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
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
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.
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.
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.
Today’s case is more of a mystery – true at the end of the day there was a body on the lawn but what happened has never really been explained many years later.
Kimberly Bolenza Parker was 45 years old and healthy until she was found dead on the front lawn of her East Bridgewater home in March of 2013. Kimberly’s marriage was known to be an abusive one as her husband, Richard, was being tried for and was later convicted of abuse 15 months before when Kimberly reused to attend a Christmas party with him and he allegedly held her against her will after holding a knife to her throat, trying to tie her up, threw knives at her and threatened to kill her and her beloved golden retrievers. She luckily escaped and called 9-1-1 from a neighbors. It is unclear why they were still living together while he was at this time, being tried in court for this crime after serving 6 months he was released pending trial and moved back in. After her death, he was convicted of the abuse and sentenced to serve 4-6 years.
The night of her death, Kimberly was still alive when the initial 9-1-1 call came in and her husband was the only other party present at the house. Reportedly the call indicated that Kimberly was convulsing in the snow, she later passed away after being brought to a Brockton hospital.
So what leads a 45 year old healthy woman to die on their front lawn? According to reports her husband’s story was that Kimberly had gone outside to walk the dogs and fell convulsing and her husband called 9-1-1 and performed CPR. Articles I researched indicated that said the medical examiner there was no disease process that lead to her death, and she did not asphyxiate. There was some indication that she had high levels of an undisclosed medication that was prescribed to her in her system at the time of her death.
For transparency it is important to note, Kimberly had suffered with seizures in the past after a suspicious fall in her driveway left her with a traumatic brain injury a few years before her death. She could not even drive. It was never clear if that “fall” was an accident as her husband had claimed at the time. Her family has many doubts.
Adding to the speculation is the information that Kimberly Parker was a biosafety officer and her husband, a firefighter, was familiar with poisons and allegedly tried to kill himself with homemade Ricin in 2011. Her husband Richard was a former Captain in the Boston Fire Department and
There is not likely to be an answer or a trial in this case as her husband, a former Boston Fire Captain, passed away from Covid-19 last year. After his death, Kimberly’s family received her ashes from Richard’s family that was finalizing his affairs.
If you or anyone you know is in a abusive relationship and needs help, you can look for local resources or contact the Jane Doe Project https://www.janedoe.org/ but understand that domestic violence shelters operate on a open bed system – similar to when you are looking for a rehab or nursing home, in addition to other concerns that woman have like having to leave a job that they depend on for support or upend children. It’s not our job to judge, and you don’t know the path unless you have walked it.
*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:
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.
Lakeville is small town, MA. There is barely even a center to the town. Blink, and you will surely miss it. Violent crime is almost non-existent in this town but tragedy still struck 51 Hill Street on a quiet Saturday. In this case, there seem to be more questions than answers…mainly, why?
The family home was locked with the deadbolts from the inside when the authorities arrived to the home in order to do a wellness check. The last confirmed sighting of the family was Friday, when the family returned from vacation. Once the authorities entered the home what they discovered was a terrible tragedy.
Paul Riley was a 52 year old Lt firefighter who worked out of Brockton, Ma. He was married to his second wife, Alicia (Frawley) Riley, who hailed from Brockton. He was said to have a good relationship with his first wife, with whom he also had a son.
Paul was known to be a good guy to family, friends and coworkers. There was no evidence of stress or domestic strife that any friends or family were aware of. There were no records that the police were ever called to the home for any issues other than false alarms from the home security system.
Alicia (Frawley) Riley, was just 37 years old. Alicia was formerly of Brockton, and was a volunteer at the Lakeville Animal Shelter. Alicia came from a big family, with 4 brothers and three sisters. Alicia and Paul had lived in the home at 51 Hill Street for 8 years, and were in the process of building a large, new home on Calthrop Drive in Bridgewater, MA, in a small subdivision of about 10 homes. The couple were their own contractors on the project. This project was reportedly running over budget – but the couple did not show the normal signs of financial hardship. Could this have really been the cause?
The Riley family had just returned from a vacation in Disney World on Friday, which was the last day they were seen alive. Relatives did not hear from them, and called the police Monday night to check up on the family. The police arrived at approximately 6 pm and made the discovery of the tragedy after breaking into the house through a window. The house was secured from inside with the deadbolt. Alicia was found fully clothed, and deceased in the bathtub, and investigators stated it was unclear if she was shot there, or moved there afterwards but there was never any indication they found a secondary site in the house where she would have been shot.
The children, Matthew, 6, & Erin, just 2 years old were found in bed. The children were wearing their pajamas. Autopsies for all 4 individuals in the home showed that each of the victims was shot just once, and that they had likely been dead for 48 hours, putting their deaths at sometime Saturday. Police indicated there were no signs of a struggle in the home. Authorities believe Paul killed his wife and two small children before killing himself.
Paul’s body was found in his son’s bedroom with a .380 semiautomatic pistol underneath his body. Authorities said he purchased the gun in 1989, but that his firearms license expired in 1992. All indications were that his gun shot wound was self-inflicted.
There were no answers I could find on this case. No definitive reason, only a theory that the house they were building being over budget was just too much stress for him. Is that enough to drive a family man to become a family annihilator? Did something happen between the couple on vacation that caused a rift ? What drives a man to shoot his small children? In this case, they didn’t seem to find anything in the investigation that made sense, and I don’t think we will ever truly know.