Investigators say a convicted murderer who died in prison is responsible for cold case murders in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that went unsolved for decades.
Police said Edward Mayrand, who died of lung cancer in 2011, was tied by DNA evidence to the killings of Kathleen Daneault of Gardner, Massachusetts, in 1983 and Judith Whitney of Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1987.
The information was included in a press release issued by New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster on Tuesday afternoon. [CLICK HERE to read.]
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. also held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in Worcester concerning Daneault's killing.
"A lot of hard work has been put into this case," Early said. "She was never forgotten."
Daneault, who was 25 at the time, was last seen on Nov. 17, 1983, when she left the Mahaki Restaurant in Gardner. She had been with Mayrand at the restaurant. Her body was found a short distance from the restaurant the following day by workers at a nearby furniture factory. She had been strangled with a piece of her own blouse that had been ripped off.
Whitney, who was 43, was reported missing to the Amherst, Massachusetts Police on July 20, 1987. She had last been seen alive in Keene, New Hampshire on July 2. She had reportedly been drinking at a local bar with Mayrand before her disappearance. Four months later, on Nov. 8, a hunter discovered her body buried in a shallow grave in Winchester, New Hampshire.
Mayrand, then age 40, was developed as a suspect during the investigation, and after Whitney's initial disappearance he was found in possession of her car and handgun. But not enough evidence was uncovered at that time to support an arrest.
In 2010, the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit began working with investigators from the Massachuetts State Police and the Worcester District Attorney's Office to revive the investigation. That included sharing information about Whitney's murder and the unsolved murder of Daneault.
In June of 2011, as police in both states were preparing a search warrant to obtain a sample of Mayrand's DNA, they learned that he was ill. A sample of his DNA was obtained and tested, and in September of 2014, the tests revealed that Mayrand's DNA was on the ligature that was used to strangle Daneault. That, along with other evidence, convinced authorities that Mayrand had murdered Daneault.
The DNA evidence and other evidence also confinced authorities that Mayrand had murdered Whitney.
Since Mayrand died in 2011, he cannot be prosecuted for either murder. Therefore, the case will be closed as "solved," but without an arrest and prosecution.
At the time of his death, Mayrand was serving a 35 to 60 year prison sentence for murdering Patricia Paquette, 46, in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1994. Her body was found on Dec. 21 of that year in a vacant house around the corner from where Mayrand had been staying. Similar to the othe reports, Mayrand was the last person seen with Paquette after they were drinking together at a neighborhood lounge. Her body was discovered dismembered and stuffed inside several plastic garbage bags.
Mayrand was arrested in New Haven, Connecticut, in February of 1995 in Paquette's murder. He had previously been convicted on rape and assault charges and was out on parole at the time of both the Daneault and Whitney killings.