Part XIIII: Brianna Maitland Missing Person

This is post fourteen of 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.

In the last several case posts, I discussed two theories that could explain Brianna’s disappearance and how three key pieces of information either support or detract from each scenario. Today, I’ll explore a third possibility.

Scenario #3: Brianna Maitland was a crime victim and the incident occurred on the Dutchburn property where her car was recovered.

Let me organize the relevant facts related to the first two pieces of evidence:

1) Compact timeframe: Could Brianna have decided to stop at the property for some reason (e.g. she was signaled to by an acquaintance, had made a pre-arranged plan to meet someone there, etc.)?

--Brianna left her job between 11:30 pm and Midnight on the night she disappeared.

--Her vehicle was noticed earlier the next morning by a state police officer.

--The abandoned farmhouse is about a mile from work—easily reached along a highway in minutes.

My Response
Absolutely, anyone familiar with where the victim lived and knew the location of her employer, would have also known that the Dutchburn property would be a convenient and private quick stop between work and her residence.

2) Location of the car: Did Brianna’s car accidentally crash into the home?

--Brianna’s car was found backed into an old building on the property.

--The car and house were clearly visible from the highway.

--Initially, the police officer assumed that the scene involved a drunk driver who had left the vehicle at the scene.

Note: Despite criticism of the officer’s actions on that morning, I believe his actions were reasonable that morning as argued here.

--The crash was at a low speed, and not consistent with someone losing control of the vehicle from the road.

My Response
Yes, I believe that there is a good possibility that Brianna’ s car accidentally struck the farmhouse. Here are two possibilities. First, Brianna and one or more people are involved in a struggle in or near her car. During the altercation, the car is inadvertently backed or rolls freely into the farmhouse.

Second, the victim is taken by force from her vehicle and in haste to have the car moved quickly, someone not used to driving the old car, doesn’t fit well in the driver’s seat adjusted for a petite person, or is under the influence of an intoxicant--when he/she loses control of the car while trying to hide it behind the abandon building.

Finally, this theory is strongly supported by the third piece of evidence—Brianna’s broken necklace. The item was noticed by the police lying on the ground next to her vehicle. I’m not sure how else this damaged necklace would be recovered on the property other than an unlikely scenario where the item stuck to the person who left the car there and was just fell off.

My best guess:
Brianna leaves work and is driving home when she stops at the Dutchburn place either as a pre-arranged meeting place or responding to another familiar face. Brianna turns into the property with her vehicle’s rear bumper parallel to the road.

She exits her vehicle, leaves it running, and sits inside the other vehicle to escape the cold and slight snow falling. Another vehicle pulls to the location, additional people approach Brianna and the acquaintance, and she exits the second car.

Brianna makes a run for her car, jumps into the driver seat and is grabbed as she attempts to shift the automatic into drive. The shifter stops at reverse, the car rolls backward, and Brianna is forcibly removed from the car—the steering wheel turns as she loses grip on it.

Brianna’s Buick continues to roll backward at a very slow speed until striking the farmhouse and stopping. Brianna is restrained by someone larger than her, and her necklace is broken while she is being placed into a second vehicle.

I don’t believe that police released whether Brianna’s Buick headlights were on or whether her driver’s door was open when first seen by the patrolling officer. If the headlights were left on and the door open, the suspects would have simply turned them off (likely removing the keys first) and shut the door before leaving the scene.

Certainly, all of this is simply a theory. I do believe that this scenario is strongly supported by the three key pieces of evidence that have been released to the public—the compact timeline, the car’s location, and the broken necklace.

I do have more to discuss concerning Scenario #3, and in the next post I’ll discuss potential reasons for the lack of evidence of a struggle at the scene.

Previous posts in this series can be accessed by clicking the keyword “Brianna Maitland” on the left margin of the home page.


J. J. in Phila said...

Good post. The theory looks to be consistent with the evidence.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Slam! Once again...
You do have a way of describing Brianna's story/disappearance in a clear and concise way; in layman terms... concise.

I will write to you - I helped in the search for Brianna's car keys and got to know her family well.

From what I learned, a motorist passed by the Dutchburn place around 12:30, the officer arrived around 1:30.

The motorist reported headlights on, the officer as far as I know, didn't. It was discussed on Brianna's forum... by the time the officer arrived his report didn't suggest activity , headlights, etc. It was also determined that her car's headlights would have remained on w/o the keys in the ignition.

Clearly, the question you raise is, who would she trust enough, or be fearful enough of to stop at that creepy place, when by nature up there in that part of VT, you do trust your neighbor. But you also live by your wits... it's rural...

Brianna had filed assault charges against a friend(s), related to a well published brawl, a few weeks earlier. In a rural area - it takes a lot in my opinion to file charges against a friend for assault and battery... police have questioned those involved, and that's about that - 5 years later.

You know, honestly, Briana consumed an occasional drink, she liked pot, and she liked Anne Rice novels. She was a hard working, spirited, friendly person who had dreams and aspirations. She had no reason to runaway from her life, for those who still think she may have. Her parents and friends convinced me of that.

I really do appreciate the time you take keeping Brianna in the public forum, Slam.


Anonymous said...

Hi Slam...

Appreciate all your work here... but I want to put you on the spot:

Millions of people like using marijuana, millions drink underage... none of these people deserve to suffer at another person's hands. Both can be abused, both can be used responsibly.

My challenge is this:

There is currently no grayscale when it comes to using pot, compared to an extreme such as being addicted to crack or heroin... But given the current zero tolerance attitude that makes alcohol and tobacco use as being economically indispensible, and use of pot or harder drugs as being unacceptable, and against the law, this creates the potential for a subculture where there are "codes of honor" only.

Did Brianna not violate that "code of honor" filing assault charges against a friend... something that would have tortured her in doing so. But the fact is she did file those charges. And 3 weeks later she disappeared. This subculture also makes it possible to see something one shouldn't see... and filing an assault charge against someone in the "group", could be interpreted, or misunderstood as, being a threat...

I have been in harm's way myself a couple of times, and been lucky... others aren't so lucky...

Why do we not examine the simple truth first and rule it out. The simple truth being... at 17 Brianna did what she thought was the right thing to do... but she "violated the code"... and that led to where she is now.

The facts of life are simple... it doesn't take much to make a mistake... whatever happened to Brianna, I believe she was a victim... and she didn't deserve what happened to her.


Slamdunk said...


Thanks for the additional info on the headlights and arrival times.

I don't think I can answer your question other than saying "yes: reporting someone to authorities among some deviant subcultures can get cause a person to disappear."

Many times these subcultures are comprised of persons who talk freely for money (why Crimestoppers programs work) in that they will tell on other criminals in an instant. One argument working against such a certainly plausible thought is that no one has apparently provided police with relevant info about Brianna.

It certianly does not mean that it did not happen that way--it just lowers the odds.

Anonymous said...

Many of these subcultures I would say are not deviant... I drank beer out of kegs at 16... my sister was doing pot and acid at 14... as much as the law seeks to make this not so, it's like not having sex under the age of 18 - it's simply not going to happen.

That's reality.

The fact no one is talking means the price to talk is higher than the benefits... that seems to reduce the number of people who know what happened. If she had died of a drug overdose, don't you think someone would have talked by now for the reward money? The hardcore druggies she had brief contact with would have talked... so no, I think only one or two people know what happened. They for some reason may think they've pulled off a perfect crime. The fact they tried so much to make her disappear tells me they knew her. The fact the "accident scene" was so messy with objects lying around... they were in a hurry. They knew the area, knew how much time they might have... any subculture is important, but this isn't about a subculture where "drop a dime" is of any use. This is simply about revenge... no one else in the subculture has disappeared... just Brianna. It was personal in my opinion.


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