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November 14, 2006, a hunter discovered skeletal remains of a woman in Litchfield just off of route 8 near exit 41 on the northbound side of the highway. Weeks later the victim was identified as 22 year old Jessica Muskus of Waterbury, She was originally reported as missing in Waterbury on Aug. 2, 2004.
This area of Route 8 has been no stranger to homicide and mystery. Eighteen years ago about a mile from where Muskus was found, the body of Karen Everett 24, was found off of Valley Road in Harwinton, near the highway in October of 1988. Months later in almost the same spot the body of Mildred Alvarado, 30 was found in January of 1989. Both victims were known to have engaged in prostitution, drugs and had been strangled. Some theories point to the same individual in both of those killings. In 1993 Evelyn Bettencourt was located near the Valley Road area and was shot to death. An individual was eventually convicted for her murder however, he is not a suspect in the deaths of Everett and Alvarado. In 1994, the body of Olga Maria Cornieles-Ubiera, 32, was found off Route 262 in Thomaston, approximately eight miles south from the Valley Street area. She had no history of drug use or prostitution and Police have never indicated whether they think her murder was related to the homicides of Everett and Alvarado.
One common thread between the four murdered women is that they are all from Waterbury. There are also two additional women from Waterbury that are missing. Then 37 year old Bernadine Paul has been missing since 2000 and Marilyn Mendez Gonzalez who was 26 years old at the time has not been seen since 2003. There is no indication that these two disappearances are linked to any of the above murders.
Perhaps the most bizarre murder in this area happened at a now closed rest area in Litchfield not far from the other victims. In 1986, the arms and torso of 26 year old transient Jack Franklin Andrews were found wrapped in quilts and garbage bags. His head, legs and genitalia were never located. His murder is still unsolved, and police have theorized that he may have been the victim of a serial killer. His murder is not believed be related to any of the other homicides in the area. Convicted serial killer Richard W. Rogers has been considered a person of interest in the Andrew's case. Rogers had been convicted of the murders of two men in New Jersey and a suspect in ones in Florida and Pennsylvania as well.
UPDATE: 10-2011. Convicted rapist/murderer Stephen Hayes has confessed in a letter to an anonymous individual that he is responsible for 17 murders of women in New England. Hayes is currently on Death Row for the 2007 Cheshire Home Invasion murders of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her two daughters Haley and Michaela. Many in Law Enforcement are not taking these claims seriously, as Hayes is known to be a pathological liar. However, Hayes lived in the town of Winsted for much of his life which is off of route 8.
From 1969 to 1970, there were four young girls from the Southern part of Connecticut.
14 year old Dawn Cave from Bethany, Ten year old Mary Mount from New Canaan and eleven year old Diane Toney were all abducted during the last two weeks of May of 1969. Their bodies were found dumped in the woods, they had been bludgeoned to death with a rock. In September of 1970, five year old Jennifer Noon disappeared on her way home from school, eight days later her body was found in a section of woods in the town of Hamden. She was also beaten to death with rocks.
Police had no suspects in the case but noticed similarities to the August 1970, triple murder of three residents of a home for Mentally Disabled persons. The three individuals were all killed by being bludgeoned with rocks and dumped in wooded areas. In 1972, Harold Meade a truck driver in his twenties was convicted for the killing of the three mentally disabled victims. Witnesses of some of the four girl's murders also identified him as being in the proximity of where the victims had last been seen alive. While Law Enforcement considered Meade a prime suspect they never had enough evidence to convict him of the other homicides. He was sentenced to life in prison and many figured that he would never be out in public again.
If it only were true.
In 1992, forty three year old Linda Rayner was visiting family in Connecticut when she went to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. Her body was found the next day in a remote part of the beach. The Social Worker's skull was crushed by a rock and much of the physical evidence had been washed away by the ocean. Police have a prime suspect who was camping there that weekend who has a history of indecent exposure to women.
However, Harold Meade was in the area at the same time. According to statements from other prison inmates Meade confessed to Rayner's murder. The three time convicted murderer had been granted weekend furloughs for several years despite his violent past.
Even though he is not officially named as a suspect in the Rayner homicide, Meade no longer is granted access outside of prison. According to a Hartford Courant article, he has even made confessions to other people about some of the murders of the four young girls.
After a lengthy illness, Harold Meade died on December 9th of 2007. While there may never be closure on the cases of the four murdered girls, Meade will never hurt anyone again.
Emanuell Lovell Webb convicted of manslaughter of a woman in Georgia now faces trial in the strangulation murder of 34-year-old Elizabeth "Maxine" Gandy. DNA evidence has also linked him to the murders of Sharon Cunningham, Minnie Sutton, and Sheila Etheridge. During the late 80s and early nineties, more than a dozen women were killed in Bridgeport. He lived in Bridgeport from 1987 until August of 1993 when he moved back to Georgia. He was charged in July 1994 in the murder of Evelyn Charity, whom he sexually assaulted and strangled. Webb plead guilty and received a prison sentence of 20 years. He was paroled in 2001.
Webb plead no contest to murdering Sharon Cunningham, Minnie Sutton, and Elizabeth Gandy. He is now serving what amounts to be a life sentence. He has not confessed to killing any other women even though he is a suspect in other slayings.
Song is called "Late Goodbye" and is performed by Poets of the Fall
Song is called "Late Goodbye" and is performed by Poets of the Fall