The Murder of Ashley Erin Ouelette – Saco, Maine Unsolved

Ashley Erin Ouelette was born on March 29th, 1983 and at 15 years old and had recently started to put some recent struggles with adolescence behind her. She started a new school at Thornton Academy and her grades were coming up. Her progress was noted by her parents so when she asked on a school night to sleep over friend Alia Page’s house, they said yes. A choice they would live to regret.

It was February 9, 1999 and Ashley’s parents assumed that Alia’s parents would be home, but they weren’t and the teens hosted a small party. The trouble seemed to start when the girls decided to venture out with Ashley wanting to go see Stephen Sanborn, the 18 year old brother of a classmate that was at the party, Daniel Sanborn just after midnight at their white doublewide trailer home on 50 Mast Hill Road. Ashley had a prior relationship with Stephen, but he had moved on with a new girlfriend and he did not return her calls.

Ashley by all reports made it to the Sanborn house where she reportedly said that her parents had thrown her out in order to be able to stay the night.

Around 3:57 am on 4/10/1999, 18 year old Mike Lopes and his mother found Ashley’s body facedown in the road on Pine Point Road in Scarborough, ME. She was deceased but her body was still warm, and she was blue with blood around her mouth. Due to the cold, it was clear that her body had not been there for long. Due to the perfect positioning of her arms by her side, it was clear that she was not hit by a car.

Ashley had been strangled and her neck was reportedly broken. There was evidence of recent sexual activity but it was never alluded to as a sexual assault, not quite sure why – since it’s uncertain how consent could have been ascertained.

Daniel Sanborn was narrowed as the focus of the investigation. There were drops of blood found in the home, and there was evidence of recent sexual activity (a used condom) found in the home as well. Grass matching grass found on the body was found in Danny’s car and his story changed several times, usually when it was proven that he was lying. Still, he has never been charged in this case.

Both Daniel and his brother Stephen have developed long criminal records and have spent time in jail over the years for things like Assault, Drug Trafficking and Theft.

A friend of the boys, Angel “Tony” Torres went missing 3 months after Ashley’s death. According to his parents, it was after indicating that he knew what happened to Ashley. He left a party to head to a convenience store on South Street in Biddeford, ME with a friend named Jay Carney, who returned without him. Carney gave excuses Torres left with another, as yet unknown, friend of his. Carney was also on the short list of the last people who saw Ashley alive. Tony has never been found, and was declared dead in 2004. Jay Carney died of an overdose in 2015 at age 36.

Sadly, Ashley’s father passed away 2001. Her mother and Tony’s family deserve justice in this case. The Ashley’s family is offering a $20,000.00 reward for information leading to a conviction in her case. Angel’s family has offered over $15,000 reward for information that leads to his remains or a conviction. As of last year, new tips were continuing to come in a be developed.

https://www.murdershetold.com/episodes/ashley-ouellette

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/cold-cases-maine-ashley-ouellette/97-461389206

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/02/10/20-years-later-a-saco-teenagers-murder-remains-unsolved/

https://medium.com/somebody-knows-something/the-confounding-murder-of-ashley-ouellette-43524dd562c3

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/who-killed-ashley-ouellette-police-seek-new-leads-in-1999-murder-of-maine-student/ar-AATHuVt

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/crime/theres-a-murderer-walking-amongst-us-maine-state-police-investigating-new-tips-on-1999-murder-of-saco-teen-ashley-ouellette/97-017b3f57-a1e1-4bb8-8669-0debf2302b82

https://www.wmtw.com/article/reward-grows-in-case-of-man-missing-in-maine-for-22-years/37440741#

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2457&dat=19990212&id=iQxbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Lk4NAAAAIBAJ&pg=2881,3161476

https://www.listennotes.com/top-episodes/ashley-ouellette/

https://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=state_police_unsolved&id=10806&v=Article-homicides

The Murder of Michelle Norris

Michelle Norris was the only daughter of 4 children born to Julie Tager and William Darrell Norris. Her parents had married and divorced young, a marriage riddled with alcoholism and abuse allegations. Michelle was the custodial parent but at the time this case takes place, 7 year old Michelle Norris was living in an unstable home. Her mother’s chronic illness had made it impossible for her to care for her 4 children. Michelle’s mother lost custody of her children on 05/27/1988 and her grandmother took custody but just one day later Michelle would go missing.

Michelle went missing 5/28/1988 from a playground in Central Falls, RI, that was visible from her grandmother’s window, and an extensive search was started.

4 days after she went missing, a firefighter recruit assisting in the search located her nude and battered body on a wooded hill behind a local club known as the “Bug Club”. She was naked and face up under brush. She has been beaten, raped and suffocated face down. Her pink t-shirt and purple shorts were noted to be folded beside her.

Several people remain persons of interest in this case and they are still hoping to find resolution to this case. The debris in Michelle’s lungs was insulation, fiberglass and botanical material the police felt indicated that she was suffocated face down in a building and not at the dump site. Her father and her best friend’s stepfather are among the persons of interest in this case. Besides indicating Michelle had been raped, the ME indicated that Michelle’s body had evidence of long term sexual abuse.

Police collected sample of the soil in the building where her father lived, so that it could be tested to see if it matched. I don’t have any record received as to the results of that testing. Her father moved to Florida shortly after Michelle’s body was found and reportedly is aware he is a person of interest in this case.

Her best friend’s stepfather was later convicted of molesting Michelle’s best friend.

The playground where she went missing from was later named for Michelle, in her memory.

Any tips or information on this case can be called into the Rhode Island State Police 401-444-1046.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6PTtZ3Liks

https://www.yourtango.com/2019323858/who-michelle-norris

https://share.crimedoor.com/profile/8yuKlNvCs1J6xio2bRkD

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/rhode-island/2019/06/05/for-three-decades-year-old-death-went-unsolved-then-debris-sample-provided-clue/Vm3btfdJ6qFOfLswm0IMdL/story.html

https://www.facebook.com/friendsfor.michellenorris

The Murder of Amy St Laurent

Amy Elizabeth St Laurent was born on March 12, 1976 in Exeter, NH to parents Diane Elaine Simpson and Dennis James St Laurent.

Amy graduated from South Portland High in 1994 and went to work for Pratt and Whitney, an aviation company in South Berwick, ME, as a Secretary/Technician where she worked for 5 years.

At 25 years old, Amy lived alone with her cat, Alex, in South Berwick, ME. She had moved there to be closer to work. She maintained close ties with her divorced parents and her sister, Julie.

Amy had met a guy, Eric Rubright, 3 weeks earlier in Florida through a mutual friend, and he came to Maine to visit her. They spent the day in Boston, visited the MFA and had dinner before returning to Maine. Once in Maine, they played pool and stopped a pizza place before going to a dance club called the Pavilion. Amy had recently left a long term relationship recently and had been out and about meeting people. She wasn’t romantically interested in Rubright, which might have been what led to the some of the awkwardness of their date, with Amy dancing and playing pool with other men while out with him.

The friend lost track of her when she was hanging around with 2 men, she apparently left the club with them, and he could not locate her though her coat, wallet and cell phone were in the car still. His convoluted story led him to be a suspect for a time, however he had been drinking and ditched by a friend that he flew across the country to see and whom he was staying with. He was also in possession of her purse, jacket and cell phone. I don’t fault the police for going down that rabbit hole thoroughly.

Amy’s last reported sighting was between 2-2:30 am the morning of October 21, 2001 . She was in the company of 21 year old Jeffrey Russell Gorham and his roommate. Reportedly, Gorham had invited her back to his place – which really the place where he was couch surfing for the last 2 weeks, with the idea that they were going to have a Birthday party for the roommate just after 1 am, however no one else besides his roommates ever showed up for the party so she asked to be brought back to the bar to search for Rubright.

Gorman reported that he had dropped her off at the Pavilion just before 2 am. He claimed that after dropping her off at the club, he returned home where he stayed for the night. That said, Gorham was pulled over by Westbrook police at 3:14 am and he was alone in the car at the time. He was released by them at 3:22 am.

Gorham had been living in Florida for only 18 months but he was already in probation in Maine for theft of some stereo equipment at a car dealership that he used to work for. Gorham previously lived in Troy, AL and Delray Beach, FL. Gorham had an extensive juvenile criminal record. Gorham worked as a car detailer and the morning after Amy went missing, he brought his car to work to detail. He said it was because he had a date.

Amy was missing for 2 months. By Monday morning, her parents and her sister were looking for her. After vetting Eric with a polygraph and searching the car, the police already had another suspect in mind, Jeffrey Russell Gorham, but they had no proof and no body. Her family was trying to hold out hope that she was alive however she had not gone to work or been in contact with her family.

Amy’s body was found less than 3/10’s of a mile from Gorham’s mother’s house. She was buried in a shallow grave and she was still wearing the clothes that she had been wearing when she went missing. She had a date rape drug, gbh, in her system and she had been beaten, cause of death officially was a gun shot wound to the head.

https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/2001/12/11/body-s-identity-confirmed/51297195007/

https://www1.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/mdoc/search-and-deposit/detail.pl?mdoc_number1=046863/Search

https://law.justia.com/cases/maine/supreme-court/2004/04me90go.html

https://www.amystlaurentfoundation.org/amys-story

https://www.sunjournal.com/2003/07/01/killer-gets-60-years/

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75552076/amy-elizabeth-st_laurent

https://www.darkdowneast.com/episodes/amystlaurent

Brianna Alexandra Maitland – Missing and Presumed Murdered

Brianna Alexandra Maitland was born 10/8/1986 to Bruce and Kellie Maitland. Brianna grew up with her brother and her parents farm in East Franklin, VT until she moved in with friends after sophomore year in order to attend Enosburg Falls High. She moved around friend’s houses after her initial plans did not work out – at first couch surfing and living out of her car before moving in with Jillian Stout longtime friend, in February of 2004. About this same time, Brianna quit school to pursue to the GED program.

On the day that she disappeared, 17 year old Brianna took her GED test and then went to lunch and shopping with her mother. In the last store they went to, Brianna went outside after noticing something, and when her mother joined her after cashing out Brianna was obviously agitated and maybe scared, but never spoke to her mother about what was bothering her.

She was dropped off her apartment where she was staying with Stout, between 3:30 pm and 4 pm in order to get ready for her shift at the Black Lantern Inn. She had started this job only about 2 weeks before, as a dishwasher. She made in to work and eventually clocked out at 11:20 pm, declining to hang out with coworkers due to having to work her other job in St Albans the next day where she was a server at a diner. Her 1985 Oldsmobile was found the next day about a mile from work, at an abandoned house, known as the Dutchburn House, where it had been backed into the building – with the siding being breached by the car.

Pictures of this are available on the internet due to passerby’s finding the scene odd. Several people went passed the area and saw the car but no one noticed anyone with the car. Her exboyfriend noted the car headlights were on with the doors open on his way home, he shut the car up and went on his way but there was no sign of Brianna. It was later noted 2 of her paychecks were found on the seat. Outside the car, a broken necklace belonging to Brianna, along with loose change a water bottle and an unsmoked cigarette, DNA was found at the scene.

Her mother was not notified of the car being found or the disappearance for 5 whole days. Brianna was officially reported as missing on 3/25/2004. There was a search agency that the parents got involved that later also reported later finding zip ties, Victoria’s Secret underwear and a syringe in a nearby ditch. It is unknown if these items were related. The police had the car towed but they did not take any pictures or investigate the scene further.

One thing that I saw as weird while researching this case was that Brianna left her roommate a note to say that she was going to be home after work. Why? Wasn’t she always? I found that strange. The roommate went away for the weekend and the note was untouched and there was no sign of Brianna, so she reached out to Brianna’s mother which is what started the search process and let her mother know that she was missing.

Rumors spiraled regarding what happened to Brianna. Friends reported that Brianna had recently taken some hard drugs and there were rumors about Brianna being held against her will at a local residence with two drugs dealers from New York that were known to Brianna, named Ramon Ryans and Nathanial Charles Jackson.

This residence was raided on 4/20/2004 and while a significant amount of drugs were found there was no indication that Brianna was there or had been there. An anonymous letter indicated that Brianna was held at this address for 5 days before being killed and stored at another address before being dismembered and disposed of at a pig farm, but there was never any evidence to back up this story.

Police investigated any links to the serial killer Israel Keyes but have ruled him out as a suspect in this case.

Three weeks prior to her disappearance, Brianna was in a physical altercation where she was attacked by a “friend” named Keallie Lacross where she was hit several times in the face – breaking her nose, causing a concussion and blackening her eyes. This was allegedly over a guy. She later pressed charges but they were dropped after Brianna went missing.

Keallie was later involved in another assault and home invasion in an unrelated incident in 2012 where she assaulted and bit the homeowner. Additionally she was charged with DUI and child endangerment in 2013 after being pulled over with a blood alcohol of 0.156 with her infant child in the car.

No further information has been released in regard to her potential involvement in Brianna’s case but anyone who has witnessed a real girl fight in high school knows how these things can go. They don’t have to make sense, as it’s often violence for the sake of violence, and usually is over a guy as it was here.

In March of 2022, Police received the results of the DNA comparison to 11 of the people looked at in this case to DNA found at her abandoned car and have a match. They have not released who the match is, or their planned next steps but there is hope for some new developments after all these years.

Brianna’s body has never been found but foul play is suspected in this case. This family deserves answers. There was a skull found that the police DNA tested but it was found to belong to another person and is not related to Brianna’s case.

Any information on Brianna’s case should be sent to Detective Baker at angela.baker@vermont.gov, or submit an anonymous tip online (https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit).

Sources:

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

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brianna-maitland-missing-since-2004-dna-identified-vermont-state-police/

https://www.maryhallbergmedia.com/post/unsolved-the-disappearance-of-brianna-maitland

https://www.grunge.com/639144/the-biggest-brianna-maitland-theories-what-really-happened/

https://www.facebook.com/BriannaMaitlandmissingfamilypage/

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/missing-brianna-maitland/id1531769965

https://truecrimegarage.com/blogs/true-crime-garage/posts/brianna-maitland-254-255

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

Unsolved – The Newport Murder of Diane Drake

Diane Ruth Drake was born on May 3, 1960 to a large family that eventually had 9 children. She lived with a roommate, Elaine Gallo, in a small cottage apartment in Easton’s Terrace. She had known Elaine since high school and they were great friends. Diane was in her second year studying criminal justice at Roger Williams College. She worked at the Photo Patio store in the Middletown Shopping Center.

Diane had given up on her car and junked it. Her brother had offered her another car but they hadn’t connected yet so she was without transportation on this rainy, stormy day. She made calls to get a ride from friends without success. Work was a 20 minute walk but this was the first time she’d be walking, so she dressed for the weather in a men’s 3/4 tan raincoat, a shirt, jeans and hiking boots and carrying a shoulder bag and set off on her 20 minute walk about 2:14 – after her last attempt to find a ride. Her sister had disputed this in some reports, thinking she secured a ride with the wrong person. Both could be right, I personally believe she started walking and was picked up by someone she knew. There seems to be several witnesses to indicate she had started the walk, and one witness reported seeing Diane get into a car with someone she appeared to know but she never made it to work.

At 10:25 am the next morning, 2 Highway workers found her nude, severely beated and discolored body along the waterline at Easton’s beach. Medical Examiner’s report indicated that she was beaten, strangled and suffered blunt force trauma. There were horizontal marks on her wrists, biceps and ankles that led the investigators to believe that she had been tied up with soft material such as a scarf. There was no water in her lungs indicating she was likely dead before she entered the water if she was ever submerged at all, but there was sand in her lungs. Her Larynx was crushed. Investigators believe that the wound pattern indicates either a left handed killer or the fact she was in the vehicle when the attack began. Hair found in her hand was tested and found to be her own. Toxicology reports indicate there was no presence of alcohol, drugs or caffeine in her system. The medical examiner reported her time of death was likely between 10:00 pm and 12:00 pm the night before she was found..

Over the years the Newport Police have developed 3 suspects. Her roommate, Elaine Gallo has given an interview that indicate she has a suspect of her own that she believes committed the crime that the police ruled out too quickly. Shortly after this crime there have been at least 2 cases that have similar aspects, leading to the potential the crimes are connected. So far they all remain unsolved.

The police reportedly used over 27 pyschics and at least 1 hypnotist in their attempts to solve this case.

Anyone with information should contact the Rhode Island Cold Case Task Force at 1-877-RI-SOLVE. This family deserves answers after waiting over 42 years.

https://turnto10.com/news/local/41-years-later-diane-drakes-family-continues-to-seek-answers-in-unsolved-newport-murder

https://docs.rwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1032&context=the_quill

https://www.newportri.com/story/news/local/2021/04/02/5-things-know-unsolved-diane-drake-murder-case/4837749001/

https://turnto10.com/news/local/41-years-later-diane-drakes-family-continues-to-seek-answers-in-unsolved-newport-murder

https://www.dailyadvent.com/news/6adfa4871a8a6bf094101dbda9bc028b-Family-of-Diane-Drake-hoping-for-fresh-investigative-look-at-unsolved-murder-case

https://www.wpri.com/news/crime/cold-cases/four-decades-later-family-hopes-for-answers-in-college-students-death-it-would-mean-the-world-to-us/

https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/ri-diane-drake-19-middletown-21-march-1980.81071/

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/

Pembroke Cold Case of Virginia Hannon – Solved after 37 years

Virginia “Ginny” Hannon was a 59 year old retired lunch lady for Bryantville Elementary School. She had been widowed for 7 years, and lived alone at 59 West Street in Pembroke, MA. She and her husband Joe never had children. Virginia enjoyed baking, and bingo and animals. She continued to help her father in law taking him lunch or to run errands daily. He lived in the same neighborhood just two doors down. After he murder, he was said to be devastated and could not stay in the neighborhood.

After not hearing from her on February 13, 1984, he sent his visiting nurse to check on her. She was found dead in her bed and it was assumed that she had passed away in her sleep, though based on the injuries she had sustained I am not sure how. Once she arrived at the funeral home the police were called due to the severity of her injuries.

Virginia was beaten, stabbed in the eye, more than 6 times in the abdomen and 20 times total, kicked so hard that she had a shoe print on her body and strangled with nylon stockings. She was tucked back into her bed with a cover over her.

Police were aware that Viriginia had recently inherited $380,000 and assumed that was the motive. However, that money was in the bank and accounted for. The crime scene showed a broken window, pry marks on the door, blood stains on paper towels, and other items.

The trail quickly went cold, there were a few suspects that the police followed up on over the many years this case was open but no evidence for the case to go anywhere until 37 years later. In 2019, a man confessed to a friend and the day after he died, that friend called the police.

The killer’s name was Jesse Aaron Moses Aylward and he was 58 years old at the time of his death 2/3/2020. He was born 3/9/1961, and was 22 at the time of the crime. He never disclosed the motive for the crime but he could have just been surprised during a break in. His friend’s timing was perfect because they were able to collect samples from Aylward’s body at Brockton Hospital and match the DNA to 3 separate items from the crime scene – the broken glass from the door, nylon stockings and bloody paper towels allowing the police to close this case. Aylward was not a suspect prior to this tip but he did live close by.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/us/Virginia-Hannon-murder.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/major-break-in-decades-old-cold-case-murder-of-pembroke-s-virginia-hannon/ar-BB1eJlyx

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/new-details-in-unsolved-1984-pembroke-murder/2332543/

https://www.wcvb.com/article/5-investigates-case-files-pembroke-murder-still-haunts-family-police-decades-later/25102852#

https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/pembroke-mariner-express/2020/02/28/pembroke-murder-spurs-action/1618024007/

https://www.tributearchive.com/obituaries/12076439/Jesse-Aaron-Moses-Aylward

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/

Cold Case – Jane M. Gilboy Murder in Franklin, MA 7/18/1988

Jane Gilboy was a 64 year old bookkeeper for Camgear, a chemical company in Norfolk, MA. Born in 1924, She was a Navy Veteran and served during World War 2.

At the time of her death, Jane lived with a live-in boyfriend Leo Demille at 783 King Street Franklin, MA. She had been previously married but her husband, Richard Stephen Gilboy passed away 12/31/1979 at just 58 years old, leaving her widowed.

Jane spent the weekend vacationing with a friend in Cape Cod, returning Sunday night. Jane went to work as usual the next day 07/18/1988, and punched out around 4 pm. The details of her commute are known down to her route, and the fact that she stopped at a local convenience store as she frequently did on her way home.

Jane returned home and parked the car as usual and entered the house through the backdoor around 4:15 pm and it appears that was when she was attacked from behind. Jane has found by her boyfriend when he returned home just after 6 pm face down in the living room with her keys next to her. She had been brutally beaten, receiving a skull fracture from blunt force trauma and her throat was slit.

Jane’s purse and the murder weapons were missing from the scene. She was severely injured, and first responders were unable to save her. She was fully clothed with no reports of any kind of sexual assault.

There are no articles with any information on potential suspects, and this case is truly cold. Police have indicated they are people that the police believe might have information that are not cooperating. There was DNA tested in 2003 from a blood sample found, but the all that was released was that the “testing did not produce the expected results”.

If you have any information that could help solve this case, reach out to the Franklin Police Department at Telephone: (508) 528-1212.

Both Jane and her husband are laid to rest at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Franklin, MA.

The Murder of Jane Gilboy

https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/country-gazette/2015/06/23/police-take-to-social-media/34089724007/

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/147502079/jane-m_-gilboy

https://amp.recordonline.com/amp/41227658007

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2016/06/retiring-police-chief-semerjians-letter.html

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