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
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.
This case is a another local case, taking place not far from where I live but it’s not technically a murder because Jennifer disappeared into thin air on November 14th, 1989 and was just never seen again. This case is from the City of Brockton, where there is more distrust of the police than in some of the suburbs but it’s clear that a lot of someone’s know something in this case. It’s just waiting for that one piece of information that brings everything together.
While I had heard the case before, likely from some of the vigils that have been held, what it leading me today to want to share today is a podcast I listened to called, “The Vanished”. If you have not listened to the podcast before – I invite you to give it a listen, and hear Jennifer’s Story.
Hopefully, this case will be solved. For myself, I am particularly interested in whether the abuse of the disabled person in this story was part of the reason that Jennifer disappeared. It was an aspect of the case I had never heard before and it could certainly speak to a motive.