MA MA - Granby, WhtFem 720UFMA, 19-26, shallow grave off Route 116, Nov'78

Discussion in 'The Unidentified' started by hmg, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. hmg

    hmg New Member

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    Okay sleuthers here's a newer case off the Doe Network that hits close to home for me-- 720UFMA. I've combed through the databases and I'm not finding anyone who seems to be a likely match. Perhaps you can help? I realize the lack of a forensic sketch will make things tough but here's what I know about the case.

    -The victim was found on November 15, 1978, 1/2 mile from a heavily trafficked road in a rural area of western Massachusetts (Route 116 in Granby between South Hadley and Amherst). This road has a lot of traffic but almost all the traffic is local/ from the four nearby colleges. The nearest highway would be I-91 in Holyoke or Northampton, both about 20 minutes away. The area does have a mountain hiking trail so area hikers would also know the area.

    -She was probably between 19 and 26. At the time of the murder the road often had female hitchhikers from Mount Holyoke College but no one was reported missing from any of the colleges.

    -She had been shot in the head once.

    -She was dragged from the road to the woods by a brown leather strap/ belt around her neck.

    -She had long blonde or light brown hair

    -Heavier build, size 14 to 16

    -Noticeable tooth decay

    -She was most likely killed sometime between November 1977 and August 1978.

    -She was buried underneath a log. Twenty years after her death, the small town she was found in raised funds to erect a stone in the UID's honor.
     
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  3. MaedchenX

    MaedchenX It's business time.

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    Too bad there is no information about the victim's height or projected weight. One observation I had is that a 14/16 of 1978 would likely be smaller than the same size today thanks to expanding waistlines and vanity sizing.

    With that in mind what about;

    Simone Stephanie Ridinger
    (http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1255dfma.html)

    Missing since September 2, 1977 from Sherborn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. (date if 2 months off from the projection, and as a local I know this is far from Granby, but circumstances indicate she was last seen hitchhiking)
    Classification: Missing



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Vital Statistics

    Date Of Birth: January 5, 1960
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 17 years old
    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 5'2"; 120 lbs. (I would not consider this to be a heavy build, although in photos Simone appears fuller than one might expect)
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Brown eyes; dirty blonde hair. She wore her hair very long at the time of her disappearance.
    Other: Ridinger frequently wore a large amount of jewelry, rings on every finger, etc.
    Dentals: Available


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Ridinger was last seen on September 2, 1977, as she left her job at a Natick cafe to hitchhike from Sherborn to Cape Cod, MA. Possibly dropped off at Hyannis rotary near airport.


    I have yet to come across a more likely possibility. I wonder how firm they are as to date of death, age, etc? Keep looking I suppose...
     
  4. hmg

    hmg New Member

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    I had my eye on Simone Stephanie Ridinger as well but I also thought she seemed a little thin. The prominent thing LE has emphasized about this victim is that she was on the heavier side. She definitely is the right age, hair color, etc. You're right, Sherborn and Cape Cod are on the other side of the state but who knows what could have happened? I think I will e-mail LE to check if there's been any rule outs.

    Another thought that occurred to me is that this girl could have been visiting a student or taking part in a student event. At the time, and even now, it is common for students to come into the Five College area from out of state. A few years ago a young man from a college in Boston was visiting a Mount Holyoke student and killed himself in the same area where the UID was found. I would think the parents or a fellow student of the victim would have said, "Oh yeah I heard X was going to Amherst for the weekend" and two and two would be put together but who knows? I know sometimes when I was in college I would go places without telling anyone (not safe, I know that now). I do think LE has done a lot to compare this victim to known missing person's in the immediate area.
     
  5. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Unless someone else is hot to do this, I think I will call LE on Monday and see if we can get pictures of her clothing posted and whether or not jewelry or fractures etc were found with her body....any thoughts about this?? I wonder how long is long for her hair as well...waist, mid back??

    I like Simone based on simple description as well-should I ask LE if she has been ruled out??
     
  6. hmg

    hmg New Member

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    Believe, I tried e-mailing the Chief, got a bounceback, and have not had time to call. It would be great if you could talk to him and see what he has to say.

    I'm wondering if they have some new information about this case since it is just hitting the databases now?
     
  7. Danaya

    Danaya New Member

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    Noticeable tooth decay makes me think of drugs, would a young lady from a "normal" background have noticeable tooth decay?
     
  8. hmg

    hmg New Member

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    I was wondering the same thing actually. It's certainly possible she was a runaway, drug user, or prostitute and that is why she is not listed in any of the databases.
     
  9. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    I will call Monday and see if the Chief is around...
     
  10. tatertot

    tatertot Member

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    I'm confused. Does LE think she was dragged the entire half mile from the road by the belt? That would indicate her killer was fairly strong.
     
  11. hmg

    hmg New Member

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    I have not spoken directly with LE so Believe may be able to tell us more tomorrow but from other sources it seems they believe she was dragged 1/8 mile from Amherst St to her burial spot. Here's the tricky part: Doe Network says Amherst Rd which is Route 116 itself. Amherst Street is a side street which would be a .5 mile from Route 116. I can say with fair certainty that they mean Amherst Street. Here's a map:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sou....292453,-72.536159&spn=0.015143,0.037937&z=15

    I read in one source that this may have been because the victim was too heavy to carry.
     
  12. kpdx

    kpdx Jane Doe was discovered Aug. 14, 1977 outside of E

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  13. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Wow. What a story. There must be some pretty compelling evidence that Grace and Gracie are deceased. Wonder if an MtDNA sample was taken from the surviving son.
     
  14. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Given the height/weight/frame charts from the 70's, Simone actually falls almost into the overweight category, especially if she had a small frame. http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm
    Here are the Met Life tables which were used back then. It is possible that this would push her into size 14/16 clothing...not trying to make a case for her-just trying to see if it was possible....
     
  15. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Nice, nice man. He said that there are some roadblocks in this case that will prove challenging to comparing the UID with others.
    • The case file is extremely thin-there was not much done at the time to uncover who this woman was.
    • The remains were very deteriorated and it was turned over to the state police up until about 10 years ago.
    • There is a photo in the file that shows a hawaiian style shirt or a blouse with a flamingo on it.
    • A psychic contacted Granby 10 years ago indicating the round could be found at the scene but a search turned up nothing.
    • The file is archived and the archives require hazmat gear to attempt to locate the record.
    What I asked and learned:
    • I asked how far the UID was dragged and if it required great strength. He indicated that the UID was buried virtually next to Amherst St and was dragged no great distance whatsoever.
    • I asked if there was jewelry found at the scene and if the photo of the clothing could be posted-he indicated that a search of the archives would pose a challenge but he would consider it.
    I told him I would send him an email with links-I also lm for the detective working Simone's case to see if she had dental decay.
     
  16. hmg

    hmg New Member

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    Gee, they don't make things easy do they in terms of the archiving? Thanks so much Believe. I do have to say, I'm a little surprised that the police didn't do more to identify her. Back in 1998 the people of Granby raised money to give the UID a proper stone in the local cemetery and even had a symbolic "burial" ceremony for her. I would think all the publicity in a small town would make this a big priority but I'm guessing they just don't have the tools to sink into this as much as possible and the lack of interest early on hurt the case.

    Also, we're clear now that the location was Amherst Street, correct? Is there any way we can get the Doe Network to correct the mistake? Is it even that relevant? They do intersect each other around the point UID was found.
     
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  17. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    It is my distinct impression that resources were an issue here for sure. Notice that the psychic tip likely came around the time of the burial...

    I sent an email to the Chief and requested he review the doenetwork listing for accuracy. They called him to ask if they could list it, so he has the contact info to get it corrected. The location FOR SURE was Amherst ST and he believes that she was not dragged far at all. I thought the photo of the shirt had some possibilities if the record can be located.
     
  18. Danaya

    Danaya New Member

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    Would you ask the detective if he's looked at Simone Stephanie Ridinger who somebody has posted as a possible match? Her weight says 120 but in the picture she looks chunky, I know relatives often miscalculate the weight. Her hair is also very long and was last seen hitchhiking in Massachusettes. It's definately worth looking into if he hasn't already. She was known to wear a lot of rings.

    There are no other missing females on doenetwork other than Ms.Ridinger who dissapeared in that time frame from Massachusettes so if she doesn't pan out we have to start looking at other states which could be extremely lengthy but worth a shot.
     
  19. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Absolutely-I am waiting for Ms. Ridinger's detective to call me back. I am heartened that the Doe Network says Ms. Ridinger has dentals on file because any decay would be well documented I hope...depending on the age of the XRAYS vs Ms. Ridinger's age when she went missing.
     
  20. believe09

    believe09 Active Member

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    Pondering the dragging part and the brown leather....what if it was a strap not a belt?? I am trying to think of something like a UPS driver, or moving man would use to help carry boxes or whatever....would love to see a picture of that too.
     
  21. MaedchenX

    MaedchenX It's business time.

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    Great work everyone, I am really impressed with all the effort put forth to get more information (and pleasantly surprised at the response).

    I live in this part of the state and often hike in the area very near to the spot where this young woman was found. The following are some general impressions of the area;

    -It is very near to the Mount Holyoke Range, a state park.
    -Though the victim was found in Granby, this is an area where the towns of Amherst and South Hadley (and a sliver of Granby) meet.
    -The area is both rural and residential, with a number of houses with frontage on this part of 116/Amherst road.
    -If traveling from Amherst south one passes through South Hadley and on to the cities of Holyoke and Springfield with options to get on to the major highways.
    -And finally, the Five College area of Amherst, Northampton, and South Hadley is rather notorious for drug consumption relating to the number of students. There is reference to this is in the movie Blow. I have heard that drugs are run North and South along routes 116 and 47, though I have no idea whether this might have been similar to the situation in the 70s.

    Hopefully there will be more information coming out soon.
     

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