Part XVIII: Brianna Maitland Missing Person

This is a continuation of my discussion with "Bob" about the Brianna Maitland missing person case.


ME: In our discussion last week, you suggested that in the three months prior to Brianna’s disappearance, that much was going on. In this post, what is it that you were able to put together that may provide us with more of an idea of what Brianna was experiencing… and which may help bring more insight…

BOB: Brianna had a lot of friends… in rural NW Vermont I’d say that’s uncommon. There are lots of small towns around, everything requires a long drive. Where Brianna grew up would seem to make that even more unusual. Eventually grew up to the point where having time for her friends would force a hard choice on her.

That time came when she turned 17, in October 2003.

Her parents loved nature… they bought a camp during the 1980’s located in the middle of the woods, at the end of a long dirt road that went past cornfields, swamps and vast forested area, in East Franklin, VT. They were very near the border to Canada, and if by chance they needed to call the police, it was often the US Border Patrol that came, not the VT State Police. They build onto the camp over the years and it became a very comfortable, energy independent home.

Things were peaceful, and they raised two children there, Brianna and her brother.

Christmas 2003 seemed to be the time at which Brianna decided she’d had enough of living so far away from everyone else… she really didn’t like the High School she attended, especially since it seemed to her all her friends attended another High School. So she discussed it with her parents, and although not keen to the idea of her moving out, they accepted it.

She initially stayed with her then current boyfriend, though that didn’t last long… after Brianna disappeared a note in her effects seemed to indicate that he had a drinking problem, which she had urged him to control.

Shortly after that, I believe she was living with James, the James from the previous post. James lived with his father, at a very nice home in Montgomery, ironically, not far from the Dutchburn place. James was someone Brianna knew growing up – one of the locals and apparently a popular guy himself.

Brianna’s primary goal at the time wasn’t guys per se… it was school, and her friends in general. The primary reason she moved away from home was to get closer into town where she could attend the same HS her friends attended.

Unfortunately, although she did this, the unexpected happened. A small group of her friends apparently at the HS didn’t like the idea Brianna was there… but why?

The reason it turns out seems to be plain, old teenage envy and jealousy. Brianna had grown up to be a young, very attractive woman. During one of my conversations with a best friend of hers, I said something like, “why would Brianna attract so much attention?”

Her friend replied – “You need to understand, there really weren’t that many women as attractive as Brianna is in that part of Vermont. When Brianna entered a room, heads turned and stared”. This friend and Brianna also experimented with modeling, taking pictures of each other dressed up. Nothing “professional” came of it – they did it for fun.

The story with regards to her new HS was… she was with her friends, but they weren’t happy and several made her life difficult. Those “friends” turned on her, and reportedly, told the school office, the principal, that Brianna “…lived out of the District”, and reportedly, the story I heard was she was told to leave”.

I spoke with a school principal in the area and he told me – VT has no residency requirement. She wouldn’t have been expelled. She must had had enough of the bullying and decided to quit school on her own.

She enrolled at a local community college that offered a GED. She also got a job as a waitress in one of the towns - not the Black Lantern.

Things apparently didn’t last between her and James and in February 2004 she moved out from there, and in with a childhood girlfriend, Jillian, who also lived with her father. That seems to have been a positive step for Brianna… as Jillian and her father were both living a stable lifestyle, were not naive when it came to problems in the area such as hard-drugs and other vices.

According to Jillian, Brianna was a little wild, but not that bad, and they all got along well. So she and her father were a bit surprised one day, when Brianna introduced a new friend to them… a 26 year old guy named, Nathanial Low Jackson, who wasn’t a local. I researched this man at the time and found out he had a criminal record from NC.* He was also friends with other’s in the area that had moved up from NYC.

Brianna got the job at the Black Lantern restaurant 5 weeks before she vanished… a move that brought her close again to James. That figures in with the party I last wrote about.

Until then she was far distant from the Montgomery area… though I’m sure that wouldn’t stop her from going there… it’s just she didn’t have much money and as is evident from having a second job at the Black Lantern.


More from Bob next week, and thanks again for his willingness to share information.

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

*Correction added by editor.


J. J. in Phila said...

Could there have been a financial reason for not staying in school?

Either Ms. Maitland would have to be very emotionally fragile or very strongly bullied to account for dropping out.

Bob said...

No residency requirement would mean the state would pay... but that's a good question. I think she was "strongly bullied" and maybe felt threatened, from the accounts I heard. Her feelings would have been hurt a lot too from being rejected by people she thought were her friends. Also, I believe it'd be more costly to enroll in a GED program at the community college. I think having just moved away from home she probably was at her most fragile and vulnerable period in life. From what I learned she wasn't considered a "fragile" type of person.

J. J. in Phila said...

Was she working when she was enrolled in high school?

She, either physically or emotionally does not sound "fragile."

Bob said...

To be honest, I'm not sure 'now' when she got her first job... it was 4 -5 years ago, and I'm forgetting things I once knew. I remember her getting a job when she moved out.

Your question stopped to make me think! It reminds me of how frustrating it all was... trying to remember everything I could; it's not something I'd ever done before helping like this... Imagine, me, the phone calls to her friends, pen in hand, pad of paper, scribbling down notes fast as I can and trying to 'listen' too.

Brianna was strong in some ways and weak in others. Scotched taped to the visor of her car was a picture of Angelina Jolie.

J. J. in Phila said...

I'm glad I've still able to ask good questions. :)

It just sounds strange, to me, that someone as independent as she sounded would drop out just because she was bullied.

I do understand you situation, quite well. :) I'm not a journalist or in law enforcement.

Bob said...

Thanks J.J.

I can say many parts of what I learned 5 years ago I still remember clearly, others I am forgetting, and some weren't as relevant or seemingly important to remember.

I too was very puzzled about why Brianna would leave school... I think Brianna just realized - was strong enough to realize, which the "gang" of ex-friends hassling her she couldn't learn or enjoy school like she had hoped. The thing that also puzzled me was the very short span of time in which all this happened - 3 months!!!