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Search continues for six missing Maine children on National Missing Children’s Day

Nok-Noi Ricker, Bangor Daily News
Maine |
Saturday, May 26, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine — The parents of 6-year-old Etan Patz — who disappeared 33 years ago Friday after leaving his Manhattan home heading for the school bus — got the news this week that they have been dreading for decades.Their son is believed dead and a 51-year-old man has admitted to strangling the first-grader in 1979 when he himself was a teenager.

Ayla Reynolds  
 
Cathy Moulton.jpg

Cathy Moulton is seen at left in a 1971 picture. The teen went missing that year and has not been heard from since. At right is an age-progression image showing what she may look like today.

Kimberly Moreau.jpg

17-year-old Kimberly Moreau was last seen in Jay at about midnight on May 11, 1986 in the company of an individual she met earlier that day. She has not been seen since. Extensive searches have been conducted throughout the region. Foul play is suspected.

Douglas Chapman.jpg

3 year old Douglas Chapman was reported missing by his mother at about 10:30AM on June 2, 1971. He was last seen playing by a sand pile 25 yards in front of his residence. His mother reported that she was in the residence talking on the phone and his father was at work.

Kurt Newton 1975.jpg

Kurt Ronald Newton, missing since. Sept. 1, 1975 from Chain Of Ponds, Maine. (Photo courtesy of Doe Network)

“The pain of losing a child never dulls,” U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said Friday in Portland as he and other law enforcement officials marked National Missing Children’s Day. “For those thousands of families missing children today, like Etan Patz, whose case lingered unsolved for … years, we don’t give up.”

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan declared May 25 — the day Etan Patz vanished four years earlier — as National Missing Children’s Day, and the following year Congress passed the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, creating the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Toddler Alya Reynolds, who was 20 months old when she was reported missing on Dec. 17 from her father’s Waterville home, is one case that police continue to actively investigate, but she is not the only missing child in Maine.

“In Maine, there are currently six unsolved missing children cases dating back 40 years,” Delahanty said. “They are not all infants or toddlers.”

In addition to the Ayla Reynolds case, Douglas Charles Chapman, then 3, of Alfred was reported missing June 2, 1971; Cathy Marie Moulton, 16, of Portland was reported missing Sept. 24, 1971; Kurt Ronald Newton, 4, of Manchester was reported missing Sept. 1, 1975; Bernard Ross, 18, of Ashland was reported missing May 12, 1977; and Kimberly Ann Moreau, 17, of Jay was reported missing May 11, 1986.

Chapman was last seen playing by a sandpile about 25 yards from his home in Alfred, while his mother was inside on the phone and his father was at work, according to a Maine State Police website dedicated to missing Mainers.

Moulton had dyed red hair and was last seen in downtown Portland, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website.

Newton wandered away from his family’s campsite at the Chain of Ponds Public Reserve Land near Coburn Gore on the Quebec border. He was last seen riding his tricycle at the campsite while his mother was out of sight washing muddy shoes.

Moreau was last seen in the company of an individual she met earlier in the day and foul play is suspected, the state police website states.

Two other teenagers who disappeared years ago also remain unaccounted for.

Bonnie Ledford, 19, of Dedham, who went missing in 1980, and Angel Antonio Torres, also 19, of the Saco-Biddeford area who was reported missing by his family on May 24, 1999 are listed on the state police website.

Foul play is suspected in both cases.

When children go missing or are abducted, time is of the essence, said Todd DiFede, the FBI’s senior supervisory agent for Maine.

“Every second, every minute and every hour counts in bringing a child home safely,” the veteran agent said.

To help parents keep vital information at their fingertips, there is a new app for smartphones that records a child’s height, weight, eye color and physical traits, as well as a photo, and can be instantly accessed, if needed.

“With the click of a button, the information is sent in an email,” DiFede said.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also has several tips for parents when they discover their child missing.

The new smartphone app is “a tool all parents and grandparents should be aware of and make use of,” Delahanty said.

Parents should always be aware of where their kids and teens are and should know that criminals who take children come in all shapes and sizes, said Maine State Police Lt. Brian McDonough, director of the Major Crimes Unit.

“Predators are everywhere and they come from all walks of life,” said the lieutenant, who is the liaison to the National Center for Missing Children and Maine’s AMBER Alert coordinator.

The disappearance and 1932 murder of 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh Jr., son of the world-famous airplane pilot, drew worldwide attention and led to the Lindbergh Law, which allowed law enforcement to pursue kidnappers across state lines.

When little Etan Patz went missing in 1979, the media frenzy again put a national spotlight on abducted children. He was the first missing child to ever appear on a milk carton, a tool that is now commonplace, and the Missing Children’s Assistance Act led to the creation of the AMBER Alert, an early warning system issued by law enforcement to notify broadcasters and state transportation officials when children are abducted.

“There is no rest for a parent who has lost a child, and there should be no rest for any of us who are in a position to help,” Delahanty said, flanked by DiFede, McDonough, Deputy U.S. Marshal Mike Tenuta, South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins, Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant, victim witness advocate Heather Putnam and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Neumann.

Delahanty said education for children goes a long way toward helping them protect themselves.

“We ask parents and guardians to take just 25 minutes to teach their children some safety tips that may save their lives someday,” he said, adding that educational tools are available online at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Take 25 campaign website, www.take25.org. “Twenty-five minutes for 25 tips.”

The tips include telling children never to accept rides from anyone unless they have parental permission, always walking with a friend or in a group, and knowing how to contact loved ones at home and work.

 

Missing in Maine 2: A Family Looking for Answers, The Kimberly Moreau Story

by Carolyn Callahan - May 1st 2012 09:32pm - Read more Special Reports

Jay - It's every parent's worst nightmare, your child doesn't come home.

Thankfully, police are able to find a lot of missing children and return them home safely, but sometimes, it's not that simple.

For a family in Jay, they've been living with the pain of not knowing where their loved one is for nearly three decades.

You can't drive through the town of Jay without seeing her face.

' I'll go by a picture and I'll wink at her, I'll smile," said Richard Moreau.

She's the talk of the town even though no one has seen her in nearly 26 years.

" It's a small town, people still do care," said Chief Larry White with the Jay Police Department.

Kimberly Moreau was 17 when she disappeared. It was the night of junior prom, the night before Mother's Day and a night her sister, Karen, will never forget.

" I had no reason to think that it'd be the last time I saw my sister," said Karen Dalot.

Kimberly had been out with friends that night. She stopped home around 11pm and told her sister she would be back in an hour.

" She left here and unfortunately never came home," said Dalot.

Kimberly got into a white Trans Am, and the rest of the story, is still a mystery.

" All we've got is hearsay, what people have told us and what we have learned over the years," said Richard Moreau, Kimberly's dad.

Larry White is Jay's police chief. He started on the force a year after Kimberly's disappearance.

" This has gone on for years and she's been missing for a long time and it's time to bring her home," said White.

There have been searches in Jay and neighboring town, Canton. State police have been chipping away at the case, too. Sgt. Jeffrey Love was assigned to the case for two years, beginning at the end of 2009.

" We know who she was with, we've talked to those people, and we feel as though they do have some more information that would help us," said Love.

No one wants answers more than Richard Moreau. Kimberly was his little girl.

" She loved music, loved dancing and so forth. She was always very, very particular about her appearance. If you came down to this house and her hair wasn't absolutely perfect, and she didn't have her makeup on, forget it, you ain't talking to her and that's the way she always was," described Moreau.

The Moreau family has been very involved in the entire process. Richard has put up pictures throughout the town of his little girl.

" I'd say somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 thousand," said Moreau.

Foul play is suspected in her disappearance and her family believes that's what happened, too.

" We know she won't walk through the door, we know that. We've long ago accepted that, but we want her home, we want to give her the burial she deserves," said Moreau.

It's been more than two decades now, and the Moreau's know someone has the answers they need.

" The fact that people change their stories about where she was has always frustrated us," said Dalot.

" Just go to a pay phone and disguise your voice and give very precise details where to find Kim's body," said Moreau.

They've searched, and dug, and at this point, they've learned not to expect too much.

" I can't get my hopes up that high anymore. I just can't get them up that high to say this is gonna finally be the year," said Moreau.

Police continue to get tips on the case.

" We evaluate all that information, investigate it and run out the lead, hoping that it will bring some resolution to the case," said Sgt. Love.

" The smallest tip might not mean much to you but it might be what we need to break the case wide open," added Chief White.

" That's all it's going to take is one little piece of paper. The right call, the right person to say, look here. I don't care who it comes from I just care that it comes," said Dalot.

Authorities want that day to come.

" It would be the highlight of my career if I could go and tell her dad that,'' said Chief White.

Richard Moreau wants it to come more than you can imagine.

" I'm just a dad that loved his daughter, loves his other daughters and I want to be able to see my daughter home. I don't think it's too much to ask," said Moreau.

When Moreau finally gets the answers he needs, " I'll sit down and have one heck of a good cry. That I can guarantee you will happen."

Then, the pictures that line the streets of Jay will disappear.

" Then we go tear down all the posters, that'll be a great day,'' said Moreau with a smile.

The posters may leave but Kimberly's memory will never go away.

Richard Moreau says he never wants to know how or why something happened to his daughter. He just wants to bury her at the cemetary where he already has a gravestone for her, next to her mother.

They have a complete DNA record of Kimberly and are hoping the big break in the case comes soon.

Two of the people who were with Kimberly the last night she was seen have died. One in a hit and run accident, the other in a car fire.

The family and police believe there are people in the Jay area who know what happened to Kimberly Moreau.

If you have any information you can leave an anonymous tip by calling State Police at (207) 624-7076 or Jay Police at (207) 897-6766.

Kimberly's family has a website regarding the case. You can visit by clicking here.

 
 

CANTON — A weekend search by paranormal investigators of Androscoggin River islands from Mexico to Canton for the remains of a Jay teen missing since 1986 failed to turn up any evidence.

However, news media coverage of the search for Kimberly Ann Moreau by members of the Bucksport Chapter of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association generated several anonymous tips and leads.

“We went three-quarters of the way down the river, but we're not leaving empty-handed,” lead ghost investigator Harold Murray said Tuesday.

“We are following some leads and clues that are going to take us up to Waterville this week, and we want to try and get some cooperation from the townspeople, because we will be in the area Wednesday night through Saturday morning, maybe Sunday afternoon,” Murray said.

On Friday, four members of the Ghost Hunters and a volunteer from Farmington launched canoes downriver from the Mexico boat launch at the Swift River confluence with the Androscoggin to search the many islands from there to Livermore Falls.

They were looking for evidence or human bones from Moreau, who was last seen leaving her Jewell Street home on the night of May 9, 1986, with an unknown person who was driving a late-model white Trans-Am.

Moreau was wearing a white blouse, blue jeans, white high-top sneakers, and a man's class ring engraved “Mike 1987” and “Mike Staples.”

Though declared legally dead in 1993, Kim's body was never found, and no one has been arrested on charges related to her disappearance.

Murray said the team would search woods in the Waterville-Norridgewock area this week “for clues and possibly for remains,” and then return to Dixfield, before finishing its search of the Androscoggin next month with a new team.

The group ended its search in the Meadow View area at the Canton boat launch off Dorey Road.

“Like I said, this could be a wild-goose chase, but we need to do the follow-up on the tips and stuff,” Murray said. “And everyone that has tipped us, they did not give a name or anything else.

“We got a lot of leads, a lot of tips, with most of them pointing us to Waterville for some questioning," he said. "So, we'll head to Waterville to talk to some people, and then we have to go down to Dixfield and look in a couple of caves down there. I don't know where the caves are, but someone sent us GPS coordinates.”

During the Androscoggin islands' search, Murray said the team found animal bones, pottery, broken beer bottles, an assortment of shoes in various stages of decomposition, and small chains for a pocket watch, a vest and a necklace.

“Nothing that will tie into Kim, really,” he said.

They plan to finish searching the river's islands from where they left off in Canton to Livermore Falls, and a couple of islands in Dixfield that fit a description garnered by comparing notes from psychics who have worked Kim's case for her father, Dick Moreau of Jay.

“We are returning if these other leads don't pan out,” Murray said.

His group of paranormal investigators aren't the only ones still looking for Kim.

Maine State Police Detective David Pelletier said Tuesday that he was assigned the missing-person case last year and has been working it every chance he gets.

“It's still an active missing-person case, but there's been nothing big coming in,” Pelletier said. “So, I'm looking for a good lead or persons of interest. I know the family needs closure.”

Former state police Detective Mark Lopez worked the case for many years, before transferring to the commercial trucking enforcement division. Moreau's case was assigned to Pelletier.

He's been busy going through case notes, driving around the area to familiarize himself with case details and people, and talking with local police chiefs, he said.

“I am actively working it, and would like anyone with information to please come forward with it, whether it's anonymously given or else,” Pelletier said.

To contact or leave a message for Pelletier, call the Maine State Police barracks in Gray at 657-3030. To contact Harold Murray of the Ghost Hunters, call 659-4053 or e-mail bangorghost@hotmail.com.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

7/18/2010
 
Bangor Ghost Hunters search for Kimberly Moreau
 DIXFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Bangor Ghost Hunters, a group specializing in paranormal activity, is now involved in the search for a teen who's been missing for 24 years.  17-year old Kimberly Moreau was last seen leaving her family's home in Jay with an unidentified man. Her body has never been found.

The Bangor Ghost Hunters started looking into the case about a year ago. They spoke with a number of psychics who felt that there could be some evidence in the Androscoggin River. So this weekend, volunteers starteed scouring the river looking for anything that might be a clue to where Moreau could have gone. Her father, Dick Moreau, says he knows this is a long shot, but he figured it can't hurt. The State Police say they are continuing to actively investigate this case.

 

 River Valley 

Bangor Ghost Hunters searching Androscoggin

 

River for missing Jay girl's remains

By Terry Karkos, Staff Writer

Published Jul 18, 2010 12:00 am | Last updated Jul 17, 2010 11:55 pm

 Harold Murray, left, leader of the Bucksport Chapter of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association, explains Saturday's search plan for the 24-year-old remains of Kimberly Ann Moreau, who disappeared in May 1986 at the age of 17. Volunteer Mike Watts of Farmington, bent over at center, and ghost hunters Jennie King, squatting, Tamra Terry, and Felicia Woodbury, far right, look on.

- Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

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Anyone with information related to the disappearance of Kimberly Ann Moreau is asked to contact Harold Murray, lead investigator of the Bucksport Chapter of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association at 207-659-4053 or bangorghost@hotmail.com.

Harold Murray, left, leader of the Bucksport Chapter of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association, helps team psychic Felicia Woodbury down the Swift River bank at the Mexico boat launch prior to taking off in canoes for a four-day search of islands and river banks along the Androscoggin River for the remains of Kim Moreau, a 17-year-old Jay teen who disappeared in 1986.

- Terry Karkos/Sun Journal
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Members of Bangor Ghost Hunters Association get their gear and canoes to the Mexico Boat Launch on Friday. Dick Moreau, left, of Jay, hugs Tamra Terry, a paranormal investigator prior to the group's launch to search islands for the remains of Moreau's daughter, Kim, who has been missing since May 9, 1986. Waiting to hug Moreau are team members Jennie King, right, and Felicia Woodbury, partially hidden. In back, team leader Harold Murray heads to the canoes.

- Terry Karkos/Sun Journal
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Farmington iron worker and gold prospector Mike Watts paddles down the Swift River on Friday to join members of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association in their four-day search of islands and the river for the remains of Kimberly Moreau, a 17-year-old Jay girl who disappeared May 9, 1986.

-         Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

        

Ghost investigators Harold Murray, center, and Felicia Woodbury, of the Bucksport Chapter of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association, head down the Swift River in Mexico with volunteer Mike Watts of Farmington to start their four-day search of islands in the Androscoggin River for the remains of Kimberly Ann Moreau, a 17-year-old Jay girl who vanished on May 9, 1986.

- Terry Karkos/Sun Journal
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DIXFIELD — Shards of brown beer bottles and the sun-bleached white carapace of a long-dead crawdad competed for the attention of Mike Watts and Jennie King on Saturday on the rocky shore of “Island No. 10” in the Androscoggin River.

However, Watts, a Farmington iron worker, and King, a college student from Brewer and the newest member of the Bucksport Chapter of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association, were looking for the remains of Kimberly Ann Moreau.

The 17-year-old Jay teenager was last seen leaving her Jewell Street home on the night of May 9, 1986, with an unknown person who was driving a late-model, white Trans-Am.

She was wearing a white blouse, blue jeans, white high-top sneakers, and a man's class ring engraved “Mike 1987” and “Mike Staples.”

Images of human bones and white high-top sneakers exposed to the elements for 24 years weighed heavily on the minds of Watts and King as they slowly waded through poison ivy and brush to a woody debris field about 40 feet inland.

They paused long enough to poke the ground with long, thin metal rods used to find bodies buried underground.

“If a body's been underground for years, there's going to be a hollow down there,” Watts said.

They left a metal detector near the crawdad, 7 miles downriver from the Mexico boat launch where they and other members of the Ghost Hunters set off at 3:40 p.m. Friday in canoes on the search.

“My daughter was dead within four hours, I'm going to say, of when we last saw her,” Dick Moreau said.

“So, it's never been any hope we'd find her alive," he said. "It's finding her remains and putting her to rest down there at the Holy Cross Cemetery. We got a stone there for her last year, with her picture right on it.”

Kim was declared legally dead in 1993. Her case remains unsolved.

Dick Moreau, who has spent the past few decades searching in vain for closure, mentally gripped a slim ray of hope at a Route 2 pullout along the river a mile east of the Dixfield police station.

“No one's ever searched the river to my knowledge,” he said, standing near Ghost Hunters team leader Harold Murray, its psychic Felicia Woodbury, paranormal investigator Tamra Terry, and King.

He'd trucked their gear and canoes to the launch after they drove in from Bangor. Watts, a gold prospector, joined them there to help during the four-day search.

Previous psychics who've helped Dick Moreau told him that Kim was within a 5- or 6-mile radius of his house.

The Ghost Hunters, a team of volunteers who search for lost Maine towns, signs of paranormal activity and unexplained phenomena, began helping him in June 2009, searching land within that radius in Jay, Livermore Falls and Canton.

This weekend, they're searching islands and river banks from Mexico to Livermore Falls. By 11:30 a.m. Saturday, they'd searched eight islands.

An hour later, Murray, a self-taught archaeologist, Terry and Woodbury, a self-professed psychic and ghost whisperer, searched Island No. 9 while Watts and King did Island No. 10.

“The psychics have pinpointed where she is, they just can't give me a road map to get to her,” Dick Moreau said.

“I've had them say, 'She's (on the) side of a brook, and there's some big rocks and big trees,' and I said, 'You know what? I live in the state of Maine. I mean, how many rocks and big trees and brooks can I find? Give me something that is very, very unique that I can find, and now you give me something to go by.

“Like if you told me I'm going to find her and there's going to be a big white birch and there's a gray granite rock there, or there's a black granite rock. Now, I've got something to look for," Moreau said. "That makes a heck of a lot of difference. But that's what it's always been: 'She's over there and that's what you'll find.'”

They've never had that missing specific until now with the Ghost Hunters sleuthing for Kim, he said.

“Harold has something specific to search the river, but I don't know what it is,” he said.

Murray said he was keeping mum on the detail so as not to disappoint Moreau if it doesn't pan out. He said they have information of possible activity on the river.

Prior to launching on Friday, he pointed out islands on the river in Dixfield on a DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer opened to pages 18 and 19, while sharing search plans with Watts and the team.

“We're going to start searching the islands right down here, because this is what we had, that she was brought to Dixfield,” Murray said. “We saw it in a report that someone said she was thrown in the river right in the next town, so I said we're going to do it. We came up here (to Mexico) just in case someone was wrong with the location.”

It's the team's first missing person search; an experiment, Murray called it. They've searched the Meadow View area of Canton, which is 4.3 miles by air from the Moreau home, and where Woodbury and other Ghost Hunters psychics may have found a lingering spirit.

“Ever since my great-grandmother died in 2000, I've been able to see ghosts, and I'm considered a psychic,” Woodbury said.

“I see ghosts and speak with them and they speak to me," she said. "There's one spot (in Meadow View) that I picked up on something, but I don't know. I know the other psychics on our team did pick up on something, too, but they didn't confirm what it was. So, I don't know if it's Kim or not.”

“We do investigate the unexplained and Kim's unexplained,” Murray said. But this weekend, they're looking for Kim's bones and not her ghost.

It's renewed hope for Dick Moreau, who has taped more than 10,000 missing-child fliers to telephone poles in the search radius since Kim went missing.

“We had a lot of things indicating other places, like the party scene in Canton down on Meadow View, and I still don't rule that out, and that's the hard part,” he said.

“At least this will give us answers and eliminate another possibility," he said. "But I'll be honest with you. The only way we're going to find her is with God's hand guiding us, because after 24 years of not looking for much, we're looking for elbows, knees, those kinds of things. That's what we're looking for and it will take God's help to locate it.

“I said a long time ago, this isn't about any revenge. It isn't about anything else, just bringing Kim home, whatever needs to be done.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

A group from the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association walks along the shore of the Androscoggin River in Dixfield on Saturday in search of the remains of Kim Moreau who was last seen on May 9, 1986. Team members, from back left, are Felicia Woodbury, Tamra Terry, Jennie King, Mike Watts and Harold Murray.

Harold Murray of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association holds an animal bone and a piece of pottery found during their search for the remains of Kim Moreau.

Harold Murray of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association searches the shoreline for the remains of Kim Moreau who was last seen on May 9, 1986. The ghost hunters were searching the shores and islands along a section of the Androscoggin River in Dixfield on Saturday.

Mike Watts, a volunteer with the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association, probes one of the islands along the Androscoggin River for the remains of Kim Moreau of Jay who was last seen on May 9, 1986. The ghost hunters were searching the shores and islands along a section of the river in Dixfield on Saturday.

Harold Murray, left, of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association draws a map in the dirt for Dick Moreau, father of Kim Moreau, who was last seen on May 9, 1986. Murray shows the area they plan to search for her remains. The ghost hunters were searching the shores and islands along a section of the Androscoggin River in Dixfield on Saturday.

 

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