Barbara Agnew was a 36 year old Nurse who lived in Vermont. She had been skiing with friends and was returning home when she went missing on 1/10/1987 during a heavy snow storm. Her car was found in a rest stop north of White River Junction in Vermont. There was blood and signs of a struggle in her car which lead to even more concern. Her car was 10 miles from her home where it was found.
If she pulled into the rest area, no one knows why but as an anxious woman driver it could have been anything from needing a break from white knuckle driving in the storm or needing to clean ice off the wipers and was too afraid with the conditions to just pull over on the side of the road.
2 months later, Barbara’s Body was found under an apple tree near Advent Hill Rd in Hartland, VT on March 28, 1987, when the snow began to melt.
A Parapalegic Ex-Drug Dealer named Gary Westover confessed that him and three friends had abducted and killed Barbara on his deathbed. He died shortly after the confession and it’s never been proven. Barbara’s case is largely tied to to the Connecticut River Valley Serial Killer but no motive, and no gain would have come from Westover’s confession. Family reported he was scared he was “going to hell” for his involvement in the murder.
Lynda Moore was born on 04/20/1989. She was stay at home wife of a contractor, Stephen and mother of two children a boy and a girl. Besides taking care of the children, she was President of the Rockingham Hospital Auxillary where she worked on things like child seatbelt requirements.
On 4/15/1986, Lynda was seen outside in a lawn chair at her Tidd’s Corner home in Saxton, VT around 11:45 am and again around 2 pm. In between, she had spoken to her husband Stephen by phone around. He tried to call again around 3 pm and could not reach her. Since he was working local, he swung by shortly after to check in.
Lynda was found in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed between 25-40 times depending on the source article. There were signs of a fierce struggle with Lynda having severe defensive wounds. The killer is thought to have accessed the home through the back door.
There were no signs of robbery and there was nothing noted as missing. No murder weapon was located, time of death is suspected to be between 2pm-3pm. Lynda was 36 years old at the time of her death.
Witnesses did report a man between 20-30 years old in the driveway of the home around the time of her death. He reportedly has dark hair and glasses and was carrying a blue backpack but he was never located.
This case is unsolved to this day and while it would be a change of known M.O. for the Connecticut River Valley Killer due to the fact that Lynda was found in her home and was not hitchhiking or attacked on the road. Largely due to the stabbing and method of killing, along with location of the crime this case still is most often tied to this potential serial murderer.
Lynda’s son Christopher is noted to have set up a scholarship for nursing in honor of his mother. Last noted information for donation to this fund were Lynda Moore Scholarship c/o Christopher Moore P.O. Box 50 Bellows Falls, VT .
If anyone has information that could lead to solving this case, they should contact the Vermont State Police at 802-875-2112.
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.
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
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.