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News

Murder of Jamie Martin leaves profound sense of loss, unknowing in this community

Dan McClelland

This community is still reeling from the senseless murder of a local woman and mother of two young children early last Wednesday morning.
Murders don't happen in Tupper Lake so it was with profound and incredible shock that Tupper Lake learned the news of the death of Jamie Martin as residents awoke that morning.
Jamie was a lovely young woman who had a bright life ahead of her before it was selfishly snuffed out in an instant by an unbalanced ex-partner and father of her two children, Stacey Ayotte.
Why someone would murder a former partner, a woman he apparently loved and then kill himself in full knowledge he was making their children orphans is a question that is haunting so many here in the days following the unbelievable act.
What sickens us is these two babieswill never know the warmth and the love of their mother, who was so devoted to them and who had so much to share with them as they grew up.
Jamie attended school with our oldest son, Andrew, and so we remember her vividly in nursery school and the elementary grades as this bright-eyed beautiful blonde tyke with an infectious smile. Our niece, Nicole, was a lifelong friend- one of many Jamie had here.
People who knew her intimately, called Jamie a loving, giving, kind, caring woman...a wonderful mother...a wonderful person.
The social media lit up last week with condolences and kind statements about Jamie.  Many of them noted that she was “a beautiful person, both inside and out.
Several described hers as “a beautiful soul.”
She and her sister, Jen, were very close and Jen called Jamie her mentor.  She was a compassionate, loving and amazing mother, Jen said.  Very artistic, very creative and loved by everyone who met her.  Of her trademark smile, Jen said it lit up the room.
Several people on social media dedicated songs in Jamie's memory and among them were Jealous of the Angels by Donna Taggard and Dancing in the Sky by Dani and Lizzy.
Tupper Lake is a small, isolated town and because of thateveryone knows everyone, to a certain degree. If you don't know someone, you know someone who does.  There a network of connection that link us. In tight-knit communities like ours people readily feel each others' pain.  
Jamie came from large and well known families- the Martins and the Snyders- so her connections here were very broad.  Jamie also worked at Sunmount where there are many people employed.  So many people knew her, or about her.
Jamie was universally loved by all who knew her, we're told.
That makes the pain so acute.
Jamie's classmates at Tupper High in the Class of 2002 created a Jamie Martin Memorial Fund through the gofundmeprogram on the web Friday and in the first three hours over $7,000 was donated by 106 people.  Some of the fund is intended to go to her children, some for her funeral arrangements.  Yesterday the fund was over $25,000. Such generosity speaks loudlyof how much Jamie was loved.
A few years ago we rented a large house to Jamie and a couple of friends.  She had big dogs at the time and the place had lots of room.
In all our dealings with her over the year or so she rented from us, we found her to be honest, straight forward and responsible.  She liked the place for its stately design and its roominess.  Unfortunately for both us oil prices were above $4 per gallon and the place was abarn to heat.
The cost of fuel at that time drove her to smaller, more energy efficient quarters but she gave us lots of notice about her plans to leave. We appreciated her candor and her honesty.  We left the rental arrangement friends, which doesn't always happen with younger tenants.
It's been decades and decades since a murder happened in our town.  There's been none we can remember in our 40 years here.  No one we talked with this week can remember a murder here.  A quick review of our files shows that the last one perhaps was nearly 70 years ago in December of 1949 when a well known barber here, Emile Themens, killed his wife, Beatrice, and then himself at their home at 3 Freeman Street.
Murder is a terrible crime always.  But it's made ten times more horrific when its victim is a gentle flower, whose life consistentlymade the lives of those around her better, as Jamie's did.
Our condolences this week to Jamie's many friends and family members, as we join together in grief and try to wrestle with how this happened to this remarkable young woman.
-Dan McClelland