BETHANY SINCLAIR - 15 yo (2001) - Chesterfield (E of Brattleboro VT) NH

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BETHANY SINCLAIR - 15 yo (2001) - Chesterfield (E of Brattleboro VT) NH

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:09 pm

A decade has passed since Tina M. Sinclair and her 15-year-old daughter Bethany
vanished from their Chesterfield home.

They were last seen Feb. 3, 2001; their bodies were never found. Although
the Sinclairs are officially listed as missing persons, investigators
have said they are treating the disappearances as unsolved homicides.

For most of their family, hope of finding the Sinclairs alive has faded.

Instead, they wish that one day they’ll be able to bury the mother and daughter
and, if they were murdered, that justice will be served.

And while they wait, family and friends of Tina and Bethany Sinclair
treasure memories of a vivacious woman who dreamed of being a beautician
and nurse and a shy teen with shining brown eyes who was just beginning
to find her place in the world.

The early years

Tina Sinclair was the third of Mary E. Lewis’ four children.
Lewis, now 70, remembers the family’s home in Brattleboro as a bustling place.

With each of her children — Karen, Sharon, Tina and Wayne — about three years apart, the siblings spent a lot of time together.

“We argued over stupid stuff like shoes and clothes and makeup but we were really close,” Sharon L. Garry said of her sister.

Sinclair told her older sisters she planned to go to cosmetology school and work
at a salon to put herself through nursing school, Garry said.

On Oct. 15, 1985, a little more than a month before Sinclair’s 19th
birthday, she had Bethany with her then-boyfriend Jeffrey K. Deuso.

Deuso, who now lives in St. Albans, Vt., remembers rocking his infant daughter to sleep.

“I worked the second shift so I’d pull in about 11 (p.m.) or so and every
time she’d wake up, she’d hear me or see the lights or something,” he
said. “I’d pull her out of the crib and sit with her until she fell back
asleep and then put her to bed.”

Sinclair’s then-teenage brother, Wayne W. Smith of Brattleboro, was a frequent fixture at her home when Bethany was young.

It was the start of a special bond between Smith and Bethany, he said.

“Bethany was just such a quiet, gentle sweetheart that whenever I got around her
... she was glued to me,” Smith said. “She made me feel special as her
uncle because when she would look up at me and she would talk to me her
eyes would be really bright and she would want to hear the things that I
had to say.”

A photo album of Sinclair and Bethany on his living room table now reminds him of happier times with his sister.

One image, which Sinclair took of Smith after he jumped into a lake from a
rope swing, brings to his mind the sound of her laugh — a breathless
burst of snorts and giggles.

“I had belly flopped like 16 feet and got out and I was holding my belly and she was laughing so hard,
that special Tina laugh, and she took a picture of me because I was
laughing at her laughing,” he said. “When I look at that picture it’s a
renewed memory of that day.”

After Deuso and Sinclair’s relationship dissolved, Sinclair moved with Bethany to Massachusetts to
live with Terry Sinclair, a man she married who would adopt Bethany.

Eventually, the relationship ended and mother and daughter returned to Brattleboro.

Jill M. Martocci, Bethany’s 1st-grade teacher at St. Michael School in
Brattleboro, remembers Bethany as a quiet girl who befriended Martocci’s
daughter, Gionna. The two were classmates.

“(Bethany) smiled a lot, she was a smiley little girl with big, soft brown eyes,” Martocci said.

Bethany and Gionna played with dolls, held backyard picnics and watched princess movies together, Martocci said.

Partway through the school year, Bethany was learning to ride a new bicycle
when she careened off a steep embankment and suffered a serious head
injury, Martocci said.

“At first, they didn’t think she’d live,” Martocci said. “All the people at school prayed for her and sent cards.”

Bethany was out of school for about a month, but made it back in time for the end of the year, Martocci said.

The crash would leave her with a small U-shaped scar on her forehead, one
of the identifying marks investigators list in her missing-person description.

Bethany and Gionna remained close friends until
middle school, when Bethany and her mother moved to Chesterfield and the
girls grew apart, Martocci said.

Starting over


Sinclair and Bethany moved to Chesterfield with Sinclair’s boyfriend, Eugene V.
Bowman Jr., about three years before they disappeared, Garry said.

Sinclair told her mother she felt she was making a fresh start.

She recently ended a difficult relationship, Lewis said.

Sinclair graduated from Keene Beauty Academy and worked as a cosmetologist and
home health nurse while continuing her nursing studies, Garry said.

“She thought she was finally going to be happy,” Lewis said.

It was a new start for Bethany, too, who began 7th grade at Chesterfield School.

On the first day of school, she met Jessica L. (Towle) Walker on the bus.

“She was very, very shy,” said Walker, who is now married and lives in
Keene. “I am not, on the other hand, and I just started talking to her.”

The two quickly became friends.

Lewis remembers her granddaughter’s excitement about going to the graduation
ceremony at the end of her 8th grade year at Chesterfield School.

“She got to wear a gown,” Lewis said. “That meant a lot, to me, it did.”

That summer, Bethany spent a weekend in the Hamptons with Walker and her
family and a couple weeks in St. Albans with Deuso, who said he had been
working over the previous couple years to strengthen their relationship.

“She was spending a lot of time at the teen center
in St. Albans,” he said. “She’d go there on her bike and then when I got
off work I’d ride over and pick her up and we’d ride back together.”

By her freshman year at Keene High School, Bethany, then 15, grew more confident, Walker said.

“Even in that little bit of time, she had started to come out of her shell,”
Walker said. “She got her first boyfriend, she was hanging out with
different groups of friends.

“Right before she disappeared, one
of the last e-mails she sent me the end of January was that things were
finally getting better for her, things were turning around.”

Still looking for clues

But even as Bethany became more outgoing, Walker sensed she was facing problems at home.

“She was in her room on the computer a lot,” Walker said. “I think that was her way of dealing with things.”

While Bethany never talked much about her home life, Walker said she felt
from brief glimpses during visits to Bethany’s house that things weren’t
going well between Sinclair and Bowman.

The Sinclairs’ family was also concerned.

“Last time I saw (Bethany) I asked if she wanted to move up here,” Deuso
said. “I thought it would be a better situation for her, but you
couldn’t part her from her mother.”

Garry, who moved to Connecticut in 1998, tried to persuade Tina to move there with Bethany, she said.

“I told her she needed to start over because (Bowman) had sex charges against him,” Garry said.

Bowman, who would be convicted on Feb. 6, 2001, of three counts of aggravated
sexual assault stemming from abuse of a Spofford girl between 8 and 9
years old in the early 1990s, was the last person known to see Sinclair
and Bethany.

On the night of Saturday, Feb. 3, 2001, Sinclair picked Bethany up from a date at the movies.

Bowman told investigators he argued with Sinclair that night, left the house
and when he returned the next day the Sinclairs were gone and their
clothes were missing, police said in 2001.

Thirty-four-year old Sinclair’s white Dodge Neon and her 15-year-old cat, Climber, were still at the home.

Investigators have said Bowman, 52, is a “person of interest,” but they haven’t called him a suspect.

A call to his home for comment went unanswered.

In an interview with The Sentinel in 2001, Bowman said he believed the
pair got a taxi or a ride from a friend because Sinclair’s car had a
flat tire. He didn’t report them missing for two days because they often
left for days at a time, he said.

Officials at Keene High School reported to investigators that on Monday, Feb. 5, an unidentified woman
called to say Bethany was sick and wouldn’t be in class.

Garry learned that her sister and niece were missing on Feb. 7, after
Chesterfield police called Lewis’ house looking for them, she said.

She returned to Vermont and contacted Deuso, who drove down to Brattleboro.

“My gut instinct as soon as I hit Brattleboro was that they had been
murdered,” he said. “I didn’t tell anyone, but that was my gut feeling,
an emotion that as soon as I hit town I just knew something happened and it wasn’t good.”

Within a few weeks, the N.H. State Police
picked up the investigation. In the months that followed, investigators
dragged the Connecticut River, conducted dozens of interviews and
obtained at least three search warrants.

Those warrants and their supporting documents remain sealed.

N.H. State Police detective Sgt. Russell B. Lamson, lead investigator on the
case, said as authorities continue to look for clues, they need to keep
some things secret to protect the investigation.

“I can tell you that we’ve got several unsolved homicides where years and years go by
and nothing comes in,” Lamson said. “That’s not the case with this one.

“And anytime you have a case where you have information that’s continually
coming in, leads that are being followed up on, you don’t want to
release information that could hurt the integrity of the investigation.”

In 2009, a newly formed Cold Case Unit in the N.H. Attorney General’s Office took up the case.

The unit brought a new perspective to the investigation, according to Senior Assistant Attorney General N. William Delker.

“The benefit to having a group like the Cold Case Unit investigate is that
we can take a fresh eye to the case and look in areas that may not have
been focused on originally,” he said. “The benefit of having an original
investigator still there is they have an incredible wealth of
information about how connections were made or where information came
from that’s more difficult to glean from just reading the raw reports.”

Desperate for answers, the Sinclairs’ family has also coordinated dozens of
search parties, hired private investigators and contacted psychics.

The constant searching has taken a toll on the Sinclairs’ family and friends,
who say they all deal with the loss differently.

“I’ve backed away a little bit over the last few years and tried to shelve
things; it’s kind of how I deal with things, but then I feel guilty
about that,” Smith said. “I had a breakdown during one of the searches
up there and that was kind of a tough thing for me.

“I think in a lot of ways with me I try to let everyone in my life know that I love
them on a daily basis, because if your number’s up, it’s up, and it
doesn’t matter if it’s at the hands of the scumbag or an accident.”

Garry has started websites about the case, works with missing-persons
organizations and pledges to lobby for retaining funding for the Cold Case Unit.

“I think it’s our best hope,” she said. “I mean,
otherwise this 10-year-old cold case is going to sit on a shelf and collect dust.

“Police don’t have time to investigate this case, they need a special unit for these older cases.”

Lewis, who still holds out hope that one day her daughter and granddaughter
will walk through her front door, said she takes long walks daily.

“A lot of times, boy, I just, I can hardly stand it because I love each
and every one of them the same, even my grandchildren, my
great-grandchildren, the whole nine yards I just, I love them,” she
said. “Sometimes I feel like climbing the walls.”

Deuso said he doesn’t think he’ll find peace until the case is solved.

“The first couple of years, every time the phone would ring and you didn’t
recognize the number you’d always think, ‘Oh man!,’ you’d hold out
hope,” he said. “As the years go by you learn to cope a little better
and a little better but it’s always in your mind.”

And for Walker, now 24, each milestone in her life — from prom and graduation to
marriage and the recent birth of her first child — has been a painful
reminder of Bethany, who remains frozen in time in her loved ones’ minds.

“She loved living life and I kind of feel like I’m kind of living life for her,” Walker said. “I’ve married; I had a baby.

“I got all the things that I wish she could have done.”

http://sentinelsource.com/articles/2011/02/04/news/local/free/id_426676.txt
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TomTerrific0420
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Re: BETHANY SINCLAIR - 15 yo (2001) - Chesterfield (E of Brattleboro VT) NH

Post by mom_in_il on Wed May 28, 2014 3:48 pm

Charley Project Flyer: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/s/sinclair_bethany.html

(Includes age progression photo to age 26, c. 2011)
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