Connecticut River Valley Murders – Ellen Fried

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.

https://darkmatter69.blogspot.com/2019/12/where-is-michelle-nicolaou-and-who-was.html

https://www.doj.nh.gov/criminal/cold-case/victim-list/ellen-fried.htm

https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/Connecticut_River_Killer

https://nhunsolved.blogspot.com/

https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/nh-connecticut-river-valley-killer-1980s.154206/page-6

Connecticut River Valley – Bernice Courtemanche

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. on May 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.

https://www.doj.nh.gov/criminal/cold-case/victim-list/bernice-courtemanche.htm

https://www.wmur.com/article/new-hampshire-unsolved-case-file-bernice-courtemanche/21089031#

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/82324105/bernice-courtemanche

A Serial Killer in the Connecticut River Valley?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut_River_Valley_Killer

https://webkinzwate.blogspot.com/2015/09/connecticut-river-valley-killer.html

https://darkmatter69.blogspot.com/2019/12/where-is-michelle-nicolaou-and-who-was.html

“Betsy” Mary Elizabeth Critchley

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

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/81983103/mary-elizabeth-critchley

https://www.doj.nh.gov/criminal/cold-case/victim-list/mary-elizabeth-critchley.htm

https://www.wmur.com/article/new-hampshire-unsolved-case-file-mary-elizabeth-critchley/22677217

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut_River_Valley_Killer

The Murder of Carrie Moss

14 year old Carrie Moss was last seen on July 25, 1989 when she left her family home on her bike, heading to Goffstown to go swimming. She was wearing her bathing suit under t-shirt and jeans and white boots. By all reports, there was nothing to suspect it was anything other than a normal day…except that she never came home.

Some of the research sites have sources that indicated that Carrie did run away as the police had assumed, and spent at least some time at her boyfriend’s house. Police assumed the girl was a runaway, which was compounded by the fact that her parents did not report her missing for 2 months – not until September 1989, assuming that she would return home.

Carrie was dating an 18 year old man at the time she went missing, and had recently been in trouble with the law after a marijuana arrest. Carrie had a court date set for the day after she went missing, which contributed to the idea that she had reason to run away.

Police continued with that assumption until her skeletal remains were found by a 10 year boy almost 2 years later in an wooded area, off Riverdale road. Site was about 2 miles from her parents house. Clothing identified as belonging to Carrie was found 50 yards from her remains. It is suspected that she died around the time she was last seen. Her remains were too decomposed for cause of death but foul play is suspected.

Due to the time period, this case is sometimes tied to the Connecticut River Valley serial killer.

Police have also investigated whether her case is connected to Kimberly Goss’s murder in 1989. Daniel Vandebogart was convicted of Goss’s rape and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Anyone with information about the death of Carrie Moss should contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3575

http://carriemoss.blogspot.com/2015/03/newspaper-articles.html

https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/nh-carrie-moss-14-new-boston-25-july-1989.286345/

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120988639/carrie-moss

http://oakhillresearch.blogspot.com/2019/07/carrie-moss-and-summer-of-1989.html

https://www.wmur.com/article/new-hampshire-unsolved-case-file-carrie-moss/22551101

https://www.wmur.com/article/family-of-girl-killed-29-years-ago-still-hopes-for-answers/22553331

Connecticut River Valley Serial Killer – Cathy Millican

From 1978 through at least 1987 , a suspected serial killer dubbed the “Connecticut Valley Serial Killer” operated in and around Claremont, NH. There are 7 victims – 6 dead and one survivor that have been popularly connected to this killer due to the stab patterns and similarities between the crime but the Cold Case Unit has said they are not sure if they are connected. All of the cases are unsolved. In this series of posts we are going to go through all the victims, a case at a time.

The first victim, Cathy Millican, was born May 25, 1951. She lived in Sunapee, NH and worked in North Wilmont, NH at Addison Publishing. She graduated College in 1972 and worked at the phone company when she was in school. She was married to Charles Millican.

On October 24th, 1978 She left her job for the day and was photographing birds at a local nature preserve for the New Hampshire Chapter of the Audobon Society.

Cathy was reported missing after not arriving for work the next day. Her body was found soon after not far from where she was last seen. Her body had at least 29 stab wounds in the neck and abdomen.

Reports surfaced of a gray car in area the afternoon she went missing but the information was vague.

Robbery did not appear to be a motive as her car and her belongings were undisturbed.

https://www.frontpagedetectives.com/p/connecticut-river-valley-case-murder-serial-suspect

http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm82374.html?t=Crimes

http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm82374.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connecticut_River_Valley_Killer

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/20975309/millikan/

http://darkmatter69.blogspot.com/2019/12/where-is-michelle-nicolaou-and-who-was.html

Murder on the trail…Louise Chaput’s tragic death

52-year old Louise Chaput was a self employed pyschiatrist and mother of two daughters that lived in Sherbrook, Quebec. She was self-employed and worked primarily in marriage counseling and with prisoners at local prison. Reportedly work had been hard, and she was looking forward to a trip with friends to explore the Middle East but this was 2001, and after 9/11 those plans were abruptly canceled.

Louise still sought a break. A capable outsdoors woman and hiker, she called around to see if anyone could join her for a trip to the mountains but when no one could join her, she thought nothing of going alone. She dropped her 18 years Louise reserved a room at Joe Dodge Lodge and started out on her drive.

Louise crossed the border in Vermont at 11:45 AM, and stopped briefly at the Pik Quik at 12:50 pm in Colebrook. She arrived at her destination around 3 pm – just before check-in time at her hotel.

Louise stopped by the information Center at the Appalachian Mountain Club Visitor’s center where she sought information about a short hike that would take her back to the hotel before dark. During the conversation, she was directed to a trail called the lost pond trail. The trail is a short, easy hike and she seemed to be in Agreement with that route when she left. This was the last known sighting of Louise alive.

Louise never made it back to check into her hotel. Her boyfriend reported her missing when she did not arrive back home on Monday. Her silver ford focus was found across from the Direttisma , and it contained items that she would have typically brought with her such as her hiking shoes, chocolate and water bottle. What was missing was her Blue Kanuk Backpack with a down sleeping bag, her car keys with a silver S pendant. Police have asked that hikers keep an eye out on the trail incase something is ever uncovered.

Louise’s body was found fully clothed, burned and stabbed . Autopsy reported that she has multiple stab and clean slice wounds. Her body was found just a quarter mile from the visitor’s center on the far more complicated Glen Boulder Trail that tracks to Mount Isolation but she didn’t make it far. No one knows why she changed her mind but it appeared to be a fatal decision. It appears she died just as she was starting her trek.

A few things about this case were immediately clear – robbery did not appear to be a motive as the items that were missing were low value. The car keys were missing but the car was still there, her credit and bank cards were not stolen or used and she was not sexually assaulted. Due to her work with marriage counseling and at the prison, police even ruled out that she was stalked or followed but there was no indication that occurred. Police are working with the theory that the attack was random but a local who knew the area. The case still remains unsolved, and I have found all of the information that I could. While there are many articles on this case there is not a lot of information. After 20 years the case remains a unsolved. If you have any information that might be helpful in solving this case, you can reach the NH Cold Case Unit 603-223-3856.

Louise Chaput | Cold Case Unit | NH Department of Justice

New Hampshire unsolved case file: Who killed Louise Chaput? (wmur.com)

Death in the Whites: Quebec woman’s murder on N.H. trail still a mystery | Appalachian Trail: Trials and Tragedy (wordpress.com)

Ten years later, murder of Louise Chaput still unsolved | News | conwaydailysun.com

Investigators implore hikers to look for possible clues in cold case (wmur.com)

Clues sought in hiking cold case 13 years later – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH

New Hampshire Cases Page 2 – Savagewatch

White Mountains Murder of Louise Chaput | Missing on Acast

NH Unsolved/Cold Cases (websleuths.com)

New Hampshire unsolved case file: Who killed Louise Chaput? (wmur.com)

Tragedy in Oxford, MA

Calm was shattered in the small town of Oxford, Ma when the police received 2 9-1-1 calls from the couple living at 234 Old Webster Street. Gun shots range out during the call and police found tragedy when they arrived at the scene.

The 4 bedroom home was shared by Jamie Dickenson, 34, known in the neighborhood as a mom who loved gardening and 38 year old JesseBrooks, an electrician. The couple had 2 children together and Jamie’s 13 year old son from a previous relationship.

The 13 year old boy was able to climb out the window with his 4 year old sister, and flee to the neighbors for safety. The neighbors also called 9-1-1.

By the time the police got there it was too late. Jamie Dickinson was found dead in the kitchen, and Brooks was found dead in the backyard from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. A 3 year old child was found in the house after the shootings but was physically unharmed.

Neighbors say they often heard the couple fighting but were shocked by the tragedy.

The children are reportedly now in the custody of relatives and are receiving trauma services. The couple’s 2 dogs have been taken by animal control.

https://whdh.com/news/da-identifies-couple-involved-in-apparent-murder-suicide-in-oxford/

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/06/23/oxford-murder-suicide/

https://cbsloc.al/2U0xPGJ

https://www.masslive.com/worcester/2021/06/jesse-brooks-and-jamie-dickinson-identified-as-couple-killed-in-apparent-oxford-murder-suicide.html

Thomas Mortimer IV – Winchester, MA Family Annihilation

Neighbors reported that the family at 2 Windsong Drive seemed to be a close family. Ragna Ellen Stone, know as Ellen, had lived in the home since 1986 and was well known by all of the neighbors. She lived in the home with her daughter Laura, her husband Thomas and their 2 small children, Finn age 4 and Charlotte age 2. There were no outward sounds of any difficulties in the home. Described as a quiet man, Thomas Mortimer IV was known as a stay at home dad and was very often seen playing with the kids in the yard.

43- year old Thomas Mortimer IV had just started a new job after having been unemployed for 18 months. He had reportedly left a good job for another one that lasted less than 5 months just prior to the extended unemployment stint and was bitter that job did not last. He had recently been hired as Senior Sales Executive and was doing very well in his first 2 weeks of his new job.

Meanwhile at home, his wife, Laura Stone-Mortimer got the mail. She was incredibly upset to find a check for $2499 to the Internal Revenue Service had bounced. This was probably related to being unemployed for so long and having just started a new job.

The argument reportedly went into the evening when Thomas returned from work. The timeline from the records I have read seem to indicate that Thomas smashed his wife in the face with a frying pan before stabbing her 60 times.

His mother in law ran to the front door but didn’t make it. She was stabbed 18 times and covered by an Oriental rug in the Living room.

Thomas “Finn” Mortimer, just 4 years old witnessed these murders according to the note left by his father, before his throat was slashed and he was also killed. He was found under a blanket near his mother.

Charlotte was standing up in her crib when her father came in for her, slashing her throat and leaving her in a pool of blood in her crib.

Thomas might have had the intention to kill himself but was unsuccessful. He left two notes detailing his actions and fled the home. The bodies were discovered by the authorities on June 16, 2010 after Laura’s sister called them. Mortimer had written and printed out detailed confessions left at the scene. He was caught and arrested the next day near the Vermont border.

Thomas pleaded guilty and will serve the rest of his life in prison. I am glad he spared the rest of the surviving family the trauma of a trial.

http://archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/09/22/killing_of_winchester_family_unfolds_in_case_summary/

https://www.wickedlocal.com/article/20100617/NEWS/306178904

https://www.wickedlocal.com/article/20100921/NEWS/309219285

https://patch.com/connecticut/avon/avon-native-thomas-mortimer-iv-pleads-guilty-to-murde55e08199b4

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/mortimer-family-murder/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212533/Father-slashed-throat-son-4-daughter-2-repeatedly-stabbing-wife-mother-law-frenzied-attack-argument-bounced-check.html

https://people.com/archive/i-murdered-my-family-vol-73-no-26/

https://www.wickedlocal.com/article/20100618/NEWS/306189137

https://winchester.wickedlocal.com/x1237304200/Winchester-neighbors-recall-tiny-clues-as-they-struggle-to-move-on-after-murders

Hopkinton – Entwhistle Murders

Rachel was from Kingston, MA. She graduated from Silver Lake High School in 1997 before enrolling in Holy Cross which included a year abroad in England.

Rachel met Neil Entwhistle while participating in the rowing club while in England. The couple married in Plymouth,MA in August of 2003.

In September 2005, after daughter Lillian was born the couple moved to Massachusetts first moving in with Rachel’s mother in Carver, MA then eventually renting a 5 bedroom luxury room in Hopkinton January 12, 2006 that the family would be in for just 10 days before the murders.

Entwhistle was an IT expert and Computer Programmer who had difficulty finding a job in the US. Entwhistle sold computer products on eBay but received many complaints from buyers who never received their orders. He also ran a site called millionmaker.co.uk which offered support to adult internet businesses – that site later closed.

Entwhistle spent time in the internet on sites like adult Friend finder and other similar sites.

On January 21st, Neil Entwhistle allegedly went to the home of his in-laws in Carver when they were at work He took a gun belonging to his father in law and headed back to Hopkinton where he shot Rachel in the head and Lillian in the chest in the bed of the master bedroom, then pulled the blankets up. He then returned the gun to Carver while his in-laws were still out of the house. Maybe thinking the gun would not b we connected to the murders and if it was that it would draw suspicion away from him.

Entwhistle drive to Logan airport and took a British Airways flight to London. He drove around the country before eventually ending up at his parents home where he told them he had found Rachel dead and as a final insult, accused Rachel of killing Lillian and herself. Something he would also later use as a defense.

Rachel and Lillian were missed almost immediately but it would take a couple of days for the bodies to be found in the bed of the master bedroom.

On February 1st, Rachael and Lillian were laid to rest. Neil was arrested on February 9th, at the Royal Oak Underground station. He was carrying a notebook detailing his plans to sell his story.

Neil Entwhistle was extradited February 15th after waiving his right to challenge extradition. Entwhistle’s DNA was found on the revolver used to kill his family. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Rachel_and_Lillian_Entwistle

https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/neil-entwistle-sex-lies-how-2480709

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6642453/Neil-Entwistle-British-killer-blames-wife-deaths.html

https://www.patriotledger.com/article/20080611/NEWS/306119547

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/play-episode/id1114356949?i=1000447244174

https://www.owltail.com/people/4t9NT-neil-entwistle/appearances

https://www.bostonherald.com/2008/06/26/life-for-neil-eternity-of-emptiness-for-rachels-kin/

Natural Born Killers

Phillip Meskinis was 64 years old. He was disabled and used a wheelchair for mobility. On Thursday, 6/22/1995 Meskinis went to bed as usual but he would never see the light of morning.

3 young men allegedly broke into Meskinis’s Avon home in search of guns and money. Michael Freeman, the seeming ringleader, knew the victim as his mother, who was also disabled, used to date Meskinis.

The two other men were there that night were 19 year old Patrick Morse and 21 year old Leonard Stanley both of whom had roots in Middleboro, MA, and one of which sat next to me in high school biology class.

Freeman’s defense was based on what he said was revenge for past sexual assault. Some friends of Meskinis dispute this, stating instead that to their knowledge Freeman had offered himself sexually for money and was turned down by an angry Meskinis.

Meskinis was found with his throat slashed, and dead of 27 stab wounds The man was found stabbed repeatedly in the neck all the way to his spine. A couple of knives had broke off in Meskinis due to the brutality of the crime.

The perpetrators then stole a sawed off shotgun. It was documented in court records that Freeman was a suspect from the beginning as he was suspected in the robery of a firearm from the same victim a year before the murder.

The case made national headlines when Patrick Morse’s quote characterizing the 3 as “Natural Born Killers” after the Oliver Stone Movie made to his girlfriend was publicized. It was also reported that the 3 watched the movie about a murder spree several times before the murder.

Freeman was caught after a 6 day long manhunt. The jury deliberated less than 3 hours and convicted Freeman of murder with extreme atrocity. Freeman was sentenced to Life in prison without parole.

This murder was not the end of Freeman’s violence. In 2009, Freeman viciously attacked and stabbed a fellow inmate Christopher Johnson, who survived the attack. Johnson had been stabbed over 20 times in his head and body and needed an extended recovery. Of course, he had an accomplice in this crime, too.

Then August 12th of 2014, Freeman had two acccomplices help bring 72 year old William Sires to a cell where he was alone with Freeman . Freeman viciously beat the Sire to death over 30 minutes, leaving him with facial injuries so severe he was nearly unrecognizable in death. He was sentenced to a concurrent life sentence for that murder. See Video Below:

Patrick Morse received Life in prison but will be eligible for parole after 25 years. Leonard Stanley received 16-20 years in prison for the crime, and will be eligible for parole after 16 years.

Sources:

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CREC-1995-06-27/html/CREC-1995-06-27-pt1-PgS9131.htm

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/989445/philip-m-meskinis

https://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/19961030/News/310309973

https://www.patriotledger.com/article/20140818/News/140817047

https://apnews.com/article/984c9d8c7fb71682be813a33b96996b7

https://www.enterprisenews.com/article/20140819/NEWS/140816808

https://www.telegram.com/article/20150626/NEWS/150629294

https://www.wcvb.com/article/natural-born-killer-of-1995-avon-murder-now-charged-with-murder-of-inmate/8206718

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/volumes/427/427mass117.html

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ma-supreme-judicial-court/1449806.html