The Unsolved Murder of Kathy Perry – Warwick, RI

Kathy Perry was 20 year old aspiring hairdresser. Described by friends as quiet and fun, she worked at night at the Ultrafinishers Bookbinding company and studied at the Newport school of Hairdressing during the day.

At 2:15 am on September 15th, 1986, Kathy left work and headed to a gas station on Bald Hill Rd. The clerk was someone that Kathy knew from West Warwick high school making the last confirmed sighting of her alive. She left the gas station around 2:30 am. There is mention in some reports of her being seen pulled over with her flashers on talking to someone on the side of the road between 2:30-2:45 am.

Kathy’s 1979 Mercury Capri was found running with all of her belongings inside at 4 am on Rt 2 in Warwick. Her purse contained over $100 so police do not believe robbery was a motive. The car was running and the heat was on.

Around 8 am, Kathy’s naked and badly beaten body was found 1.5 miles from her car off Telmore Rd behind Arlington Trailer Sales around 8 am by a truck driver. She had been sexually assaulted and bludgeoned to death with a rock.

A 2011 tip that came from a facebook page on the case led to an informant. As a result a person of interest was developed. Despite the police believing they have the perpetrator, the case stalled in the grand jury phase. No arrests have been made. The suspect is currently serving time on another charge but could be released in the next 5-10 years. Hopefully more information can be developed before then that will lead to the successful prosecution and keep this monster off the streets.

If you have information on this case, you should call 401-468-4261 or email wpd.cold.case@warwickri.com

Kathy is laid to rest at St Joseph’s Cemetery in West Greenwich, RI.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/cold-case-spotlight/social-media-aiding-detectives-investigation-1986-murder-kathy-perry-n553166

https://turnto10.com/i-team/nbc-10-i-team-new-suspect-eyed-for-1986-murder-of-kathy-perry

https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/ri-kathy-perry-20-warwick-15-sept-1986.320664/

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/147592626/kathy-a-perry

AAA, A Killer & The Murder of Melissa Gosule

A couple of weeks ago my daughter’s car was leaking gas. We told her to go into work and we would take care of it. Due to short staffing, it took the tow truck 6 hours to get to us. We needed a tow that was .09 miles and we were not in a rural area. Immediately , I was relieved my daughter wasn’t waiting with this car because in the back of my mind, I remembered this case. This is the story of the murder of Melissa Stacey Gosule.

Melissa Gosule was born on March 1st, 1972 and was from Boston, and living in Jamaica Plain. She worked as a substitute teacher and rape crisis counselor and she hoped to be a journalist one day. Melissa came from a loving family.

Taking advantage of a summer day off on 07/11/1999, Melissa took her bike to the Cape Cod to ride along the canal, from the Sagamore recreational area -a popular seasonal destination. When she returned to the parking lot around 5:30 pm, her 1986 Pontiac would not start.

Melissa called AAA, and a tow driver eventually came to see her but told her it would be hours before he could tow her car back to Jamaica Plain. He did not make any attempt at this time to start the car or provide any other assistance. Melissa met a man in the parking lot named Michael Gentile, a newspaper delivery man from East Falmouth. He talked to her and gained her trust, and let her call her parents from his cell phone a few times. Eventually, Melissa agreed to let Michal drive her to meet her parents at Carlton House in Brockton, MA. She hoped to be there before 9 pm. She joked that she hoped Michael, “wasn’t a mass murderer” to her mom on the phone. The last time her parents heard from her was around 8:22 pm. She never arrived. Her parents reported her missing my midnight, and gave the number of the phone that she had called from to police.

Police were quickly able to track the cell phone back to a man named Robert Shaw, who was the employer of Michael Gentile. Shaw indicated that Gentile had called out of work at 9 pm, stating that his van would not start. Shaw provided the police with information for Michael Gentile.

Gentile turned himself in at the Bourne State Police Barracks at 7 am on 07/12/1999. He tried to speak to officers in the lobby – giving various stories of places that he dropped Melissa off. One story was the Dunkin Donuts in Kingston, however employees disputed this story as it had been a very slow night. Gentile also claimed that he slept in the parking lot of the bus depot however that area was patrolled looking for him and he was not there.

Gentile was a 27 time convicted criminal with a history of stalking and making obscene phone calls. Prior convictions included armed robbery, larceny, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct – among others. Despite this, he had served less than 2 years in jail.

The police immediately found his behavior suspicious and while they told Gentile he could leave, his truck was seized. He was given a new set of clothes and his clothes were preserved as evidence. Police noted a gouge and scratch on his right bicep. Police strongly believed that Melissa had met with foul play.

Melissa’s bike, bathing suit and jeans were found Wednesday the 14th. The bathing suit was found to contain a mixture of blood and semen. There were similar findings noted in the cab of the truck seized.

Melissa’s body was found 8 days later by 2 cranberry growers near Chaffin Reservoir in Pembroke, MA. She was partially buried and suffered brutal injuries. Court records indicate the police believe she was raped, her arms had horizontal contusions consistent with being tied to a tree and her throat was slashed four times, severing her carotid artery. There was also a slash mark across her check.

Gentile was convicted as there was an abundance of evidence. He also reportedly admitted his guilt to friends who called police. He is currently serving a sentence of life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Melissa’s family was devastated by her loss and fought for years to pass Melissa’s Law, a law removing the possibility of parole for some repeat offenders that was signed into law by Duval Patrick in 2012.

They also sued AAA in the first lawsuit of it’s kind and eventually settled out of court for undisclosed terms.

Melissa is laid to rest at Sharon Memorial Park.

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/1999/09/09/suspect-in-woman-s-death/51020943007/

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/132181460/melissa-stacey-gosule

https://www.southcoasttoday.com/story/news/1999/07/23/gosule-s-last-hours-detailed/50512101007/

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/1999/07/20/gosule-s-body-found-at/51032908007/

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2012/08/03/melissas-bill-signed-in-nearly-private-ceremony/

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/2000/05/11/friend-gentile-hinted-gosule-had/51015610007/

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/1999/07/24/da-says-gosule-was-tied/51037189007/

https://www.southcoasttoday.com/story/news/2000/05/19/jury-convicts-gentile/50488381007/

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/volumes/437/437mass569.html

https://www.masslive.com/politics/2013/09/les_gosule_father_of_murder_vi.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/07/31/for-father-slain-woman-year-fight-finally-ends/7z8dRiKoSCWuVnZ2FoeEPM/story.html

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/132181460/melissa-stacey-gosule

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/2003/09/11/settlement-ends-aaa-lawsuit/50944896007/

https://www.masscops.com/threads/murder-victims-family-gets-help-from-hill-with-sentencing-bill.27464/

The Murder of Shirley Branco Owen – Franklin, MA

Shirley Branco Owen was born on 02/13/1972 to Mary (Wade) Branco and the late Thomas F Branco. She was born and raised in Lawrence, MA, graduating from St Mary’s High School.

She met Brendon Owen in 1998 when they worked in the financial industry together at Fidelity. Shirley and Brendon were divorced and she lived with her two teenage children and her 74 year old mother, Mary, at 11 Grace Lane in Franklin, MA. This home was built during the marriage at the end of 2012 and the family moved in in 2013. Shirley retained the house in the subsequent contentious divorce which reportedly was filed for in 2014.

Shirley had been married to Brendon J. Owen, 47, of East Bridgewater for 11 years between 2003-2014 but had been divorced for over 5 years at the time of this incident. Despite the divorce being years in the past, there was trouble between the two which had lead to Shirley being granted a permanent restraining order. This restraining order was violated when it was found that Mr Owen had been communicating with his young son in November of 2021, and a hearing was pending.

Brendon Owen was highly educated but unemployed since losing his job as a portfolio analyst at John Hancock in 2016 due to developing a serious seizure disorder. Mark was on disability and lived with his mother in a 55 and over community.

At approximately 7:15 in the morning, after Shirley left to bring the children to school, Brendon Owens allegedly entered the property carrying a lead pipe and a hammer. He encountered Shirley’s elderly mother – reportedly calling her a C**t and other insults, blaming her for “taking his kids away”. He allegedly hit the elderly woman with a lead pipe, then bound and gagged her with duct tape in a bathroom located off of a bedroom before smashing her phone, warning her not to warn her daughter before proceeding further in to the house.

Against most odds, Mary escaped and was able to get to a neighbor’s house to call 9-1-1. Unfortunately, reports indicate Shirley returned home while Mary was escaping and that Mary could hear her daughter screaming but was unable to help her further. The 9-1-1 call was received at 7:40 am and the police responded quickly, arriving within minutes.

Upon arrival, police indicate locating Mr. Owens with lighter fluid, with the couch burning. He was uncooperative with police – spraying and lighting more of the lighter fluid and attempting to flee out of another door. Police had to pursue him and had to taser him to subdue him. Unfortunately, there arrival was not fast enough to save Shirley.

Shirley was found face down between the garage and the home. She suffered severe blunt force trauma to the back of her head and there was nothing that could be done to save her. Shirley was pronounced dead at the scene. Her injuries were significant – 5 areas of her skull had trauma, her jaw was broken, wounds on her legs, thighs, arms and hands and shoulders were noted at autopsy. She had post mortem burns.

When he was arrested, Brendon Owens had 2 notes, a checklist and lighter fluid in his possession. He had a black backpack containing blood stained hammer, blood stained lead pipe, zip ties, lighters, rolls of trash bags, pepper gels, head lamp, cutting tools, screwdrivers, a sort, hoodie, sweatpants, $500, and his license. He was even wearing an athletic cup, thinking clearly enough for self preservation if the victim fought back. He had blood on his hands , shoes and clothes.

The notes in his possession were reportedly addressed to his mother and his children. The contents have not been disclosed as this case is still pending.

A checklist was also present in his pocket – the checklist had directions to the Grace Lane home, and listed lighter fluid, shovel, plastic, black car flooring, lighter, flash, coat, shower, new sneakers, change of clothes, black wrap, lime, Gatorade and cough drops.

Mr. Owen’s mother’s RAV4 was found on nearby Mercer Street, and contained lime and garbage bags.

Reviewing the facts here, It’s going to be hard for defense to argue innocence or dispute premeditation since there were witnesses and he was caught in the act with the evidence. The significant amount of planning, and then contingency planning makes any temporary insanity defense difficult. It seems he planned throughly, even to going to bed early the night before and dressing all in black. He used her schedule with the children against her, attacking her elderly mother after she had left to drop the children at school.

The fire Brendon set spread rapidly and burned the house quickly and significantly damaged the home. What was left of the home was razed for safety. The children lost everything – their mom, their dog and their home with all of their possessions right before Christmas. A go fund me was posted and raised over $370,000. A link is below if anyone is interested in donating as I am sure this family will have ongoing needs to recover from this tragedy.

Shirley’s mother survived, but needed stitches for the wound on her head. Suffering the traumatic loss of her daughter and her home despite the fact that she tried so hard to save them, after being attacked herself.

Brendon Owens is currently facing Murder, Arson, Kidnapping, Home Invasion and Assault and battery charges. Bail has been denied. A scheduled hearing is set for April 4th. Will update as this case progresses.

https://gofund.me/13774c77

https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/63559/brendon-owen-arraigned-murder-bail-denied

https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/61287/grand-jury-indicts-owen

https://www.milforddailynews.com/story/news/2022/01/20/brendon-owen-indicted-franklin-ma-shirley-owen-murder-death-grand-jury/6600692001/

https://www.milforddailynews.com/obituaries/milford-daily-news_cn14002164

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/man-with-checklistgoogle-in-his-pocket-violated-restraining-order-beat-his-ex-wife-s-mother-murdered-his-ex-and-burned-down-house-authorities/ar-AARWWcu

https://news.yahoo.com/theres-history-fire-franklin-investigated-194326206.html

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/12/17/brendon-owen-franklin-ma-fire-murder-homicide-death-grace-lane/

https://franklinobserver.town.news/g/franklin-town-ma/n/61287/grand-jury-indicts-owen

https://www.masslive.com/boston/2021/12/shirley-owen-dead-and-her-estranged-husband-brendan-owen-arrested-following-assault-and-fire-in-franklin-officials-say.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/12/17/metro/homicide-investigation-underway-home-franklin-where-large-fire-then-broke-out/

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/12/19/franklin-shirley-owen-vigil/

https://lawandcrime.com/crime/man-with-checklist-in-his-pocket-violated-restraining-order-beat-his-ex-wifes-mother-murdered-his-ex-and-burned-down-house-authorities/

The 1981 Murder of Lori Stewart

I would have expected more coverage on the story of Lori Stewart, and yet there wasn’t much more than the very basics available. True that some of the articles are probably available on microfiche somewhere but there was near nothing online. The only picture of Lori I could even find online was her yearbook picture from high school…that alone should be a crime based on how most people feel about their yearbook pictures, myself included.

Lori Stewart was born on the 20th of July, 1963. She lived on Pond Street in Bridgewater, MA and graduated from Bridgewater Raynham Highschool in June of 1981, the same high school class that Mary Lou Arruda would have graduated from.

She was last seen about 7 pm on the 6th of November, 1981. Some reports indicate she might have decided to hitchhike.

Lori’s body was recovered off of River Street in Middleboro the next afternoon, not far from the Bridgewater line. She was just 18 years old. Lori was nude with her clothes strewn around her with the exception of her blouse which seemingly was used to strangle her to death.

The strange part of this case is the truth was brought to light by a prison informant – and the prisoner was turning in people who were coming to visit him, rather than simply a cell mate. This suspect was Paul S. Reed.

Paul’s wife Nancy reported her car missing the night after the crime, and it was recovered November 9th, 1981 in Plympton in an area where Paul was known to frequent and where his aunt owned a house. The car was burned but a fiber from the vehicle later matched a rabbit coat that belonged to Lori, further helped to tie him to the crime. Reed was later arrested in North Carolina.

With the testimony of the former prison roommate, Paul S. Reed was convicted of first degree murder in this case – he later appealed and his conviction was reaffirmed after a new trial was granted because “heresay evidence” had been allowed during the first trial. This heresay evidence was the story told by Paul Reed’s wife, while Paul was not present, which detailed how Mr. Reed allegedly picked up Lori hitchhiking and forced her to perform oral sex before strangling her. This story was the “heresay” allowed in the first trial entitling Mr. Reed to a retrial, where he was convicted of first degree murder a second time.

Her remains were laid to rest at St Thomas Aquinas Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA.

Source Materials:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88471813/lori-ann-stewart

https://case-law.vlex.com/vid/397-mass-440-1986-616582794

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/volumes/417/417mass558.html

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/volumes/397/397mass440.html

Harmony Montgomery

There seem to be a lot of these cases lately – where children were noted to be missing after a significant periods of time. I am not understanding this trend even in the age of Covid. In my experience, these cases don’t have happy endings. I have a bad feeling about this one as well, even if the Manchester, NH police chief insists that this case is still classified as a rescue and not a recovery. In my experience, they don’t dig for live people unless there’s a natural disaster or a building collapse.

So let’s talk about what is known in this case.

Crystal Sorey Email About Harmony Montgomery Shows Desperate Appeal for Action (thedailybeast.com)

The last time Harmony Montgomery was seen was late 2019. Harmony is partially blind in her right eye and wore glasses. She has blond hair and blue eyes and is thought be around 50 lbs and 4 feet tall.

Harmony was last in school in 2019 in Massachusetts. The home were she lived at 77 Gilford Street in Manchester was sold in 2020 but was recently searched on January 2nd , 2022 by police. No current details of items recovered were release. That search of the home was reopened on over the next weekend of January 8 with heavy equipment including ground warming equipment was brought in. That search concluded with no details of any findings. Information developed later indicated the timeline of Harmony going missing would be between November 29th-Dec 10th, 2019 after the family were already evicted from the home.

Family members have indicated that Harmony was most recently in the custody of her father, Adam Montgomery but that he is not in touch with much of the family due to a falling out. I will say Adam has an extensive criminal record including charges of shooting another person in the face while buying heroin in 2014, as well as other charges dating back further including assualt, stalking and breaking and entering. Somehow, records indicate he was still given custody of Harmony from DCYF while her brother Jamison was separated from her and adopted.

Investigation is occurring as to whether whether appropriate checks were made after she returned to her father’s care in February of 2019 but it doesn’t seem likely as Harmony’s mother and grandfather report that they called DCYF more than 14 times and yet DCYF can’t verify seeing the child since 2019? Seems rather Sus…

Montgomery and Harmony’s mother, Crys Renee Sorey are no longer together, and she lives in Tampa, FL. She says she has reported been working on visitation but no contact was ever able to be made. Montgomery himself reportedly states that he dropped the child with her mother over a year ago and has not seen her since. He is separated from his new wife, Kayla, after stalking and domestic violence issues and seemed to be homeless, arrested sleeping in his car with his new girlfriend, Kelsey Small.

Former neighbors of Adam Montgomery have reported that he had been evicted last year from the home where he lived with his wife two sons and newborn baby. The neighbors report that they never saw Harmony and report that Adam did mention that her, and that her mother would not let him see her.

On January 6th, 2022 – 2 arrests were made in connection to Harmony’s disappearance. Not surprisingly, the arrests were her father Adam Montgomery and his wife Kayla Montgomery – who is not Harmony’s mother and is estranged from Adam.

Adam is charged on a 2019 warrant for second degree assault against Harmony (where he allegedly gave the child a black eye) and two misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a child and one misdemeanor charge interfering with custody of Harmony. His next disposition conference is listed as scheduled for 03/04/2022.

Kayla Montgomery faces welfare fraud charges for collecting benefits for Harmony when she was not in the custody of the Montgomerys. Her next Dispoitional conference is set for 2/25/22. Kayla appealed for a lower bail but it continues to be set at $5,000 and she remains in custody.

I don’t expect Kayla Montgomery, as the estranged wife will go down with the ship if she has anything incriminating on Adam after all of the issues with stalking and domestic violence that she allegedly faced after their split. The added motivation of the charges she is facing being reduced will also be a good bargaining chip for police. Where there are two parties involved that have already had a volatile split that more information has not already come out.

Manchester police are accepting tips at 603-203-6060. The police and local business executives are offering rewards totaling $100,000.00 for information that leads to her recovery.

https://www.wmur.com/article/help-us-find-this-little-girl-police-launch-tip-line-in-search-for-harmony-montgomery/38659003#

https://www.the-sun.com/news/4400950/harmony-montgomerys-father-adam-dark-past/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/ca.news.yahoo.com/amphtml/harmony-montgomery-father-arrested-case-151449931.html

https://www.doj.nh.gov/news/2022/20220106-kayla-montgomery-arrest.htm

https://www.doj.nh.gov/news/2022/20220105-montgomery.htm

https://www.boston25news.com/news/25-investigates-missing-nh-girl-went-dcf-custody-custody-father-with-criminal-record/GMUAALBD3VEZ7E4S65LUSYGC54/

https://www.the-sun.com/news/4394373/harmony-montgomery-brother-jamison/

https://www.eagletribune.com/news/local_news/man-charged-with-shooting-person-in-head-remains-jailed/article_f85d6756-7148-528a-a349-842bd0029222.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10365191/Uncle-New-Hampshire-girl-missing-two-years-says-reported-childrens-services-years-ago.html

https://patch.com/new-hampshire/bedford-nh/manchester-police-search-house-missing-child-investigation

https://www.wmur.com/article/neighbors-react-as-manchester-police-search-for-clues-to-missing-girl/38657254

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10368199/Cops-search-garden-missing-seven-year-old-Harmony-Montgomerys-former-home.html

https://www.wmur.com/article/dcyf-director-stands-by-agency-as-search-for-missing-girl-continues/38668728

https://www.boston25news.com/news/25-investigates-missing-nh-girl-went-dcf-custody-custody-father-with-criminal-record/GMUAALBD3VEZ7E4S65LUSYGC54/

Court Records and Source Information related to Adam Montgomery, Next dispositional hearing is currently scheduled for March 4, 2022

010522Montgomery-ApptCounsel.pdf (nh.gov)

011022Montgomery-appearnye.pdf (nh.gov)

011022Montgomery-appearbuckley.pdf (nh.gov)

011022Montgomery-appearsmith.pdf (nh.gov)

010522Montgomery-Affidavit.pdf (nh.gov)

Superior Criminal Complaint (nh.gov)

Court Records and Source Information related to Kayla Montgomery, Next dispositional hearing is currently scheduled for 2/25/22:

https://www.courts.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt471/files/documents/2022-01/011022MontgomeryK-obj.pdf
011122MontgomeryK-affidavit.pdf (nh.gov)

Connecticut River Valley Killer – Eva Marie Morse

The victim we’ll discuss today has a stunningly little information available about her despite an astounding amount of articles that rehash and rehash the same few facts about the case and very little to humanize the victim or say anything about the person she was or the daughter she left behind. I have rationalized that this could be because this victim came from limited financial resources or because her family chose not to speak out in their grief.

Eva Marie Morse was born on May 6th, 1958 in Springfield, VT. Eva was a single mother to a daughter and frequently hitchhiked to and from work because of her financial circumstances. Eva was last seen by passing motorists on Route 12 in Charlestown, NH near Claremont, NH on July 10, 1985 in the morning. I could not locate where she worked.

Eva was missing for almost a year when her body was found by loggers in Unity, NH in the woods 500 ft from where Betsy Critchley’s body was found in 1981. Autopsy indicated that her cause of death was stabbing with knife wounds to her neck.

Eva was buried in Pine Crest Cemetery in Charlestown, NH. Eva had an older half sister, Marie Crocker, who seemed to keep away from talking much about the case. She reportedly did not believe that Michael Nicholau was Eva’s killer.

https://www.doj.nh.gov/criminal/cold-case/victim-list/eva-morse.htm

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36616406/eva-marie-morse

A Serial Killer in the Connecticut River Valley?

https://www.reformer.com/local-news/stabbing-victim-ids-attacker-years-later/article_a65b823a-5286-5f75-848c-199ad28eb88d.html

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

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

https://mysterynh.blogspot.com/2019/01/connecticut-river-valley-killer_18.html

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

https://player.fm/series/crimestuff/episode-31-the-connecticut-valley-serial-killer

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

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

“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 *Still* Unsolved Murder of Molly Bish (for now?)

*Important Update – On June 4, 2021 police officially named person of interest in this case as Francis P. Sumner, Sr. Mr. Sumner was a convicted rapist that was released from prison 2 years before her death. The level 2 Sex Offender died in 2016 at his home at 71 years old. He operated Auto Shops in the local area to where Molly lived and was a graduate of South Worcester High. The Bish family reportedly want evidence that links Mr. Sumner to this crime released.

Following are some links on what I could find on Mr Sumner:

https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/court-of-appeals/volumes/18/18massappct349.html

https://www.telegram.com/story/news/crime/2021/06/04/suspect-molly-bish-case-surrounded-legal-actions-life-death/7544303002/

https://www.telegram.com/story/news/2021/06/03/who-killed-moly-bish-worcester-district-attorney-names-suspect/7529280002/

https://www.boston25news.com/news/local/molly-bish-person-interest-released-prison-two-years-before-her-death/TS6TAHSFTZGU7NA4KUCKM52MQY/

Molly Bish was a blond-haired, blue-eyed All American 16-year old, who was excited about her summer job as a lifeguard at Comins Pond in rural Warren, MA.

On June 26, 2000 when her mother was dropping her off to work around 8:45 am, a man caught her eye in the way creepy people sometimes do. She noted the car he was driving, and thought he seemed a little strange but didn’t seem to think any more about it…until the next day when Molly disappeared.

June 27th started out much the same way as every day since Molly started work, Molly’s mother, Magi, brought her to work and dropped her off around 9:45 am. This was just Molly’s 8th day of work. When families started to arrive, Molly was not at her post but her lunch and things were still there. She was never seen again alive. Police suspect that Molly was taken only minutes after being dropped off.

June 9, 2003…nearly 3 years later, Molly’s partial remains and bathing suit were found by a hunter in the woods of West Ware Rd in nearby Palmer, MA a few miles from the pond where she worked, in an area known as “Whiskey Hill”. Only 26 bones of the 206 have ever been found.

Several Suspects have been investigated but there seems to be the majority of focus on two suspects.

The first, suspect is a man named Rodney Stanger. Rodney lived in Southbridge, MA but moved to Florida shortly after Molly went missing. In 2008, he killed his girlfriend, Chrystal Morrison, by stabbing her to death. Rodney matches pretty closely to the depiction of the man that Magi and others saw hanging around the pond. At the time, he also drove a white car similar to the description given by Molly’s mother. Chrystal’s sister called police after finding evidence clearing out Chrystal’s trailer that may have shown Stanger’s involvement. All of these items have been handed over to police.

Here is a comparison of the pictures:

The second suspect is a man named Gerald Battisstoni. Battisstoni is a convicted child rapist from nearby Ware, MA. He was convicted of raping the child of a woman he dated for years over 100 times. He attempted suicide in prison by slitting his own throat with a broken light bulb after being linked to the Bish Case and later died in prison of natural causes . He also resembled the composite, though in a different sort of way. He was familiar with both the Comins Pond and Whiskey Hill areas.

Neither man, or any suspect, has ever been charged in this case. A white car was recovered in 2018 after a tip that it was buried locally. The police used ground penetrating radar and recovered the vehicle but the owner was somehow not identified.

The Bish family still hopes that DNA testing or other breakthroughs will solve this case now over 21 years later, supporting investigative initiatives such as law enforcement work with familial DNA. I pray the find the answers, the peace and the justice they deserve.

If you or anyone you know have any information that could solve this case, and bring this family peace, please call the Massachusetts State Police Tip Line at (508) 453-7575.

Molly Bish Cold Case An Inspiration For Bill To Expand DNA Use – CBS Boston

Molly Bish: Is the murder of 16-year-old lifeguard about to be solved with new DNA test? | Daily Mail Online

(cbslocal.com)

Molly Bish | Unsolved Mysteries Wiki | Fandom

Possible new evidence surfaces in Molly Bish murder (wcvb.com)

Rapist’s death may shed light on Holly Piirainen, Molly Bish cases – News – telegram.com – Worcester, MA

Man questioned in death of Molly Bish, due to go on trial in Florida in slaying of girlfriend – masslive.com

Find a Grave Memorial – Find A Grave

Gerald Battistoni, man eyed in murder of Massachusetts girls Molly Bish and Holly Piirainen, apparently attempts suicide in prison – masslive.com

Investigators Return To Site Of Molly Bish’s Remains – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com)

Molly Bish murder: Breakthrough as police search trailer of convicted killer Rodney Stanger | Daily Mail Online

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2020/06/27/molly-bish-cold-case-20-years-teens-disappearance/

The Murder of Melissa Benoit

13 year old Melissa Benoit was a resident of Kingston,MA. She lived in a home with her mother and an 11 year old sister. The family had recently been through tragedy when the year before, Melissa’s father had passed away unexpectedly at just 41 years old leaving the family devastated.

Melissa was last seen on a path near her home about 2:30 pm on Saturday, September 15, 1990 where she went to visit her father’s grave. Melissa frequented this path, visiting her father often, a feat made easy by the proximity of the cemetery to her home.

The FBI asked neighbors to search properties and undergo polygraph testing related to the case. By September 19th, suspicion had fallen on a neighbor who had lived in the area for 30 years. After failing the polygraph, this man, Henry L. Meinholz admitted to prior lewd acts including sexual assault at knifepoint and public masterbation.

The disappearance was immediately taken seriously and the search for Melissa was extensive, involving 1000 law enforcement officers and volunteers. After Meinholz’s wife consented, a search was executed on his home and Melissa’s body was recovered during that search.

Her body, clad only in a tshirt, was found in the basement of the Meinholz home 11 days after she went missing. She was wrapped in plastic sheet which was fashioned as a cord around her neck . There was a cord around her chest, and a cord around her left wrist, and evidence there had been cords around other limbs while she was alive. She was naked from the waist down and had multiple blunt force contusions on her body. She had contusions on her bilateral inner thighs consistent with sexual assault. Cause of death was asphyxia and blunt fore trauma to the head.

Meinholz, 52, a bookkeeper at a lumber yard and church deacon ,was charged and convicted with kidnapping and killing the young girl . He claimed the voices in his head taunted him that he was not a man if he did not have sex with her. Meinholz was not charged with sexual assault because it could not be proven due to decomposition, however he did testify to sexually assaulting her but stated the sexual contact with the 13 year old was consentual, which only shows what a true abomination this man was. Of course, no one believed any of his sick lies any way, I just hate that her mother and sister had to sit there and listen to that after all they had been through.

Meinholz was given life in prison without parole, and he started his time in prison in Walpole but after many threats and one an assault, he was moved to the prison in Concord. I didn’t need to add that part but it made me feel good to think he suffered some after what he did.

Meinholz died in prison in 2000. The judge in the murder trial discussed that it was unfortunate the days where defendants like Meinholz could be hanged in front of the courthouse had passed.

Melissa is buried next to her father in Evergreen Cemetery in Kingston.

Sources:

http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/420/420mass633.html

https://nempb2015.wixsite.com/nempb/melissa-benoit

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-bible-school-instructor-abducts-a-teenage-girl

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-02-07-mn-1615-story.html

https://www.boston25news.com/news/suspect-in-30-year-old-murder-says-different-man-was-responsible-1/716054831/

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/09/29/Funeral-for-slain-teen-as-history-of-suspect-emerges/9048654580800/

https://apnews.com/article/6af14b2c4a114fe9e21c0c397004e1e9

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71489669/melissa-benoit

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