State law enforcement officers maintain a list of 68 unsolved homicides in a publicly accessible database on their website.

It maintains a separate listing of cases of 14 missing persons that are under active investigation. That list includes some cases in which the missing person is widely believed to be dead, such as the 2011 case involving missing Waterville toddler Ayla Reynolds.

TEEN BABY SITTER

Judith Hand, 15, was a Mt. Blue Junior High school student described as shy, blonde and petite, with eight siblings. Hand left her Farmington home on the afternoon of Sept. 10, 1971, to baby-sit for relatives and never returned. Nearly two weeks later, her badly decomposed body was discovered buried in a pile of sawdust off High Street in Farmington. Police suspected a father-and-son duo from Massachusetts of having killed Hand as part of a string of rapes and murders across the Northeast, but the pair have never stood trial for the crimes.

THE ‘BIONIC WOMAN’

Evelyn Pomerleau, 69, worked at a Waterville 7-Eleven store, but her passion was helping wayward truckers as part of a vibrant CB community that referred to Pomerleau as “the bionic woman.” The widow was well known for running Pomerlau’s Market in Waterville’s South End in the 1970s. On May 1, 1989, when Pomerleau’s 21-year-old grandson came home from work to the gray three-story apartment building on Summer Street, he found her dead in her bedroom, covered neatly by the bedspread. Her purse and checkbook were found near the home, but her CB radio was never recovered. An eyewitness described seeing a suspicious-looking man entering her apartment, leaving his car with the lights on and the engine running. Police determined that she had died of a ruptured blood vessel but were unsure of whether it was foul play, with one investigator calling it “a tough one.”

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER

Building contractor Raymond Weed, 40, known as “Butch” to his friends, was active in many local community groups, including the Farmington Baptist Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher. While bringing Christmas presents to his home on the night of Dec. 23, 2003, friends found Weed dead with two bullet wounds in his body in the hallway of his Main Street home in Wilton. Weed’s family offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the killer, but no arrest was ever made. More than 100 people were interviewed and divers entered the waters of nearby Wilson Lake, hoping to find the murder weapon. Shortly before he died, he was seen leaving Mario’s, a popular restaurant in downtown Wilton.

TWO BURN WITH HOME

Lorna Brackett, 25, a fishing enthusiast and recently divorced mother of two small children, lived with contractor, hunter and fisherman Vincent White, 46. The two left the U.S.A. Lounge in Fairfield after a night of drinking about 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, 1991. At 3:17 the following morning, neighbors called Waterville police, complaining of loud voices and fireworks, or possibly gunshots, at 7 Reservoir St. Responding officers found the two-story house quiet, so they left. Two hours later, the house burst into flames in an act later determined to be arson, and the pair’s charred remains were found inside. The autopsy found that they died of smoke inhalation and had not suffered bruises, stab wounds or bullet holes, raising the question as to why they hadn’t exited the home when it caught fire. That January, police arrested 19 people in a cocaine trafficking investigation that somehow was linked to White. Two years later, investigators said they had interviewed 400 people and compiled boxes of evidence, but no charges were ever filed.

CHRISTMAS HORROR

Janet Brochu, of Winslow, a 20-year-old dietary assistant at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Seton campus who suffered from severe diabetes, left T-Woody’s Restaurant and Bar in the Waterville Concourse shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve in 1987 with a man she had met earlier that night, known only as “Lou.” Her body, badly decomposed and covered in algae, turned up three months later in the Sebasticook River in Pittsfield. Brochu’s body was found without clothes, leading investigators to suspect foul play.

BURNED IN HIS LIVING ROOM

Workers on a garbage truck in Winslow noticed a fire burning the home of Thomas Huntley on Route 137 on April 12, 1979. Huntley died in the fire in his living room. Investigators determined that the fire was suspicious, burning fast and intensely in the same room as the body.

DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIM

In September 2006, Amy Drake, of Norridgewock, a teen mother who friends said had experienced a downward spiral after getting involved in drugs, was reported missing to the Skowhegan police. On Nov. 24, her remains were located by deer hunters in a wooded area off River Road in Norridgewock. Earlier that year, her boyfriend, Jason Joel Forbus, of Clinton, now 38, was convicted of committing domestic assault against Drake, who told police that he had punched her in the head, broken her nose, thrown her to the floor and threatened to kill her. Forbus was a suspect in Drake’s murder but was never charged. He was most recently arrested in late May on a variety of unrelated charges, including operating under the influence. In 2009, detectives said they were still actively investigating the case.

REDEMPTION CENTER OWNER

Raynald Levesque, 55, the owner of a bottle redemption center in Madison, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head on his kitchen floor by a soft drink delivery man shortly after noon on April 6, 1994. His wife saw him at 8:15 that morning as she left for work. Police have theorized that the killer entered the residence to steal money, was confronted by Levesque and shot him.

BODY FOUND IN VIRGINIA

Shirley McAvoy, 32, was last seen alive by a friend in her Pittsfield home on Aug. 9, 1990. It wasn’t until Oct. 1 that friends entered her house and discovered a large pool of McAvoy’s dried blood under the living room couch. The day after McAvoy was last seen, her Oldsmobile was involved in a traffic accident in Boston. The driver was described as 6 feet tall, slender and with light-colored hair who went by the name “Jerry.” McAvoy’s skeletal remains were later found wrapped in a quilt in Spotsylvania, Va. In 2004, the family renewed a $10,000 reward. A mystery writer and part-time Pittsfield resident, Horace Landry, investigated the case that year, hoping to solve it and write a book about it, but Landry died three years later at the age of 86.

POND-SIDE CAMP

On Dec. 7, 1987, Everette Pease, 60, was found lying dead in his bed beneath an open window in his squalid pond-side camp in Fayette. The television was on and a bag of groceries was on the table, along with a newspaper from four days earlier. No one has been charged with the crime.

TEEN FOUND IN RIVER

On April 12, 1991, Christopher Rines, 14, blond-haired and blue-eyed, was drinking and possibly arguing with one of his friends at a gravel pit near his Nichols Street home in Pittsfield. Initially it was believed he was a runaway, but police discovered his coat in the Mill Pond, formed by a dam on the Sebasticook River area. Divers found his body in 6 feet of water. By early May, investigators had interviewed more than 120 people, turning up rumors that a boy had bragged about throwing Rines into the river but did not find conclusive evidence. Nearly 400 people showed up at his funeral.

A MOTHER DISAPPEARS

In 1964, in Illinois, Albert P. Cochran was convicted in the strangling death of his wife. Their three children in the home, all aged 3 or less, were stabbed, which Cochran blamed on his dead wife. Cochran was released on parole in 1973 and moved to a mobile home in Fairfield, Maine, in 1976. That December, police suspected Cochran may have been responsible for the death of Oakland nurse Janet Baxter, 32, whose body turned up in the trunk of a car on the banks of the Kennebec River in Norridgewock. Pauline Rourke and her daughter Honey Rourke lived with Cochran at the time. Two weeks after Baxter’s death, Rourke was scheduled to be interviewed as a possible witness against Cochran. Rourke was reported missing on Dec. 15, 1976. Cochran was convicted in 1999 of murdering Baxter, but Rourke’s body was never recovered. He denied knowledge of her disappearance.


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