried everything I could to get her help," Patricia Goodwin said. "I miss her."

She said she didn't know how or why her daughter had been killed and had never heard of Mariner.

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