RANGELEY, Maine (WOOD) — The man accused of strangling his wife before fleeing Michigan was calm when he checked into a small motel in northwest Maine two days after her body was discovered.
“Looking back on it, he just seemed unbelievably calm,” Town and Lake Motel owner Joey Morton told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday.
Federal agents, along with state and local police, are now searching the area around Rangeley for Harold “Butch” Knight. They say that’s where he was last seen and have no reason to believe he has left. They consider him armed and dangerous.
Knight, 66, is suspected of killing his wife Sara at their home in Fennville, about 1,100 miles from Rangeley in northwest Maine. Her body was discovered Jan. 13. The day before, police said, Knight bought a Glock handgun and so-called “Civil Defense” ammunition.
Rangeley locals say it would be easy to hide here, since the small town is surrounded by mountains and hundreds of cabins that are often abandoned for the winter.
Knight checked into Room No. 8 at the Town and Lake motel on Jan. 15 — two days after his wife’s body was discovered.
“I said, ‘What brings you to Maine?'” Morton said. “He said, ‘I’m snowmobiling.'”
But he didn’t have a snowmobile and he paid the $90 per night fee in cash. Morton said he also used a fake name, though he doesn’t remember what it was.
Morton described Knight as a “big man” who wore a big camouflage coat, a big hat, big boots and had a dark mustache. He also left black dye all over the bathroom, Morton said. Police said Knight dyed his mustache and hair to conceal his identity.
Despite those efforts to hide, Knight almost seemed as if he were tempting fate, Morton said.
“From what he’s accused of doing to how he acted, doesn’t make any sense at all,” Morton said. “He was almost like, ‘Here look at me.'”
He parked his green Subaru Forester, which had a Michigan license plate, out front and was often outside his room, Morton said. Police said he later dumped the car in a town 40 miles south of Rangeley.
– Jan. 13: Body of Sara Knight discovered at couple’s home near Fennville. Husband Harold “Butch” Knight is missing, and so is Sara’s Subaru Forester.
– Jan. 15: Knight, 66, checks into Town and Lake Motel in Rangeley, a small town in northwest Maine, nearly 1,100 miles from Fennville.
– Jan. 16: Knight abandons the Subaru Forester in Farmington, Maine, about 40 miles south of Rangeley.
– Jan. 19: Knight checks out of Town and Lake Motel.
– Feb. 7: Federal agents interview Town and Lake Motel owner.
– Feb. 11: Locals report seeing state, local and federal investigators in Rangeley.
Before Knight checked out of the motel on Jan. 19, he asked the owner strange questions about how long it would take to walk to certain areas, like nearby Saddleback Mountain.
The owner said he knew nothing about the homicide until federal agents showed up on Saturday, searched Knight’s room and took his registration card.
Police said Knight has connections to this part of Maine. He and his wife lived about 70 miles away from here before moving to Michigan.
“It sends a shiver through you, it really does,” Morton said.
Locals say while everybody knows everybody here, the nearby mountains would be a perfect place to hide, especially for someone who knows the area.
“He could be anywhere,” Morton said.