The human remains found earlier this week in the Concord River in Chelmsford have been identified by authorities as Judith Chartier, revealing more detail in a decades-old cold case.
The Chief Medical Examiner identified Chartier, who had been missing since June 5, 1982, through dental records. The new details in the case could give a family and a community answers after the teenage girl went missing nearly 40 years ago.
District Attorney Marian Ryan’s Office and the chief medical examiner are working with Dr. James Pokines, a forensic anthropologist, to reconstruct the remains in an attempt to determine a cause of death.
Divers found human remains Wednesday, along with pieces of a Dodge Dart Swinger on Tuesday. It's the car then-17-year-old Chartier was driving the night she disappeared in June 1982; she was last seen leaving a party in neighboring Billerica and never heard from again.
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Divers and investigators returned to the area Thursday looking for more clues connected to her disappearance, not far from where the party was held all those years ago and about a mile from the Chartier home.
Investigators say the car and human remains were found in water that’s 10 feet deep and sonar technology helped them make the discovery. They also found a purse with Chartier’s work ID.
Chelmsford Police Chief James Spinney said earlier this week that, "while this is a major, major case development, it affects a person and a family forever," adding that "we've never closed the case, it's been something we've been ongoing working on involving multiple investigators."
"We make a commitment to families when someone either loses their life or disappears that we will not give on the cases, and I know, often, when there is not a result, people thinks that means there is no effort," Ryan said earlier this week.
Investigators has said they were working to talk to the people who were at the outdoor gathering in Billerica with Chartier before her death to gather more information that may help determine what happened to her.
"You know, for a long time, we knew where the story ended in those early morning hours. Now, we have a conclusion to where the car and these human remains were found, and the question now will be connecting that," she said.