The past few days I’ve been sifting and reading old articles regarding the disappearance of Maura Murray. I took the articles from the subreddit that was created by the user HunterPense http://reddit.com/r/mauramurrayevidence. I pulled every article regarding Maura’s disappearance what was created in 2004 and compiled a word document. The document itself was over 100 pages. I will be doing another podcast to discuss some of my findings on the articles. The podcast episode will be very long, but has many interesting never before discussed insights.

However this podcast episode was very different. I wanted to discuss an article I found which startled me and made me rethink the entire case. Below is the article in question:

The Caledonian-Record
May 31, 2004

Another Vermont Woman Reported Missing – Police Find Her Jeep
By Gary E. Lindsley

Lamoille County authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding a 35-year-old Johnson woman who hasn’t been seen since Thursday morning — the third woman to disappear in Northern New England since Feb. 9.

Jodie Whitney, who has a 3-year-old child, was last seen by her husband, Edgar, before he left for work Thursday morning. She not only failed to show up for work at Stoweflake Resort in Stowe, but she also did not return home.

Like the two other women who are missing, Whitney is described as a petite woman.

On Feb. 9, 21-year-old University of Massachusetts at Amherst nursing student Maura Murray disappeared after she was involved in a minor one-car accident on Route 112 in the town of Haverhill, N.H.

A little more than a month later, 17-year-old Brianna Maitland of Sheldon, Vt., disappeared after she left work at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery late the night of March 19. Maitland’s vehicle was found about a mile from the Black Lantern Inn, partially ensconced inside an abandoned building.

Sheriff Roger Marcoux said Whitney’s white Jeep Cherokee was found within a 5-mile radius of her home by a citizen Friday afternoon.

Marcoux is not releasing where the vehicle was found because it’s part of the ongoing investigation.

He said the vehicle is being looked at by a Vermont State Police crime lab team.

Kellie Maitland, Brianna’s mother, was heartbroken to learn another woman had disappeared.

“I believe it’s (the work of) a serial killer,” Maitland said. “And the clock is ticking.

“One is too many,” she went on to say. “Enough is enough! They (law enforcement) should pull out all the stops.”

Marcoux said there isn’t anything to lead investigators to believe there is any connection between Whitney’s disappearance and the disappearances of Maitland and Murray.

“We have no evidence to tie them together at this point,” he said.

Marcoux said police are conducting a missing person’s investigation into Whitney’s disappearance because nothing so far has indicated a criminal act has been committed.

He said Whitney is a reservations supervisor at Stoweflake Resort. She was supposed to be at work at 8 a.m.

When she had not returned home by 10 p.m. Thursday, her husband reported her missing.

“This is very out of character for her,” Marcoux said. “She seems to be a very responsible person … she has a young 3-year-old child at home.”

Co-workers and members of Whitney’s family have been interviewed, he said.

“Everything seemed fine,” Marcoux said, referring to Thursday morning when Whitney’s husband last saw her.

Investigators are tracking down some leads. One, according to Marcoux, came from officials at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

They reported they had a woman in the hospital possibly fitting Whitney’s description. Investigators went to Dartmouth, but the woman was not Whitney.

Marcoux said about 50 law enforcement officers and the New England canine team, led by Vermont State Police Search and Rescue, conducted a ground search Saturday of an area consisting of a 1-mile radius of where Whitney’s vehicle was found.

That search area was expanded, but nothing was found. An aerial search was conducted Sunday.

Authorities also searched about 3 miles of the Gihon River.

Whitney is described as being 5-feet, 3-inches tall and weighing 110-pounds. She has shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes.

People with any information about Whitney should call the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Dept. at 802-888-3502.

After reading this article I immediately began doing online searches to see if I could find any information about this case. I must admit the amount of online articles for this case was very small. Here is an article I was able to locate:

Whitney admits killing his wife
Plea bargain could mean 25 years to life
By Scott Monroe Mar 16, 2006

Edgar Whitney Jr. — in a series of relaxed, declarative “yes” responses — admitted in court last week that he strangled his wife and hid her body in a nearby marsh.

He did this while their 3-year-old daughter slept in bed at their home in Johnson.

Whitney, 35, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and a new felony charge of unauthorized removal of a dead body.

Jodie Whitney was found dead in June 2004, and until last week her husband had claimed innocence.

Whitney had been charged with first-degree murder. A plea bargain reduces that to second-degree, a slightly lesser charge. With the deal, the prosecution avoids the risks of a trial, while Whitney forgoes appeals and other rights. He’ll likely be sentenced later this year.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 20 years to life in prison, and removing a dead body without permission could add five more years.

At Lamoille District Court in Hyde Park last Thursday afternoon, State’s Attorney Joel Page, the prosecutor, said the plea bargain was brokered to ensure a just outcome in the case.

“Therefore, the maximum sentence which is contemplated by this agreement that the court may impose is, essentially, a 25 years to life sentence,” Page said.

Defense attorney Kevin W. Griffin told the court Whitney accepted the plea bargain because it’s “the right thing to do.”

“He’s willing to accept his responsibilities,” Griffin said of Whitney.

Aside from answering “yes” or “no” to questions from Judge Dennis R. Pearson, Whitney said only a few words during last Thursday’s hearing. Family and friends of Jodie Whitney watched silently from the courtroom’s audience.

Dressed in a gray sweatshirt, with a trimmed crewcut and goatee, Whitney held his shackled hands together and stared downward with a stoic expression.

Before Pearson reviewed the criminal charges, he asked Whitney directly: “How are you feeling today?”

Whitney flinched, paused for a few moments, and looked up at the judge.

“Good,” he said.

A murder unraveled

Jodie Whitney was reported missing by Edgar Whitney on May 27, 2004. Police found her Jeep parked behind a nearby barn.

Edgar Whitney cooperated with authorities, and didn’t emerge as a top suspect at first.

That all changed about a week later, on June 2. Police planned to conduct a polygraph test on Whitney that day, but learned he was in Copley Hospital in Morrisville, being treated for an apparent suicide attempt. He had overdosed on 150 Tylenol PM pills.

Whitney was later taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Police accompanied him there, said he waived his right to have an attorney present, and had a two-hour, tape-recorded conversation with police about what had happened.

He confessed to both his brother and police that day that he’d murdered his wife.

Police learned Whitney had also made two audiotapes, confessing to the murder and describing his wishes for his daughter.

The morning Whitney awoke after attempting to kill himself, he drove around and threw the tapes out his car window. Police recovered one of them.

In subsequent interviews with police, and in a conversation with a psychiatrist who found him competent to stand trial, Whitney revealed the timeline of events.

Years of marital difficulties between Jodie and Edgar had taken a toll, resulting in temporary separations, a restraining order and near-divorce. All that put a strain on the relationship Whitney apparently cherished the most — with their then-3-year-old daughter, Monica.

Jodie’s then-14-year-old stepdaughter had been living with her birth father in Connecticut, and Jodie wanted her to move in with them in Johnson. The night of May 26, the Whitneys argued in the bedroom. Jodie said her stepdaughter was “coming back and that’s that,” Whitney later told the psychiatrist.

“Pretty much when she said that my opinion didn’t matter and I could get out, and all I was trying to do was be level-headed, that’s pretty much when,” Whitney told the psychiatrist. “I knew I couldn’t do that again.”

Whitney snapped. “… Something just clicked in my head that night,” he later told police. He told the psychiatrist that he “didn’t have any say anymore with what was going to happen with my little girl.”

He waited for Monica to go to sleep. In bed, he struck Jodie on the head with his hands and then strangled her. As he watched his wife breathe her last, Whitney said, he was thinking about covering up the killing and spending “as much time with Monica as I could.”

“I knew my life was over when I took hers,” he told the psychiatrist.

He wrapped the body in a sheet, put it in the back of the Jeep and drove to an abandoned talc mine near their home in Johnson. After hiding the body in marshland, Whitney told police, he left the Jeep, hid the keys, bought some beer and ice cream, and walked home.

“I covered up what I did,” he told the psychiatrist. “I hid the body, went to work the next day. It’s not a good feeling. I took Monica to the day-care. I still didn’t really care much. I knew I had to get Monica into a safe place.”

Whitney awaits penalty

Now that Whitney has admitted killing his wife, he faces at least two decades in jail.

The state’s attorney office will conduct a pre-sentence investigation, taking into account Whitney’s background and the opinions of Jodie’s family. The judge will consider the results of the investigation in deciding how long Whitney’s prison sentence should be.

The pre-sentencing investigation usually takes six to eight weeks, which means the sentencing date is at least a couple of months away.

Whitney accepted the plea bargain just two weeks after declining an earlier one. At that point, the case seemed headed for trial.

Both sides had motivation for a plea bargain.

Whitney’s attorneys had tried, but failed, to block use of his confessions as evidence. They argued that, after the drug overdose, he wasn’t mentally competent to be interrogated.

They had also persuaded the District Court to keep secret the psychiatric report that concluded Whitney could stand trial — indicating a possible insanity defense. The Vermont Supreme Court later overruled that decision, making the report a public document.

Page, the prosecutor, was worried he didn’t have enough evidence that the murder was premeditated, one of the conditions for a first-degree murder conviction.

At trial, a jury could have convicted Whitney on a lesser charge, such as manslaughter — up to 15 years in jail — or found him not guilty. If a jury convicted him of second-degree murder, the maximum penalty would have been 20 years to life in prison.

Under the plea bargain, other factors such as concealing a body and lying to authorities can be considered in the punishment, Page said.

The plea bargain “takes into account not only the murder of Jodie Whitney,” Page said, “but also the defendant’s attempt after the murder to hide the murder, get away with murder, and takes into account the additional trauma imposed on the family, on the community and on law-enforcement agencies by his engaging in a charade that Jodie Whitney was missing and needed to be looked for.

“In fact, he knew all along that she was dead and her body was lying up in the woods.”

I was also able to find this article as well:

Wife-killer gets 23 years to life
Whitney tells family he’s ‘truly sorry’
By Scott Monroe May 25, 2006

Edgar Whitney got the maximum Tuesday, nearly two years after strangling his wife and dumping her body in Johnson.

With family and friends watching in the courtroom, Whitney was sentenced to serve 23 years to life in prison for the murder of Jodie Whitney.

Whitney, 35, had pleaded guilty to two felony counts: second-degree murder and unauthorized removal of a body. With credit given for time he spent in jail while awaiting trial, Whitney will spend 20 years to life in prison for the murder, and five more years for removal of a body.

He’ll be 58 before his minimum term is up, and he can apply for parole.

However, Judge Dennis R. Pearson said in Lamoille District Court that he doubts Whitney will be a likely candidate for an early parole.

Pearson, in imposing the maximum sentence allowed under state law, described the murder as “brutal, vicious and intentional.”

Across the country and especially in Vermont, Pearson said, domestic abuse within households is a growing problem, and the Whitney murder was the “epitome of the ultimate lethal end” in which a husband strangles his wife, in her own bed.

“This is probably the worst nightmare any woman can envision for herself,” Pearson said.

Whitney, wearing a striped dress shirt and black jeans, shuffled into the Hyde Park courtroom Tuesday with his hands shackled. He sat slouched back in his chair for much of the court hearing, staring downward with little expression.

At the end of the two-hour hearing, facing Jodie’s family and friends in the audience, Whitney read from a piece of paper for about a minute. He read an apology in a calm and composed voice and said that, if he could “turn back time to the night it happened, I would.”

“I still dream of my wife as if this never happened,” Whitney said. “I can’t believe what I have done to our children. … I am truly sorry.”

A ‘charade’

Whitney initially pleaded innocent, then admitted in March that he strangled his wife and hid her body in a nearby marsh, while their 3-year-old daughter Monica slept.

In bed, he struck Jodie on the head with his hands and then strangled her. He wrapped her body in a sheet, put it in the back of a Jeep and drove to abandoned talc mine near their home in Johnson.

After hiding the body in marshland, Whitney told police, he left the Jeep, hid the keys, bought some beer and ice cream, and walked home.

Whitney told police May 27, 2004, that Jodie, a reservations supervisor at Stoweflake Mountain Resort, never returned home from work. He cooperated with authorities, and didn’t emerge as a top suspect at first.

That all changed about a week later, on June 2, when Whitney overdosed on 150 Tylenol PM pills in a middle-of-the-night suicide attempt. He told both his brother and police that day that he’d murdered his wife, and he told authorities where to find the body.

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, the prosecution asked Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux to describe the effort that went into searching for Jodie Whitney after her husband reported her missing.

Twenty to 25 police officers were involved in the initial search, Marcoux said, and about 50 the next day. The search teams drew from state police, Morristown and Stowe police, firefighters, paramedics and special units from around New England, including a helicopter. Marcoux estimated 1,700 man-hours went into the search, costing $21,000.

Marcoux recalled being part of the group June 2 that recovered Jodie Whitney’s body, which was discovered face-down about 100 yards from Talc Mine Road — a dirt road off Route 100C.

State’s Attorney Joel Page, the prosecutor, tried to show that Whitney’s crime affected the community broadly, and led to a highly public “charade.”

“He went out his way to perpetuate this,” Marcoux testified.

“Edgar came across to me as believable,” Marcoux said. “However, in team meetings, we felt he wasn’t acting the same way a husband would act if his wife were missing.”

The worst punishment

Police affidavits and an interview with a psychiatrist report the Whitneys had a troubled marriage. After temporary separations, a restraining order and near-divorce, Edgar Whitney apparently snapped the night he strangled his wife.

At Tuesday’s hearing, defense attorney Kevin W. Griffin filed no objections to most of the prosecution’s pre-sentence report, which was the basis for the judge’s sentencing decision.

However, Griffin objected to the prosecution’s conclusion that Whitney has shown no remorse for the murder.

Griffin said he’s felt “honored” to represent Whitney, who has shown no signs of psychopathic behavior and would be “an excellent candidate for rehabilitation.”

“I think in all our hearts we want to believe, when someone kills someone else, that they’re somehow evil, that they’re somehow animals, when in it fact that’s not true,” Griffin said. “… Edgar Whitney is the most remorseful candidate I have ever represented in my life.”

Griffin asked the judge to consider Whitney’s remorse.

“He has a lot of good to offer people,” Griffin said.

But Judge Pearson didn’t buy that.

Because Jodie Whitney was left in the woods for nearly seven days, her body was unsuited to be displayed in a traditional funeral for family and friends.

In sentencing Whitney to five years for unauthorized removal of a body, Pearson said he wanted to underline the “much deeper concern for the most ancient of our societal mores: to respect and honor the dead.”

Pearson said it’s unlikely that the parole board will set Whitney free at the end of his minimum term, and in any case he will “probably remain incarcerated beyond his 60th birthday.”

“But I do believe the worst punishment he will face will be in his own mind, every day, every minute,” Pearson said.

That is all I have regarding this. I was shocked at the amount of similarities between this case and Maura’s disappearance. There is too much there to ignore. Like they say where there’s smoke there’s fire. I would love to get your feedback on this. Comment and let me know what you think!

 

~Acdetective~

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