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  #1  
Old 06-19-2008, 04:08 PM
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Question MA - Warwick, WhtFem, Dismembered - In Hwy Rest Stop - Possible Cult Link, Jun'89

I haven't seen anything about this case on here or the Doe Network but it caught my interest looking through local newspaper archives.

On June 24, 1989 legs, arms, and a torso were found off of a rest stop on Route 78 in Warwick, MA, just 1 mile from the New Hampshire border. The parts were originally thought to be from a man in his 30s (most newspapers reported this) but later studies suggested that the parts are actually from a woman. She was white, approximately 5'5" and "robust". The other parts of the body including the head were never found. The body was badly decomposed but I don't think authorities were exactly certain of when the victim died.

Newspapers reported that there was a concern about this being related to a cult or other ritualistic killing. Two corpses of headless dogs were found approximately 25 feet from the human remains. Many people in Worcester county also reported that their pets went missing around the same time (the body was left in Franklin county, but that does boarder Worcester county). That being said, these incidents are not definitively linked to the body.

I haven't seen any updates on this case in the local media since the late '90s.

Last edited by CarlK90245; 04-07-2013 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:29 PM
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One mistake in my original posting. I said that the torso had been found with the body (according to one newspaper article) but it is clear from subsequent articles that the torso of this victim was never found.

Human body parts found; homicide probe launched
WARWICK- Police have failed to find the head and torso belonging with human remains discovered Saturday off Route 78, but have uncovered two headless animal carcasses nearby. Northwestern District Attorney Judd Carhart said, "We don't have much information yet, but we can say we have a homicide." Asked if there were ritualistic overtones concerning the headless body, Carhart said, "That is a definite concern."
... State and local police yesterday continued to search 1 1/2 miles of dense woods between the site and the New Hampshire border. Roberts acknowledged the remains were cut away from the rest of the human body, but declined to comment whether they had been surgically removed. He discounted the possibility of animals ripping away the head and torso. He said one animal looked like it may have been injured and then killed by a gunshot and that both unidentified animals, found within 25 feet of the human remains, had apparently been at the scene for a longer time than the human remains.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:59 AM
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Western Mass is also still mourning the unsolved abduction and murder of Molly Bish. I'm not saying it's related necessarily, just noting another unsolved situation.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:49 AM
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Western Mass is also still mourning the unsolved abduction and murder of Molly Bish. I'm not saying it's related necessarily, just noting another unsolved situation.
Absolutely. Molly was the impetus for me getting interested in unsolved crimes in New England. Parts of her body and bathing suit were sadly found right down the street from my stepfather's old house.

It is actually important though not to discount possible involvement with a variety of unsolved crimes across Massachusetts. In the early 1990s, many LE thought it was possible that this body was some how connected to Sharon Galligan case (a UMass student stabbed to death in the Hampshire Mall parking lot in 1990) or the Lisa Zeigert case (a teacher's aide who was killed while working in a store alone in Agawam in 1992). Galligan's case was solved and clearly not involved, but Zeigert's case is still not solved.

There's also a "western Route 2" string of missing/ murdered girls that may or may be involved. Route 78 is directly off of Route 2. Given the time gap these are unlikely but possible.
-Lynn Burdick, 18, went missing from a Florida, MA store in 1982. It is strongly suspected that she was abducted and murdered.

-Cynthia "Rocky" Krizack, 17, was abducted from Williams College in 1976 and found strangled to death in Windsor, MA.

-Kim Benoit, 18, was from North Adams and was found strangled to death in Florida, MA in 1974.

Another possibility is a link to the Connecticut River Valley Killer. The last known victim of the Valley Killer was in 1988 but New Hampshire police are known to be involved in this case and this location is near I-91 (all the Valley Killer's crimes were committed near I-91/ the Connecticut River).

I have a few other possible connections which I will post later.
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:48 PM
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I am wondering, HMG, if it could be any of the New Bedford 11, two of whom were never found...

http://www.crimeandjustice.us/forums...php?t6933.html

One of the suspects is Kenneth C. Ponte.
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:21 PM
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here is another I thought might be likely...
http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/..._michelle.html
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:51 AM
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OK-in terms of whether or not the UID might be Michelle Ashley Nicoleau:
It does not at this moment seem to have been considered. Michelle went missing from Holyoke and the remains were found on the MA/NH border. The good news is that there is DNA available in CODIS for Michelle and a fingerprint card, although there is no information at the moment as to whether or not her fingerprints are in AFIS.

The UID has fingerprints in AFIS, correct HMG??

You rock on all the work you have done btw....
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:55 AM
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i also think it is worth noting that it is almost a straight line between Holyoke, Warwick and Keene NH along hWY 91...
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2008, 10:36 AM
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The UID in Warwick DOES have fingerprints listed in AFIS! I'm so happy to hear that Michelle does too because I don't think DNA is available.

I definitely agree on location being perfect. I had mentioned earlier on here that I thought there was a possibility that this was a victim of the Connecticut Valley River Killer with Nicholaou in mind because of Warwick's proximity to Keene/ Swanzey where Jane Boroski was attacked.
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  #10  
Old 06-24-2008, 11:00 AM
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Now we hurry up and wait while everyone else starts to dust off the files....
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:19 PM
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Bumping this one to remind myself to close the loops!!
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2008, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for keeping up on this Believe. I wish I had some new information on this case.
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  #13  
Old 11-16-2008, 10:10 PM
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Bumping...
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Old 11-22-2008, 01:48 PM
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I've been thinking about this case a lot lately and there was one other angle I initially overlooked. Warwick is perhaps most famous for at one point hosting The Brotherhood of the Spirit commune, one of the largest communes in the United States. The commune later moved to nearby Turners Falls and later Gill, Massachusetts. It closed down in 1988 which really caught my eye since it seems plausible that this UID could have been killed in late 1988. Could the commune or someone who disliked the commune had something to do with the body found? The arms and legs were found near the old commune sight and Gill, where the commune dissolved in 1988, is a short drive from Gill.

In the 1973, Peter Luban, a member of the commune, was stabbed to death when hitchhiking in the area. That case also remains unsolved and it is uncertain whether the murder was directly connected to the commune (someone who didn't like the commune, some sort of inner commune problem, etc.) or is just pure coincidence seems uncertain.

The commune was not dangerous or violent in any way and it can't really be considered "a cult" in the way that LE thought a cult might be involved with this murder. But it does seem like a possible angle LE should look into it.
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:50 PM
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let's not forget the case of the Swedish nanny, Karina Holmer, in 1996, whos remains (or, half of her), were found in a dumpster in downtown Boston. that case is also unsolved, and the rest of her has never been found.

http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18885
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Help Fred Murray find his daughter and bring her home. He should not be walking those woods alone!
What Happened to Maura Murray? http://www.mauramurraymissing.com
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by future criminologist View Post
let's not forget the case of the Swedish nanny, Karina Holmer, in 1996, whos remains (or, half of her), were found in a dumpster in downtown Boston. that case is also unsolved, and the rest of her has never been found.

http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18885
Future Criminologist, do you know when they say "the top half of her torso was recovered" if they mean her entire upper half or just the actual torso? I actually don't know too much about this case. Don't think these two are related but I am curious to know.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:58 AM
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I put a call into Holyoke PD today-I want to see if they ever did a DNA comparison between the body parts and Michelle. I noticed on the web that our comparison has been lauded as a likely match on a few different crime sites-mainly those that are looking for a Michael Nicholaou match as a possible abductor of Maura Murray.
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  #18  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:08 PM
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Wow, I'm glad I came back to see some heat generated on this after my absence from Websleuths (and the Internet sleuthing in general).

I seem to recall when we originally went forward with this speaking to the Northwest DA and the PI involved with Michelle's case. I'm glad to see some involvement with the Holyoke PD, as I wasn't sure how involved they were. Perhaps we can get some momentum on this one. Michelle's family has gone over 20 years without any real answers regarding her disappearance, that's far too long.
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:55 PM
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Update

Hi all-I spent quite some time on the phone with a phenomenal person from the State Police DNA Lab in MA. She did me the kindness of explaining that there were going to be some problems likely with how these remains were logged because each time the remains were moved, they were likely assigned a different number. I did not have any number since PD and DA told me the remains had been transferred. I tried the office of the Chief Med Ex as well with no luck in finding them.

The bottom line is the the Detective in Holyoke has the option of contacting a Case Manager for the State Police and having them search for the remains and see if a sample was taken for DNA purposes. She believed it likely was because it was common practice then. Now, depending on how degraded the sample is, they can process it and run it agains Michelle Nicholaou who is still a candidate for me for these limbs.

i emailed the Detective so we will see if this goes anywhere.....he is dedicated so I think he will run it down.

Phew.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:58 PM
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I am so happy to hear this as I had heard when I was first researching this case that DNA was likely not taken. I truly, truly hope it was taken and they are able to make a comparison.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:00 PM
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It looks like they are in fact looking to match DNA between Michelle Ashley Nicholaou and the Warwick remains. On October 27, the Dr. Phil Show did a segment on Nick Nicholaou, the son of Michael and Michelle, who continues to grieve and feel mixed emotions about his father and his mother's disappearance. In the course of the show Dr. Phil was talking to Lynn Marie Carty, the PI who has spearheaded the case against Michael Nicholaou in relation to the Connecticut River Valley Killings, and they mentioned that the Warwick remains were currently in the process of being tested against Michelle!

What a way to hear that our work here at Websleuths may be paying off in this case! Here is a link to the conversation: http://www.drphil.com/slideshows/sli...ew=&versionID=

Even if these remains are not Michelle's I'm glad it's given some publicity both to Michelle's case and the case of this UID.
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:09 PM
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Still no word as far as I know about whether these remains were that of Michelle Ashley Nicholau but I happened to take a long drive up Route 78 the other day and, of course, thought a lot about this case.

Here's what continues to strike me as unusual: This place is far removed from pretty much everything. Unless you're going to Warwick there's absolutely no reason to be there, it's not the type of place you just happen upon if you're in Massachusetts. The closest point of entry from I-91 would be the exit in Gill. If you were coming from that direction and wanted to inconspicuously dump a body, you'd probably do it on the deeply forested road between Northfield and Warwick. Coming off Route 2 and driving down 78 to dump a body seems plausible but again with so many rural areas in between, why would you drive to this area?

By far the most plausible explanation to me is that the killer (and most likely the victim) was from New Hampshire, possibly Vermont, and wanted to drop the body in Massachusetts to create a legal jurisdiction problem. I am uncertain which side of the road the body was found on, but that might be useful information to have in terms of determining whether the person was coming from New Hampshire or up through Orange. Of course, then again, this could just be an area the killer was familiar with-- perhaps he frequented Mount Grace nearby.

Either way, I don't think this was a randomly chosen dump spot.

And I'm still very, very curious to see if this could be Michelle. If Nicholau was the CT River Valley Killer, there's no denying that one of the few locations Warwick is easily accessible from is Swanzey, NH. You literally can draw a straight line from where Jane Boroski was stabbed to the body dump location of this victim. That in itself is very troubling.
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