Part VI: Brianna Maitland Missing Person

This is the sixth post in my series on the Brianna Maitland missing person case. Maitland was last seen around 11:30 pm on March 19, 2004, after she had completed her shift at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vermont. She left the restaurant in a 1985 Oldsmobile, which was later found abandoned on the property of an old vacant farm--about one mile from the restaurant. The vehicle appeared to have been involved in a traffic collision.

Last week, the topic of discussion was the Dutchburn House—the abandoned farmhouse where Brianna’s car was recovered. As was mentioned, fourteen years prior to the missing person incident, two elderly brothers who lived in the home were severely beaten by intruder. Unfortunately, the location continued to be the setting of police investigations with the Maitland case.

The scene involving Brianna’s car looked and was treated as a hit-and-run traffic collision. As a result, the missing person investigation was delayed.

What else hampered the investigation initially? Here are several factors:

• Brianna was not your typical 17 year old girl. She had dropped out of the public school—reportedly offering the excuse that she wanted to transfer to another local high school.

• She had run away from home previously and was described as “strong willed” and “independent.”

• Though still a juvenile, she had moved out of her parent’s home. At the time of her disappearance, she had been staying at a friend’s house.

• Reportedly, she had developed sets of new friends prior to her disappearance. Some of these new people in Brianna’s life were allegedly of the criminal element, and this concerned the people who cared about her.

• At a least initially, authorities believed that Brianna had been involved in local drug activity. The extent of the involvement (simply youth experimentation or more) and the reliability of the people who provided this information were hotly contested by family and friends.

During a news conference on the case, one investigator stated that Brianna owed money to someone who was related to local narcotic distribution. This accusation infuriated the family, and when authorities were pressed for more information, the statement was retracted by police.

In considering all of the factors listed above about the missing woman, combined with a disappearance scene that appeared to be staged, authorities felt the strongest explanation for this mystery was: Brianna Maitland voluntarily left rural Vermont.

In contrast, as more details of the case became known, the voluntary disappearance scenario became less and less plausible.

I’ll continue next week with what details seemed to change the minds of investigators.

Previous posts on this case are here:

Post I, Post II, Post III, Post IV, and Post V.


J. J. in Phila said...

I will be interested in your followup.

As you know, I follow another missing person's case. I recently posted a blog about how my first impressions were completely wrong. :)

(Not mention my second impression, third impression ....)