Ellen Ruth Fried born on August 9th, 1957. Ellen was a nurse supervisor at Valley Regional Hospital.
On July 22nd, 1984, Ellen was 26-years-old when she was last seen, late at night, talking to her sister on a payphone outside Leo’s Market in Claremont. She mentioned that a car kept driving by while she was on the phone with her sister for nearly an hour until just after midnight. She was so spooked by the car driving by that she reportedly had her sister wait while she made sure the car started before she ended the call. I could not understand why she would stop to call her sister from a payphone after work in a dark parking lot. As an adult, that decision in the middle of the night seems hard to understand. It was a different time as far as cell service but as a nurse supervisor I would be surprised if she did not have a home phone then, especially if she planned on talking for over an hour.
Ellen was reported missing after she failed to show up for work the next day and her car was found abandoned on Jarvis Rd, a few miles away from the store where she used the payphone.
Ellen’s skeletal remains were found in a wooded area next to the Sugar River in Newport, New Hampshire over a year later on September 19th, 1985. Her remains were reportedly found only about a mile from where Bernice Courtemanche’s body was found and 7 miles from the market where she made the call.
The autopsy did not reveal a cause of death, due to her remains being mostly skeletal. Police indicate that the circumstance of her disappearance and the findings at the scene were consistent with Ellen having been sexually assaulted before her death and this case is considered a homicide. I could not locate what the information was that lead to this conclusion, information was likely held back as to not hinder the investigation and rule out false confessions.
It is unknown/not published where her body was laid to rest.
Another case that has been tied to the Connecticut River Valley killer was Bernice Courtemanche.
Bernice was born on December 24, 1966 to Robert Byron Courtemanche, Sr and named after her grandmother on her father’s side. I could not locate her mother’s name but she did have 2 brothers.
At the time of her disappearance she was just 17. She was a Nurse’s Aide at the Sullivan County Nursing Home in Beauregard Village
Sources indicate that she was last seen by her boyfriend’s mother at approximately 3:30 p.m. onMay 30, 1984 hitchhiking in West Claremont, NH after leaving work.
At the time of her disappearance she was believed to be hitchhiking to her boyfriend’s house. She was reported missing the day after she was last seen.
Two years later, on April 19, 1986 her remains were discovered by fishermen just off Cat Hole Hill Road in Newport, NH. Autopsy found that she had been stabbed to death with knife wounds to the neck and some type of injury to her head.
Her body was laid to rest in Mountain View Cemetery in Claremont, NH.
I found myself putting off writing about this case because I was frustrated with the lack of information that I could find despite the potential tie to the Connecticut River Valley Serial Killer and the sheer number of articles that Betsy is mentioned in. So like many of the other articles, this is just going to be a retelling of the most basic facts in this case.
Mary Elizabeth Critchley, known as “Betsy” was born on December 25, 1943 and was the oldest child of James Joseph Critchley and Elizabeth McLaughlin Critchley. Betsy has 2 younger sisters.
Betsy was a 37-year old student at the University of Vermont at the time of her suspected murder. She was in Massachusetts for a dental appointment and was last seen on the evening of July 25, 1981 when she was dropped off near Exit 13 on the Mass Turnpike with the intention of hitchhiking home to Waterbury, VT where she shared an apartment with a friend. She never made it home that night.
Betsy’s body was found on 8/9/21 in a wooden area off Unity Stage Rd in Unity, NH . Due to significant decomposition, her cause of death could not be determined but foul play is suspected. Her body was fully clothed but her backpack and sandals were never located.
Betsy is buried in St Joseph’s Cemetary in Plainville, CT