Family and friends of the 81-year-old woman who was fatally stabbed last month in her Farmington apartment are seeking public donations so they can offer a reward to help find her killer.

Robert Butterfield, the oldest son of Grace Burton, sent calls and letters to the media this week on behalf of his mother’s family and friends, he said.

“My mother was the woman brutally murdered in a home invasion in Farmington on June 21st,” Butterfield, 62, wrote in a letter emailed to the Morning Sentinel.

“My family and friends are starting a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer,” he wrote.

Family members are frustrated by the apparent lack of progress being made in the search for Burton’s killer, Butterfield said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“I’m very frustrated and I know the police are, too,” he said.

Investigators believe Burton’s assailant is a slightly built male, who cut his hands and fingers during the 1 a.m. home invasion at the Margaret Chase Smith Apartments at 195 Fairbanks Road.

Police found a significant amount of the assailant’s blood at the scene, but they have been unable to find a match for the blood from DNA samples taken from more than 150 men since the investigation began, Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck said last week.

“It certainly is frustrating,” Peck said.

Maine State Police Lt. Brian McDonough, who is lead investigator, said on Tuesday that all comments about the investigation will now be coming from Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland.

“The investigation is continuing and there are no new leads,” McCausland said in a phone interview Tuesday, declining to give other comments about the case.

Public rewards for information have been helpful in finding killers in the past, McCausland said.

Many rewards are offered by family members and friends, with most being the result of an unsolved homicide, he said.

Police seldom offer a reward for information from the public, according to McCausland.

There have been some “crime-stopper programs” in Maine during past years that used law enforcement money to offer rewards, but most are handled privately by family and friends, he said.

This is the second public appeal made by Burton’s family and friends to get people to call in with information about the homicide.

Julie Shaw, Burton’s only daughter, made a tearful plea for help in finding the killer during a news conference a week after the slaying.

Butterfield, who lives in Farmington, said Tuesday that he struggles with how the killer seems to have disappeared.

Burton called 911 after she was stabbed, and police responded within minutes of the call, according to past comments by investigators. She died from her wounds later that morning at the hospital.

“It’s frustrating. You know they were there within two minutes of the 911 call; it just seems strange that the guy was able to disappear,” Butterfield said.

Family and friends are planning several public events to raise money for the reward fund, according to Butterfield. The dates will be announced to the media.

The man believed to be Burton’s attacker was last seen walking along Fairbanks Road about 1:30 a.m., shortly after the June 21 home invasion, police said. He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt with a black backpack.

Investigators believe he is a 5-foot, 7-inch male who they think had a small thin mustache at the time of the attack. He may be trying to hide significant cuts on his hands by wearing gloves or long sleeves.

Investigators believe the assailant cut a screen and entered through the unlocked window in the back of Burton’s first-floor apartment.

Maine State Police can be reached at 657-3030, Farmington police at 778-6311, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 778-2680 or 911 on a cell phone, police said.

David Robinson – 861-9287

[email protected]


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