Murder Case – Solved by the Shell

The Murder of Rose Marie Moniz – New Bedford, MA

One of my first real introductions to true crime, before the age of podcasts, was Forensic Files and this case would have been a great episode.

March 21, 2001 Rose Marie Moniz was found dead in the bathroom of her hom e at 3448 Achusnet Avenue in New Bedford by her father who came to bring her to a doctor’s appointment. Rose Marie was disabled and spent most of her time in her home. She lived with her son who was 19 at the time of the murder. The house was in disarray and her purse was emptied in the living room.

Cause of death of Moniz was found to be blunt force trauma – a fireplace poker, cast iron kettle and a conch shell were all weapons that were used in the assault that left Moniz with skull fractures, gaping lacerations, broken nasal bones, broken left cheekbone, and contusions all over her body. There was no sign of any forced entry.

Her son was a suspect for a short time but there was no evidence that he was involved in the assault. After that the case went cold.

Cold Case investigators many years later reexamined the case and made a crucial discovery. They were looking at the wounds and determined that the conch shell would have needed to be held with the hand in the inside in order to have provided enough force and to have lined up with the injuries. When they tested the DNA located inside the shell, they found a match. 20 years later, they had an answer.

The DNA matched her half-brother and the pallbearer at her funeral, 53 year old David Reed. Reed’s DNA was entered into the database in 2016 when he served 3.5-4 years on an unrelated crime. Rose Marie’s Parents died without knowing who killed her. Reed was also tied to a 2003 assault

Reed was finally arrested on 09/10/2021 and charged with Moniz’s murder and armed robbery, along with another robbery and assault that occurred in 2003. He is currently being held pending trial and has plead not guilty.

Rose Marie Moniz was laid to rest in Pine Grove Cemetery.

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The Burning Body – Bridgewater, MA

29 -year old Ashley Bortner was the youngest of 5 children, originally from New Jersey but moved to New England 3 years before her tragic death. Ashley was the mother of a 13 year old boy who was being raised by his grandmother since just after his birth due to Ashley’s substance abuse problems. She first moved to Providence Rhode Island where she had worked as an exotic dancer but quit no longer wanting to live that life. She moved to Hyde Park, and was focused on working as a waitress and other odd jobs. Friends said that Ashley was making good progress in her life until her boyfriend was released from jail.

On November 2, 2015 shortly after midnight, Dominic Owens was shot to death outside 15 Shepson Street Dorchester. Dominic had a violent criminal history and was the father of a 4year old son, who also took care of his mother. Evidence show that police believe that Ashley Bortner was present when Dominic was killed. 2 people were seen running from the scene.

At 11:40 pm on November 3, 2015, a neighbor in the area of the train tracks near Oak Street and Crapo Street in Bridgewater, MA called police for a fire near the tracks. They had previously seen two people at the scene. When police arrived they found the body of deceased female burned over 70% of her body. The body had arms and legs tied behind her back and she was gagged with clothing with a towel over her face. Police identified Ashley Bortner as the victim by her tattoos. Police believe that she was killed elsewhere and dumped in Bridgewater.

Quickly after, Police identified Fernando Owens, 47, as a person of interest in the case. There were reportedly 13 calls between Bortner and Owens in the day after Dominic’s death. A subsequent search warrant served at his home at 65 Lonsdale Street in Dorchester had several items linking him further to the crime. These items were an electrical cord similar to one she was tied with, and similar Egyptian towels to the one found on Ashley’s face. Two other suspects were suspected of helping with the crime through records uncovered, they were Julian Squires, 44 and Shannon Squires, 43.

Fernando Owens fled the country but was eventually found and extradited back.Fernando and Shannon Squires are still incarcerated and awaiting trial. Julian Squires was convicted of murder and kidnapping and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Patric McCarthy – Murder ? Lincoln, NH

Patric McCarthy was a 10 year old boy on vacation with his father, Stephen and his stepmother Margaret – known as “Max” and her two sons Gabe, age 12 and Noah, age 7.

The family had finished their vacation and were packing up – when their father let the boys go out to play. – with them wandering down to the playground at the neighboring resort “The Village at Loon Mountain”. A short time later the boys returned without Patric.

I spent many years going to the Village at Loon Mountain, and the area is generally safe and I like to think of it that way, but even I feel that there are certainly suspicious elements to the case and some toxic family dynamics. Whether or not you believe Patric’s death was an accident or murder, it’s clear that was true.

First, Patric’s relationship with the other boys seemed to have challenges. Patric’s mother is reported to alluding to sexual comments made by the older boy, Gabe, and has reported that she had asked the father to make certain that Patric was supervised in the boy’s company, which he admittedly did not do on this day. Max did admit, in an article, that Gabe made a reference to oral sex when the younger boys were keeping him awake – I’m not sure what that reference could be or how it was used that makes a lot of sense in that context.

The boy also made a strange confession to assaulting Patric after he was found, pushing him down and sitting on him when questioned which is certainly suspicious thing to say. At more than double his size this could certainly have injured Patric and would explain the odd positioning of his body.

The even-then divorced parents of Patric McCarthy do not seem to agree on much but they both seem to believe that murder was the cause of his death, and both have referenced this assault in further areticles.

Not surprisingly, Max and Stephen divorced soon after. Stephen then married a former babysitter. Max disputes that Gabe has any involvement in the death of Patric. She and her children now reside in Ohio. She feels that Gabe was a scared 12 year old boy who had just lost his stepbrother, and he was unfairly characterized as a bully. For what it’s worth the authorities largely seem to believe that the case is a tragic accident and have listed the cause of death as hypothermia.

Patric’s body was missing his jacket – a brand new hockey jacket that he had received for his birthday, He was also missing a sock and his cap. His body was located 2 miles up the steep Whaleback mountain, face down and arms crossed against his chest. His clothes were wet except for his back. This is also not the typical position for a victim on hypothermia who investigators say are more usually found in a fetal position for warmth.

A huge source of contention and suspicion in this case is the 2 different reports regarding the state of Patric’s body when it was found. The differing information caused distrust and is still a source of contention to this day. The reports are located here:

Authorities in the case have stuck to the theory that Patric merely got lost, and died from exposure. They deny there is evidence to suggest homicide despite several reviews that have occurred due to pressure from Patric’s parents in the years that followed.

Patric was laid to rest at Monument Beach Cemetary in Bourne, Massachusetts.

The Smith Family Murder -Suicide Saco, Maine

The afternoon of July 26, 2014 was reportedly nothing special or out of the ordinary for the Smith family of 5. They were barbequeing outside their complex at Riverview apartments in beautiful Saco, Maine. No one knew hours later that they would all be gone – dead, and that the threat was to come from within their own family.

Joel Smith, 33 and his wife, Heather 36 moved to Maine from Phoenix Arizona just 2-3 years before, after a vacation to visit Joel’s father. Joel was the Superintendent of the Riverview complex and helped with other complexes owned by Phoenix Management. Heather was a Medical Assistant at Portland Gastroentrology. They had 3 children, Jason who was 12 was from a previous relationship of Heather’s, Noah 7 and Lily, 4.

There is no indication what precipitated the violence in Unit B201, however, there are reports that Joel was angry that his wife stayed outside talking to neighbors until 10:30 pm. Police believe that Joel stopped first in Jason’s bedroom around 11:30 pm and shot the boys each in their own rooms while they slept, before continuing on to the Master bedroom and shooting Heather and Lily who were asleep in the bed. The children were each shot twice. Heather and Joel both were shot once in the head. The weapon was a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with birdshot and slugs.

Family members discussed that the family was having issues with drinking and addiction, as well as financial problems. Additionally, Joel had sought medical help for issues with panic, anxiety in depression four separate times in the 9 months before the killings. A report indicated that Joel had stopped taking the antidepressant Zoloft after losing his insurance.

The extended family members reported that Heather had spent time in a rehab to detox off opiates but there were no signs of any illegal drugs in the home at the time of the murders, and her autopsy report indicated only a therapeutic level of hydrocodone in her system along with a blood alcohol level of .23. Joel did not appear to be inebriated at the time of the killings as his toxicology showed no alcohol or drugs in his system.

Heather shared with a family member that about a week before the murder, Joel has threatened to commit suicide due to depression. Her sister in law discussed that Heather felt controlled and there were calls where she expressed fear to family members but there were no police calls or records for domestic violence. No neighbors reported any signs of any violence in the home.

Heather is laid to rest in Phoenix, AZ with the children.

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.,3161476

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.

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.

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, or submit an anonymous tip online (


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

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

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.

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