Vt. Police Gather Evidence in Case of Missing Conn. Mom

Police say they suspect foul play in the disappearance of 24-year-old Denise Hart

Investigators who strongly suspect foul play in the disappearance of a Connecticut woman in Vermont said Tuesday they gathered new evidence they will analyze as part of their ongoing investigation.

The Vermont State Police declined to reveal what the evidence was or precisely where they found it, only that the discovery came during a search of the water and ground around the Otter Creek for information into the disappearance of Denise Hart, 24, of Hartford, Connecticut.

Vermont State Police from the scuba team, marine division, search and rescue division, and K-9 units teamed with the Fish & Wildlife Department to scour the Otter Creek and shoreline from Leicester through Cornwall, hoping to unravel the mystery of what happened to Hart.

Hart, a mother, was last seen January 25 leaving a friend's home in Sudbury, Vermont after a visit, according to investigators. The car Hart was driving was found burning the next morning, police said in January, but there were no signs of Hart in the immediate area. A search for her has been underway since late January.

"Foul play is strongly suspected," Vermont State Police Capt. J.P. Sinclair told reporters Tuesday.

Investigators explained the water and shoreline search was scheduled for Tuesday because of the depth of the Otter Creek. It is currently at its lowest point since Hart was last seen, Sinclair noted. He said a previous search this past winter detected evidence investigators wanted to follow up on when the water level came down.

"This search will take advantage of these conditions and afford ground search teams the opportunity to access areas adjacent to the creek that previously have been unsearchable," Sinclair said, reading from a prepared statement.

In February, Hart's mother in Hartford begged the public to come forward with information, in an interview with NBC Connecticut.

"I'm living a mother's worst nightmare," Dedre Robinson told the station. "If anybody knows anything, can you please just call the police?"

Robinson is now asking the same again. She issued the following statement through the Vermont State Police Tuesday:

"To the State of Vermont: PLEASE! Anybody with information about the disappearance of Denise Hart, can you please come forth? We know somebody out there knows something. Her family and friends are missing her desperately. She has missed so much. She has two brand-new nephews she hasn’t even met yet, and she’s missed her nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays. Her own son’s 4th birthday is coming up in a few days and she is not home. We don’t have any answers. It has been almost 8 long, hard, desperate months. We just want some answers – please! If anybody knows or has seen anything, please say something. Thank you. Her son needs her mother back."

Sinclair asked anyone with information to contact Det. Sgt. Julie Scribner, at the Vermont State Police barracks in New Haven, at (802) 388-4919. The Vermont State Police also maintain an anonymous online tip system. Click here (http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit) to access it.

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