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Story By John Murray
In the past two months The Waterbury Observer has turned into a public tip jar, but instead of dollars rolling our way, our tips are about murder suspects, missing people, politics, and corrupt cops.
The floodgates opened when we began publishing stories on Meta Bulletin, Facebook, and our website about a slew of unsolved murders in Waterbury dating back to 1988. The Observer has been working with Boston-based journalist Robert Muldoon on our coverage and the response has been electric.
Some of the tipsters are anonymous, some have sent us private messages and e-mails and simply asked us to keep their name out of the public (which we will). An exceptional few have provided their names, giving chilling testimony, and agreed to be photographed. Here are some of the tips that came our way since mid-January.
• We received a tip about a 1982 cold case from a woman who had been lugging around a dark secret for 40 years. She told us she was 12 years old in 1982 when a neighbor confessed to her that she had helped her boyfriend cut up a body and bury it in the woods. The neighbor threatened to kill the child if she told anyone. After 40 years, she told us.
• We received another tip from a woman who had witnessed several men carrying a body wrapped in a blue tarp through the woods. She was 12 years old when the incident happened. The tipster said she told police and they didn’t believe her. We believe her, and the Observer is writing a detailed report about the incident.
• An adult woman sent a message calling her father a monster, and she and her siblings suspect the father of killing a young woman and throwing her body in the bushes. We passed this information on to the Waterbury Police Department.
• A mother grieving the death of her 14-year-old son reached out wanting her son’s story told. He was stabbed to death in a random act of violence by a mentally ill person who is now locked up in a psychiatric ward. She wants to tell her story, and we’re going to listen to her and write that story.
• We received a highly credible tip about a possible suspect in the murders of Karen Everett in 1988 and Mildred Alvarado in 1989, both who were strangled and had their bodies dumped in the Campville section of Harwinton. We have passed that information on to the Waterbury Police Department and continue to investigate the lead ourselves.
• We received strong tips about two possible suspects in the Elizabeth Grzywacz murder in 2004. Elizabeth was found bludgeoned to death at 69 Linden Street in Waterbury. We have passed the information on to the Waterbury PD and continue to investigate those leads ourselves.
• We received a highly detailed report from an anonymous reader providing extraordinary details and insights into the pimps that controlled the North End of Waterbury for decades. The report included street names, photographs, and the addresses where the pimps live at, most of them now retired and living in the South.
• The Observer has a one-hour show on WATR 1320-am radio on the first Tuesday of every month, and we’ve dedicated our show in January, February and March to our cold case project, and listeners have reached out to provide insightful details about several of the murder victims. Some of the tips came directly from WATR listeners.
• We received a message from a Waterbury man who was shot by a Waterbury police officer, and he adamantly claims the police reports about the shooting are inaccurate and he is fighting back. We listened to his story and are going to investigate and write about the incident.
• And in the last week we received several credible tips about the recent murder of Brianna Beam, whose remains were found in the Campville neighborhood of Harwinton in December 2021. Those will also be transcribed and given to the Waterbury PD to share with CT State Police investigators.
These are tips, not facts, and it’s up to investigators – whether it’s law enforcement or journalists – to follow the leads and see where they go.
Some of these tips came from outside of Waterbury, and they involve crimes that occurred outside the city. Some are coming from the center of Waterbury and involve high profile cases.
The Observer has a good working relationship with The Waterbury Police Department but trying to get police reports from cold cases two and three decades old has been a frustrating process. And we may have better luck winning the lottery than trying to obtain reports from the CT State Police. Both local and state police need to do better. They are public servants and should follow the Connecticut Freedom of Information Laws just as they expect the public to follow the laws of the state.
The past three months have been as intense as any period in the 29-year-history of The Waterbury Observer. We are a small newspaper with one full-time employee, several part times salespeople and stringers, and a highly engaged readership in print and online, especially the Facebook page of The Waterbury Observer with 35,000 followers.
If you have something to say, we'd like the opportunity to listen. As Coretta Scott King said, "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members."
If you have a tip or insight into of the unsolved murders listed below, please contact the Waterbury Observer at 203-754-4238 or email John Murray at email@example.com. •
The Waterbury Observer is investigating the deaths of...
1) KAREN EVERETT ("Brandy") -
10/16/88 (Valley Rd Harwinton) -
STRANGLED (age 24)
2) MILDRED ALVARADO -
1/19/89 (Valley Rd/Harwinton) -
STRANGLED (age 30)
3) MARIE THRASHER
Body found in Naugatuck River near Bank Street
4) MARY JO MARKIEWICZ -
11/25/92 -(Chase River Rd Wby) -
STABBED age 34
5) OLGA MARIE CORNIELES-UBIERA
11/01/94 -(Rte 262- Waterbury Rd in Thomaston - 8 miles south of Campville)
6) FREDERICA SPINOLA -
12/9/94 (Rte 8 Harwinton) –
RUN OVER (pushed/fell from van) (age 40)
Albert S. Boyson, age 77, van driver for Kelley Transit was driving
7) LORI DELGADO
41-year-old Waterbury resident
Notch Road embankment
Bludgeoned, blunt head trauma
Believed to be killed elsewhere and dumped
9) SHAWN MAE HASKELL
8/99 partially clothed by RR Tracks in Waterbury
Chief Medical Examiner ruled death as an overdose
10) BERNADINE PAUL (Missing)
6/7/00 - Bradlees Parking lot (Chase Ave)
11) ELIZABETH GRZYWACZ
10/7/2002 - 69 Linden St – naked, bludgeoned (age 34)
12) JESSICA MARIE MUSKUS - age 22
found 11/14/2006 (Campville Exit Rte 8/ 300 yds from Valley Rd)
The next three are Waterbury victims of convicted serial killer William Devin Howell, who murdered at least seven women, three from Waterbury. Were there others?
13) MELANIE RUTH CAMALINI (29) - missing 1/1/2003
14) MARILYN GONZALEZ (26) - mother of 2 (2003)
15) MARY JANE MENARD (40) – 10/2003
16) DEE-MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ –
Age 36 - Train Tracks - Thomaston AVE –
Medical Examiner ruled a drug overdose
17) KELSEY MAZZAMARO, 26, of Litchfield
Found murdered on May 6, 2018 in Burlington
18) BRIANNA BEAM age 20
Harwinton - 100 feet off Campville Rd
Ties to Waterbury, Thomaston, Bristol and RI
If you have any photographs or memories or information about the life and unsolved murders of any of these women, please contact the Waterbury Observer at 203-754-4238 or email John Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.