Unsolved no more…
The words written by the daughter of a Maine murder victim resonated with me. I suspect that many volunteers involved in the cold case of Theresa Allore share Myava Escamilla’s feelings. (See text I’ve placed in blue below.)
Congratulations to the Portland Police Department for getting a grand jury indictment in this 22-year-old cold case. Thank you to Myava for giving a voice to “this community affected by violence”.
New Hampshire man charged with 1986 murder
July 17, 2008
The last man to see Mary Kelley alive in 1986 has been charged with her murder. Roger R. Bernier, who was living in Manchester at the time of the arrest on Friday,
July 11, was scheduled to be charge with Kelley's death on Wednesday, July 16 in
Kelley, who lived in Boothbay Harbor with her mother, Hazel Kelley, now deceased, and her daughter, Myava Escamilla, was found strangled in her Portland apartment in 1986. Kelley commuted to Portland during the week to work as a veterinarian's assistant and came home to Boothbay Harbor on the weekends.
In 2005, Escamilla, who graduated from Boothbay Region High School in 1995, returned to Maine from her home in California to offer a $5,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction in her mother's unsolved murder. The reward, offered through the Carol Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation, expired after six months after no information came forward.
Escamilla, who was seven at the time of her mother's murder, learned of Friday's arrest over the weekend, according to family friend, Chip Griffin. According to a Portland Press Herald report on the arrest, on Monday, she sent a bouquet of white roses to the lead Portland detective on the case, Karl Rybeck.
In an e-mail correspondence with Escamilla Tuesday night, she had this to say: "I am blessed and grateful for the recent grand jury indictment and arrest of Roger Bernier, who murdered my mother Mary Kelley over 22 years ago. I am incredibly grateful to the work of the Portland Police Dept., especially Detectives Karl Rybeck, Joe Fagone and Mark Gibbons and Evidence Technician John Halpin and the Carol Sund Carrington Foundation. I have seen many detectives come and go on this case, and if it were not for the efforts of Detective Rybeck and his team, I do not believe this event would have happened.
"I do not know what will happen from this point, but I hope that the District Attorney will proceed to trial on murder charges and not accept a plea bargain. However, most importantly, I will have the opportunity to look Mr. Bernier in his face and tell him, the judge and/or jury the effects that violence has on a person, a family and a community. I stand not only for myself, but for my mother herself, and for my grandmother who did not have the opportunity to see this come to a conclusion.
For all those who still hold out for justice for their loved ones, especially those living with cold cases, please consider this a victory for you too. Just as your loss is our loss, this victory is yours, too. I dedicate this to you and extend my support. Once one enters this community affected by violence, one does not leave and I shall not forget you, your loved ones or your continued struggle as mine comes to an end.
"The only other comment that I can think to include at this time is regarding the references in various media to Mom's alleged substance abuse and/or mental health issues. This is untrue and irrelevant. It clouds the issue -- that she was taking a bath in her own home and was brutally murdered.
"Unfortunately, when violent crimes occur sometimes we tend to look to characteristics of the victim which may differentiate and distinguish us -- somehow making "us" safer in the juxtaposition. This re-victimizes the victim and the family. In addition, this creates a false sense of security in that violence sadly affects all groups of mainstream folks going about the daily business of their lives, including children, the elderly, even a woman taking a bath in her own apartment."
You can read more about Roger Bernier here: