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DA Early Clears 31-year-old Gardner Murder Case

December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014

For Immediate Release

Contact: Paul Jarvey 508-368-7241 or

508-735-2981

 

WORCESTER – DNA evidence from a 1983 murder in Gardner has led the State Police Detectives assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office to report an exceptional clearance of the case, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

Through advanced DNA testing investigators in the murder of Kathleen M. Daneault, 25, of Gardner have been able to say with certainty that her killer was Edward H. Mayrand Jr. Mr. Mayrand died in a Rhode Island prison in 2011 while serving a sentence in another murder.

Mr. Mayrand has also been linked to the 1987 murder of Judith Whitney in Winchester, N.H.

“We believe we would have had the evidence to arrest, charge and prosecute Edward H. Mayrand Jr. with the murder of Kathy Daneault,” Mr. Early said. “But because Mayrand has died in prison, he could not be brought to justice. This case fits the criteria under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Therefore this case is cleared upon our determination that and Edward Mayrand was the perpetrator.”

At 2:17 p.m. on Nov. 18, 1983, Gardner Police and State Police Detectives were called to a wooded area adjacent to Mill Street behind Timpany Plaza on Route 68 in Gardner.

Kathleen Daneault was found about 300 feet north of Mill Street in a lot owned by the S. Bent Furniture Company. She had been discovered by workers at the company lying on her back with a ligature about her neck. An autopsy performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause death was “asphyxia by ligature strangulation,” and the manner of death was homicide.

The initial investigation, including numerous witnesses placed Ms. Daneault in the company of Edward H. Mayrand Jr., 36, during the day and evening on November 17, 1983. Mayrand was identified as the only suspect in the case, but investigators felt there was not enough evidence to bring a charge of murder against Mayrand.

“When I came into office, I took a particular interest in the so-called cold cases,” Mr. Early said. “It was John Bish, the father of Molly Bish, who asked me to call my unit that looks into older cases, the Unresolved Case Squad and not the Cold Case Squad. He said cold case made him think of boxes collecting dust in closet.”

In January 2008, the State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, began a review of the Kathleen Daneault murder as part of a review of all unresolved cases.

In March of 2011, evidence from the case was resubmitted to the State Police Crime Lab for further analysis. On June 29, 2011 Rhode Island Corrections officials notified Massachusetts investigators that Mayrand had died of natural causes the day before.

“Despite the death of the only suspect in the case, I felt that it was important that the family of Kathleen Daneault know with some certainty that Mayrand was in fact Kathleen’s killer, so DNA evidence continued to be submitted for testing to the State Police Crime Lab,” Mr. Early said.

“In August of this year we received a report from the crime lab connecting Mayrand to the ligature found at the crime scene back in 1983. Last month, DNA testing eliminated other people known to Kathleen Daneault at the time of her death.”

Mr. Early praised the Gardner Police who handled part of the initial investigation and all members of the State Police Crime Lab who worked on testing the evidence and DNA. He also singled out for praise Trooper Keith Egan, who closed the case, and Trooper John Boland, who reviewed the evidence in 2008 and reinvigorated the investigation.

Statement of Kathleen Daneault’s family:

First and foremost, we would like to thank the DA’s office for their years of dedication to this case. Without mentioning all of you by name, you all know who you are and we hope you all know how grateful we are for everything that you have done by not forgetting about Kathy and continuing to pursue every possible lead. We would also like to give special thanks to the Gardner Police Dept. for the care they took in preserving the evidence they obtained from the scene. It was crucial in finding the positive match that would put this to rest after all these years.

Our one solace is that Edward Mayrand passed away in prison alone without loved ones around him to comfort him, just as he left Kathy to die alone.

While this does bring us some sort of closure, it does not erase the 31 years that the son whom she loved more than life itself, has been without his mother. Siblings have been without their sister and parents without a daughter.  No family should have to live with that anguish.

We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and do not wish to be contacted in any way.