May 7, 2020
Murdered by the Lake Who Stabbed a Seymour Teenager 17 times Before Leaving Her Body in Lake Zoar
By Shawn R. Dagle
August 1984. A warm summer evening. 19-year-old Joyce Stochmal disappears while walking to work. Three days later a group of fishermen discover her body floating in Lake Zoar. She has been stabbed 17 times. Police arrest a 26-year-old print shop worker David Weinberg and charge him with Joyce’s murder. Fiber, blood evidence and his own girlfriend’s testimony point to Weinberg as the killer. Sentenced to 60 years in prison Joyce’s murder appears closed. Then new revelations emerge. Forensic evidence is questioned. Over the objections of her family Weinberg is released on time served. Three years after his release questions still persist. Who killed Joyce Stochmal?
Along a lonely stretch of Route 88 in Seymour a teenage girl walks alone carrying only her purse and a duffel bag with her makeup kit and change of clothes.
19-year-old Joyce Stochmal has just gotten into a fight with her boyfriend and is walking to her job at the Silver Hills Kennel in Ansonia to stay the night before opening up early the next morning. She never makes it.
Three days later – just five feet from the shore – a group of fisherman discover Joyce’s body floating in Lake Zoar near the Housatonic River. She has been stabbed more than a dozen times. While police find her purse in the water her duffel bag remains missing.
Investigators immediately launch a manhunt to find her killer. Motorists are stopped on Squantuck Road near the Seymour/Oxford town line. Checkpoints are set up along River Road in Southbury where her body was discovered.
Then two weeks later police receive a phone call from a woman being treated at Griffin Hospital for psychiatric problems. She has called to complain about the hospital but goes on to tell investigators an interesting story regarding her boyfriend – 26-year-old David Weinberg of Seymour.
The day after Joyce's disappearance the girlfriend claims Weinberg brought her to an area near the Pompraug River across from his place of work in Woodbury. Once there he dug through what remained of a campfire and what appeared to be burnt women’s clothing.
Police take an immediate interest in the girlfriend’s story and begin to look at Weinberg as a potential suspect in Joyce’s murder. Investigators examine the campfire and find what appears to be pieces of a sock, brassiere hooks, a button from a pair of Calvin Klein jeans and an eyeliner pencil.
The night of Joyce’s disappearance police learn that Weinberg was out drinking at a local bar and admits to returning home around the time Joyce was abducted from the roadway.
Believing they have enough evidence Weinberg is arrested and charged with Joyce’s murder.
At trial noted forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee presents damning evidence linking Weinberg to Joyce's murder. Fiber found at the campfire site was said to be identical to fibers found in his car. Blood was found on a knife inside his home. Hair found in his car was said to be consistent with Joyce’s.
After hearing from 56 witnesses and combing through 243 pieces of evidence it took the jury just 12 hours to convict Weinberg of Joyce’s murder. He was subsequently sentenced to 60 years in prison. The family’s long nightmare was over. Or was it?
More than two decades after Weinberg’s conviction serious questions began to emerge regarding his guilt. Foremost was testimony given at trial by Dr. Lee. Despite his notoriety as one of the country’s leading forensic pathologists doubts about his work had begun to surface in a number of murder cases.
In one case the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the murder convictions of two men after the court determined that Lee had provided inaccurate testimony at trial that a brown spot found on a towel was human blood. Years after his testimony a forensics lab determined that the towel had never been tested and that when it was tested the brown spot was not blood according to reports.
In Weinberg’s case serious problems developed concerning Lee’s testimony. While Lee had testified at trial that blood found on the knife in Weinberg’s home could have been either animal or human later analysis suggested it could only be that of an animal.Lee also
testified that hairs found in Weinberg’s car were consistent with Joyce’s hair. Later tests however showed the hair was not Joyce’s.
Other forensic evidence used at Weinberg’s trial also came under question. The fibers from his car were said at trial to be identical to those found at the fire. New rules of evidence years later however would only have allowed for them to be described as consistent.
Perhaps most damaging to the state’s case an analysis of DNA evidence discovered under Joyce’s fingernails excluded Weinberg and Joyce.
Even at trial there was a significant amount of evidence that contradicted Weinberg’s guilt. The knife prosecutors said Weinberg used to stab Joyce was smaller than at least some of the knife wounds to her body (prosecutors argued the wounds were enlarged due to bloating). There were also questions regarding the timeline of her abduction and murder and Weinberg’s whereabouts.
The night of August 3, 1984 Joyce left her parents home on Dolan Circle in Seymour to walk to the kennel. While her boyfriend usually drove her to work he had just called to tell her he would be late because he was having a few beers with some of his teammates from the softball team he played with. The couple got into an argument and Joyce decided to walk to the kennel on her own.
Joyce's parents –at home watching the Olympic games on television - did not see Joyce leave that night. Her brother however saw her approximately a quarter mile from her parents home on Route 88. He stopped and tried to give her a ride. “Leave me alone,” she told him. “I’ll be alright.” She refused to get in the car. She was never seen alive again.
That night Joyce’s brother was uncertain exactly what time he saw her walking. The family remembered her brother returning home that night at around 10 p.m. As late as 10:30 two witnesses – including his girlfriend’s father – claimed they saw Weinberg still at the Prime Time Café in Seymour where he was enjoying a beer and playing pool.
Weinberg claimed he left the bar at around 9:45 p.m. and took a route that didn’t take him near Joyce’s walk because his car was having transmission issues and he was trying to avoid hilly terrain.
Just after 11 p.m. Joyce’s boyfriend said he arrived at her parent’s house to pick her up. Realizing she wasn’t there he drove along the road looking for her. At the kennel he said he knocked on the door and raced his car’s engine believing she was inside and ignoring him. When he got no response he left.
At trial the defense pointed out that the boyfriend had access to a private boat slip on the lake and alleged that Joyce had at least one black eye in the past.
There were also serious questions involving the testimony and credibility of the original witness who led police to suspect Weinberg in the first place– his own girlfriend.
Allegedly a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of hallucinations she recalled being told by a passerby the day they went to the campfire that a body had been discovered in the lake. She claimed to have gone to the campfire on August 4. This however was days before Joyce’s body was found.
In regard to the items found in the campfire the defense pointed out that other items and trash were discovered in the area including beer cans, a mustard jar and a cereal box and could have belonged to anyone.
These and other factors led the state to agree to release Weinberg on time served.
Was Weinberg Joyce’s murderer? If so whose DNA was found under her fingernails? Could someone else have picked up Joyce from that lonely stretch of roadway and stabbed her?
Three years after Weinberg’s release these and other questions still persist.
The Creekside Murder
Could a Purse Discovered by a Guilford Man Help Solve a Woman's Unsolved Murder
By Shawn R. Dagle
Perkasie, Pennsylvania. 58-year-old Mabel Kretschmar leaves her apartment to attend an evening prayer service. After crossing the Walnut Street Bridge she is brutally attacked, dragged hundreds of feet to a muddy creek bank and robbed. Disheveled, beaten Mabel staggers to a nearby gas station and calls police. When officers arrive Mabel shows them where she was viciously attacked. Suffering from pain in her chest she is rushed to the hospital where she dies the next morning. Despite interviewing hundreds of potential witnesses police are unable to make any arrests in her case. Then two years later a high school student is clearing a drainage ditch along Perkiomen Creek when he discovers a black leather purse buried in the mud. Could that purse hold to the key to solving Mabel’s murder?
Spring 1961. An 18-year-old high school student is clearing a drainage ditch along Perkiomen Creek when he makes a startling discovery. Buried beneath the mud and muck Werner Schirmer uncovers a black leather purse.
For two years police have been searching for a similar purse stolen during the murder of 58-year-old Mabel Kretschmar who was savagely beaten and robbed near the Walnut Street Bridge. Her case has never been solved. Could this purse have belonged to the murdered woman?
Nearly six decades after Schirmer turned the purse over to police he is contacted by a reporter. The 60th anniversary of Mabel’s death is fast approaching and interest in her cold case murder has been renewed.
While Schirmer has long since moved from Perkasie, Pennsylvania – now living in Guilford, Connecticut – the purse he found that June day could be the clue that helps solve her case.
The story of Mabel’s murder begins, of all evenings, on Friday the 13th of February 1959.
Mabel’s husband – a veteran of World War I – had died 12 years earlier. Following her husband's death the long time city girl moved back to Perkasie from Philadelphia.
The night of her murder Mabel left her apartment in Perkasie to attend a prayer service at St. Andrew United Church of Christ.
Just before 7:30 p.m. that night, after crossing the Walnut Street Bridge, Mabel was grabbed by a man from behind and attacked, dragged 300 feet to the bank of Perkiomen Creek and robbed.
During the struggle the man pressed both his knees to Mabel’s chest so hard that all of the ribs on the left side of her body were broken. She was choked and beaten and her wrist scraped and hand bruised.
While battling to escape from her attacker Mabel lost both her
Sketch of a Man Seen Following Mabel Kretschmar
shoes, her hat and eyeglasses which were later found broken in the mud.
Mabel’s purse was stolen by her attacker along with $30 she kept inside. Battered, bruised and suffering from extreme pain in her chest Mabel struggled to a nearby gas station and calls police. When officers arrive she showedthem where the attack took police before being rushed to Grand View Hospital where she died the next morning after suffering a lacerated liver and abdominal bleeding.
Over the next three days hundreds of potential witnesses are questioned by police. Vehicles on the roadway are stopped and a hitchhiker from New Jersey is taken into custody and questioned before finally being released. Police search the nearby creek for her purse and a dog is brought in that tracks a set of footprints to a nearby field.
The most promising lead comes from a witness who claims to have seen a man in his mid to late 20s, of medium build, in a dark ski cap with a roundish peak and bright red plaid jacket walking with a “country boy stride” behind her.
The description matches that of a man who attacked a 16-year-old Sellersville girl three weeks before. Police believe the two attacks may have been committed by the same man.
Footprints found near the scene of Mabel’s murder indicate that her attacker may have worn a 10 and a half sized shoe.
Police develop a sketch of their suspect and copies are printed in local newspapers. Despite all the publicity surrounding the two attacks the man is never located.
Investigators have no better luck finding her missing purse. At least one black leather purse discovered in the area of her attack turns out not to be hers.
Before long Mabel’s case grows cold. That is until two years later, when in June of 1961, Schirmer discovers a purse buried in the mud near Perkiomen Creek. Schirmer turns the purse over to police.
To this day it is still not known if the purse Schirmer discovered was ever conclusively tied to Mabel’s attack.
Shot by the Roadside
Vermont Murder Victim Visited Connecticut Shortly Before his Death
By Shawn R. Dagle
Interstate 93. Salem, New Hampshire. Summer 1969. Workers find the partially decomposed body of a man in his thirties, dressed in a tan shirt, bluish green slacks and black shoes floating in a small watery pit beside the roadway. The man has no identification and police are unable to match his fingerprints. For more than 50 years the identity of the victim remains unknown. Then New Hampshire’s cold case unit takes a fresh look at the case. A new search of fingerprint records reveals a match. The victim is 30 year old Vermont resident Winston Richard Morris. Police track his last known whereabouts. Less than a month before his death Morris made a trip to Glastonbury, Connecticut. Could Morris' trip to Glastonbury in July of 1969 be the key to solving his murder?
Pine Grove Cemetery. New Hampshire. The remains of an unidentified murder victim are exhumed. After decades of investigation and few leads New Hampshire’s Cold Case Unit has decided to take a new look at the man's unsolved murder. At his autopsy investigators learn the man has been shot several times in his head and torso with one bullet entering his jaw and traveling through his body to his rib cage.
While an initial search of fingerprint records conducted at the time of the man’s death in the summer of 1969 turn up no matches the cold case unit decides to search once again. To their surprise they discover a match. Their unidentified victim is a 30-year-old missing Barre, Vermont man – Winston Richard Morris.
On August 7, 1969 Morris was found floating in a small, watery pit by the side of Interstate 93 in Salem, New Hampshire. He had been shot several times and his body was badly decomposed. Morris had no personal effects and investigators could not match his fingerprints. Unable to determine his identity Morris' remains were interred in Pine Grove Cemetery where they would remain for decades.
With the 50th anniversary of his murder approaching, in June of 2019 New Hampshire’s Cold Case Unit decided to renew their efforts to solve his case. Morris' body was exhumed and DNA was obtained. Using his skull police attempted to do a facial reconstruction which they subsequently released to the media.
Despite their efforts police were not able to make a DNA match and the facial reconstruction did not result in an identification.
Investigators however had better luck with the victim’s fingerprints. A search of an FBI database in July 2019 came up with a hit.
Now that police knew the identity of their victim they reached out to Morris' family and attempted to piece together the story of his final months.
An Air Force veteran and lifelong resident of Vermont Morris was an avid hunter and fisherman and had at least one child with his wife Marilyn.
In early May of 1969 Morris was released from prison. That June he spent time in Boston and in July traveled to Glastonbury. Later that month he returned to Vermont where he was last seen in Burlington on July 25.
Morris' would be the first four murders involving men found shot to death along or near stretches of New Hampshire roadway over the next 15 years.
Winston Richard Morris
All the murders had one particular connection.
In the early morning of June 14, 1974, 44-year-old Domingo Valdes is found shot to death beneath overhead power lines off Gage Hill Road in Pelham, New Hampshire. He has been shot numerous times including in his chest and leg with .22 caliber ammunition. His body has been left in plain view just two football fields from the nearest home and a nearby substation.
None of the neighbors heard anything suspicious the previous night or early morning and police believe Valdes was killed elsewhere and dumped beneath the power lines.
Investigators from Lowell, Pelham and Manchester State Police take part in the case. Police discover days before his death Valdes went to Lowell Hospital after being shot in the hand. Valdes told police he shot himself by accident.
That same day Valdes and his wife had been arrested in connection to a “brawl” according to reports.
Valdes' case eventually goes cold.
Five years later in May of 1979 a 39-year-old Guilford, Connecticut man is found shot to death on Brewer Road in Kensington, New Hampshire.
Joseph Furando was on a business trip to New Hampshire and had a reservation for a Holiday Inn in Portsmouth at the time of his death. He is found lying approximately 20 feet from his vehicle with a gunshot wound to his head. He was last seen in Newton, MA.
Five years later in the summer of 1984 Brian Watson of South Boston goes missing. On September 16 his decomposed remains are found along the southbound side of I-93 on the Manchester and Londonderry town line in New Hampshire. He has been shot to death.
All four shootings remain unsolved. They also have one interesting connection. Morris, Watson, Furando and Valdes all visited or where from Boston or its surrounding suburbs just prior to their deaths.
Two months before his murder Morris visited Boston, Furando was last seen in Newton, Massachusetts the day before he was found dead, Watson was from South Boston and Valdes was from Billerica.
Despite these interesting similarities in all four cases it does not appear that police have ever been able to connect their murders.
The investigation into all four deaths remain open.
Ritual In the Park
Could Baby Found Dead in Park Been Used In Bizarre Religious Practice
By Shawn R. Dagle
A cold, rainy March morning. In a bundle of bloody blankets the strangled, mutilated remains of a one day old baby are found near a trash can in Mohegan Town Park. Several coins, pieces of fruit and trinkets are arranged nearby. Could the baby’s death have been part of a bizarre ritualistic religious practice called Palo Mayombe?
A cold winter morning. Just a few days from Spring. March 14, 1986. Connecticut's Gold Coast. Police are called to Mohegan Town Park to the scene of a horrifying discovery.
Three town employees emptying garbage cans come across what appears to be a bundle of bloody blankets lying near a trash can approximately three hundred yards from the lake. Inside police discover the naked body of a one day old boy. He has been suffocated or strangled, his jaw broken and his face mutilated. His umbilical chord is still attached and he has been wrapped in either blankets or adult pajamas with red berries on them and placed on two plastic bags and a piece of burlap. He is just a few feet from a nearby roadway between a tree and the trash barrel. Nearby police discover coins, trinkets and fruit purposefully arranged. Investigators believe whomever placed the baby near the trash can wanted him to be discovered.
Divers scour the nearby lake (once a gravel pit) and Mill River for clues but come up empty. Bloodhounds and aircraft are also used in the search.
A popular spot for joggers and visitors to the park, the area around the lake (known as the “cascades” due to nearby waterfalls) is not known for crime.
Police are unable to identify the baby whom they give the name “Baby Victor.”
Almost immediately the case appears to be more than a simple unwanted pregnancy that resulted in a baby’s death. The placement of the coins, fruit and trinkets near the body lead investigators to suspect it may be connected to Palo Mayombe – a sinister offshoot of Santeria.
Just eight years earlier in New York City – in an incident newspapers referred to as the city’s only known case of human sacrifice – the body of a seven year old South Bronx boy was discovered hanging in the basement of an abandoned building 20 blocks from his home. Bags full of animal organs and blood were found nearby.
According to later reports the boy was found naked and hanging from electrical wire that had been attached to a pipe. His wrist had been gashed.
The boy’s clothes were found shredded in another room, his shoes were cut and the laces removed. The boy’s rosary had also been torn apart.
Police suspected that blood found spattered on a door jam may have been drunk and spit out by someone at the scene.
In a separate room investigators located three plastic bags with sheep and goat parts and a beer bottle full of blood. Candy
wrappers and party streamers were hung from the ceiling and the name of a god in Santeria was found written on a piece of paper.
Later reports indicated that police believed one person was involved
Crime Photo of Spot Where Baby Victor Was Found
in the murder but that more had to be involved in the ritual.
The building where the boy’s body was discovered was later torn down. Like in the case of the baby discovered in Fairfield silver coins and fruit were found once the building was demolished, along with white feathers.
Since the ‘70s sporadic incidents of Palo Mayombe practices have been reported in the New York and Connecticut area.
In the summer of 2009 Stamford Police investigated the potential theft of a two year old girl’s body from a cemetery that may have been used in some form of ritual practice involving Santeria or Palo Mayombe.
According to reports two men fishing on the Passaic River in Clifton, New Jersey found the child’s remains in a bag on the shore. Police believed the remains belonged to a girl that had been buried in Stamford two years prior who was born with an undeveloped brain. She had been mentioned in a newspaper story the prior year after surviving for an extended period of time with her condition.
In another incident in 2016 police executed a drug related search warrant at a Connecticut home and reportedly found dead chickens and blood they believed to have been used in Santeria or Palo Mayombe related rituals. The man was allegedly a high priest in Santeria and was wanted in Worchester, Massachusetts for the disinterment of bodies.
Within two days of finding the one year old baby near Mohegan Lake police got their first major break in the case. Someone came forward from a nearby bank data processing center and provided evidence that appeared to indicate where the baby may have been born.
According to reporting in the Fairfield Citizen and Connecticut Post employees at the processing center reportedly had heard a woman’s screams coming from a bathroom only accessible to company employees. No one checked on the woman in the bathroom. A cleaning crew later reportedly found blood in the woman’s bathroom and cleaned it.
Police began to suspect that the baby found in the park may have been born in the bathroom. Investigators theorized that the mother may have been a runaway or foster mother from Bridgeport’s West End.
Police have described the baby as Caucasian, 18 to 20 inches in size, six to seven pounds, with brown hair and eyes and fair skin.
The case remains unsolved.
Sources: Hartford Courant, CT Post, Fairfield Citizen, NBC CT, NY Post, CT State Police, Onlybridgeport.com
Disappeared at the Dance
What Happened to a Bloomfield Teenager After a Sorority Dance in Hartford
By Shawn R. Dagle
A Bloomfield High School Junior leaves a sorority dance with three teenagers and is never seen again. Police search for clues, witnesses come forward from the hall where he was last seen but Raymond Carey, Jr. remains missing. Will he ever be found?
It’s a Friday night – the start of the weekend – and 16-year-old Raymond Carey, Jr. leaves his home on Daniel Boulevard in Bloomfield to go the movies.
At some point that evening Raymond’s plans change and he goes to a local bowling alley instead before arriving later that night at a Pi Kappa sorority dance at the Lithuanian Hall on Lawrence Street in Hartford. Before leaving he tells a friend he has a ride home. He is never seen again.
The son of an experimental technician at Pratt and Whitney in West Hartford, Raymond is a junior at Bloomfield High School and plays on the Bethel Baptist Church’s softball and basketball teams in Hartford. He loves music but is forced to abandon the trumpet due to a scar on his lip.
At approximately 7:15 p.m. the night of October 25, 1963 Raymond leaves his home to go out for the night. An evening at the movies instead turns into a trip to the bowling alley and then a short drive to the dance in Harford.
Raymond Carey, Jr.
That night Raymond never returns home. By the next morning his worried parents notify Bloomfield Police. State Police are also assigned to the case.
While at the dance Raymond tells a friend he has a ride home and he never telephones his parents leading them to believe he had a ride. A young woman at the hall also tells police she saw Raymond leave with three teenage boys.
Despite press coverage and a multi-agency investigation Raymond is never found. He was last seen wearing dark pants, a dark shirt and a gray sweater when he left his home earlier that night.
Sources: The Hartford Courant; Charleyproject.org.; Bloomfield Police Department Facebook
Flight to Nowhere
What Happened to a Missing Waterbury Pilot on a Mysterious Flight to Central America in 1963
By Shawn R. Dagle
A Connecticut pilot leaves on a flight to Central America. His plane, passengers and the pilot himself are never seen again. Some theorize Geoffrey Sullivan's plane crashed in the jungles or oceans of Central America, while still others believe he was shot down over Cuba while on a secret bombing mission and captured and imprisoned by Castro. Could Geoffrey Sullivan have been murdered by members of U.S. intelligence worried one of his passengers was prepared to testify regarding clandestine activities against Castro? A mysterious passenger and Watergate burglar could be the key to unravelling the mystery of what happened to Geoffrey Sullivan and his lost plane.
September 1963. The height of the Cold War. 28-year-old Waterbury pilot Geoffrey Sullivan is ready to embark on what will become his final flight to Central America.
No stranger to flying dangerous missions just five months prior a twin engine Beechcraft owned by Sullivan had been impounded at a Meriden airport after it was suspected of being involved in the bombing of an oil refinery in Havana.
Alexander Rorke - an outspoken former journalist and opponent of Cuban President Fidel Castro - claimed credit for the bombing but did not name the pilot publicly - though it is widely assumed it was Sullivan who was piloting the plane.
A former freelance television reporter who was imprisoned by Castro and expelled from Cuba in 1960, Rorke formed the U.S. Freedom Fighters – a group of American students recruited from college campuses around Boston who organized and took part on raids in Cuba against Castro.
During the Second World War Rorke had served with the 508th Parachute Infantry and Army intelligence rooting out former S.S. men and communists. After the war he worked briefly in the FBI’s New York Field Office and was a collegiate track star who eloped with the daughter of a well known New York nightclub operator and owner of the famous Stork Club.
Himself a teetotaler, who neither smoked nor drank, Rorke was known to make a strong impression standing six feet three inches tall, with a deep, booming voice, who, according to one account, radiated the conviction of a fundamentalist preacher.
Rather than dealing in Bibles however Rorke dealt in weapons. His Freedom Fighters were allegedly 200 men strong and had secret arsenals in both Miami and the Bahamas. His attacks drew the attention of Castro who imposed a death sentence on Rorke in absentia.
Sullivan and Rorke’s paths first crossed while the former was still serving in the Army National Guard. A veteran of Korea in the U.S. Army Air Force Sullivan eventually became Rorke’s private pilot flying with him on his various missions to Cuba and elsewhere.
On September 25, 1963 Sullivan, Rorke and a third man named “Enrique Garcia” took off from an airport in Fort Lauderdale on a flight to Honduras.
Rorke told his wife his real plans were to meet with Nicaraguan President Louis Somoza who had allegedly promised use of air strips and free fuel in his country for potential future bombing missions into Cuba.
Later that night the plane landed in Cozumel, Mexico. Without waiting to completely refuel they left 40 minutes later with a flight plan for Honduras. The plane and its occupants were never seen again.
From the onset peculiarities began to surface in connection to their flight. After taking off from Fort Lauderdale their plane landed in Hollywood, Florida an hour and a half later even though Hollywood was no more than 30 miles away.
They also would later radio the airport in Miami and say they were not flying to Honduras but rather to Panama – only to later change their flight pattern once again – this time to British Honduras.
Once they landed in Cozumel their strange behavior continued. According to reports later made to the FBI Garcia appeared nervous and anxious to leave the airport and they took off without completely refueling.
In the week’s following the plane’s disappearance it became obvious that Enrique Garcia’s name had been an alias. Rorke’s family began to suspect that perhaps the plane had crashed while over Cuba or been shot down and that Rorke, Sullivan and Garcia had been captured by Cuban forces. Searches were conducted but both the plane and its occupants were never found.
Years after their disappearance – while combing through files released by the U.S. government – Rorke’s family would come to believe that Enrique Garcia was actually Enrique Molina Rivera – an Cuban exile with ties to Raul Castro who was suspected of still being a Castro supporter. The family theorized that Molina may have somehow tricked Rorke and Sullivan and helped Castro capture both men.
Reports would eventually surface from individuals who had spent time in Cuban jails claiming they had seen a man in Cuban prisons matching either the description or name of either Rorke or Sullivan. These reports however could not ever be fully collaborated.
FBI informants questioned rumors that either man had been captured by Castro arguing that if they had been shot down while on a bombing raid over Cuba they would have certainly been used publicly as a propaganda tool by Castro rather than being secreted away in a Cuban jail.
In the spring of 1963, after a boat he had purchased to conduct raids on Cuba had been seized by the U.S. government, Rorke spoke with the FBI. In that interview he expressed his anger with the CIA who he alleged had suggested he purchase the boat and funded some of his operations into Cuba. Rorke felt betrayed that the CIA did not come to his aid when his boat was seized.
Rorke told the FBI he had been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in executive session and planned on testifying in an open public hearing as well. He threatened to “relate all details concerning his connection with Cuban exiles and also his relationship with [the] CIA and would furnish names and dates of everything which he knew concerning anti-Castro activities,” according to a June 4 FBI memo. The FBI then relayed this information to the CIA.
At the time the CIA and U.S. government’s efforts to topple Fidel Castro were still secret including various assassination plots and their clandestine partnership with the Italian Mafia. Public testimony regarding their clandestine activities against Castro would have been explosive .
According to another FBI memo written after Rorke and Sullivan’s disappearance, Rorke’s wife had indicated that he was expected to testify before a Senate Committee the week of his return. Because of his disappearance. however, he was never able to testify. Could Rorke have been the victim of foul play in order to prevent him from testifying regarding his activities and associates in the CIA?
At least one person suspected that Rorke may have been the victim of foul play. In particular they were suspicious of a one man - a man Rorke was to supposed to join on his final flight. That man Frank Fiorini – a member of Edson’s Raiders in World War II who later trained and fought beside Castro’s forces in Cuba before fleeing the country following Castro’s seizure of power - was supposed to be on the final flight. Fiorini - better known as Frank Sturgis - was one of the Watergate burglars and a prominent figure in the U.S. intelligence community’s anti-Castro activities in America.
Rorke and Sturgis' relationship dates at least as far back as January of 1961. Rorke was then working ostensibly as a reporter covering the impending invasion of Cuba prior to the Bay of Pigs. According to Rorke he was the only reporter allowed to speak with the Cubans in Guatemala who were planning for the invasion and who were being trained by Sturgis. Rorke said he returned to the United States and warned officials that any such invasion was doomed.
Sturgis would tell the FBI that he and another man named William Johnson had met Rorke, Sullivan and a third man at an airport in Opa Locka, Florida four days before the Rorke and Sullivan's last flight. Sturgis and Johnson claimed that Rorke told them at this meeting of his potential agreement with the President of Nicaragua to use airfields in that country for bombing raids. Johnson, Sturgis, Rorke and Sullivan then came up with a plan to fly south to meet with the president to firm up those plans. Due to a rainstorm, however, Johnson and Sturgis claimed they were never able to meet up with Rorke and Sullivan on the day of the flight and Sullivan, Rorke and Molina left without them.
It wasn’t long before the FBI began to receive information from various informants that Sturgis’ actions surrounding the disappearance may have been suspect. One source told the FBI that they believed that Sturgis and another anti-Castro soldier of fortune named Gerald Patrick Hemming were devising a potential search for Rorke and Sullivan in order to get their hands on a $25,000 reward being offered by Rorke’s father with no intention of finding the missing men but rather using the money to fund a trip to Central America –which they eventually did. The FBI source described Sturgis as “a liar, thief, deceitful, untrustworthy and [an] unreliable person.”
Marita Lorenz – Castro’s former mistress who eventually returned to America and knew both Rorke and Sturgis – would claim that she believed that Sturgis had been involved in Rorke’s disappearance. At one point she claims she was given botulism toxin pills to put in Castro’s drink but was urged by Rorke not to do it.
Lorenz claimed Rorke had a falling out with Sturgis before his disappearance. She theorized that Rorke knew about the Kennedy assassination beforehand (she also would claim that Sturgis and another anti-Castro Cuban traveled to Dallas prior to the assassination and met with Ruby a claim that does not appear to have any basis in fact).
Years later in 1977 Lorenz claims she ran into Sturgis and asked him if he was involved in Rorke’s disappearance. “Alex took too many pictures,” Sturgis allegedly responded. “We can kill anybody we want. Just blame it on national security.’”
While Lorenz’s allegations should be looked at with skepticism there are indications that Sturgis lied when asked by the FBI about the mysterious third passenger on Rorke and Sullivan’s plane.
According to FBI documents Sturgis told agents that he did not know Enrique Molina. Testimony made to the House Assassinations Committee by Hemming (who knew both Sturgis and Rorke) years later contradicts his claim.
Hemming testified that in the spring of 1963 Sturgis and Rorke were involved in “some boat operations” and Sturgis showed up in the company of a man called Enrique Molina who was believed to be an agent for Castro who would later be on the flight with Rorke and Sullivan.
Following Sullivan and Rorke’s disappearance Hemming recalled a conversation he may have had with Sturgis. “He was in a panic on what do and what we could do about it,” recalled Hemming in his testimony.
Could Sturgis have been aware that Rorke had threatened to testify, both in private and in public, to a Senate Intelligence committee about his anti-Castro activities and provide the names of men like Sturgis with whom he had been working with? Could Sturgis or others who had worked with Rorke decided it would be best if he never testified?
We do know – according to FBI documents – that Rorke had threatened to reveal information regarding his boat raids to the committee – the same “boat operations” Hemming would later testify that Sturgis had taken part of in the spring of 1963. We also do know that someone who knew and was involved in anti-Castro activities with Rorke and Sturgis suspected Sturgis of being involved in Rorke’s disappearance. And we know that it appears that Sturgis lied to the FBI in regard to knowing the mysterious third passenger on the plane.
If Sturgis did know more then he let on about the mysterious disappearance of Rorke and Sullivan he took those secrets to the grave. He passed away in 1993.
Sources: The Hartford Courant; Unsolved.com; The Bangor Daily News; 508pir.org; FBI; Vanity Fair
Murder at the Flagship
Who Beat and Stabbed Groton Teen Desiree Michaud
By Shawn R. Dagle
A teenage prostitute working to save enough money to escape life on the street is found beaten and stabbed in Room 114 of the Flagship Motel in Groton. Police search for a potential witness in the case dressed in a cowboy hat and boots. Could he help solve her murder?
Room 114 of the Flagship Motel. Groton police make a grisly discovery. 18-year-old prostitute Desiree Michaud has been beaten and stabbed, her body left in the room where she’s been staying for the last two weeks.
Police develop a potential suspect in her case. 20 to 25 years old, tall, with a beard or mustache, long sideburns, wearing faded blue jeans, a plaid shirt, cowboy boots, possibly a bandana and a cowboy hat covering his short brown hair.
The description is released to the press in the hopes of locating the man. In the meantime investigators continue to investigate Desiree’s murder.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. April 6, 1984 Desiree was last seen leaving Bank Street in New London (an area known to be frequented by local prostitutes) with an unidentified man. According to eyewitnesses there were at least one, and maybe even as many as two, other prostitutes with them. The group was last seen headed to the Flagship Motel. The other prostitute turned up alive the next day. Desiree did not.
For two weeks prior to her murder Desiree had been saving up money from her work on the streets (where she could earn as much as $300 a night) in order to move away to Chicago. Her friends told police that she was getting sick of life on the streets.
Described as shy by her fellow prostitutes Desiree’s early life was a troubled one. When she was just one years old her father was incarcerated. She wouldn’t see him again until she was a teenager.
When she was 14 Desiree began to search for her father combing old phone books for his name. When she finally did find her father she was already working the streets.
In addition to the loss of her father, as a young girl Desiree was sexually assaulted twice and dropped out of Plainfield High School her sophomore year after becoming pregnant.
Despite her troubled upbringing Desiree showed artistic promise as a teenager. As a 14-year-old she attended the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University.
Yet by the age of 15 Desiree was arrested for the first time for prostitution. Prior to her death she was jumping from house to house – living for a time in Waterford and an apartment at Captain’s Walk before moving into a twin bedroom at the Flagship Motel approximately two weeks before her death.
Before returning to the streets in order to earn enough money to move to Chicago Desiree had been attending a job training program and working as a receptionist.
As police searched for answers in Desiree’s death they questioned her pimp and tried their best to track down their potential suspect. According to reports they were able to locate the man in the cowboy hat and boots but were able to rule him out as a suspect.
Desiree’s murder remains unsolved.
Sources: The Day
The Keddie Cabin Murders
Who Stabbed and Beat a Connecticut Woman and Her Family with a Knife and Hammer in their California Cabin
By Shawn R. Dagle
A remote cabin in the woods of the Sierra Nevada. A Connecticut woman and her family are bound, beaten, stabbed and brutally murdered. Years later the severed head of one of her missing daughters is found in the wilderness more than 50 miles away. Who was responsible for the murder of Glenna Sue Sharp and her family? Was it her neighbor or are their killer, or killers, still out there?
Returning home from a friend’s cabin next door, 14-year-old Sheila Sharp is confronted by a grisly scene. Her mother, brother and her brother’s friend lie lifeless on the floor of their cabin. They have been bound, beaten with a hammer and stabbed to death. Her 12-year-old sister Tina is missing. Remarkably Sheila’s two younger brothers are still asleep and unharmed in a nearby bedroom.
The night prior – on April 11, 1981 – Sheila left home to spend a night at her friend’s. Now her cabin has become the scene of an unspeakable quadruple homicide that would become known as the Keddie Cabin Murders.
More than three decades later still no arrests have been made in the case though suspicion has fallen on a neighbor and his potential accomplice.
The story of these horrific murders begins years earlier (the exact date differs) when Sheila moved to Keddie with her mother Glenna, sister Tina and brothers Johnny, Greg and Rick.
A small community located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California Keddie was not the place where one would suspect a shocking quadruple murder to take place.
Originally from Connecticut Sheila’s mother Glenna had only a few years before divorced her husband – an allegedly abusive Navy veteran – and moved to California to be closer to family.
In Keddie the family rented cabin number 28 while Glenna tried to make due on a check from the Navy, food stamps and a modest stipend from the government. In their new cabin Glenna befriended a woman who lived two cabins away with her family.
Then sometime during the night of April 11 or the early morning of April 12 tragedy struck.
When Sheila arrived at the cabin the morning of April 12 she found her brother Johnny, Johnny’s friend Dana and her mother dead on the floor. Johnny lay facing the ceiling, his hands and feet bound with the same piece of electrical chord that tied Dana’s feet together as well. Glenna was covered with a yellow blanket. She was also tied up with electrical chord.
While accounts of how they were murdered differ it appears they were beaten with a hammer and stabbed. At least one report alleges that at least one of the victims may have been beaten with a rifle.
Blood spatter had reached all the way to the cabin’s ceiling and a butcher knife and bloody claw hammer were allegedly found side by side on a small wooden table near the entryway to the kitchen.
The Sharp's Cabin in Keddie
Everyone in the household was accounted for except for Sheila’s sister Tina. She was missing.
Following the murders Sheila and her two surviving brothers went to live with an aunt before eventually being placed in foster care. Three years later – in 1984 – Tina’s severed skull was located more than 50 miles from her family’s cabin in the Plumas National Forest.
While police have never made an arrest in the Keddie Cabin Murders suspicion has fallen on the husband of Glenna’s friend who lived two cabins away. Glenna had allegedly urged the woman to leave her husband – a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD. Some have suspected that the husband – along with a friend and convicted bank robber he met while recuperating in a VA hospital – may have been involved in the murders.
According to reports investigators were able to obtain an incriminating letter the husband allegedly sent to his wife following the murders where he allegedly wrote that “I’ve paid the price for your love & now I have bought it with four peoples lives.”
While his wife reportedly was unable to remember receiving the note when she saw it she recognized the handwriting as her husband’s. The husband also allegedly confessed to a therapist that he had committed the crime. Shortly after the murders he reportedly left Keddie and traveled to Reno to live.
There also are reports that a hammer was found in a pond not far from the crime scene that matched one that the husband had claimed he had lost before the murders.
The husband nor his alleged accomplice were ever arrested or charged with the murders ad puzzling questions remain regarding their potential involvement. If they were involved in the murder and it was simply for revenge why did they take Tina with them and dispose of her body more than 50 miles away? Also there is the question if they took Tina from the cabin what did they do with her in the hours and days following the murder when police were investigating in the area?
Also there is a question of the hammer. If the hammer in the pond was used in the murders and did belong to the husband what is one to make of the account that a bloody hammer was found on a table inside the cabin following the murder?
To this day the four murders in that cabin remain unsolved.
Sources: People Magazine; Oxygen.com
The Case of a Curious Call
Who was the Bogus Connecticut Businessman That Phoned Police to Report the Murder of Massachusetts Teen Theresa Corley
By Shawn R. Dagle
A mysterious caller telephone’s Bellingham Police. There is a body lying in a ditch near Route 495. He gives his name as John Burlington – a businessman from Connecticut. When officers arrive they discover the naked and strangled body of 19-year-old Theresa Corley. She has been missing for three days. When police attempt to track their down the caller they find no businessman from Connecticut named John Burlington. Who was the caller? Did he play a part in Theresa’s disappearance and murder.
A cold dark December morning in southeastern Massachusetts – not far from the Rhode Island state line. At least one motorist sees Theresa Corley walking home near the Bellingham Dairy Queen. It is approximately 5:30 a.m.
The last few hours of Theresa’s short life have been traumatic ones. After getting into an argument with her boyfriend at a local bar she starts off home on foot. She is picked up by a group men and goes to a party in nearby Franklin. There it is suspected that she was raped. She leaves the party and starts back off home being picked up by at least one trucker who drops her off at the police station where she makes a report of the incident. She leaves the station and heads for home once more on foot where she passes by the Dairy Queen. She is never seen alive again.
Three days later police receive a mysterious phone call from a man calling himself John Burlington.
A student – with aspirations of one day becoming a pediatrician – Theresa recently quit her job at a local market in order to get another better paying job to help pay for college. One of nine children, her mother had moved the family from Mattapan to give her kids a better life.
In high school Theresa, or “Terry” as she was called by her friends, was a member of the Spanish Club and played on the volleyball team.
The night of her disappearance Theresa left home with friends to celebrate a birthday. Before the night was over she ended up at the Train Stop Bar on Depot Street in Franklin where she got in a fight with her boyfriend and decided to leave.
One of her friends didn’t want to leave the bar, so without a ride she took off for home on foot dressed only in a light jacket and jeans.
While walking home Theresa encountered a group of men in a car. It appears they drove to a party at the Presidential Arms Apartments in Franklin. At some point – according to reports – Theresa was raped at the party, leaving with her attakcer's shoe on one of her feet.
Back on the roadway Theresa was picked up by a trucker driver for Garelick Farms and then a second truck driver who dropped her off at the police station where she reported the rape. She left the police station and disappeared.
When police arrived to find Theresa’s body in a ditch along the northbound lane of Route 495 she was naked. She had been strangled and there were ligature marks on her neck. It appears her jeans were found and contained biological material from an unknown male.
Nearly from the time Theresa disappeared a number of mysterious and suspicious incidents began to occur. Theresa’s mother received several phone calls from a young woman who asked to speak with Theresa following her disappearance. Police contacted officials from New England Telephone in an attempt to trace the phone calls but the equipment needed to trace the calls was being used in a murder case in Dedham. It does not appear that police were ever able to trace the calls.
Another mysterious incident occurred shortly after police received the mysterious call from John Burlington and before officers at the scene along the highway reported back to headquarters that Theresa’s body had been found. A young man came to police headquarters and asked if Theresa’s body had been found by the highway. That man has since passed away and according to reports police believe he knew more about disappearance and murder then he let on.
Police eventually questioned the men who had picked up Theresa that night but they were never charged with a crime reports say.
As for the true identity of John Burlington, police are still baffled to this day. Was he just a passing motorist who didn’t wish to become involved in the investigation of a discovered body or was there something more sinister? Questions still persist.
Sources: Boston News 25; Milford Daily News; Masslive.com; NBC News.com
The Green Man
How Many Victims Was Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo Responsible for Raping and Attacking in Connecticut in the Early '60s
By Shawn R. Dagle
From the spring to the fall of 1964 a serial rapist dressed in green work clothes cons his way into the homes of unsuspecting Connecticut housewives by pretending to be a repairman. Once inside he forces the women to undress at gunpoint before committing indecent acts. The “Green Man” as he is known attacks multiple women in a single day before vanishing for days, weeks or months at a time. Then in October Massachusetts police arrest a man accused of breaking into homes in Cambridge. The suspect’s mug shot bears a striking resemblance to composite sketches of the “Green Man.” That suspect – Albert DeSalvo – will confess to committing the attacks in Connecticut as well as strangling women in the Boston area. Better known as the Boston Strangler how many women did DeSalvo attack or attempt to attack in Connecticut and why did none of these crimes involve strangling?
West Hartford. Spring of 1964. A housewife answers her door. A man in green work clothes tells her that he has been sent to fix a screen. She lets him in. The man pulls a black revolver, ties her up using her own stockings, commits an indecent act and then robs her of $11 before fleeing.
Later that same afternoon on Park Street in New Haven a man posing as a plumber gains entry to a home, ties up a housewife to her bed using her own clothing before committing an indecent act and cuts the phone wire before leaving.
Within five hours, four different housewives are attacked in different parts of the state. Their attacker is described as wearing dirty green work clothes, with his black hair combed back. He alternately poses as a repairman, plumber or doctor to gain access to the women’s homes. Once inside the man brandishes a black revolver and ties up the women using their own clothes. None of the women are raped but each has an “indecent act” committed to them before the man flees. Attacks are reported in Meriden, Hamden, New Haven and West Hartford.
It doesn’t take long for panic to begin to set in. An innocent gas employee is picked up by police in West Hartford as he sits down to have lunch only to be cleared of any involvement at a later time.
Then just as quickly as the attacks started they stop. There is not another attack in Connecticut for nearly three months. Then in July a 22-year-old woman on Arnondale Road in West Hartford is attacked by a man in green pants posing as a plumber. As in the other cases the woman is not raped but the perpetrator commits and indecent act. Police search through nearby yards and along the roads surrounding Park Street to no avail.
That same day on Myrtle Street in Hartford a 54-year-old woman is forced into her apartment at gunpoint. Her hands are tied behind her back and she is gagged with scarves and one of her handkerchiefs. The man steals $14. The gags fall out and the woman is able to use her telephone to call for help.
The description of her assailant matches that of the attacker the previous May. The press is quick to dub the suspect “The Green Man.”
Yet it won’t be until that October that the attacks begin once again. Late that month a 22-year-old East Hartford housewife is bound, gagged and raped at her Simmons Street apartment. Around 1 p.m. the woman heard a knock at the door. When she answered it a man dressed in green clothing said he was a repairman. She didn’t think anything of it since she was waiting for a telephone installer to arrive that day. She let the man in. He then pulled out a revolver, held it to her head and produced a knife which he held to the back of her neck. He led the woman to her bedroom where he bound and gagged her with her silk stockings and sexually assaulted her. He then ran off toward the nearby highway. East Hartford police scoured the woods for two hours but could not locate the suspect. They also picked up potential suspects from Hartford and Wethersfield who were eventually released.
Five days later and one state away, in Cambridge, Massachusetts a man enters a woman’s home posing as a detective. He ties the woman to her bed and sexually assaults her before later apologizing and leaving her home. Police are able to use a description provided by the victim to arrest a 32-year-old father of two from Malden, Massachusetts named Albert DeSalvo.
Police in Connecticut are unaware of the arrest until November when a teletype arrives at State Police headquarters from Malden, Massachusetts. Dominick Console – a supervising dispatcher with 19 years on the force - realizes the similarities between the case in Cambridge and the attacks in Connecticut. Police in Massachusetts send their counterparts in Connecticut a picture of DeSalvo. It is a dead ringer for the Green Man. Sketches of the rapist in Connecticut match the picture of DeSalvo.
When at least one of the Green Man’s victims is shown the picture of DeSalvo they identify him as their attacker.
DeSalvo is out on bond after being arrested in Cambridge when Connecticut police arrive to serve the warrant in the Green Man case. As they arrive at his home the police are spotted by DeSalvo who reportedly attempts to flee in his car before being apprehended by Connecticut and Massachusetts police. At the station in Cambridge DeSalvo is interrogated regarding the Green Man attacks. He tells police he is unaware that he has been dubbed the “Green Man” in Connecticut but confesses to some dozen attacks in Connecticut since the spring.
In addition to the similarity between the Green Man attacks and the attacks in Massachusetts, the description of the attacker in Connecticut and DeSalvo’s confession there is other circumstantial evidence linking DeSalvo to the Green Man attacks.
Back in May a Hamden woman had been attacked by a man claiming to be a doctor from St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven. When she refused to remove her clothing and the man began to tug at them she started to scream and the man left. Before fleeing the man had asked about her children and had mentioned he had two of his own - just like DeSalvo.
DeSalvo was eventually committed to a mental hospital in Bridgewater for the attacks in Massachusetts. It was there that he would make a chilling claim – that he was the Boston Strangler.
Between 1962 and 1964 more than a dozen women were murdered in the Boston area. The first – a 55-year-old seamstress – was found on the kitchen floor by her son. Her housecoat had been ripped open and there was a cord knotted around her neck. It appears she was sexually assaulted with a foreign object.
The last murder occurred in January of 1964 in Boston. A woman was found in bed by her roommates with nylons and two scarves tied around her neck.
Decades later DNA would later conclusively link DeSalvo to at least one of the murders.
Given the ages and victim profiles of the Strangler’s victims some have questioned whether DeSalvo committed all the murders or whether there might have been more than one “strangler” in Boston at the time.
Questions also still persist as to why DeSalvo’s crimes in Massachusetts predictably began to escalate from violent rapes and assaults to murder only for DeSalvo to abruptly stop murdering in January of 1964 and return to attacks and rapes once more in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire as the Green Man. Yet he would never murder again. Why?
There is also the question of just how many attacks DeSalvo was responsible for in Connecticut. There was a report of a man in Norwich in the summer of 1964 who pretended to be a maintenance worker at a local apartment building and stole money from the residents. They recognized a picture of DeSalvo and said he had been the sham maintenance man.
In early May a woman in West Hartford reported that a man knocked on her door on Prospect Avenue. When she answered her door he ran away. The woman reported that he was driving a green convertible.
Later that month a 69-year-old woman on Centennial Avenue in Meriden claimed a man wearing a green shirt and dark pants tried to force his way into her apartment. Her description matched that of the Green Man.
While DeSalvo has been officially credited with approximately a dozen attacks in Connecticut as the Green Man the exact number of his victims or potential victims and why he went from attacks and rapes to murder and then back to attacks and rapes may never be known. Were the above women additional victims?
Sources: The Hartford Courant; Boston Globe; the Sun Sentinel
The Other Murder in Greenwich
Greenwich Police Search for Answers in the Brutal Murder of 13-year-old Matthew Margolies
By Shawn R. Dagle
Along a steep wooded hillside the brutalized, nearly naked, body of missing 13-year-old Matthew Margolies lays buried beneath a pile of leaves, sticks and heavy rocks. He’s been stabbed, strangled and suffocated with dirt and leaves forced down his throat. A six inch Foster Brothers boning knife used to stab him still lies beneath his body. Despite one of the most exhaustive investigations in the history of the Greenwich Police Department his murder remains unsolved. Will his killer ever be brought to justice?
In the Pemberwick section of Greenwich, on a stretch of wooded hillside overlooking nearby offices, the body of a young boy is discovered.
Dressed only in a pair of underwear and a sock Matthew Margolies' t-shirt has been knotted around his neck and he has been gagged with his other sock. A black and white checkered sneaker lies nearby.
Viciously stabbed, strangled and suffocated, dirt and leaves have been forced down Matthew's throat and a six inch Foster Brothers boning knife used to stab him is discovered beneath his body.
For five days Matthew has been missing - since he was last seen fishing the afternoon of August 31, 1984. A swarm of flies hover around his body as police approach.
Fred Lambert – a superintendent at the Mill (a collection of nearby offices and restaurants) and member of the Greenwich Fire Department - discovered Matthew’s shoe. Five days earlier Lambert had heard of Matthew's disappearance over the scanner while returning home from Virginia Beach.
Upon discovering Matthew’s shoe Fred left to get police. The hill where Matthew's body was located was the same hill just a week prior his mother had told him never to climb without her or someone else after he asked what was at the top.
Amongst the various items police discovered at the scene – the shoe, the knife – one thing was conspicuously absent: Matthew’s prized fishing pole that once belonged to his grandfather George. George had recently passed away from cancer. A former firefighter – he had been diagnosed that summer.
When he was still alive Matthew would make sure his grandfather took his medication and got dressed. Two weeks before Matthew’s disappearance his grandfather passed away. The two often fished together on the Byram River or at Parkway Lake. Matthew’s father – a corporate executive – lived in Texas – moving there following his parent’s divorce the previous year. His mother Maryann was a full time nurse.
An average, hardworking student at Western Junior High, 13-year-old Matthew was set to enter the eighth grade that fall. He had a lot of friends at school and planned on becoming a firefighter like his grandfather. He loved to ride his bike and fish and spend time with his dog Freckles.
The night before his disappearance Matthew had slept at his grandparent’s home on nearby Morgan Drive. That morning he went to go fish at the river. On his way he stopped at the Sparta Deli at the corner and bought himself a Danish and a milk.
Matthew often brought the fish he caught to the Deli - where the owner would throw him a few bucks. He would use the money to buy a snack – a roll with no mayo, a milk or a soda. His mother had told him not to hang around the deli due to a group of rough older boys who would loiter outside and harass people as they passed.
Matthew spent the rest of the morning fishing. An employee at a local shopping center saw Matthew walking up the riverbank with his rod and what appeared to be a fish. Matthew shouted “Good fishing” at the man and continued on.
From there it appears Matthew went to his grandparent’s house. When his grandmother returned home around noon she found a fish in the sink and his soaked gray corduroys flung over a living room chair.
Two hours later a man who lived above the deli ran into Matthew who asked about another man they knew who was supposed to give Matthew a ride on his boat. When Matthew learned the man wasn’t in town that day he left.
Around 5 p.m. a woman saw Matthew walking near his grandmother’s house. She remembered him shouting to an unknown companion, “Are you coming Willie?”
Teenagers at the deli were the next people to see Matthew. It appears he was last seen by several motorists fishing off a bridge near the deli at approximately 5:30 p.m. When Matthew never returned home he was reported missing.
Police and others searched the neighborhood but Matthew wasn’t found. Police initially thought he might be hiding in the woods. As more time passed, however, it became apparent that something wasn’t right. Scuba divers searched nearby ponds and helicopters were used to scan the area from above. Police searched the river thinking he may have fell in and drowned.
Then five days later his shoe was found on the hill not far from his home in an area people would discard their junk. Heat and torrential rain had followed his disappearance and his remains were in bad shape. Matthew was partially buried under a pile of rocks, sticks and branches. Only his toes and ears could be seen. Some of the rocks were three feet long and weighed more than a hundred pounds. There was no sexual assault and it appeared that Matthew had attempted to fight off his attacker. He had been stabbed more than a dozen times and investigators were able to obtain trace fibers from the scene according to reports.
With the discovery of Matthew’s body the investigation turned from a disappearance to a murder. Two weeks after his body was found a man who lived at the River West apartments claimed he had heard a young boy scream between 6 and 6:30 p.m. the evening of Matthew's murder. Also a suspicious red pickup truck was seen in town that day. A truck was also seen parked directly below where Matthew was murdered around the time of his death and another witness told police about a red pickup truck with wood side panels that picked up two boys around Matthew’s age – one of which had a fishing pole.
As the leads poured in 10 detectives were assigned to the case. Investigators knocked on more than a hundred doors and made more than a thousand phone calls. They even pursued more unconventional routes contacting NASA to see if they could obtain satellite images of the area the day Matthew was killed.
Over the following months and years police would investigate a range of suspects including a man who had attacked a teenage paperboy who lived near Maryann’s family and another man who had attacked a 16-year-old near the river the year before. Reportedly when police arrived at his house two days before Matthew’s body was found the man allegedly blurted out “Is this about Matthew?” The suspect, however, had a strong alibi and had spent the afternoon at a Met’s doubleheader game with a local civic group and was seen by multiple witnesses.
Early on police had identified more than a half dozen potential suspects. Over the years police would scrutinize multiple individuals including a Port Chester police officer convicted of child molestation in Texas. A friend of Matthew’s reportedly testified during sentencing that the man had molested the friend and had taken the two fishing on occasion the year Matthew was murdered.
Police also looked into a high school senior who sold pot. Rumors were circulating that Matthew had found pot growing near the river and the boy was upset because he believed Matthew had turned him into police. The high school senior allegedly owned a knife and his alibi reportedly fell apart when he had pressured another teen to vouch for his whereabouts. After that the high school senior refused to cooperate with police.
According to reports the high school senior had been arrested for rolling logs where Matthew’s body was found on another date and, allegedly, a state medical examiner had noticed healed scar on his body that resembled a finger nail after a search warrant was issued a year after Matthew’s murder for his home and person.
Investigators also questioned a married man who had befriended Matthew who bought him an expensive fishing pole and went fishing with the teen. Matthew and the man had a falling out and Matthew would not discuss it and became visibly uncomfortable when his mother brought it up.
According to reports the man was initially defensive when police questioned him. He claimed there was no falling out. He was allegedly fishing with his wife out of town the day of the murder and driving home in separate vehicles. The man had a back problem and police doubted whether he would have been able to lift rocks as large as the ones used to cover Matthew.
In addition police questioned another two local boys who had gone fishing with Matthew the previous day and had plans to go fishing with him the day he died. They told police Matthew had never shown. When questioned about Matthew’s missing fishing pole one of the boys reportedly volunteered that Matthew had sold him the fishing rod two weeks earlier for $2. Friends and family said he never would have sold his grandfather’s fishing rod.
One of the more promising of the police’s suspects in the case was a bully who allegedly picked on Matthew and lived near the hill where Matthew was found.
The summer of Matthew’s murder the bully allegedly had stalked and abducted a 13-year-old and lured him into a vacant apartment with the promise of a soda. In the apartment the bully allegedly slammed the boy into the bathroom tile, knocking him unconscious. He then allegedly slammed him on the floor once more with his head, dragged him into a workroom, straddled him and drove a nail into his back. He then allegedly told the boy to pull down his pants. When the upstairs tenants came home the bully stopped brought the boy to the backyard, hosed his wounds and brought him home. A detective in the case would reportedly point out how much the victim and Matthew looked alike.
Investigators would eventually interview the bully in regard to Matthew’s murder. They searched his house. But the bully had an alibi. He worked at Wendy’s and his time clock showed he had clocked into work at 4 p.m. and left at 10:40 p.m. For this and others reasons police ruled him out as a suspect.
As late as 2011 Greenwich Police were still receiving information regarding Matthew’s murder. The file in the case had grown to at least 600 pages in length. Despite their best efforts, however, police have yet to be able to make an arrest in Matthew’s case.
Sources: The Greenwich Times; CNN; NY Times; The Hartford Courant; NY Post
Could Hospitals Be the Missing Link in the Murder of Two Women In Greenwich and Norwalk in the early '80s
By Shawn R. Dagle
Three boys waiting near a tree to use the Brunswick School tennis courts in Greenwich discover the partially clad body of a woman. She has been strangled, beaten and stabbed in the neck and left for dead. Another woman – this time a hospital pharmacist – is found murdered two months later near the Merritt Parkway in Stamford. Both women are found or disappear near local hospitals. Could their killer have worked in the medical field?
Beneath a weeping willow tree near the Brunswick School tennis courts 36-year-old Carrie Mock's body is found.
One of ten siblings Carrie originally came to Connecticut with her family from Alabama. Her husband Jimmy Lee had left the family several years before to return to Alabama leaving her to raise her 12-year-old daughter alone in her third floor walkup in a Stamford housing project on Fairfield Avenue.
A single mother raising a young daughter alone times were hard. Carrie relied on welfare and a house-cleaning job to take care of her daughter. Then in July of 1981 she disappeared.
The last person to see Carrie alive was her sister on July 17 at a club in Stamford’s eastside. Two days later two boys waiting by a weeping willow tree to use the Brunswick School’s tennis courts discovered her semi-nude body.
Beaten, stabbed and strangled Carrie was wearing only a bra and red tank top, which were pulled up around her shoulders, when she was found. The few items of clothing she was wearing were different from those she was last seen with while at the club two days earlier.
Investigators believe Carrie was dragged head first on her back from the end of nearby Sherwood Avenue to the tree 150 feet away and left on her back with her head facing northeast.
Police theorized her killer was familiar with Sherwood Place since the street was hard to find. Motorists traveling to nearby Greenwich Hospital would use the area to get to the hospital.
Two months later that route would take on added significance when a second murdered woman was discovered – this time in Stamford.
August 20 the body of Carol J. Gates was found on a state owned property adjacent to the Merritt Parkway. The cause of her death was a fractured skull.
A pharmacist at Norwalk Hospital Carol was last seen walking up Stevens Street toward her car at approximately 11:30 p.m. the night of her disappearance. Days later police discovered her unlocked car on Stevens Street with the keys still in the ignition.
Carol’s pocketbook was still on the front seat and her hospital smock was still in the car. Like Carrie, Carol was originally from out of state and separated from her husband. Originally from Montana, Carol had moved to Connecticut the previous year after the breakup of her 20-year marriage. She had two children and took care of her elderly mother.
Police soon began to examine whether the Mock and Gates murders were connected. They also began to question whether both might also be related to a third murder that of Norwalk teenager Mary Fratalone Aaron.
Like Carol’s, Mary’s body was also found in close proximity to the Merritt Parkway on an embankment near exit 38. She had gone missing a month earlier on July 14.
Four years after Mary’s murder her estranged husband was arrested by Norwalk Police for allegedly kidnapping a former girlfriend according to reports. The girlfriend was last seen being taken into her car by Mary’s husband at a bar on Main Street in Norwalk and was never seen again according to reports at the time.
Reports alleged that Mary had called the Norwalk Police Department to complain that he was assaulting her prior to her death.
Mary’s husband however was never charged in her murder and no suspects have ever been named or made public in the Mock or Gates murders. One tantalizing clue in the cases of Mock and Gates remains where Mock was found and where Gates disappeared – both near hospitals.
If their cases are connected could their killer have worked in the medical field and been familiar with both areas? Could a serial killer have been stalking hospitals in the Norwalk area?
Despite the apparent similarities in locations no evidence to date appears to have been found connecting the two crimes. Both cases remain open.
Sources: The Greenwich Times; Stamford Advocate; CT News 12; The Hartford Courant; Connecticut State Police
Terror Along the Roadway
Who Viciously Shot and Nearly Killed a Female Driver on a Country Road in Pomfret in 1988
By Shawn R. Dagle
A quiet, two lane country road in eastern Connecticut. A 25-year-old psychotherapist is driving to work when she approaches a newer model black pickup truck driving slowly. The truck begins to repeatedly speed up and slow down before coming to a stop. The driver then exits the truck holding a silver revolver and fires one shot striking her in the face. Police check thousands of vehicles, receive hundreds of tips and the episode is featured on a national television program but police are unable to identify the perpetrator of this seemingly motiveless crime. Who is the shooter and will he strike again?
Morning rush hour. August 22, 1988. A Vernon psychotherapist is running 30 minutes late for her job at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam where she works with mentally ill patients when she comes across a truck driving slowly down the road.
Originally from Cranston, Rhode Island the woman has worked at the hospital for three years and now lives in Vernon.
This morning she decided to take her usual shortcut along Brayman Hollow Road in Pomfret. Around 9:30 a.m. she came upon the truck. As she approached the truck she slowed down. The truck then began to drive erratically – speeding up, slowing down and crossing the road’s center line. Then the truck stopped in the roadway. A white man with curly brown hair stepped out and with no expression on his face raised a silver revolver and fired one shot toward her vehicle from just ten feet away. The woman is struck in the face.
The driver flees the scene in his truck and the female driver is left for dead. Luckily for her an employee of Southern New England Telephone spots her crumpled over in her vehicle on the eastbound side of the roadway from his truck and calls police. EMTs happen to be close by and are able to rush to the scene and stabilize her condition. She is rushed to Day Kimball and later flown by helicopter to Hartford Hospital.
The woman’s immediate condition is critical. The bullet struck her in the face below her left eye and lodged in her neck – hitting an artery and paralyzing one of her vocal chords. Doctors leave the bullet in her neck and she eventually recovers from her injuries.
While physically the woman’s scars begin to heal she is left with haunting memories of that morning. There isn’t one day she doesn’t think of the attack.
State Police immediately begin an investigation into the shooting. For days they stop motorists along Bray Hollow Road looking for witnesses. A number come forward painting a disturbing picture of a motorist out of control.
One motorist tells police that while he was driving down the roadway that morning the driver of a black pickup truck kept speeding up and slowing down in front of him. The truck would slow down – as if to let him pass – only to speed up and continue driving down the road.
Composite Sketch of Suspect
Other motorists reported a black a truck that kept pulling on and off the road as if attempting to taunt other drivers. On other days motorists told police of being driven off the road by a “maniac driver” who was then behind the wheel of another vehicle – not a black truck.
Police spoke to fellow employees at the hospital who couldn’t imagine who would want to hurt the victim and checked the patients she had worked with but couldn’t find any suspects. Police checked thousands of vehicle registrations in an effort to find the truck searching for a needle in a virtual haystack of hundreds of thousands of vehicles which matched the description in Connecticut alone but came up empty.
Then in late 1989 Unsolved Mysteries came to Pomfret to shoot an episode featuring the incident. An actress from Manchester played the victim and investigators participated in the broadcast which aired in January 1990.
The victim also took part in the program but out of fear for her safety asked to use an alias and be silhouetted. Since the time of the shooting she had returned to work but at a different location.
Within a month of the show airing police received 170 tips – most in the first two days. Many of the tips were about the truck.
In total Unsolved Mysteries would generate approximately 500 tips regarding the shooting but police were never able to identify the suspect nor make an arrest. The case still remains unsolved.
The truck is described as a shiny, newer model black truck with running boards, flamed fenders and shiny wheel covers. The suspect is described as a white male, between 5’8” and 5’10”, with curly brown hair covering his ears.
Sources: The Hartford Courant; Unsolved Mysteries
The Mysterious Case of Ms. Kilcoyne
Could a Ridgefield Executive Hold the Key to Finding His Sister Missing on Nantucket For More Than Three Decades
By Shawn R. Dagle
A bitter January morning on Nantucket Island. An eccentric assistant professor of medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons disappears from her home. A week later two locals running their dog in a clearing in the area of Phillips Run Swamp find her passport, savings book, summer sandals and wallet (with a $100 bill) piled neatly in an area previously searched by police. Before her disappearance Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne told several strangers that she was on the brink of a major discovery. Others felt she had begun to unravel. Did the missing doctor suffer a mental breakdown and walk two miles to the ocean and drown herself like police originally theorized? Or was there foul play involved in her disappearance and probable death? Her brother who lived in Connecticut – an IBM executive who would inherit her $200,000 estate – may hold the key.
It's nearly a decade after Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne vanished from her home on Nantucket Island and her family, nor police, are any closer to discovering what happened to the missing doctor.
Following a dinner with her brother Leo and two friends at her home on Tom Nevers Island the evening of January 25, 1980 Margaret disappeared into the frigid morning air never to be seen again.
Now – nine years later – her brother is in a Nantucket probate court attempting to have his sister declared dead.
A month after her disappearance Leo took possession of her home, her bank account, cars (including her Volvo) and other belongings estimated at approximately $200,000 in value.
An executive for IBM Canada Leo – who is now living in Ridgefield – was perhaps the last person to see his sister alive. What he tells police is the story of a woman slowly coming apart at the seams. Her erratic behavior just prior to her disappearance leads her brother to theorize she ventured out in the bone chilling cold, walked two miles to the ocean and drowned herself by walking into the water.
Police initially concur – until a curious discovery a few weeks later near the swamp begins to change their minds. In an area searched prior Margaret’s passport, savings books, summer sandals, wallet and a $100 bill are found neatly stacked as if placed there on purpose. Nearby, in some scrub oak, they find a blouse belonging to her. Also near the swamp police found a receipt for a $300 necklace from Florence, Italy.
Investigators begin to question whether Margaret committed suicide or was murdered. A deputy sheriff brings a cadaver dog to her home who alerts to a wall in her bedroom. Blood is discovered on a baseboard on a floor below the wall. Blood is also found in the bathroom and bedroom sinks. Given the small amounts of blood, however, police are not certain whether it points to foul play.
In addition to her belongings found near the swamp and blood discovered in her home there are other indications that Margaret did not commit suicide. Her colleagues tell police that at the time of her death she wasn’t suicidal and a waitress who encountered her on her way from New York to Nantucket said she gave no indication she was going to harm herself.
If police are going to be able to piece together what happened to Margaret in the hours surrounding her disappearance they will have to start at the beginning when as a young student she was the first woman accepted at the University of Vermont’s School of medicine where she graduated with an M.D. in 1964.
From there Margaret embarked on a successful career as an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons studying hypertension in a lab in New York City. Never married she had apartments in New York and Boston and in August of 1970 purchased her home on Nantucket.
Margaret’s colleagues at the lab would describe her as friendly, outgoing and always smiling. Not the type of person to walk into the ocean and drown herself. Yet her behavior just prior to her disappearance struck many as bizarre.
On her way to Nantucket, from New York, Margaret struck up a conversation with a young woman with whom she confided. Margaret allegedly told the young woman that she was a nervous wreck and asked if the woman knew a hotel in the area. They went to the Marriott together and had dinner where Margaret purchased an expensive ten year old bottle of La Fete Rothschild and spoke of a major medical discovery she had just made. At the same dinner Margaret offered the waitress a job at her lab.
When Margaret discovered there were no vacancies at the hotel the woman whom she had dinner with invited her to stay at her home. When the woman awoke the next morning at 5:30 a.m. Margaret was gone.
Eventually making it to Nantucket, Margaret’s odd behavior continued. At a grocery store downtown she spent more than $600 in groceries (purchasing one hundred pounds of potatoes and prime rib) and $100 on liquor for a party she planned on having when she announced her major medical breakthrough.
The evening before her disappearance a school teacher and friend was driving by her home and saw the light on and stopped for a drink and to chat. During the conversation her friend found it hard to follow her train of thought. At one point she declared that she wanted to jump off the Empire State Building for God. He left her home worried for her mental state.
Her brother Leo appeared equally worried. That week she had made several rambling, disturbing phone calls to him and he would later tell police he had come to the island to help her.
The evening of her disappearance Margaret had dinner with Leo and two friends. The next morning she was missing. Her winter coat, boots, wristwatch and purse were still in her home.
Police scoured the woods, pond, airport, moors, cranberry bogs and unoccupied homes but could find no trace of Margaret. Investigators, however, did make a curious discovery regarding her brother. When they tracked down the waitress who had served her dinner on her way from New York to Nantucket they found that Leo had beat them to the punch. Leo reportedly attempted to pressure the waitress to say his sister was depressed and suicidal.
Witnesses would eventually come forward in the month following Margaret’s disappearance claiming that they had seen her or someone resembling her in Hyannis, Boston and Stamford. The leads apparently went nowhere.
In 1989 – upon her brother’s request – Margaret was officially declared dead. Three years later – in 1992 – Leo was killed in a car crash when he reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel.
In another unexpected twist several years after Margaret’s disappearance files in her case went missing.
Sources: n-magazine.com; Sunday Standard Times; New York Magazine; The Hartford Courant; Doenetwork.org; Orlando Sentinel
Teenage Hitchhiker From Connecticut Goes Missing
What Happened to 14-year-Old Paul Allen Allard
By Shawn R. Dagle
A Florida teenager with a history of running away disappears from his mother’s home in Miami. Family fear he may have attempted to hitchhike back to Connecticut where he once lived. Four decades later Paul Allen Allard remains missing. Did he run away, was he abducted or could Paul still be alive?
14-year-old Paul Allen Allard vanishes from his mother’s home in Miami where he's been staying. It isn't the first time.
The previous October Paul had disappeared from his mother’s only to turn up more than a thousand miles away in Connecticut visiting with his ill father.
While Paul refused to tell police how he had managed to travel that distance it was apparent he had hitchhiked north to his home state.
This time around when Paul disappeared - on August 30 of 1976 - his family believed, that once again, he may have hitchhiked to be with relatives in Connecticut. Unlike his last disappearance, however, this time Paul never turned up.
Despite the work of investigators in Florida and Connecticut no trace of the missing teenager has turned up since.
Three years prior to Paul’s initial disappearance his parents Carol and Roger had divorced. His father stayed in East Hartford while his mother moved south to Miami. He had spent a year living with his father in East Hartford before returning to live with his mother in Florida when learned that his father had become ill.
Upset it appears Paul hitchhiked all the way north from Florida to Connecticut without any money and without telling his mother he was leaving. Following her son’s disappearance Paul's mother feared the worst.
East Hampton police eventually located the missing teenager in a stalled out car belonging to his father on Laurel Glen Drive. Paul told police he had taken his father’s car after his father’s neighbors in East Hartford told him his father was in a veteran’s hospital in the Bronx.
Paul’s mother believed her son was dead until relatives from Connecticut telephoned to tell her that her son had been found attempting to visit his father.
That Christmas Roger Allard passed away and Paul returned to his mother’s in Miami. Then eight months later he disappeared once again. His family believes he was abducted attempting to hitchhike back to Connecticut.
At the time of his disappearance Paul’s left hand was bandaged due to an injury and he may still have a scar from his injury according to police. He had blue eyes and shoulder length light brown or blonde colored hair.
Sources: The Sun Sentinel; Miamidade.gov; The Hartford Courant
Vanished in Vermont
What Happened to a Connecticut College Student Who Went Missing in Middlebury
By Shawn R. Dagle
A Simsbury teenager leaves her friends to retrieve a favorite pen before taking a final exam at Middlebury College. Four decades later she still has never been found. Investigators are still searching for clues in the strange disappearance of Lynne Kathryn Schulze.
A quiet, wintery afternoon in Vermont. Teenager Lynne Kathryn Schulze is seen standing near a bus stop and Keeler’s Gulf Station in downtown Middlebury. It is the afternoon of December 10, 1971 and Lynne will never be seen again.
It will take more than a month before news of Lynne’s disappearance is made public after her parents initially requested that police not notify any news agency of their daughter’s disappearance in the hopes she might return on her own.
The 18-year-old freshman had previously spoke to friends about staging her own death and starting her life over. They initially thought she was kidding until she disappeared.
The daughter of a teacher and executive from Combustion Engineering in Windsor, Lynne graduated from Simsbury High School that spring. An outdoorsy girl she loved to stay active, climb, ride her bike and go skiing. She also loved writing.
Once a week by phone and by letter Lynne kept in touch with her mother. Just two days before her disappearance she had spoken with her mother over the phone and appeared to be in good spirits – though her parents did believe she may have been depressed regarding some of the courses she was taking that semester.
The day of her disappearance Lynne stopped at a local health store – All Good Things (near the bus stop where she would last be seen) – and bought some dried prunes. She ate them outside the store. Sometime after 12:30 p.m. she left the area of the store after missing a bus to New York that she had said she was going to take that day. Lynne then returned to campus and headed to her dorm. Shortly before 1 p.m. she left with friends to take an exam scheduled for 1 p.m. While walking to class she left her friends saying she needed to retrieve her favorite pen. She never showed for the exam.
At 2:15 p.m. Lynne was last seen standing in the area near the bus stop. The blond haired, blue eyed teenager was wearing blue jeans, a hand knit long sleeve navy blue pullover, a brown nylon ski parka and hiking boots. Later that day there were reports that Lynne was seen hitchhiking on Route 7 southbound – though police were never able to confirm these reports.
In the coming days, when Lynne did not show for an English exam, her friends became worried. On December 15 the assistant dean of women called Lynne’s parents to see if she had gone home. The following day Lynne’s mother called the school and told them that no she hadn’t and that they should contact police.
While initially Lynne’s parents believed she had simply taken off to have some time to herself by late January it became apparent she wasn’t not going to return. On January 24 news of her disappearance finally appeared in the local newspaper and her father contacted the FBI for assistance.
Lynne Kathryn Schulze
There were indications that Lynne had not planned on taking off. All of her clothes, except what she was wearing, were found in her dorm and she had registered for the January and spring semester at school in the days prior to her disappearance. As in the case of Vermont college student Paula Welden (also from Connecticut) who had disappeared nearly 25 years to the day earlier, after taking a hike in the Vermont mountains, there were few clues in Lynne’s disappearance.
By 2008 six separate investigators had worked on Lynne’s case with little result. Then in 2012 there was a break. Police received a tip that millionaire real estate heir Robert Durst – accused of murdering his friend and being involved in the disappearance of his wife – had owned the local health food store All Good Things that Lynne had visited that day and was last seen standing near when she disappeared near the bus stop. According to reports Durst was ordered to stand trial in 2000 for the murder of his friend who was found shot in the head in her home on Christmas Eve. Prosecutors alleged that Durst was worried she would implicate him in the disappearance of his wife Kathie in 1982. He was never charged in her disappearance.
Despite this apparent connection no concrete connection between Durst and Lynne’s disappearance has ever been made public nor apparently discovered and he has never been charged. The investigation into Lynne’s disappearance continues.
Sources: The Burlington Free Press; NBC5 NY; The Hartford Courant; Charleyproject.org; Vermont State Police; The Burlington Free Press; The Addison County Independent; NBC News
The Interstate 80 Murders
Could a Connecticut Hitchhiker Have Been the Victim of a Gruesome Torso Murderer
By Shawn R. Dagle
A naked hitchhiker from Bridgeport is found murdered and sexually mutilated in a densely wooded area six miles from Interstate-80 near Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. He is the second of five male hitchhikers found shot in the head and sexually mutilated along or in close proximity to Interstate-80 during the 1980s. Dubbed the “torso murders” investigators are still searching for clues in these cases. Could another Connecticut hitchhiker found shot in the head near a chlorine shed in Wendover, Utah also be the victim of this elusive killer?
Along a stretch of busy interstate, on the high plains of Wyoming, the first in a series of grisly murders is discovered. A 27-year-old man has been shot ten times in the head and torso and left for dead not far from Interstate-80 just southwest of Casper.
The murder is the second of six along or in close proximity to the interstate from Utah to Connecticut. Investigators don’t know it now but they have a serial killer on their hands.
Starting near Casper a sadistic killer has been targeting young male hitchhikers, shooting them in the head and then mutilating their bodies – with each murder becoming more depraved than the last. In some instances the victims’ heads and genitalia are taken
and never found.
After six years the brutal murders appear to stop. Investigators examine five cases they believe may have been the work of this same killer. Yet could there have been more? Could this sadistic serial killer’s murder spree have begun much earlier and to the west?
The first real clue that a serial killer might be targeting young, male hitchhikers along Interstate-80 came following the discovery of a 22-year-old hitchhiker shot dead in Utah.
In June of 1982 a fly fisherman near Daniel’s Creek discovered the naked, mutilated body of a man dressed only in his socks lying on his back, his knees raised, shot in the back of the head just 30 feet away from Interstate 40.
The victim – Marty James Shook – had left his mother’s home earlier that month in Sparks, Nevada to hitchhike to Colorado. He never made it there.
Investigators were later able to determine that the copper jacketed bullet that killed Marty was fired from the same gun as a bullet which killed another male hitchhiker in Pennsylvania the previous year.
In August of 1981 the body of 30-year-old Wayne Rifendifer was found naked and sexually mutilated in a densely wooded area approximately six miles from Interstate 80 south of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. He had been shot with a .38 caliber handgun – possibly a Charter Arms.
Wayne’s body had been discovered by a worker for the Bureau of Forestry. He had suffered a single bullet wound to the back of his head and like Marty his genitalia were missing.
Believed to have been living in the Wilkes-Barre area at the time of his death Wayne was originally from Bridgeport and was known as a drifter who often hitchhiked.
Ballistic tests in Wayne and Marty’s murders leave investigators with a disturbing truth – they have a serial killer roaming the nation’s interstates.
Before long investigators are looking into similar murders including the one near Casper and another killing in Georgia, where in July of 1983 a man was found shot multiple times in a swim suit.
Police also look into the murder of a hitchhiker whose mutilated torso was discovered at a Connecticut rest stop in the fall of 1986.
That man – a transient hitchhiker originally from Kansas City named Jack Andrews – was discovered wrapped in a quilt and stuffed into green garbage bags at a highway pull off along Route 8 in Litchfield. It was a spot frequented by lovers, prostitutes and homosexuals.
Marty James Shook
The bags containing Jack’s torso was discovered on a snow bank by a truck driver from Meriden. That August Jack – who had an extensive criminal history in multiple states – left prison in Oregon and began a trip hitchhiking across the country to meet friends in
Boston or Hartford.
On November 22 Jack was spotted at a rest stop McDonalds off Interstate-95 in Fairfield purchasing postcards and was later seen the next day walking along Route 34 near Newtown High School. Jack’s head and penis were never discovered.
As investigators began to look at the five murders they began to develop a theory regarding who their killer might be. All the victims had been found near well-used trucking routes. In Jack’s case he was known to prefer hitchhiking on tractor trailers and investigators had received a tip that a particular truck was seen at the rest stop the morning his body was discovered. Officials from the trucking company later told police that there was no reason for one of their trucks to be seen in the area that day.
Investigators were never able to identify the driver. Police eventually theorized that the killer was a truck driver or even a traveling salesman.
There was also a particular interstate linking the crimes. Sparks, where Marty left his mother’s to begin hitchhiking, is right on Interstate-80 while Jersey Shore – where Wayne was found – is also a short distance from the interstate. Casper, Wyoming – where the first victim was found – also was within an hour or so drive from I-80.
Despite the ballistics evidence and theories regarding the profession of the killer police were never able to arrest a suspect in the case. While for years investigators appear to have believed that the Casper, Wyoming man was the killer’s first victim there may have been a much earlier victim.
On June 10, 1976 the body of 18-year-old David Stack was found shot twice in the head outside of a chlorine shed at a water treatment facility in Wendover, Utah. A graduate of New Milford High School in Connecticut, Stack had left his sister’s home in
Broomfield, Colorado earlier that month to hitchhike to his brother’s home in California.
While it appears – at least publicly – the cases have never been connected there are many similarities between the murder of Stack and the other victims.
Like the others Stack was shot in the head and was a known hitchhiker. Interstate 80 also travels right through Wendover.
There was also another interesting connection to one of the other crimes. Stack at the time of his murder was traveling to see his brother who was living and working as a carpenter in Truckee, California. Truckee – which is right on Interstate 80 – was Marty’s
It is also interesting to note that both Stack and Wayne were originally from Connecticut and Jack’s torso was discovered in the state as well.
Sources: The Desert News; The Citizens Voice; The Tulsa World; The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes; Casper Star Tribune; Google Maps; Connecticut State Police
Murder at the Beach
Did a Serial Killer Target Young Women on Virginia Beach More Than Three Decades Ago
By Shawn R. Dagle
A father waits in the lobby of an oceanfront motel clutching a briefcase filled with cash. He is there to meet a man claiming to have information regarding his daughter’s disappearance. A swarm of FBI agents descend and take the man into custody when he eventually shows. Under questioning the man tells agents the teenage girl has been abducted by four men, taken to a cottage, gang raped and strangled before being weighed down with a cinderblock and dumped in a nearby pond. Investigators eventually locate the cottage and search the water for clues. They find a cinderblock and fresh rope but no remains. The girl -18-year-old Derby teenager Barbara Jean Monaco - is just one of twelve young women over a 13 year period in the early '70s to late '80s to go missing or be found murdered along the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Could a serial killer be stalking the nightclubs, beaches and oceanfront boulevards of Virginia Beach?
A dozen women murdered or missing along the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The first to go missing 17-year-old Marie Estelle Remick. June 9, 1972, Marie told her roommate she was going to visit a friend on the oceanfront. She was never see again.
The following year on June 23, 1973 two young Pittsburg tourists Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler – both 19-years-old – were found brutally murdered in a motel cottage on the oceanfront. Lynn had been shot twice in the head and had her throat slashed. Janice was raped, strangled and shot three times.
Nearly two months later on August 18 two New Jersey women in their twenties, in Virginia Beach to attend a job related convention – Joanne Zwigman and Christine Pilczack – go missing. It would not be until a decade later, on August 19, of 1983, that there bodies were recovered floating in the Chesapeake Bay by the Coast Guard. Both women had sustained major injuries and were wearing clothing not suitable for swimming. Police theorized they may have met up with a local boater who somewhere offshore had made a sexual advance and they were either pushed or jumped from the boat and where cut by the boat's propeller.
The following summer – on June 23, 1974 – the body of Beverly Christensen was found stabbed and strangled in her apartment on the oceanfront. The 24-year-old blonde was last seen the previous afternoon. Her murder was followed two years later by the discovery of a headless and handless corpse of a woman in the Chesapeake Bay.
Then on New Years Day 1977 Judy Ann Sylvester disappeared. Judy lived in an apartment in northern Virginia Beach and was employed at a local restaurant. The 22-year-old was reported missing after she failed to report to work later that month.
It would be more than a month and a half later before another young woman would go missing on Virginia Beach. This time it was Barbara Jean Monaco.
On August 20, 1978 Barbara Jean, her sister and her sister’s two friends checked into the Aloha Hotel on 15th Street. The group spent the next three days on the beach enjoying the local nightlife.
A drum majorette and graduate from Derby High School Barbara Jean left her hotel around 1 a.m. August 23 to meet a local bartender for a date at a bar named Peabody’s. She never showed up.
Barbara Jean Monaco
18 hours later her sister and friends reported her missing. When her parents heard the news they rushed down to Virginia Beach but there wasn’t much they could do. Police told them they had to wait 48 hours before initiating a missing persons investigations.
One lead investigators would eventually pursue involved a man who owned a yacht who kept nagging Barbara Jean to go out with him while she was at the Country Comfort Bar on Pacific Avenue two nights before her disappearance on August 22. She told the man she wasn’t interested.
Another witness claimed to have seen Barbara Jean get into a vehicle with four or five men on Pacific Avenue. Neither clue however seemed to pan out.
Frustrated by a lack of progress the family brought in a psychic and hired a private investigator to look at the case.
Then in April of 1979 agents interviewed the man who had sent Barbara Jean’s family a note claiming he knew details about her disappearance and was taken into custody after arriving to meet her father. His story appeared to be collaborated by the discovery of the rope and cinder blocks and the witness who reported seeing Barbara Jean get into a vehicle with four or five men. The man also reportedly passed a polygraph test.
In 2001 investigators are said to have spoken to a person of interest in the case who provided details about Barbara Jean’s clothing that only someone who was with her that night would know. That same night the man spoke to police he reportedly ran a hose from an exhaust pipe into his truck and committed suicide.
The murders along Virginia Beach did not end with the disappearance of Barbara Jean. A year later an 18-year-old local girl named Alice Eskew was found beaten and strangled on September 6, 1979 in a densely wooded area of Seashore State Park. She was last seen two days prior leaving her home on Atlantic Avenue just before dusk.
Three months later 20-year-old Brenda Joi Bancroft never returned home to her parents after leaving to attend a Christmas Party at a local restaurant in Norfolk. Four days later she was found strangled and stuffed under the passenger side dashboard of her orange 1978 Datsun B-210 just a short drive from her home.
Then four years later 20-year-old Rafaella Bryant was found in the passenger compartment of a burning 1972 Dodge Swinger on First Court Road in Virginia Beach. The car had Pennsylvania plates and had been driven into a field and set on fire. Bryant had worked at an oceanfront restaurant the Lemon Tree on Atlantic Avenue. She had left around midnight to pick up her son. Her purse was found on the same street Alice’s body
Source: The New Haven Register; The Viriginia Pilot; Legacy.com; Charleyproject.org; wtkr.com; The City of Virginia Beach
Missing on the Mountain
What Happened to a Stamford College Student Lost in the Woods of Vermont
By Shawn R. Dagle
The daughter of a wealthy Stamford industrial engineer goes missing in the Vermont woods. Clad only in a red parka, pair of jeans and light weight sneakers investigators hurry to find 18-year-old college sophomore Paula Welden before she succumbs to the elements. In the coming days hundreds of volunteers will scour the nearby mountain in temperatures below zero, yet no trace of the missing girl is ever found. Even a year later investigators were still baffled by her case theorizing she either died on the mountain or was taken away and killed. Then in 1955, nearly a decade after she went missing, a lumberjack, tells a friend he knows where she is buried. Could this be the break investigators have been waiting for?
From the onset of their investigation clues were few and far between in the disappearance of missing Connecticut college student Paula Welden. Her father, W. Archibald, descended on Bennington in the days following her disappearance like a whirlwind to spearhead his own investigation into the disappearance of his missing daughter.
A self taught industrial engineer and head of design for Car Revere Copper and Brass, W. Archibald specialized in architectural ornaments and decorative metal work. In 1933 he closed his own studio and went to work for Revere as an independent designer where he helped create Revere Ware – a line of highly successful copper bottomed stainless steel cookware before the war.
As his career blossomed W. Archibald and his wife Jean raised their young daughter Paula in their home on Brookdale Road in Stamford. While not riding her bike, ice skating, swimming or hiking Paula loved to show off her artistic side. She made toys and dolls, collected folk song records and sea shells and liked to square dance and play the guitar. Eventually she began to work with water colors, oils, pencils and charcoal and would do illustrations and mural painting and even illustrated a children’s book.
In 1945 Paula graduated from Stamford High School and ventured north to attend Bennington College where she was studying art. At the time of her disappearance she was in the first semester of her sophomore year working two shifts in her school’s dining hall.
During her last visit home in October of 1946 Paula had gotten into a fight with her father and did not return home for Thanksgiving even though her father had sent her money.
There are differing accounts as to whether Paula had a boyfriend at school at the time of her disappearance. There were reports that she had been seen in tears over a letter from a boyfriend and that her boyfriends purple Buick had been seen parked near a local inn around the time she vanished but residents of her dorm claimed she had no boyfriend.
At around 2:45 p.m. on December 1, 1946 Paula told her roommate that she was done studying and was going out to take a long walk or hike. Not long afterward the owner of a gas station across from the school saw a young blond woman running up and down a gravel pit near the entrance to the college
A motorist later reported picking up a girl matching Paula’s description on Route 67A. She nearly slipped as she climbed into his truck. The girl told the driver she wanted to go to Long Trail near Glastenbery Mountain. He let her off near his driveway on Route 9 just a short distance from Long Trail.
45 minutes later Paula was spotted by a man near Bickford Hollow who warned her about hiking out so late dressed only in a parka and jeans. He was the last person to see her.The next morning – when Paula never returned home to her dorm – her roommate reported her missing to the college. When Paula’s mother heard the news she reportedly collapsed and had to be confined to bed. Her father rushed up to the school and organized his own search. Classes were suspended so students could help find Paula.
It wasn’t long before it became apparent Vermont investigators were in over their head. At the time there were no Vermont State Police and investigators from Connecticut and New York traveled north to help with the search.One of the first areas police focused on was the gravel pit near the college entrance where a blond girl matching Paula’s description had been seen. A bulldozer was brought in to make sure she hadn’t been buried alive. No trace of Paula was found.
Despite widespread media coverage and a report in the FBI News Bulletin no solid leads developed. That was until a lumberjack came forward in 1955 and allegedly admitted to being in Bickford Hollow at the time of Paula’s disappearance and of knowing where she was buried.
At last it seemed as if investigators might be close to cracking the case. That was until a local attorney caught up with the man and questioned him about the story. The lumberjack reportedly told the attorney that he had only been joking.
Since that time investigators have continued to try to find answers to what happened to Paula that cold December evening. Vermont State Police continue to have information regarding her disappearance on their website and her case has even been the subject of at least one book. Still what happened to Paula remains a mystery.
Sources: Vermont State Police; the Bennington Banner; the Bridgeport Post; the Bridgeport Telegram; the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin; Designs Since 1945
Murdered on the Mud Flats Could the Murder of Two Prostitutes in Norwalk In the Early '80s be Connected
By Shawn R. Dagle
A father son construction team renovating a home in the Rowayton section of Norwalk discover the nude body of murdered prostitute Carol Ann Scalisi in the mud flats of the Farm Creek Inlet. She is the second prostitute in two months to be found murdered. The first Thelma Middleton was discovered shot in front of the entrance to Taylor Farm. Could both women have been murdered by the same killer?
The investigation into Thelma Middleton's murder began in the early morning hours of November 22. 1980. An unknown motorist called police to report an intoxicated or injured person in front of the entrance to Taylor farm. Lying on her back and fully clothed, Thelma had been shot more than once.
Earlier that morning, at around 6:20 a.m., a duck hunter had heard a gunshot near the area of Taylor Farm. Thelma had been last seen getting into a dark blue, two door, Saab or Volvo with a white male, with blonde or gray hair, on Elizabeth Street. The car then left and was last seen driving over the Stroffolino Bridge.
Two months later, on February 16, 1981 in Farm Creek Inlet Carol Ann’s body was found during low tide by a pair of construction workers. The father had seen the body the previous afternoon but thought it was a mannequin.
Carol Ann was last seen two days earlier around midnight on South Main Street.
Sketch of Man Looking for Carol Ann Scalisi
According to police she was trying to leave her pimp at the time and was being sought by a man named “John.” John is described by police as a white male, in his twenties or early thirties, with curly hair and full mustache who was seen driving a yellow jeep.Other prostitutes told police that John claimed she had stolen drug money from him and that he told them he was going to kill her. He was also seen as a passenger in a light colored, two door, ‘70s Monte Carlo with a white vinyl top.
Carol Ann’s tan coat, cream sweater and blue jeans she was wearing at the time she was last seen have never been found.
Sources: Norwalk Police Department; the Daily Wire; The Hour
Arrest in Norwalk Cold Case
Former Norwalk Man Arrested in Murder of Kathleen Flynn
By Shawn R. Dagle
After more than three decades of investigation Norwalk Police have made an arrest in the 1986 murder of 11-year-old Kathleen Flynn.
An arrest has been made in the murder 11-year-old Norwalk student Kathleen Flynn. As previously reported here Kathleen was found strangled and sexually assaulted in a wooded area not far from Ponus Ridge Junior High School after she failed to return home from school on September 23, 1986. She was last seen walking home using a path near the school’s tennis courts. At approximately 3 a.m. her body was discovered approximately 300 feet from the path, between a nearby park and athletic fields.
Over the years investigators looked at dozens of suspects, numerous leads and released sketches of suspicious men seen in the area of her disappearance.
Using recent advances in DNA police were able to eliminate potential suspects in the case while narrowing in on their main suspect 52-year-old Marc Karun. Karun was arrested at his home in Maine this June to face charges in Connecticut related to Flynn’s murder.
In the weeks following Kathleen’s murder Karun was questioned by Norwalk Police after being charged earlier that year with sexually assaulting a woman according to reports. He reportedly lived two miles from the Kathleen’s school and allegedly admitted to visiting her school days before her murder and walking on the path she was last seen on.
Years later police spoke with a woman who claimed that Karun told her that he was at Kathleen’s school the day she went missing but was said he was not involved in her disappearance according to reports.
Karun is reported to have been convicted for violently sexually assaulting at least four women.
Sources: WFSB; The Hartford Courant; The Hour; the Connecticut Post
Who Kidnapped 3 1/2 Month Old April Williams
from a Washington D.C. Bus Depot
By Shawn R. Dagle
Shortly before Christmas, in a crowded bus depot in Washington D.C., young mother Eleanor Williams is approached by a friendly stranger. She is just 18 years old and on her way out west to Kansas with her three and a half month old baby April Nicole to meet a friend of her brother’s with whom she has been talking and corresponding with romantically. When the friendly stranger named Latoya offers to bring April Nicole to the bathroom to change her diaper Eleanor doesn’t think much of it. It will be the last time Eleanor sees her young daughter.
Now more than 30 years later Eleanor – who has since moved to Connecticut – still does not know what happened to her young, missing infant.
Raised on a farm near Suffolk, Virginia, the youngest of six children, Eleanor's Williams was no stranger to tragedy. Her mother died on Christmas night in 1969 when she was just four.
Police Sketch of Latoya
Following her mother’s death Eleanor was raised by her father and paternal grandparents. While still in high school she learned that she was pregnant. Two months after graduation April Nicole was born. In the wake of April Nicole's birth Eleanor struck up a romantic relationship with her brother’s friend who lived in Kansas. Eleanor planned on spending the holidays with her brother’s friend and on December 2, 1983 was at the bus depot on her way out west when she met Latoya.
Carrying her young infant and a diaper bag Eleanor was sitting down when Latoya – in a white ski jacket with floral purple lining – approached and struck up a conversation. Latoya was dark brown in complexion with short dark wavy hair and green pants.
April Nicole Williams
At one point she may have indicated she had the astrological sign of Leo and a sister named Latisha or Natisha. Eleanor believes Latoya may also have gone by the name Rene Latoya.
Alone, on her way halfway across the country, it must have been a welcome sight to see a friendly face amongst the sea of strangers in the bus depot. Latoya asked to hold April Nicole and when she needed a diaper change Latoya offered to take her. When Latoya did not return with April Nicole within ten minutes Eleanor began to worry.
What followed was one of the largest searches in the history of the nation’s capital. One of the first clues to emerge involved the driver of a metro bus and other witnesses who reported a woman who matched Latoya’s description carrying an infant. The woman got off the bus at Rhode Island Avenue and 18th Street NE near the Prince George’s County Line. The lead however soon dried up.
Distraught by the loss of her child at one point Eleanor was hospitalized according to reports. She was eventually brought back to the scene by police to reenact what happened. Police even investigated whether Eleanor had sold her baby but soon determined that was not the case. Still whispers and cruel rumors persisted that Eleanor had given away her baby.
Even after all these years few clues have emerged regarding what happened to April Nicole.
At the time of her disappearance at the Old Trailways Depot at 12 and I Streets NW, April Nicole was wearing a pink and white snowsuit. She weighed eleven pounds and had a small birthmark on the top of her left wrist in a straight line. Her disappearance remains unsolved.
Sources: The Washington Post; The Washington Examiner
Spring Break Slayings
Who Murdered Three Young Women on Spring Break in the '80s
By Shawn R. Dagle
Spring Break. St. Joseph’s Catholic High School senior Susan Jacques and nine other students from Trumbull arrive at Fort Lauderdale. The group stay at a hotel on North Atlantic Boulevard and begin to enjoy their vacation. Days later on the morning of April 25, 1986, around 3:30 a.m., Susan tells her friend she is going to walk on the beach. Her friend begs her not to go alone. Susan leaves. Two days later on April 29 her fully clothed body, still wearing the expensive jewelry she left the hotel with, is found 35 miles away floating in a canal west of Del Ray beach. Her body is so badly decomposed investigators cannot determine the cause of death. She has no bruises or bullet wounds. Who murdered Susan and two other women on Spring Break?
Spring break. Sunny Florida. 18-year-old Susan Jacques doesn't have a care in the world. That night she and her friends go to the Candy Store Lounge at the Trade Winds Hotel on North Atlantic Boulevard. When the lounge closes at 2 a.m. they return to their hotel. From there Susan leaves to take a walk on the beach. It is believed she may have left to meet up with friends she had been dancing and drinking with earlier that night. Two days later her body is discovered floating in a canal near Del Ray Beach.
As police continue to investigate her death, an unconfirmed report comes in that Susan had been seen at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant talking to a man.
While her cause of death has not been determined police increasingly become certain that she was murdered.
Susan's disappearance and apparent murder is not the first involving a spring breaker in Florida. A year before another young student on her way to Florida for spring break disappeared. 22-year-old Karen Wilson – a student at the State University of New York at Albany – was planning on going to Fort Lauderdale for spring break and may have been on her way to Florida when she disappeared.
On March 27, 1985 Karen was last seen at approximately 7:20 p.m. in Colonie, New York. She had gone to a shopping center to buy shirts for her trip and may have also gotten a tan – though the employees at the shop did not remember her coming in.
Police believe she was kidnapped in New York but did investigate the possibility she had gone to Florida.
It appears that police have never found any evidence connecting the two cases.
That same year as Wilson's disapperance two New York students were found beaten to death and dumped in a Florida river. 20-year-old Lisa Eisman and 20-year-old Kim Vaccaro were roommates at State University College at Buffalo and disappeared while on a hitchhiking trip to Fort Lauderdale. In April of 1985 they were found in the Hillsborough River near Tampa, partially clothed and beaten in the head. Some clothing and money were missing.
The pair were last seen in Buffalo on March 29. They left on a tractor trailer to hitchhike to Florida and on March 30 mailed home a postcard from Maryland. Two fisherman found them in an isolated stretch of the river in an undeveloped area with woods. .They had been in the water about two days.
All four cases remain unsolved.
Sources: The Sun Sentinel; Charleyproject.org
New Haven Missing
The Search Continues for Two Friends Who Disappeared Without a Trace
By Shawn R. Dagle
Just a month before her disappearance Evelyn Ann Frisco made a prophetic statement to her mother Janet. “I think this is my last birthday,” the 42-year-old told her. On June 29 of 2004, Evelyn disappeared. In a bizarre twist a year later her friend and fellow prostitute Lisa Calvo went missing. Neither woman has been found. Lisa and Evelyn – both known prostitutes with drug problems – ran in the same circles and according to Janet. Could their disappearances be linked?
A troubled soul – with convictions for criminal impersonation, attempted larceny and prostitution – Evelyn Frisco was conviced someone was out to get her before her disappearance.
The day she disappeared Evelyn had a court date and had been sentenced to a conditional discharge on larceny after being arrested in Branford the previous month for shoplifting. After appearing in court she disappeared.
Homeless at the time of her disappearance Lisa Calvo – a 41-year-old mother of twins – was originally from New Britain but had been living in Fair Haven shortly before her disappearance where she was working as a prostitute. She was supposed to attend a drug treatment program but never showed.
Evelyn’s mother Janet would later tell reporters that her daughter had helped police in a drug case and might have angered someone in that case. New Haven Police however indicated that there was no evidence that her disappearance was linked to any case she might have helped with.
Over the years police have conducted a number of searches for Lisa. Cadaver dogs have been used on Russell Street, Middleton Avenue, the West Haven dump and marshes and woods in the area.In 2016 investigators searched behind Catapano’s Autobody and Towing on Kimberly Avenue for her remains after receiving a tip following the distribution of flyers regarding Lisa’s disappearance. 20 investigators spent a week digging around the property but turned up nothing.
Frisco is described as having light blue eyes, blonde hair, five feet two inches, 125 pounds, with a tattoo of a butterfly or a rose on her shoulder, a scar on her leg and upper dentures.
Lisa is four feet eleven, 105 pounds, with curly brown hair and brown eyes.
Sources: The New Haven Register; The New Haven Independent; Fox 61
Milford Torso Mystery
Investigators Seek to Identify Unknown Victim Found in Bag by the Housatonic River
By Shawn R. Dagle
Stuffed into a military style duffel bag, wrapped in a hotel comforter and placed in several layers of plastic bags - tied tightly with shoelaces - the torso of a Hispanic male, in his early to mid twenties, is discovered by a Milford Public Works employee on March 24, 1994 near Old Oronoque Road. Investigators have continued their efforts to identify the victim, as well as another unidentified Asian male found shot nearby, but their identities remain a mystery. Who are these two unidentified men?
In the mid-'90s a Milford Public Works employee makes a grisly discovery. The torso of an unidentified Hispanic male is found stuffed into a military style duffel bag on Old Oronoque Road. His head, arms and legs are missing and a piece of his chest is cut out in an apparent attempt to remove a tattoo or some other form of identifying mark.
The man is wearing a pair of gray and pink shorts and is wrapped in a red and green comforter sized for a single or double sized bed.
Police divers and cadaver dogs searched the area but nothing was found. Investigators do not believe the bag was ever in the water according to reports and police have theorized that the bag was thrown from the nearby roadway.
The area where the body was found was known as a fishing spot and a place where people would illegally dump their garbage.
In August of 1992 two hikers found the skeletal remains of a young Asian man wrapped in a blanket or rug (depending on the report) along the side of Oronouque Road. The man had been shot twice in the head. His body was dumped across the street from nearby train tracks not for a from the Housatonic River.
Unidentified Asian Male
Investigators have been unable to identify this victim as well. He is believed to have been between the ages of 18 to 25 at the time of his death and between 5’3” and 5’6” in height.
According to reports Milford Police were contacted by Canadian police about the possibility that the Asian male could be one of their missing persons, however a DNA match could not be made.
Investigators have theorized that the Asian male may have been from out of state.
Sources: WTNH; The New Haven Register; The Connecticut Post
Was a Finnish Sailor Arrested in Bridgeport Jack the Ripper?
By Shawn R. Dagle
In an upstairs bedroom of a seedy, three-story motel in Manhattan’s waterfront district the body of a strangled, slashed and mutilated Manhattan prostitute is discovered just days before Christmas. Along with her body police find a pair of bloodied shirts, a box of old shoes and a receipt for a sweater and pair of shoes. Is she a victim of Jack the Ripper?
The night of her murder Sarah Martin – or Cob Dock Sallie as she is known – is seen climbing the stairs of the Kelly Motel with a foreign looking man with blondish hair and blue eyes who had arrived earlier carrying a bundle. Its just a few days before Christmas in 1903 an Sarah doesn't have much longer to live.
Martin and the man have already enjoyed a drink together and are now heading to an upstairs bedroom. Later Martin returns downstairs to purchase a flask of whiskey. She drinks the whiskey with the motel’s housekeeper while the man who had accompanied her upstairs sleeps in their room.
Eventually Martin returned back upstairs and was not seen again until late the next afternoon when an employee of the hotel found her body in bed. She had been stabbed twice in the throat, slashed across her breasts and stabbed in her abdomen. Her companion from the night before was nowhere to be found.
In many of its details Martin’s murder was similar to that of another Manhattan prostitute killed 12 years before. Carrie Brown – or “Old Shakespeare” as she was known – was found nearly entirely naked, strangled, mutilated and stabbed in a room in the East River Hill Hotel in late April of 1891. Brown had been seen shortly before her death with a foreign looking man in his early thirties, with a mustache, black pants, an old derby hat and dark cutaway coat. Ammer Ben Ali, an Algerian national, was arrested for her murder but was released more than a decade later when it was discovered that bloodstains found in his room had accidentally been left by investigators.
Crime Scene Sketch of Jack the Ripper Victim
In Martin’s room investigators found two important clues. Scribbled on some wrapping paper police found the name, of what would later turn out to be a schooner docked in Bridgeport.
The police also found a receipt which bore the name of the Bridgeport clothing company of Meigs & Company.
The next day investigators from Manhattan descended on Bridgeport to track down their killer. At Meigs & Company they interviewed store clerks who remembered selling a pair of shoes and a sweater to a man who wore sailor type shoes and who claimed to have recently been shipwrecked off Cape Cod.
In addition police learned the name scribbled on the wrapping paper from the shoebox was that of a ship docked nearby. There they discovered that one of the deckhands for that ship had a name similar to the one the unknown guest had used when purchasing the hotel room for himself and Sarah Martin. Police learned that the deckhand had been discharged the same day as Martin’s unknown companion had arrived at the motel.
The deckhand was 33-year-old Emil Totterman. He denied being involved in Martin’s murder but investigators checked his shoes and discovered a stamp from Meigs & Company. A clasp knife was also found in his possession with blood on it and witnesses at the clothing store identified him as the man to whom they had sold the sweater and shoes.
On December 21, 1903 - just one day after Martin's murder - he was arrested. The following year he went to trial. He was sentenced to the electric chair. His sentence was later commuted based on his service in the Spanish American War. He was eventually pardoned and returned to Finland.
It didn’t take very long for comparisons to be made between the Martin murder and that of the gruesome Jack the Ripper murders in London’s Whitechapel district in the late summer and early fall of 1888. From late August to early November at least five London prostitutes had been strangled, their throats slit and their bodies sexually mutilated in one of the world’s most infamous unsolved crimes.
Just one day after Totterman’s arrest a story in the New York Times accused him of being Jack the Ripper. Totterman is still considered by some Ripperologists as a potential suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders, though it has been noted by some that his age – most likely in his early twenties at the time of the Ripper murders – does not match witness descriptions of the London murderer.
Others have even suggested that Totterman may have been responsible for the murder of Michael Yorko in October of 1916 in Bridgeport. Totterman was free at the time following a brief escape from Sing Sing Prison.
Yorko was discovered behind a billboard on Railroad and South Avenues on October 22 of that year. His stomach and bowels had been cut out and were found on the ground near his body. He had been slashed and his head was nearly severed. His wooden leg and clothing were found in another lot.
$4 in change he had been carrying that night was also missing at the crime scene. He had been seen late that same evening in a saloon. Investigators theorized he had been killed elsewhere due to the small amount of blood where he was found. The Yorko case appears to have never been solved.
Sources: Casebook.org; "Did Jack the Ripper Visit Bridgeport by Michael Bielawa the Bridgeport Public Library; the Kingston Daily Freeman; The Hartford Courant; People V. Totterman
Frozen In Time
Hartford Woman's Murder Remains Unsolved Eight Decades Later
By Shawn R. Dagle
Three brothers out looking for a Christmas tree in Depression Era Connecticut discover the broken, battered, frozen body of a woman not far from Newington’s Cedarcrest Sanatorium. The woman’s clothing has been torn off, her pocketbook has been ripped open and she has been kicked or hit in the head with a nearby rock. More than 80 years later the woman’s murder still remains unsolved.
A visiting nurse and choir singer with a seriously ill mother, 43-year-old Alice Louise Riley was an attractive middle aged woman who loved to play Bingo and enjoyed dining out with friends.
Two nights before her body was discovered beaten and kicked to death near the Cedarcrest Sanatorium , on the evening of December 21, 1937 Riley was seen at the Charter Oak Grille in Hartford with a female acquaintance. They left and went to a nearby restaurant for hamburgers and coffee. After that the pair separated.
Riley was also spotted in the company of a man named Frank late that night at the Hartford Tavern, the Charter Oak Grille and a lunchroom on Main Street.
At around 12:45 a.m. she was last seen near the corner of Main and Buckingham Streets.
Two days later, on the afternoon of December 23, her body was found frozen from exposure just 75 yards from Cedar Crest Road in a field owned by the Balf Company. The field itself was often used by Boy Scouts to camp overnight.
Dead for some time, Riley was found lying on her back with her arms outstretched. Her skull had been fractured. There were abrasions to her leg and feet and her head was swollen and beaten.
The lower part of her body was exposed and her underwear had been torn. She was lying on a coat, dress and pink slip. A corset was found under her body. Blood was also found on her slip and the collar of her beaver coat.
The contents of her handbag were scattered on the ground along with some inexpensive jewelry, rosary beads, bingo chips and other items.
Investigators found a partially filled package of cigarettes under her coat and a small pool of oil from a vehicle nearby. Papers involving an Idaho cooper mine were missing from her purse though police later determined they were of no value, because they were the subject of ongoing litigation involving her family.
olice were able to identify her body within 15 minutes of its discovery using a laundry mark on her dress. They traced it to a cleaners on Franklin Avenue and found a receipt with her name.
Investigators eventually tracked down “Frank” but were satisfied that he did not see Riley after leaving the restaurant and did not believe he was a suspect. They also tracked down a driver in Massachusetts who was stopped for speeding near where her body was found. He was eventually cleared of any involvement as well.
Two years after Riley’s murder another woman was found just 100 yards away from where Riley’s body was discovered in an eerily similar case.
56-year-old Nellie Bennett was found early one morning in January of 1940 lying helpless in the snow after a nearby dairy farmer was awakened by her screams. Both her feet were frozen and she had been raped and beaten.
Depression Era Soup Line
A 30-year-old Garden Street man named Michael Easinsky was eventually arrested on charges of rape and battery for attacking her after evidence on his clothing and in his car allegedly tied him to the crime.
According to reports Easinsky met Bennet, her sister (a widow who worked at Cedarcrest Sanitarium) and a male companion at a tavern on Albany Avenue. They drank together until 1 a.m. Easinsky drove Bennett and her sister home. After he dropped off her sister he reportedly drove off with Bennett and later attacked her.
Despite the initial similarities in the two crimes Police told reporters that nothing in their investigation connected Easinsky to the case that had not been solved – an obvious reference to the Riley case. It appears the Riley case was never solved and remains a mystery to this day.
16 years after Riley’s murder it appeared as if investigators may have finally gotten a break in her case. A 43-year-old pant presser named Charles Louis Forgays, picked up by San Francisco police, claimed he had shot and killed a woman and a man two decades before in Hartford. He claimed to have committed the murder in 1938 and told police he had dumped the woman in a field near the Berlin Turnpike leading out of Hartford and the man somewhere else he couldn’t remember. He told police he lived near Buckingham and Main Streets in Hartford for 15 years. Eventually, however he recanted his confession and claimed he had read reports of the murder and had been drinking and wanted to go to jail that night because it was cold outside.
Sources: The Hartford Courant
The Hartford Six
Could a Serial Killer Be Responsible for the Murder of Six Young Women From the Capitol City
By Shawn R. Dagle
A half dozen young women from Hartford are found strangled or stabbed within a four year period. Some have histories of prostitution others of drug use. Police believe they have a suspect. DNA tests, however later prove he is not the murderer. Now investigators are left to wonder who killed these six young women and do they have a serial killer still roaming their city.
The first of the six young women to go missing in Hartford was 29-year-old Mary Shirley. A mother of two young children Mary’s body was found July 15, 1987 behind a stone wall off Old Route 2 in Hebron by workers cutting trees along the roadway. She was badly decomposed. Investigators have never been able to determine her cause of death.
Mary was last seen during the overnight and early morning hours of June 26 and June 27 at the Venus Lounge – an East Hartford strip club. Her roommate’s blue 1981 Chevy Chevette, Mary had been driving the night she disappeared, was found nearby.
Living with her boyfriend on Wadsworth Street in Hartford at the time she disappeared, Mary was the mother of an eight year old and ten year old child. Her husband had been paralyzed eight years earlier in a car accident and was wheelchair bound and could not move or speak.
Originally from Suffield – where she attended high school – Mary was one of 12 children. Her mother was a practicing attorney who made an unsuccessful bid for state senator.
Following her husband’s accident Mary was left to raise two young children alone. She soon turned to drugs. Two weeks before her murder she went into a drug rehabilitation program.
24 hours after her disappearance Mary’s family filed a missing person’s report. It wasn’t until July that her body was discovered.
Soon another Hartford woman went missing. This time it was 22-year-old Patricia Thompson who was later found strangled in a remote section of Keney Park near the Hartford Police Department stables by recreation employees the afternoon of November 28, 1988.
Patricia had spent the night of her murder visiting local bars including Jerry Mack’s Club on Albany Avenue and later a bar near the corner of Capen and Vine Streets - just a few blocks from where her body was later found.
A third victim was found more than a year later on March 11, 1990. It was the body of a Hartford teenager. She was discovered by a passerby strangled with a man’s necktie at the bottom of a 15 foot grassy embankment in Rocky Hill on the west side of Cobey Street. A basketball star at A.I. Prince Vocational High School Tameika Mayo dreamed of one day being a police officer or lawyer and liked to dress up.
On March 9 Tameika went with friends to the movies in East Hartford. After the movies she visited her aunt’s and then headed out the Sportsmen Club on Main Street in Hartford’s North End. Afterwards she went to a friend’s home. She was last seen leaving her friend’s on her way home to the Charter Oak Housing project. She told her friend she would get a ride from a boy she was dating on Garden Street. She was never seen alive again.
Almost exactly one year later another Hartford woman would be found brutally murdered. The body of 28-year-old Carla Terry was found on January 13 of 1991 in a snow bank off Mark Twain Drive wrapped in a brown garbage bag with a yellow tie. Her eye was swollen and she appeared to have a bite mark on her breast. Her blouse was missing three buttons and she was not wearing socks, underwear or a bra.
Known to work as a prostitute Carla had dropped out of high school while still in the tenth grade. Like the other girls she liked to frequent bars in Hartford’s North End.
The night of her murder Carla visited the St. Lucia American Society on Albany Avenue and a bar on Barbour Street. Later that morning she had left her sister’s apartment and said she’d be back in a few minutes. She never returned.
Nearly two months later another Hartford woman was found murdered. 19-year-old prostitute Sandra Rivera was found naked from the waist down with her black sweater pulled over her face in Hartford’s Zion Hill Cemetery on March 3. She had been strangled.
A caretaker found her body while picking up trash and checking a fence line for damage and headstones that may have been turned over. She was found lying on her side against a fence facing eastward. Heavy wind and rain had ruined much of the evidence at the scene.
The following year police received a tip from a witness who claimed to have seen an older Hispanic man in a white t-shirt and jeans beating Rivera in the cemetery. Police were able to develop a person of interest but were never able to make an arrest.
Later that Spring a sixth and final Hartford woman was found murdered by a group of fishermen walking down a utility right of way beneath high tension wires off Pierce Road in South Windsor on June 10. She was stabbed, wrapped in a shower curtain and dumped near a dirt roadway.
A gifted student Deidra Dancy quit school while still a sophomore at Weaver High School. She had two children before leaving to live a life on the streets.
Deidra was known to take money or cocaine for sex and is believed to have worked near the corner of Capen and Vine Streets. She was last seen walking from a home on Enfield Street on June 8. Her body was discovered two days later.
By the time of Deidra’s murder it became apparent that there was a serial killer on the loose in Hartford. Most of the victims were in their twenties or teens, most were African-American, had been on the local bar scene the night of their murders and all except one had been strangled.
When police began to focus on an appliance repairman who was seen at a local bar with Carla Terry the night of her murder they believed they had cracked the case.
Alfred Swinton admitted to knowing four of the six murdered women. When shown a picture of Mary Shirley he reportedly placed his head in his hands and told police that if they discovered her hair in his van it was because he had sex with Shirley there.
In addition Swinton claimed he had bought Tameika Mayo drinks and gave her rides in his van. He even admitted to police the tie used to strangle her resembled one he owned.
Swinton also claimed to have known Diedra Dancy and to have had sex with her as well. He even claimed to have recognized the shower curtain her body was wrapped in when it was found.
A search of his apartment complex also turned up a box of clothing containing a black bra. Carla Terry’s aunt would later identify it as belonging to Carla.
In 1991 Swinton was indicted for Carla’s murder. A judge threw out bite mark evidence which allegedly matched Swinton. Years later prosecutors claimed new technology could determine when the bite mark occurred and it was allowed into evidence. In 2001 Swinton was convicted of Carla’s murder.
While the evidence against Swinton appeared damning much of it could be explained away. The fact he may have known four of the murdered women is less unusual when one considers they all frequented the same few bars in Hartford’s north end.
The bra evidence which also appeared damning at first is less so when one considers the bra was found in a shared basement and never conclusively tied to Swinton.
According to reports Carla’s aunt changed her story regarding the bra calling her recollection into question.
Then in 2014 DNA tests proved that it was not Swinton’s saliva in Carla’s bite mark. In addition evidence left behind on vaginal and anal swabs and under the fingernails of the victim did not match Swinton either. He was not Carla Terry’s killer.
While the killer of these six women remains unknown it would appear their killer was familiar with the North End’s bar scene at the time of the murders and most likely knew at least some of the city’s prostitutes. He may have hung around the area of Capen and Vine Streets where Patricia Thompson visited a bar the night of her murder and Deidra Dancy worked as a prostitute.
Since Swinton’s exoneration the murders have remained unsolved.
Sources: Washington Post; The Hartford Courant; Fox 61
Missing and Murdered
Who Killed New Milford High School Graduate David Stack
By Shawn R. Dagle
The body of a teenager is discovered with no identification and no belongings outside a chlorine shed in Wendover, Utah. Clues are few in the case. All police know is the teenager has been shot twice in the head. The case goes cold. 39 years later DNA and dental records confirm the murdered teen is none other than missing New Milford High School graduate David Stack. Now investigators in Utah are trying to determine what happened to David and who murdered him.
The puzzling case of David Arthur Stack began in early June of 1976 when David left his sister’s home in Broomfield, Colorado to hitchhike to his brother’s place in California. The teenager is on his way westward after graduating from high school in New Milford the year before.
Fun loving and popular David was a member of the discussion club at school and loved to attend rock concerts and worked as a painter.
Following graduation David immediately headed out for Florida and then Kansas where he visited with a brother. Eventually he arrived in Broomfield – a small farming community located between Denver and Boulder – where he stayed with his sister.
Looking forward to joining a group of boys from his hometown, in June of 1976 David decided to hitchhike to Truckee, California where another brother was living and working as a carpenter. He never made it.
On June 10 David’s body was found outside the chlorine shed at a Wendover water treatment facility. Police had no clue who the murdered teen was. Despite every effort to identify David’s body the case went cold.
David's identity would remain a mystery until 2015. While many had forgotten about the murdered teen whose body was found shot outside of Wendover, police had not.
In an effort to take advantage of new technology and believing the description of the murdered teen may have matched a missing 18-year-old hitchhiker in a national database of missing persons cops make an important decision that will break the case wide open.
David Arthur Stack
In an effort to identify the remains police decide to exhume John Doe’s body from the Tooele City Cemetery where it had lain buried for more than three decades and see if they can get a DNA match.
Using DNA taken from John Doe’s bones and dental records and DNA samples from David’s deceased mother, police were able to confirm that the teenager found in June of 1976 was indeed David Stack.
With the remains finally identified police began to redouble their efforts to find David’s killer.
Following identification of the remains investigators announced that they would be returning to the water treatment facility – now long since abandoned – to see if they might be able to locate any spent shell casings or other forensic evidence still located at the scene.
The result of any subsequent searches of the site have not been made public however and the mystery of who killed David Stack still remains a mystery.
Sources: The Republican American; Newstimes; the Salt Lake Tribune
Murdered in Moscow
Was a Connecticut Exchange Student Murdered Outside His Dorm in the Russian Capital
By Shawn R. Dagle
21-year-old Connecticut exchange student Anthony Riccio jumps more than 13 stories to his death from a balcony outside his dorm room in Moscow. Or did he?
According to Moscow Police Anthony Riccio's death was a suicide. His fellow students however tell a different story.
Discovered 13 stories below his dorm room on September 20 of 1994 local police unsuccesfully attempt to quell suspicion of foul play. While police claim to have discovered a broken piece of rope still wrapped around his neck - the other end tied to the balcony above their heads - students who discovered his body saw no such rope.
Soon it is revealed by the American Embassy in Moscow that a coroner’s report following Riccio's death has his manner of death listed as murder.
Police eventually bow to public pressure and open a formal murder investigation.
Two decades later, however, questions still persist in Anthony's tragic death. Was the young student murdered? If so who killed him? And why?
By all accounts Anthony Riccio was a fervent admirer of all things Russian. The Brown University Junior arrived in Moscow on September 10, 1994 as one of five students taking part in a one year exchange program sponsored by Middlebury College in Vermont.
Anthony's love affair with Russian culture began while reading Italian and Russian folktales as a boy. Anthony read so often the books themselves began to fall apart.
While attending school in his hometown of Glastonbury Anthony took a Russian language course and while attending the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, his sophomore year, visited the Soviet Union with his class.
As a young student Anthony learned to speak six languages including French, German, Spanish and Old Church Slavonic. He played the cello in the school orchestra, worked as a lifeguard and swam competitively.
Confident, extroverted, energetic, Anthony graduated from Loomis Chaffee. At Brown University he majored in Russian studies, served as a teaching assistant for the school’s Russian department and dreamed of once again visiting Russia. The student exchange program was an opportunity he could not pass up.
With as much as $200 in cash, $500 in American Express travelers checks, an American Express and Visa card and the expectation he would be able to collect a small stipend in rubles from the American Collegiate Consortium he headed out to Moscow with the group.
The students arrived in Moscow on September 10. Five days later Anthony moved into his dorm room at No. 25 Kirovogradskaya St. in southern Moscow. There, at the Russian State Humanities University, he shared Room 145 with three Russian students from the Far Eastern Russian City of Nakhodka.
Anthony's room was located near the top of the 16-story dormitory. It had its own balcony where he occasionally would go to have a smoke. While some of the students would later claim that Anthony felt homesick following his arrival he appeared to be settling in – writing his parents for particular items of food. His mother – a middle school teacher – had spoken to him over the phone the Monday before his death. She noticed no signs that he was suicidal.
All however was not right in the Russian dorms. A high level police official would later tell the press that the dorms were a “nest of crime” known to be filled with young Russian criminals and gangsters who learned their trade while the police turned a blind eye. There were even reports that the university was renting out rooms to non-students.
Concerned four other students who traveled with Anthony as part of the student exchange program requested they be transferred to a special dorm for foreign students. Anthony however never requested such a transfer.
The day of his murder the other exchange students left the old dorm and moved to the special dorm for foreign students leaving Anthony behind.
On September 20 – just ten days after arriving in Moscow - Anthony’s body was found on the asphalt outside his dorm. Moscow Police theorized Anthony became despondent when he ran out of money. His father however questioned how despondent he could have been with $700 in cash and checks and credit cards in his possession at the time of his death.
When it became clear that no rope was found Moscow Police were forced to reluctantly open an investigation into his case as a murder rather than a suicide. No suicide note had been found and students at the dorms – while unwilling to talk with the press about the details of his death – expressed their confidence that he had been murdered.
A preliminary examination by police determined that Anthony had been strangled and may have been strangled standing up before being thrown from the balcony to the asphalt below.
Despite opening a murder investigation Moscow Police had no suspects and were still reluctant to completely give up on the theory that the young American had committed suicide.
It wasn’t long before rumors began to circulate that perhaps Anthony had stumbled upon criminal activity going on in the dorms or had run afoul of Russian gangsters or the Russian mafia.
Anthony’s body was eventually returned to Connecticut where his family conducted a second medical examination. An associate medical examiner and a former medical examiner from the Soviet Union conducted the autopsy at the Glastonbury Funeral Home.
While the examination determined that Anthony had been severely traumatized by his fall from the balcony the cause of death was not able to be determined without more information from Russian officials including toxicology reports.
Anthony was buried September 29. More than 400 people attended his funeral, which lasted two hours. The ceremony drew mourners from as far away as Mississippi and Oregon. A 75-car funeral procession carried his body from St. Augustine Church.
Laid to rest back in Connecticut the investigation into Anthony’s murder continued with little result. The case remains unsolved. What happened to Anthony and who is responsible for his death is still a mystery.
Sources: The New York Times; The Baltimore Sun; the Harvard Crimson; the Daily Pennsylvanian; The LA Times; The Hartford Courant; Findagrave.com
"Lost Girl" Murdered on Long Island's Gilgo Beach
Connecticut Woman Victim of Infamous Long Island Serial Killer
By Shawn R. Dagle
Three long years after Maureen Brainard Barnes left Norwich to spend a weekend in Manhattan meeting with clients, investigators were still no closer to solving her disappearance. The weekend Maureen went missing business had been slow. Two of her friends had returned to Connecticut while she decided to stay behind in an attempt to make more money as a Craigslist escort. Instead Maureen was waiting for a train at Penn Station to head back to Connecticut after being robbed near the Port Authority Bus Terminal when she disappeared.
Maureen's phone would later ping to a tower near Fire Island off the southern edge of Long Island a few weeks after her disappearance. It was on that same island - eleven years earlier - a garbage bag containing a pair of severed legs had washed ashore - an ominous connection to one of Long Island's most infamous serial killer cases, only revealed three years after Maureen's disappearance when another escort went missing on Long Island.
On May 1, 2010 in the small gated community of Oak Beach 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert went missing after fleeing from the home of a client.
Like Maureen, Shannan was an escort on Craigslist and had been working at the time of her disappearance. That night Shannan had traveled with her driver to her client's home in Oak Beach. At some point her client left his home to get her driver. Shannan was in a panic and believed someone was trying to kill her. She fled the home and ran out into the night placing a 23 minute phone call to 911. She was never seen alive again.
Seven months later a police detective and K-9 discovered the skeletal remains of a young woman along the Ocean Parkway not far from where Shannan had disappeared in Oak Beach. Yet the remains were not Shannan's. They were the remains of another 24-year-old online escort Melissa Barthelemy.
Over the next month police would discover the remains of another three young women along the parkway - none of them Shannan. In addition to Melissa investigators found the bodies of 27-year-old Amber Lynn Costello and 22-year-old Megan Waterman. Both were prostitutes who advertised their services on Craigslist or Backpage.
The third set of remains would solve the three year old mystery of what happened to missing Connecticut escort Maureen Brainard Barnes. DNA taken from the body was able to conclusively prove the remains were hers.
The following spring investigators found the remains of an unidentified Asian male believed to have been dressed in women's clothing, a Jane Doe whose torso and head had been found in nearby Manorville in November of 2000, the head and hands of prostitute Jessica Taylor who's torso had been discovered in Manorville in 2003 and the remains of another unidentified woman whose torso had been found in a green plastic Rubbermaid container in Hempstead Lake State Park in 1997. Dubbed "Peaches" - due to a tattoo of a bitten peach she had on or near her breast - this victim was not alone. Police also discovered the body of her 1 to 4 year old child nearby.
Police also discovered that spring the head of the unidentified woman whose legs has washed up on Fire Island.
It wasn't until late that winter that police would discover the remains of Shannan Gilbert in the marshes not far from where she had disappeared in Oak Beach.
Police would determine that Shannan's death was not the result of foul play and was not connected to the murders of the other prostitutes. It appeared as if she had died of exposure after running from the home and becoming lost and disoriented in the thickly overgrown marshes that chilly May night.
While Shannan's death was not a homicide it was clear that the others were. Police had a serial killer - a killer that murdered Maureen Brainard Barnes.
Investigators began to piece together the final moments of Maureen's life before she headed out to Times Square that fateful weekend. While Barnes told her family she was modeling in New York City she had really began to work as a prostitute using Craigslist. She would travel to the city with a friend Sara she had met while working as a telemarketer who also worked as an escort on Craigslist.
The weekend of her disappearance and murder and facing eviction, in July of 2007 Barnes traveled to New York with Sara to earn some money. She stayed at a hotel near Times Square. Work was slow that weekend and Sara and another male friend returned home to Connecticut while Barnes decided to stay longer in the city in an effort to make some money.
That Sunday she called a friend and told them she was returning home after being robbed of what money she had made that weekend at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Waiting for a train at Penn Station she telephoned her sister. Before ending the conversation she told her sister she was going outside to have a cigarette. She hung up the phone and vanished.
Born in New London, Maureen was raised - along with her younger sister and brother - in Groton. Funny, friendly - with a bubbly personality and a love for writing poetry - Maureen became pregnant while still a teenager in high school. Just 16 years old, she did not graduate high school but did earn her GED.
Maureen married and landed a well paying job as a card dealer at Foxwoods Casino, which she later gave up in order to stay home with her daughter while her husband was at work.
Maureen Brainard Barnes
Following her divorce to her first husband, Maureen remarried and had a son. Unable to find a job that paid as well as her former employment at the casino Barnes juggled a number of lower paying jobs including as a cashier and as a telemarketer.
Having a hard time making ends meet and with two children to support, Barnes eventually moved in with her sister. It wasn't long however, before she was able to get back on her own feet and found her own place in Norwich.
According to Maureen's sister Melissa she hid the fact that she was working as an escort. Instead Maureen told her family she was doing modeling work in New York City. When she didn’t return to Norwich her sister reported her missing. On her computer her sister discovered emails indicating that Barnes had been working as an escort in New York using Craigslist. She notified New York Police.
Her brother and sister’s husband hopped on their motorcycles and rode to New York City, canvassing 42nd Street and handing out fliers seeking information on their missing loved one. They turned up nothing.
The only solid clue in the case came when police were able to track Barnes’ cell phone to a tower near Fire Island – just a short distance from Gilgo Beach.It was around this time that Sara would later remember receiving a call from a blocked number. A man was on the other end and asked if she knew Maureen and described a tattoo she had on her arm. Sara said yes that her friend was missing. The man then told her that Barnes was fine, that she was in a “whorehouse in Queens.” Though the man said he would call back with more information Sara says he never did.
It wasn’t until three years later, Shannan Gilbert disappeared and DNA was used that police discovered that Barnes had been the victim of the Long Island Serial Killer.
Before long clues began to emerge linking Barnes to some of the other victims besides simply the location where their bodies were discovered.
Like with Barnes it appears that the killer had also called the loved ones of other victims as well. The sister of Melissa Barthelemy was called approximately seven times by a man who claimed he had killer her sister who he also called a “whore.” He spoke in a low voice, was only on the phone for short periods of time and would only speak with her sister who apparently knew was bi-racial. He also sent texts. The phone calls which same from Melissa’s phone were later traced to Times Square, near Madison Square Garden and to Massapequa near Gilgo Beach.
There also was a connection between the murder of Barnes and Jessica Taylor. Taylor was known to work as a prostitute at the Port Authority Bus Terminal – the same bus terminal where it appears that Barnes was robbed prior to her murder.
And Barnes wasn’t the only victim to have a connection to Connecticut. Investigators would learn that another of the victims, “Peaches”, had apparently visited Connecticut one year prior to her murder.
In June of 1997 a hiker found Peaches torso – missing its hands, legs and head – wrapped in a plastic garbage bag and stuffed inside a green, Rubbermaid container in Hempstead Lake Park. In the container police found a floral pillow sham, and frayed red towel.
A hiker found her in the wooded area off Park Drive in Rockville Centre on June 28, 1997. Police believe she was between 20 and 30 years old. She had a surgical scar indicating she had a c-section. Her head and her limbs remain missing. She was featured on American’s Most Wanted. Her tattoo was published in a tattoo magazine.
On or near her breast was the tattoo of a peach with a bite taken out of it with two drops beneath it. In an effort to identify her police published a picture of the tattoo in a tattoo magazine. Soon they were contacted by Bristol tattoo artist Steven Cullen who claimed her recognized the tattoo.
According to Cullen – a former machinist and West Hartford native who opened his tattoo shop in 1993 - an 18 to 19 year old African-American girl had visited his tattoo parlor in Forestville in 1996 accompanied by her aunt and either a female cousin or friend. She claimed to have come from New York and was in Connecticut due to “boyfriend trouble.” Cullen says he gave her the tattoo.
Despite this lead police have never been able to identify Peaches. They were however able to link her to the remains of a child found along the parkway through DNA and matching jewelry found on both of their bodies. Police have theorized that Peaches was a prostitute who brought her child along with her because she couldn’t get babysitting while meeting the Long Island Killer. They suspect he then killed both mother and child.
Even though the Long Island Serial Killer case has received extensive media coverage the identity of Barnes’ murderer still remains a mystery as does the identity to Peaches and her killer to this day.
Sources: The Killing Season Documentary; The Hartford Courant; Legacy.com; The Day; NY Post; Rolling Stone; Long Island Press; News 12 Long Island
Myths of Long Island Serial Killer Murders
Four of the Most Common Misconceptions Surrounding the Long Island Serial Case
By Shawn R. Dagle
Few serial killer cases have generated as much publicity and speculation, or as many myths and misconceptions ,as the Long Island Serial Killer case. Here are a few explained and hopefully debunked:
1.) THE BODIES WERE WRAPPED IN BURLAP
It has been widely reported that some ,if not all, of the four victims found near Gilgo Beach along the Ocean Parkway were wrapped in burlap. Initially reported through an anonymous source in the press Suffolk County Police have been careful not to confirm nor deny this claim though it has continued to be repeated in the press and other reports. To our knowledge there are no images of actual burlap being found where the bodies were discovered and there is no conclusive evidence at this point from police that the bodies actually were wrapped in burlap following their murders.
1.) SHANNAN GILBERT WAS A VICTIM OF LISK
While police have found no evidence of foul play in the death of Shannan Gilbert and no connection to the Long Island Serial Killer case rumors persist that she was also a victim of the Long Island Serial Killer. In particular proponents of this theory point to the fact that she was found with her clothes stripped off and her actual cause of death could not be determined. There are of course many differences between Gilbert’s death and the confirmed victims of the Long Island Serial Killer. None of the other victims had drivers and none traveled to the scene of their murders (it appears they were picked up by their killer). The stripping of her clothes is actually indicative of exposure or hypothermia rather than murder. Individuals often suffering from hypothermia feel warm or hot and strip off clothing prior to their death. Given the time of year and the temperature outside if Gilbert was disoriented as the evidence clearly indicates she easily could have gotten lost in the thick brush filled marshes, began to suffer from hypothermia and died, as police appear to believe ,from exposure. The Long Island Serial Killer was much too organized and methodical to have engaged in as risky a murder as that of Shannan Gilbert would entail.
3.) THERE ARE TWO LONG ISLAND SERIAL KILLERS
This theory is the hardest to disprove and has even been suggested by some involved in the investigation. The possibility of having two serial killers, operating at the same time, in the same area and dumping remains at the same locations appears extremely unlikely. Others have suggested that perhaps a second serial killer upon learning of the publicity the Long Island Serial Killer was receiving decided to take the remains of his victims from Manorville and spread them along the Ocean Parkway to mark his territory. This is even more unlikely. Supporters of these theories often point to the fact that some of the victims are dismembered while the four along Gilgo Beach were left intact. The earlier victims who were dismembered, however, appear to have been street walkers who the killer feared he may be connected to.
As such he took extra precautions to make it more difficult to identify them, thus dismemberment. He then spread their remains out in different locations. This is further evidenced in the case of Jessica
Police Sketch of Unidentified Asian Male
Taylor whose killer spent the time to deface her tattoo using a razor blade in an effort to foil identification. . In the later killings the internet was used reducing the chance of witnesses and eliminating the killer's fears of being connected to the victims.
4.) LISK IS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT
This theory revolves around calls made to Mellissa Barthelemy’s sister from her phone. The phone calls were short in duration and traced to public places where there were so many people security cameras could not capture who made the calls. This has led some to speculate the serial killer is involved in law enforcement and knows investigation techniques. In the age of true crime docudramas it is not unimaginable that a lay person would know that a phone call can be traced – especially the longer one is on the call. It also is telling that the killer stopped making such calls after it surfaced in a Buffalo news report that the cops were tracking the calls indicating that the killer was caught by surprise by the news. There also is an alternative explanation for why he chose the particular locations he did that does not involve the amount of pedestrian traffic in the area. It appears the killer chose the locations to make the calls for the same reason for the phone calls themselves – to relive the murders after committing them. It is the same reason why serial killers are often known to revisit the sites of their murders or the graves of their victims. In this case it appears the killer may have been revisiting the areas he associated with or picked up his victims and then made the calls. Times Square, Fire Island and Massapequa were all places where calls were made and all were either places where the women were last seen or near where their remains were found. Madison Square Garden is also an interesting location. A call was made from there. One of the serial killer’s dismembered victims washed up on the north shore of Long Island on the estate of an owner of Madison Square Garden.
Killing of Connecticut School Girl Remans Unsolved
Who Murdered and Sexually Assaulted 11-Year-Old Kathleen Flynn
By Shawn R. Dagle
In a wooded area - not far from Ponus Ridge Junior High School's tennis courts -an 11-year-old student was found strangled and sexually assaulted. Police investigated dozens of suspects, looked into numerous leads and released sketches of suspicious men seen in the area of her disappearance with little result. 30 years later the murder of Norwalk sixth grader Kathleen Flynn still remains unsolved.
Reported missing by her mother the evening of September 23, 1986 after she failed to return home from school, Kathleen Flynn was last seen walking home using a path near the tennis courts.
An exceptional student, the shy 11-year-old, who loved art, had started school just two weeks before. Her father owned a local seafood restaurant and her mother taught mathematics at Stamford High School. She collected Strawberry Shortcake dolls, enjoyed taking ride on her lavender bicycle and playing with her dog Lady.
The afternoon of Kathleen's disappearance school let out at 2:40 p.m. After school let out she spent some time organizing her locker she shared with a friend and then headed off alone on her ½ mile walk home using the nearby path that led to Hunter’s Lane. When Kathleen didn’t return home later that afternoon her mother became worried and drove around the neighborhood looking for her with no luck. At 5:12 p.m. she notified police.
Approximately 70 firefighters, police officers and volunteers searched for the missing sixth grader in the woods surrounding the path where she was last seen walking.
At approximately 3 a.m. that morning her body was discovered some 100 feet from the path, between a nearby park and athletic fields – not far from where the soccer and field hockey teams had been practicing at the time of her disappearance.
Panic soon spread throughout the community. Students were told to walk in pairs and not to venture into the woods near the school’s tennis courts, while police patrolled the streets near the beginning and end of the school day.
A short time after Kathleen’s disappearance another 15-year-old Norwalk teenager went missing. She was last seen getting into a car that was later reported stolen in Greenwich. The missing teenager however later turned up. Investigators were flooded with a frenzy of tips including information regarding a suspicious man seen wearing a wig in the area of Kathleen’s murder or another suspect reading a paper with a headline regarding her disappearance who then fled in a car without paying for the newspaper.
At least one tip was fabricated. A boy concocted and later recanted his claim of seeing Kathleen confronted by three men near the woods.Other more useful tips also came in. Reports surfaced of a maroon Subaru spotted the morning and afternoon of her disappearance beside the sidewalk near the school. Three men were also spotted near the school in a 1969 or 1970 medium green Chevy Impala with New York plates. Sketches of two of the men were distributed by police.
In the months and years following Kathleen’s disappearance some 100 police officers worked on her case and approximately 50 suspects were investigated. By 2000 materials from her case filled 10 binders at the Norwalk Police Department.
That year investigators told the press that they had a suspect who was incarcerated in another state whom they referred to as their “primary focus” in the case. The identity of that suspect, however, appears to have never been revealed.
Now, more than 30 years after Kathleen’s murder, the case still remains unsolved and no arrests have been made.
Sources: The NY Times; The Hartfod Courant; The Hour
Confessions of a Killer
Could Released Convict Joseph Fischer Have Been Responsible for the Brutal Stabbing of Two Connecticut Prostitutes in the Late ‘70s or Did He Falsely Confess
By Shawn R. Dagle
During the span of 13 months and across nine states, notorious serial killer Joseph Fischer went on a continent-wide killing spree - if you believe his confession.From California to New Jersey - Maine to Arizona - Fischer took credit for the murder of 18 people including two prostitutes found stabbed numerous times and dumped near a lover's lane in East Norwalk in July of 1978. An unrepentant killer, who smashed a New Jersey teen's head in with a rock - landing him a 25 year sentence prior to his killing spree - Fischer was no doubt capable of horrific acts. Yet did he really murder as many as 150 people, including two women from Connecticut, as he would later claim?
If his confession to police is true than two of the first murders Joseph Fischer committed in his year long murderous rampage across the United States were in Connecticut. His alleged victims, Alaine Hapeman and Veronica Tassiello, were brutally stabbed more than a dozen times and dumped in a wooded area off Heron Road in East Norwalk – no more than a mile from the motel where they were staying.
Fischer told police he picked up the two women while driving with another male. The trio bar hopped from one watering hole to the next until one of the girls attempted to steal his wallet while they were sitting in the back seat of his car.
In a fit of rage Fischer claimed he stabbed the girl to death. When her companion began to scream he says he killed her as well.
While Fischer never went to trial in Connecticut for the murders a judge did issue a warrant for his arrest at one time.
Yet despite his confession Fischer’s guilt or innocence was never fully tested in a court of law in Connecticut and questions still persist.
Initially a grand jury refused to indict Fischer for the Connecticut murders due to insufficient evidence. He was also known to confess and later recant – as he did with his wife’s murder in New York.
Fischer also made shifting claims regarding how many people he murdered during his year long killing spree. While initially Fischer confessed to killing 18 individuals that number steadily grew with each telling, until it ballooned - numbering eight times greater than he originally claimed, to a seemingly unbelievable 150 murders.
Connecticut State Police had been trying to solve the deaths of Alaine and Veronica for more than a year when Fischer confessed. Hearing of his arrest and his apparent confession to other murders they traveled to New York to see if he might be responsible for the stabbings of Veronica and Alaine as well as a Hartford prostitute named Theresa Wilson.
Initially it appears that Fischer did not provide state police with a confession to the murders when asked about the three stabbings. Only later - after being asked about the cases - did he confess to the two murders in Norwalk and a third murder in Hartford.
Yet it appears Fischer may have not have known when Wilson was killed, if that was indeed the third murder n Connecticut he confessed to, because he was actually in prison at the time when she was stabbed.
By all accounts Alaine and Veronica lived troubled lives. The September before her murder Veronica had run away from the foster home where she was staying in Stamford and was rumored to be staying with other runaways in abandoned buildings and turning to the streets to earn money. A victim of child abuse, Veronica was a product of the state’s broken foster care system.
A repeated runaway since the age of 12, with no attachments, she grew into an angry and tough teenager who was known to steal and get into trouble.
While staying with her foster mother (a professional typist and science fiction writer) and her foster siblings on Fifth Street in Stamford, the troublesome 16-year-old came home one morning at 3 a.m. drunk. She left that morning and never stayed at her home again. She did visit for an occasional meal and around the holidays until her fellow foster children at the home became so tired of her antics they refused to let her in. After Easter she stopped calling.
On her own, with no way to support herself, Veronica turned to prostitution and that winter had two abortions.
While it is unclear how they met, Veronica and Alaine were said to be inseparable by those who knew them.A couple years older, Alaine, or “blue eyes” as she was known by her fellow prostitutes, turned tricks on Farmington Avenue in Hartford and lived in the “Little Hollywood” section of the city - known for its prostitutes and drug activity.
Westporter Motel Where Veronica and Alaine Were Staying Before Their Deaths
Like her friend Alaine was known to use aliases – including Sally Fay Tong – and was no stranger to street life.
A month before her death Alaine was questioned by detectives regarding a prostitution ring and was wanted on a warrant for prostitution at the time of her death. While Alaine told her fellow prostitutes tales of growing up in the South, living in a big mansion and having her own penthouse, the truth was far less glamorous.
Alaine came from a broken and dysfunctional home. Originally from Bristol she grew up as a ward of the state. Her father Alan claimed Alaine had been taken from him by her mother when she was just months old and he hadn’t had a relationship with her for some 13 years.
For more than a week, prior to their deaths, Veronica and Alaine had been staying in Room 20 at the Westporter Motel - a once nice but now seedy, run down lodging, yellow curtains drawn - on Post Road in Norwalk.
Just ten days after they registered, in early July of 1978 a man and his girlfriend walking in the woods off Heron Road came upon their bodies 20 feet from the roadway. They had been stabbed more than a dozen times. According to one report there were so many wounds police simply stopped counting.
Alaine and Veronica were then dumped side by side, fully dressed and still wearing their rain soaked jeans. One was facing up, while the other was facing down. One had their high heels still on, while the other was barefoot.
Police would not say whether they had been sexually assaulted. Some of the stab wounds were so deep they penetrated their hearts and lungs.
Investigators found little blood at the scene. Track marks led them to believe the two women had been dragged to the spot in the woods where they were left.
Alaine and Veronica had never checked out of the motel, which was less than a mile from where they were found. A stuffed animal belonging to one of the girl’s was still on the bed when police arrived. Investigators interviewed neighbors around Heron Road but didn’t turn up any solid leads. However it wasn’t long before suspects began to emerge.
Veronica had been a chief witness in an assault case against a Stamford man. Because of her murder she was unable to testify and the charges were dropped. The man however was ruled out when it was discovered he was in jail at the time of her death.
Then there was Alaine’s pimp who allegedly began to act suspiciously following her death. The owner of a motel where Hapeman was staying in Hartford for approximately a year, would later tell reporters that after her death her pimp left for New York coming back later to pick up checks at the motel.
As part of their investigation police considered whether Veronica and Alaine’s murder might be connected to the brutal stabbing of another Hartford woman.
A year prior to the murders, in January of 1977 26-year-old Theresa Wilson was found stabbed and frozen to death in the backseat of her boyfriend’s Cadillac in the basement of the Hartford Hilton parking garage on Ford Street. She had been stabbed between 30 and 40 times.
Police followed numerous leads but were never able to solve her murder.
Police got their biggest break with the arrest of Fischer in July of 1979. He had been paroled from prison in New Jersey on June 27 of 1978 less than three weeks before the murders for killing the teen with the rock.
Investigators would tell the press that they were able to collaborate Fischer’s story about killing the two girls but never went any farther regarding how they were able to check his account.
Indeed there were similarities in the two teenagers’ deaths and Fischer’s confession. The pair had been seen leaving the Heritage Days Carnival with two men before their murders (Fischer had claimed he and another man had been in the car at the time of the murders). Fischer had also claimed that one of the girls attempted to steal his wallet. Veronica was known for stealing.
But there also were some inconsistencies - including where they were found. The wooded area off Heron Road – with its 37 acres of woods, wetland and trails – was known for drug activity and as a rendezvous spot for lovers and elicit encounters.
The area where the bodies were found was also a favorite dump site for people looking to get rid of their trash – a perfect location for a killer who was familiar with prostitutes and was looking to discard their bodies.
Located off a cul-de-sac, however, the area is not the kind one would find unless they knew the area and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence – at least publicly – that Fischer ,who has spent the last 20 years in New York and New Jersey had any familiarity or would have known about the site.
There also is the question of the second man who was allegedly in the car with Fischer at the time of the murders. If the press reports at the time are any indication it does not appear this mystery man was ever located.
Yet without knowing for sure what evidence police had collected to collaborate his account it is impossible to completely evaluate whether Fischer's confession was truthful or not.
Fischer died in prison in 1981. The Wilson case remains under investigation.
Sources: The New York Times; The Hartford Courant; Connecticut State Police; The Westport Fair Press
The 'Lone Spectator'
Was It Simply Prurient Interest or Something More Sinister Which Appears to Have Driven Attempted Murderer and Suspected Serial Killer Robert Lupinacci to Attend the Moxley Murder Trial
By Shawn R. Dagle
The second day of jury selection in the Martha Moxley murder trial and no one from the general public - with the exception of one man - has shown up for the proceedings. With no apparent connection to the victim or to her alleged killer the man's appearance arouses the interest of the newspapermen and other journalists in attendance as well as the court marshals themselves, who dub the mysterious observer "the lone spectator." Snacking on an ice cream he purchased from a nearby Baskin Robbins the 68-year-old retired electrician from Norwalk tells reporters his name - Robert Lupinacci. Is he none other than attempted murderer and suspected serial killer Robert Lupinacci? And what is his interest in the Moxley murder?
Just three years prior to the murder of Martha Moxley, in the late summer of 1972 , Robert Lupinacci was spotted by an officer on routine patrol attempting to murder a teenager. The officer noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near the Merritt Parkway and discovered Lupinacci standing over the naked body of a semi-conscious female.
Arrested at gunpoint and sentenced for attempted murder Lupinacci became a prime suspect in the murder of five other prostitutes whose bodies were found off the same area of the parkway. Four had been strangled with their bras – one with a handkerchief.
A schizophrenic, curbside preacher had allegedly confessed to the murders and been sent to a mental institution. He was eventually freed by a federal court after it was discovered that Lupinacci committed his attempted murder in the same area as the five other women’s naked bodies were found.
Lupinacci was also found to have numerous connections to the victims but always denied he had been involved in the killings. He was never charged.
It appears Lupinacci served nearly three years in prison. After being released he continued work as an electrician in the Stamford area –eventually moving to Norwalk in 1985. It was while living there that Lupinacci appears to have attended the Moxley trial.
Found partially undressed the morning of October 31, 1975 near her driveway in the exclusive Greenwich neighborhood of Belle Haven, 15-year-old Martha Moxley had been severally and repeatedly beaten with a golf club.
Sketch of a Man Seen In the Neighborhood the Night of the Murder
The previous evening Martha had gone with some friends to celebrate mischief night. Afterwards she had spent time listening to music in her next door neighbor’s driveway.
The Skakels were related to the Kennedy family through marriage. Rushton Skakel was the brother of Robert Kennedy’s wife Ethel. His two sons Thomas and Michael, their cousin and their sister’s friend had gone to dinner at the Belle Haven Club that night and returned home at 9 p.m.
Martha came over around this time and listened to music in the Skakel family’s Lincoln Continental with Michael and some of the other kids. When it was time to bring Skakel’s cousin home Thomas and Martha stayed behind while the others left.
Thomas and Martha were last seen in the driveway flirting and roughhousing at around 9:30 p.m.
Approximately 15 minutes later a large commotion was heard in the area where Martha would later be found. A friend’s dog began to bark violently toward the location where she was later discovered and her mother would report hearing “excited voices.”
When Martha never returned home that night her mother sent out her older brother to look for her. Unable to find Martha, her mother called police later that morning. She was discovered under a pine tree near her driveway.
While Greenwich police would look at different suspects during the ensuing years suspicion initially fell on Thomas Skakel. The golf club which was used to kill Martha had been his mother's and he was the last person seen with her while she was alive.
According to Thomas he had left Martha shortly after they were last seen in the driveway. He claimed he had last seen her walking toward her home where she was due back.
It wasn’t until years later that suspicion would shift to Thomas’ 15-year-old brother Michael following the publication of former LAPD Detective Mark Furhman’s book Murder in Greenwich which accused Michael of being involved in Martha's death.
Michael had never been a suspect because he had a solid alibi at the time of the murder. He had gone to his cousins with the others where he had watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus on television.
Unable to contradict Skakel’s alibi Furhman simply argued that Moxley had been murdered much later after Michael had returned home ignoring where she was found, the analysis of her stomach contents which determined she had been killed around 10 p.m. and the evidence of a commotion around that time.
Furhman never adequately explained where Martha was for the two or more hours between when she was last seen by Thomas and then allegedly killed by Michael – a time when no one reported seeing her.
Despite glaring holes in his theory of the crime Furhman's allegations soon took on a life of their own. This coupled with reports that Michael had allegedly confessed to her killing to others he had known and a bizarre story he had told private investigators about masturbating outside her window led police to eventually charge Michael with her murder.
Rather than pursuing Furhman’s theory of the crime prosecutors attempted to undermine Michael’s alibi. They claimed his cousins and others who had seen him that night far from the Moxley home were lying. The prosecution, however couldn’t produce a single witness who actually saw Michael stay behind that night. The one witness they did produce claimed to have seen someone run across the lawn after the car left which they thought could have been Michael.
Despite a lack of physical evidence connecting Michael Skakel to the murder and the existence of a rock solid alibi, in 2002 a jury convicted Michael of murdering Martha Moxley. That conviction was later overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
It was during jury selection for Michael's trial in April of 2002 that news reporters noticed the “lone spectator.”
Curious as to why this man with no apparent connection to the victim or the alleged killer would sit through the boring and exhaustive process of selecting a jury - apparently the only person to do so on this second day of jury selection - a reporter from the Courant decided to interview him.
Lupinacci explained to the reporter that he felt a strong connection to Moxley's murder because he had often worked in Greenwich as an electrician and could remember the time news of her murder broke.
Yet so could many people who worked in Greenwich at the time - none of which sat through the laborious and mind numbingly boring process of jury selection and none of whom had their own history of attempting to murder at least one young teenager.
Interestingly enough Lupinacci mentioned one job he had performed as an electrician that could place him in Greenwich around the time of Moxley's murder. While speaking to the reporter from the Courant Lupinacci spoke of working on the wiring for the Pickwick Arms office complex - a building complex that was constructed in 1974.
While Lupinacci was sentenced to three to eight years in prison for the attempted murder in Stamford a recent press report indicates he served about three years. This means Lupinacci could have been released as early as 1975 if time served while awaiting trial was taken into account.
We could find no publicly available report of the exact date Lupinacci was released from prison though his name and address appears to be listed as a dog breeder in 1976.
Whether simply another bizarre and heretofore unknown footnote in one of Connecticut's most sensational murder trials or much more the keen interest of attempted murderer and suspected serial killer Robert Lupinacci in the case of murdered Greenwich teen Martha Moxley deserves closer scrutiny.
Sources: The Hartford Courant; Legacy.com; The Connecticut Court of Appeals; The Stamford Advocate; The New York Times; JET Magazine; Benjamin Miller v. Colin CU; Legacy.com
Interested In Reading More? To Access Our Archives Scroll Up. When Cold Connecticut Tab Drops Down Click on the Three Lines In the Upper Left Hand Corner and Click on "Archives" for More Stories
Follow Us On