This is the tenth 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.
After last week’s detour to discuss potential witness sightings, I want to finish sharing crime reporter H.P. Alabarelli Jr’s article. Brianna’s family, frustrated by the pace of the investigation and eager to uncover new information, agreed to have private detective Greg Overacker take a look at the case. Overacker had been following Brianna’s disappearance as an interested party and had offered his services to the family for only travel costs.
Reportedly, here is what the private detective learned—and once again we see the name Ramon Ryans:
…he (Overacker) made a trip to Vermont and spent nearly a week interviewing people in Richford, Montgomery, Enosburg, St. Albans and Burlington.The pair were able to locate a copy of the affidavit that was signed by a Burlington (VT) police officer. The document was based on a conversation with a woman named Debbie Gorton who stated that Maitland had been killed and her body disposed of shortly after her disappearance.
"Two days into my meetings with various people," Overacker said, "I knew and understood how deep and convoluted this case was going to be. It seemed that lots of people were involved in aspects of the case and that there was somewhat of a conspiracy of silence about certain events."
One of those events that kept repeatedly coming out in his interviews concerned a late-night party in Richford the night Brianna disappeared.
Overacker said, "The party report which kept coming up had Brianna in attendance and had something horrible happening to her at the party. Some people claimed she was killed at the party, others said she over-dosed, others said she was deliberately over-dosed."
Several reports that Overacker heard had Brianna's body disposed of "on a farm somewhere in Franklin County."
Said Overacker: "The reports for the most part were very gruesome. When I was able to sit down with (an independent journalist) and compare notes, I knew there had to be a strong element of truth to the reports. I spent a few days with (him) in Richford, and we met with more people all over the county and then I was really convinced, but still things were cloudy in some ways."
Things remained somewhat cloudy until Overacker called a couple in Enosburg last month to confirm a few basic facts about Brianna. The couple, who requested anonymity, told Overacker about a possible statement that had been given to Burlington police "months ago" concerning Brianna's alleged murder...
The affidavit was produced shortly after the officer assisted the Colchester Police in March 2006 "with an investigation that (led) them" to a home occupied by Debbie Gorton and her three children.The information from Gorton was new for the public, but was something that authorities had evidently been exploring for some time. Police stated that they have been unable to corroborate the claims made in the affidavit—and the cause of Brianna’s disappearance continues to remain a mystery.
The investigation, according to the affidavit, led to one of Gorton's sons being arrested. While police were in the process of arresting her son, reads the affidavit, Gorton "became outraged and began shouting at the officers that she would not testify against her sister, Ellen Ducharme, in the upcoming Ligia Collins murder trial, if police took her son."
The affidavit continues: "In a fit of rage, [Gorton] also shouted some things about Brianna Maitland, the subject of a high profile missing persons case in Vermont. After the police left the residence, I asked to speak to Debbie in private, and she agreed ... I digitally recorded our conversation."
Gorton then told the officer "that as a parent, she would want Brianna's body found, but insisted that no one would find it. [She] said she received all of her information about Brianna from her sister, Ellen Ducharme, who is currently incarcerated.
Ellen allegedly told Debbie that Moses Robar, Timothy Crews, and Ramon Ryans killed Brianna. She said they took Brianna's body to a farm and cut her up into pieces. They transported her body in a truck to the farm.
Debbie said this happened about one week after Brianna went missing. She said that Brianna's body was in Ellen's basement at one point, according to Ellen.
Ellen told Debbie that Ramon was the person who killed Brianna. Debbie then commented that she never told Detective Burke about Brianna because Ellen told her about Brianna after Detective Burke interviewed her.
Debbie further commented that this was the first time she had spoken to a police officer about what she knew of Brianna. She was not sure if Ellen disclosed this information to police."
The two-page affidavit concludes: "Ellen knew Ramon through Ligia Collins because Ramon supplied Ligia with drugs and was also her boyfriend. Debbie said that Ellen told her the information about Brianna after Detective Burke questioned Debbie about the deaths of [name withheld] and Ligia Collins. Debbie said Ellen was present when Brianna was killed and witnessed her killing.
Debbie speculated that was why Moses Robar killed himself. Debbie swore to the truthfulness of her statement."
I have at least one more post on this case—concluding with my final thoughts.-
All previous entries in this series are now available on the left column of the homepage under “Brianna Maitland.”