March 19, 2015
Maitland Missing 11 Years; VSP Investigation Continues - Northeast Kingdom
Jennifer Hersey Cleveland
MONTGOMERY - Eleven years ago, 17-year-old Brianna Maitland of Sheldon failed to return home after work as a dishwasher at the Black Lantern Inn. She has not been seen since.
While family and friends plead for tips on Facebook pages and web sites dedicated to the disappearances of both Maitland and Maura Murray, police continue to investigate 11 years later.
Maitland, if alive as hoped, turned 28 years old in October.
"Investigators continue to investigate active leads in this case and believe there is a strong indication that Brianna was, in fact, a victim of foul play," the state police wrote in a press release.
Maitland, the daughter of Bruce and Kellie Maitland, was not formally reported missing until March 23 when her friends asked if she'd moved back home.
Police did not alert her parents that her car, a 1985 Oldsmobile sedan, had been found March 20 partially obscured in an abandoned building off the East Berkshire Road - about a mile from her workplace - until about a week later.
"There is no evidence at this time to indicate that Brianna willingly left the area," according to the state police press release.
But initially, police treated the case as one of a runaway or as a drug-related situation.
Despite perceived similarities between the disappearances of Maitland and Murray, a University of Massachusetts-Amherst student who was 21 years old when she disappeared after a one-car minor accident on Route 112 in Haverhill, N.H., March 9, 2004, the police have ruled out a connection. Murray still has not been found.
"The Vermont State Police, along with the Maitland family, cannot overemphasize the importance of anyone coming forward with information."
The Maitland family continues to offer a $20, 000 reward for information. This reward includes $10, 000 for anyone who can identify the exact location of Brianna and $10, 000 for anyone with information leading to the arrest of those responsible for her disappearance.
"The state police remain optimistic that new information will lead to a resolution in this case," the release states. The Vermont State Police is offering a reward of up to $5, 000 for information leading to the resolution of this case or information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
In 2009, Kellie Maitland, who shopped with Brianna earlier in the day she went missing, said her daughter was doing really well before she disappeared. She had recently passed her GED with flying colors, and worked at KJ's Diner in St. Albans as well as at the Black Lantern.
When Brianna's Oldsmobile was found, the keys were not inside. Her two paychecks were on the front seat untouched, and her ATM card, medication, makeup, clothes and contact lenses were still at her friend's house.
When she went missing 11 years ago, Brianna was 5-feet, 4- inches tall, weighing 105 pounds. She has hazel eyes and medium length brown hair. She also has a faint scar in her left eyebrow.
The Vermont State Police offers rewards on specific major cases with an emphasis on unsolved homicides and missing persons where foul play is suspected.
Det. Sgt. Mike Aamodt of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now the lead investigator in Maitland's disappearance.
Those with information should call the state police at (802) 524-5993; the tip line at (802) 241-5355; submit an anonymous tip at vtips.info; or text a tip to "CRIMES" or 274637 with the keyword "VTIPS."
Anyone with information about Murray should contact New Hampshire State Police at (603) 271-3636.