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Victim of Downeaster suicide identified

By Phoebe McPherson, Managing Editor

The Durham Police Department has now concluded their investigation into the female victim struck and killed by the Amtrak Downeaster last Wednesday evening near the Bennett Road overpass in between Durham and Newmarket.

The New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s office has identified the victim as 22-year-old Brandi MacDonald of Wells, Maine.

The Durham Police Department ruled the incident a suicide.

“It was a suicide. I said it that night,” Durham Chief Police David Kurz said.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., Durham Police Department received a call from Amtrak in accordance to the accident. The train was making its way to Boston from Brunswick, Maine.

“The train called-in immediately,” Kurz said.

The train was delayed on the tracks until approximately 11:30 p.m.

Multiple agencies responded to the incident including the Durham Police Department, New Hampshire State Police and Amtrak K-9 unit.

According to her aunt, Marilyn Stanley, MacDonald was at one time a student at the University of New Hampshire studying Biomedical Science. She was scheduled to graduate last May, but did not finish her studies after withdrawing from the university. 

Stanley owns Chick Farm where MacDonald had been a farmhand at the time of her suicide. Stanley wished not to comment on the reason as to why MacDonald ended her studies.

“She has worked here for us every summer since she was a kid,” Stanley said.   

As of recent, a funeral or memorial service has not yet been planned. 

According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, this is the third death by Amtrak Downeaster in less than three months. Both of the other fatalities occurred in North Berwick, Maine.

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