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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    MA - Joan Webster, 25, Boston, 28 Nov 1981

    I want to introduce you to Joan Webster.

    Joan was my sister-in-law. Her loss was devastating.

    Joan was a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She was in her 2nd year of a three year program with a bright future ahead of her. Joan was loved and valued by her classmates and peers. At 25, she had her whole life ahead of her.

    On Saturday, November 28, 1981, Joan boarded Eastern flight 916 from Newark to Logan Airport in Boston. She returned early from a Thanksgiving break at the home of her parents in NJ. Joan arrived at Logan around 10:30 pm and was reportedly last seen at the luggage carousel. She planned to take a cab to her room at Perkins Hall. She never arrived.

    A classmate notified the family on December 1, 1981, that Joan had not returned to class. Family members filed two missing person reports, one in Massachusetts, and one in New Jersey. On December 2, 1981, a clam digger found her purse and wallet in a marshy area that spanned on both sides of a split roadway, Route 107 also known as the Lynn Marsh Road.

    An extensive search ensued and the media reported the story. According to contemporary news accounts, authorities allegedly recovered her suitcase at the Park Square Greyhound Bus Station in Boston, and held a major media event around the 1st week of February 1982.

    Joan also carried a tote bag. The bag and contents, according to media accounts, were never recovered. The mysterious disappearance baffled everyone who knew her.

    Joan's parents made themselves available to the media. They taped an appeal for information broadcast throughout New England on Christmas Day 1981. On January 19, 1982, they offered a $10,000 reward. The reward was increased up to $50,000 in October 1982.

    On April 18, 1990, a veterinarian walking her dogs in Hamilton, MA discovered a human skull. The location was more than 30 miles north of the airport in a remote and heavily wooded area. Weather conditions in an area sometimes flooded caused the skull to come to the surface. After an extensive search of the area for the next week, searchers discovered the gravesite. Most of the remains were recovered.

    The condition of Joan's remains, information I did not learn until 2009, were horrific. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. She sustained a 2" x 4" hole on the right side of the skull. The blow, inflicted with tremendous force, took out the entire right side of her head. Joan was stripped of all clothing. No clothing or personal belongs were found in the area except a gold neck chain and a gold amethyst ring both found on the skeleton. Joan Webster was disposed in a black plastic trash bag and discarded in a basin often covered with water. The gravesite was covered with cut logs in the area. At some point, later in time, a second layer of logs was piled on the site. Joan was positively identified through dental records.

    All the while Joan remained a missing person, this case received high visibility and sensational coverage. More than three decades later, the case is still the subject of a lot of speculation and public representations of the case. Personal experiences and factors learned many years later created an urgency to know what happened to Joan. The explanations did not add up and the case remains an open investigation today.

    In 2006, I began to dig into the case. I did not have any idea what I would find and did not know what to expect. This has been a painful journey, but the answers are there. For those of you who have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, you understand the suspended grief, the questions, and the need for answers to heal. For a long time, it was two steps forward and ten steps back. Trying to find information was trial and error until I gained better skills of researching a cold case.

    This case is important on many levels. I will be posting here as often as I am able. I welcome all input as long as it is respectful. I have recovered thousands of pages of relevant documents in the case and have a clear understanding of the obstacles to justice. I have actual documents that I will post and explain the significance.

    What I will say is the case is solvable. It took peeling back many layers. It is an ongoing process and it is up to those in positions of responsibility whether Joan will receive justice or not. All crimes have an answer. The answers are not always easy to find. The answers are always painful in such a loss. It has taken many sleepless nights and a torrent of tears to get to this point.

    Please say a prayer for Joan, all of the victims impacted by this case, and others in pain after traumatic loss senselessly altered lives forever.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    La Luna
    Thank you for the synopsis and I am so sorry for your loss.
    I have to ask, this was your sister in law. Do you suspect your brother?
    Be the most brilliant color in the box!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hi Charminglane,

    I was married to Joan's brother. I was the only non blood relative part of the immediate family during all of these events.

    I will be stepping through this case a piece at a time. It has taken 10 years of in depth research to have a good understanding of what happened. I have named an individual to the current custodian of the case. It is supported with documentation. I believe Joan was the intended target of this crime. Recovered documents support premeditation.

    This case has some extraordinary components. Before I could articulate this case very well and had the documents to support it, most people had a difficult time grasping aspects of this case. This is a dedicated group committed to resolving crimes. I am respectful of that and want to make sure I am providing the necessary support for the findings over the last decade.

    I am hopeful that I can bring to this group methods that will help with other cases.

    Thank you for kindness. It means a great deal.

  4. #4
    i found this article- http://www.crimemagazine.com/totally...%80%99s-murder

    What a tangled web
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 06-26-2017 at 04:44 AM. Reason: broken link

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Eve, consider contacting a moderator to become a Verified Insider for your SIL's case.

    Welcome to WebSeuths!

    There is a thread re: the death of another young lady studying at Harvard, I'll post a link once I remember the name.

    Jane Britton,

    Last edited by Laughing; 06-25-2017 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Remembered name, found link

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thank you for the link for Jane Britton. I am not familiar with the case. I can say that the Harvard Campus Police are not obligated to answer FOIA requests as part of a private institution. I can say that with certainty in my efforts to obtain documents. A lawsuit is required to subpoena files. Sunshine laws need to be improved, and MA is one of the worst states. The Center for Public Integrity graded MA an "F" in 2015 for access to public records and accountability procedures. Many more cases might be resolved if the right set of eyes can examine the records.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    This is a complicated case. It will be easier to follow to first understand what I knew at the time, and what I learned from records much later in time.

    Year 1

    Joan presented an 11-week project just before the Thanksgiving break. She was an excellent student and received high marks for the project. Her sister drove both of them to NJ for the break. Anne also lived in Boston.

    Joan returned to school early on Saturday instead of riding back with her sister on Sunday. The explanation given was she returned to work on a project and meet with classmates on Sunday. On Monday, a classmate called to see if Joan was still home; she had not shown up for class. The family filed missing person reports. Eleanor called us that night to let us know. George was out of town on a business trip, and returning later that night.

    A clam digger found the purse and wallet along a well-travelled road on Tuesday. George and Eleanor went to Boston the next day with the head of ITT security and officers from their hometown in NJ. Numerous departments conducted extensive interviews of passengers, airport employees, cabbies, and others. It was reported there were no leads and no clues.

    I spent the Christmas holiday in NJ with the family. It was an emotional and somber time for me.

    The family offered a $10k reward in January 1982. Tips came in, but none of them panned out. Three people remembered seeing a car along Route 107. They were hypnotized, but did not recall anything to assist authorities. Boston authorities staged a major media event, TV camera and all, announcing the recovery of Joan's suitcase at the Park Square Greyhound Bus Station in Boston. The story continued to make headlines, a baffling mystery.

    Authorities continued to follow dead-end leads, and the media kept the story on the front page. The reports always reflected to real clues and no suspects. In October, the family increased the reward up to $50k.

    By mid October, the family received an extortion call. This was a very dramatic event that was not in the press. The public did not know about this or similar incidents. George was wired and traveled across state lines with the extortion caller and an FBI agent to a bogus address. The FBI monitored the incident. ITT security and NJ officers were also involved. At the time, I heard no more about the event or the aftermath.

    By the end of 1982, the media kept Joan's story in the public view all across New England. Each report reinforced no real leads and no suspects. This is what I knew at the time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Now I will step through what I learned. Keep in mind, I did not learn things all at once, but over 10+ years collecting records. I will highlight certain points keep in mind as you learn more about this case. Feel free to ask questions or make observations. I will elaborate more on certain points as I get further into the case.

    Year 1 updated

    On December 5, 1981, an article appeared in the Newark Star Ledger. The report stated Joan was seen talking to a man behind a check out counter at the airport. This report caught the attention of the head of ITT security. He called police to say the article reported things authorities did not know. The tip Joan was seen was stifled.

    On December 21, 1981, Lt Murphy of the Harvard Campus PD contacted the police in NJ. He provided Identa Kit template numbers for a composite. A cabbie provided a description for a bearded man believed seen leaving the airport with Joan. Coincidentally, within the half hour, the same ITT representative called the police to suggest submitting a composite from a psychic's image. There is no record that was submitted, but it muddied the water. The composite from the cabbie's description was never made public. The composite has been reconstructed from records and affirmed. The NJ police reconstructed the composite and gave it to Eleanor on December 21, 1981.

    The media aired a pre taped appeal from the Websters for information on Christmas Day 1981. The composite was not made public. (I learned about the composite in 2009).

    On January 9, 1982, woman missed her bus at the Park Square Greyhound Bus Station. A man identified as an undercover cop gave her a ride. The incident is documented in NJ police reports.

    On or about January 19,1982, after the Websters announced a $10k reward, a woman placed an anonymous call to the Saugus, MA PD. She implicated a man for a 1979 cold case murder and Joan's disappearance. The woman alleged a 1972 assault by Leonard Paradiso. The woman was later identified in court records as Patty Bono. I will profile her later.

    It is reported Joan's suitcase is found in the Park Square Greyhound Bus Station sometime the last week of January or 1st week of February 1982. There are discrepancies about the date and location of the recovery I will go into later.

    In late February 1982, the Websters called a meeting held at Harvard. Former trooper Dave Moran is the source detailing the meeting. According to his account, ADA Tim Burke and Tr. Andrew Palombo were paired on the I979 case. The victim was a woman named Marie Iannuzzi. Paradiso was a named suspect in that case.

    On March 5, 1982, Burke convened a grand jury in the Commonwealth v. Leonard Paradiso. Burke represents this as a John Doe to determine which two suspects was responsible. Testimony implicated the victim's boyfriend David Doyle.

    On March 11, 1982, Tr. Carl Sjoberg contacted Paradiso's parole officer. Paradiso had a prior assault conviction. Sjoberg implicated Paradiso in a new Boston crime (Joan).

    On April 5, 1982, Burke reconvenes a grand jury under the same cause # but the suspect changed to John Doe.

    George Webster was contacted by a CA man with another theory linking Joan's case to a well-known unresolved serial crime spree. George corresponded with the FBI. Multiple agencies met with FBI profiler SA Roger DePue in Boston on April 14, 1982. It was a general meeting with no known crime.

    On April 20, 1982, Burke obtained Paradiso's parole records

    Burke gained an indictment for 1st degree murder of Marie Iannuzzi against Paradiso on June 28, 1982.

    Palombo arrested Paradiso for the murder of Marie Iannuzzi on July 6, 1982, and incarcerated at the Charles Street Jail.

    Palombo searched boat registration records in July 1982.

    A contemporary account documented a meeting at the jail between Paradiso and Sgt. Carmen Tammaro, Palombo's superior, on August 1, 1982. Tammao implicated Paraso of murdering Joan on his boat.

    The Websters increased the reward on October 12, 1982. The extortion incident with known felon Harvey Martel on October 15, 1982, is well-documented in FBI and NJ police reports.

    On November 5, 1982, authorities submitted Paradiso's fingerprints to Quantico for comparison in the Joan Webster case; results were negative, reported on November 24, 1982.

    On December 8, 1982, convicted murderer Robert Bond was moved to the Charles Street Jail awaiting trial for his 2nd murder. Bond was placed in cell 68 on the 3rd floor, on a different tier from Paradiso. Bond was moved to cell 36, close to Paradiso in cell 31.

    On December 12, 1982, undercover officer Andrew Palombo, followed 2 young women at Logan. The did not know him. He gained their confidence and gave them a ride. One of the passengers was Paradiso's estranged daughter.

    There was a lot more going on than what was see on the surface. Despite the reports, there was a suspect being pursued.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Significant Points & Leads

    Sorry for any typos. I am having difficulty posting onthe site. I am not sure if I need to change a setting. If anyone has atechnical suggestion, please let me know.

    Here are the significant points and leads from theprevious posts.

    1. Joanwas observed at the airport by more than just friends waving.
    2. Awitness description was provided and a composite constructed.
    3. Thecomposite was suppressed, not provided to the public to help locate a missingperson.
    4. Authoritiespursued an unverified allegation from an unknown source instead of a witnessaccount.
    5. Despitereports of no leads and no suspects, authorities focused on a suspect, based onan anonymous call, for a year internally.
    6. Fingerprintresults came back negative against the state’s suspect
    7. Anotherconfidential informant is positioned close to the suspect.

    Here is the lead provided by a witness. This was the individual to identify.

    Recovery of the suitcase was the next lead in theearly stages. The date, location, and contents are important in this case.
    Here are the discrepancies.
    1. Policestaged a media event the first week of February to announce the discovery ofthe suitcase in the Park Square Greyhound Bus Station in Boston.
    2. FBIreports indicate the luggage was found on January 29, 1982, location notspecified.
    3. Formerprosecutor Tim Burke published the suitcase was found at the Port Authority inNYC, 190 miles away from Boston, date not specified.
    4. Therecovery was reported to NJ police on or about February 5, 1982.
    5. Therecent response to an FOIA request indicated the bag was found on a muchearlier date. The date was specified, but not the location. These aresignificant discrepancies.

    I followed the leads and facts step by step. This case is solvable.

    If anyone can help me inserting an image, let me know.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by eve carson; 06-28-2017 at 09:21 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Hi, Eve.

    It's taken me three days to read your absorbing piece on the still unsolved murder of Joan Webster. <modsnip>

    Best to you
    Last edited by sillybilly; 09-04-2017 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Discussing private messaging is against TOS.
    Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains, but I will see the end of child labor in my lifetime - Kailash Satyarthi.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Hi Eve, I remember this case. I was out of college and working in Boston. Oddly I even read the The Paradiso Files: On the Trail of Boston's Unknown Serial Killer by Attorney Burke. I do not profess to be the "smartest guy in the room." However, I look at things from a practical, common sense, perspective with a dose of good old Boston "nothing is on the level" cynicism. Would you mind if I asked a few questions? First, was Joan taking a cab back to Harvard from the airport or was she expecting a ride? Was she expecting a classmate to pick her up? Reason I ask is, a "bearded man leaving the airport with Joan" sounds more like someone she was expecting to get a ride from rather than a cabbie. Cabbie's just pull up in a queue, and you exit the terminal and get in one. Next, Joan was "seen talking to someone at a checkout counter?" Do you have anymore details on this? OK, when you are departing at an airport, you are definitely more apt to be going up and asking questions at a counter. When you are returning what would you be inquiring at a checkout counter? You know the cabs are outside, you already arrived? I don't think she was asking about car rentals or lodging? Next, "A clam digger found the purse and wallet along a well-traveled road on Tuesday" Do you know the name of the road? Town? Clam digger? was it near Boston Harbor or a beach north or south of Boston? Next, was anything missing from her suit case? You stated "On January 9, 1982, woman missed her bus at the Park Square Greyhound Bus Station. A man identified as an undercover cop gave her a ride. The incident is documented in NJ police reports." I dont understand the significance of this statement. Eve, I hope you get some resolution to your relative's murder.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thank you for responding. This is a really fascinating case.

    To Mestich. I did receive the email. Mestitch identified someone, if my identification is correct, that had an interest in Joan's case. The individual inserted himself, and there was quite a bit of information recovered.

    First, I want to lay out the course of the investigation. I will discuss other aspects of this case at the proper time. I did not collect information in a particular order, so it has taken time to put things in their proper place and perspective. It will get confusing to get into other areas until the foundation of the case is laid out. The key take away is the fact a witness provided a description to construct a composite, but authorities suppressed the image. That is not the norm when you are looking for a missing person.

    To answer Jgfitzge. Burke announced his book in 2006. That is one of the reasons I began digging into this case in depth. I was raised with good common sense as well. Joan planned to take a cab from Logan to her dorm. She was not expecting anyone to pick her up. Most students did not return until Sunday.

    Here is a personal recollection. Joan was dating a guy who planned to visit her in NJ over Thanksgiving weekend, a meet the parents kind of visit. The visit got cancelled for an unknown reason. Returning on Saturday always seemed a bit odd to me. When Eleanor called on Monday to let us know Joan was missing, she asked if I had the guy's phone number. I happened to know him. I have had contact with him even in recent years.

    None of the guys I knew that Joan dated would have fit the description of a bearded man, and nothing like the composite. Joan could be described as a preppy. Her boyfriends fit the clean cut professional type image. There was no distraction when Joan left the airport. The individual gained her confidence. I believe it will make more sense as you learn more about the case.

    Talking to someone behind a counter was a small piece of information that actually fit into place as I learned more. The lead caught the attention of ITT security that dismissed it. Someone behind a counter would have had to have the credentials to be there. Maybe she was checking the tag on her suitcase, or maybe she was called over to the counter. To me, I look at what happened to the lead. She was seen at the airport with an unidentified bearded man.

    Anthony Belmonte found the purse and wallet on the southbound side of Rte.107, the Lynn Marsh Road, 7 miles north of the airport in Lynn. Cash was missing from the wallet, but her checkbook and credit cards were still in the wallet. There was an item allegedly in her purse that was missing. The item was not known to the public. I will go into greater detail about the item at a later point. I was aware it was missing. To my knowledge, it was never recovered.

    The suitcase was sent to Quantico for testing. The report states the bag was undisturbed. I recovered a complete list of items in the bag. There are public representations that are false.

    The two incidents of women getting a ride stood out to me. One was at Logan where Joan was last seen. The other was at the bus station where the suitcase was allegedly found. The man gained the confidence of women that did not know him. An undercover cop is identified in both situations. The ride from the bus station is in the NJ police reports because a hometown resident knew the woman and thought it might be important. I believe it was. The bag had not surfaced yet bringing the bus station into focus yet. It will make more sense when you see things that happened as the investigation moved forward.

    Great questions and input, keep it coming. I am peeling the last layers of the onion. The case is solvable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The "Break" in the Joan Webster case - 1983

    On January 28, 1983, headlines announced a “break” in Joan’s case. When these articles landed on my kitchen table, it was the first time I learned of Leonard Paradiso. The news reported a confidential source told police Paradiso allegedly confessed to the murder of Marie Iannuzzi and Joan Webster. The source was not named.

    News reports arrived in the mail with great regularity from Eleanor Webster. The press really took off with the story. According to the source, Paradiso confessed he took Joan on his boat at Pier 7 in Boston. When she rejected a pass, he hit her in the head with a whiskey bottle, raped her, then took his boat out and dumped her in Boston Harbor.

    I learned Paradiso was in jail for another murder, Marie Iannuzzi. The two cases were entangled in media reports. There were few facts around the Iannuzzi case at this point. I knew Paradiso was a parolee for an earlier assault conviction. So the perception was this is a bad guy who does bad things and Joan may have been another victim. The explanation was a random act and Joan was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I learned Paradiso was a shellfish fisherman. He attended the same wedding with the 1979 murder victim Marie Iannuzzi. He knew the family because he sold shellfish to their restaurants. He was named as a suspect in the case.

    Reporters quoted ADA Tim Burke, Tr Andrew Palombo, and Sgt Carmen Tammaro in the news accounts. The Websters also made them selves available to the press and were frequently quoted. The intensity of the two cases increased in the media for the next year. Needless to say, it was reasonable for me to trust what I learned from authorities and the family.

    The investigation became sensational. As in any baffling mystery like this, there was a lot of speculation and theories that swirled around. As I dug into this case, the way to unravel it was to follow the documented events, in other words, look at the investigation. Records gave me names, dates, and events to construct a timeline. It helps to look at a case that way and be able to put other information in context.

    This is what I knew in 1983. I did not know the additional facts from year 1. I will be posting what I learned next.

    A slight correction to the last post. The purse and wallet were found along the Lynn Marsh Road in Saugus right at the border with Lynn. There was a 12-alarm fire in Lynn that began burning at 2:30 am the morning of 11-28-1981. Roadblocks on the Lynn Marsh Road detoured traffic so they could not drive into Lynn. The fire burned for 2 weeks. The fire was raging by time Joan landed.
    Last edited by eve carson; 06-30-2017 at 10:05 PM.

  14. #14
    Just reading through all of this, and after your last post, some thoughts:

    Joan reads as a person with a good head on her shoulders. She had a boyfriend (even if things went awry on the holiday meeting planned)....how does a seemingly smart, travelled young woman with a project due, get off a plan and in a boat with a stranger? Coffee shop- maybe, but a boat ride with a stranger when a project is due as soon as you step off a plane?? I would think her first instinct would have been to catch up with sad boyfriend and hammer out the issues. Even if they had had it out, common sense tells me this girl did not throw caution to the wind and go sailing with a stranger upon disembarking.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Elementarywatsonsir View Post
    Just reading through all of this, and after your last post, some thoughts:

    Joan reads as a person with a good head on her shoulders. She had a boyfriend (even if things went awry on the holiday meeting planned)....how does a seemingly smart, travelled young woman with a project due, get off a plan and in a boat with a stranger? Coffee shop- maybe, but a boat ride with a stranger when a project is due as soon as you step off a plane?? I would think her first instinct would have been to catch up with sad boyfriend and hammer out the issues. Even if they had had it out, common sense tells me this girl did not throw caution to the wind and go sailing with a stranger upon disembarking.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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