Sun exclusive: Source says bones found at former family home of missing Chelmsford teen
By Kris Pisarik firstname.lastname@example.org and Sarah Favot email@example.com
Updated: 08/10/2012 11:01:45 AM EDT
Police tape surrounds 54 Gorham St. in Chelmsford Thursday night. Investigators found several bones at the former home of Judith Ann Chartier's family. The 17-year-old disappeared in June 1982. SUN / JULIA MALAKIE
Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site. CHELMSFORD - Investigators removed bones from a residence at 54 Gorham St. Thursday, a home that once belonged to the family of Judith Ann Chartier, a 17year-old whose disappearance in June 1982 has stymied police ever since.
Atwo-day search - which involved two police dogs, local detectives and state police assigned to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone's office - resulted in "several bones" being removed as evidence, a source confirmed.
The bones have been sent to the state police forensics lab to determine whether they are human or animal, the source said.
Neither Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for Leone, nor Chelmsford Police Chief James Murphy would confirm that the investigation is centering on Chartier's disappearance.
Pastore said state-police investigators were at the scene assisting Chelmsford police in an "evidentiary search," but she declined further comment.
"We're conducting a follow- up investigation related to a previously reported incident," Murphy stated in an email response. "It's too early to release any additional information."
Asked specifically whether the probe focused on Chartier's now threedecadesold disappearance, Murphy replied, "If you're asking about Judith Chartier, the only thing I would confirm regarding that is that she was reported missing to our department back on June 5, 1982. The missing-person case remains open." Chartier disappeared after attending a party in Billerica with her fiancé of four
Judith Ann Chartier, circa 1982, at age 17
Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site. months, Roger Balkum, with whom she apparently had an argument, police said at the time. Chartier is believed to have driven Balkum back to his East Chelmsford home, then returned to the party, where police believe she was last seen around 2 a.m.
She was driving a black,1972 Dodge Swinger.
Neither Chartier nor her vehicle have been seen since.
Chartier's disappearance is classified on missing-children's websites as a "nonfamily abduction." At the time, the brownhaired, brown-eyed Chartier lived with her parents, William and Judith R. Chartier, and her seven brothers several houses away at 70 Gorham St.
Thursday evening, 54 Gorham St. was enveloped in yellow police tape, as was a small brick structure at 58 Gorham St.
A computer-generated image shows what Judith Ann Chartier may have looked like at age 45. SUN FILE PHOTO
Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site. Michael McCarthy is the owner of the single-family home at 54 Gorham, according to records with the Chelmsford Board of Assessors. The listed phone number for the home was not in service Thursday evening.
McCarthy purchased the home in 2000 from Stephen M. Chartier and Robin Savard.
Stephen, William and Judith R. Chartier purchased the home in 1994 from Algirdas Jurius, according to records at the Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds. Jurius had owned the home since 1969. William and Judith Chartier have since died.
In a 2007 interview with The Sun, Chartier's father, a retired heavy-equipment operator, said he believed his daughter was dead a long time ago.
"Someone got away with it somehow," the 76-year-old said at his then-Windsor, N.H., home. But "I would like to know whatever happened to her ... so we can live right."
Chartier and his wife, who died in 2003, followed leads everywhere, from Florida to Montreal, he said.
Even psychics were consulted, but that, too, proved fruitless.
"They are all a big hoax," said Chartier.
The case has stumped investigators, who crisscrossed the country, chasing tips and possible leads tying Chartier's disappearance to recently captured serial killers and other criminals. But none proved true.
"Before I retire, I would love to find Judy Chartier, but I don't think it's going to happen," Inspector Ken Duane, Chelmsford's juvenile officer, said in a 2007 interview. "It's been the biggest frustration of my 32 years (as a police officer)."
Duane retired in February 2008.
Around midday on Thursday, several unmarked police cruisers were parked on the property at 54 Gorham St. Personnel dressed in plainclothes were also working at the scene. A road construction crew was also in front of the home, completing work on some curbing at the time police were at the home.
Judy Chartier would have turned 48 years old this Sunday.
Sun Enterprise Editor Christopher Scott contributed to this report. Follow Kris Pisarik on Twitter@kplowellsun.Follow Sarah Favot@sarahfavot.
Copyright 2012 Lowell Sun. All rights reserved.
A two-day search, involving two police dogs, resulted in several bones being removed from 54 Gorham St. in Chelmsford, the former home of Judith Ann Chartier's family. She disappeared in 1982 at age 17. SUN / JULIA MALAKIE
Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.
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