Murder Victim's Family Thanks Vt. Detective for Key Role in Suspect Arrest

Detective Sgt. Aimee Nolan earned recognition Friday for her work on the investigation of Joseph Ferlazzo

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The family of a woman who was murdered in Vermont in a gruesome fashion traveled to the State House in Montpelier Friday to see a member of law enforcement honored for her critical role in the case — which involved a lucky break.

Adrienne and David Bass of Northfield, New Hampshire are the mother and stepfather of Emily Jean. The 22-year-old was reported missing in October 2021, while celebrating her wedding anniversary in Vermont with her husband, Joseph Ferlazzo. 

Police had been searching for Ferlazzo, hoping he’d talk about where Emily was, when Detective Sgt. Aimee Nolan actually stumbled upon him during a quick stop at a convenience store.

Friday, the Vermont State Police praised Nolan for calmly and safely confirming Ferlazzo’s identity that day and convincing him to come in for questioning.

"The way that she handled the situation also prevented others from possibly getting hurt and possibly dragging out the situation," Adrienne Bass told NECN & NBC10 Boston of Nolan’s actions. "It made it quicker and simpler."

That chance encounter at the store ended up pointing investigators to Emily Jean’s body, inside Ferlazzo’s camper bus. He is suspected of shooting the nursing assistant to death then dismembering her.

Ferlazzo pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and is being held in jail awaiting trial.

While Nolan told NECN & NBC10 Boston she was really just doing her job, she emphasized that having Emily Jean’s loved ones see her receive the VSP division commander’s award was a reminder of why she serves.

“Having them here meant so much to me, because it’s what it’s about,” Det. Sgt. Nolan said. “It’s what we do the work for — our victims and their families. You know, I couldn’t bring Emily back, but I could give them the closure that they desperately needed.”

The Basses are working on launching advocacy work to help domestic violence survivors through service dog companionship. The Emily Jean’s Voice project is part of the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire.

Adrienne Bass said she is deeply grateful to Nolan and to everyone who supported her during her family’s darkest chapter. Earlier this year, in an exclusive report from NECN & NBC10 Boston the Basses praised the recently-expanded victim services unit within Vermont State Police that helped them navigate their trauma.

“She helped bring justice for Emily and our family,” Adrienne Bass said Friday of Aimee Nolan.

Both New Hampshire, where Emily Jean grew up, and Vermont, where she died, have domestic violence helplines that offer support to survivors 24 hours a day. People in New Hampshire may call 1-866-644-3574 for assistance, and those in Vermont can reach help by dialing 1-800-228-7395The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence also provides a link to county-specific resources, and resources for specific populations such as hearing-impaired or LGBTQ+ Vermonters. 

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