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  • Maureen Boyle

The heat of summers past


It is the heat everyone remembers. Even the harbor breezes failed to ease the blistering temperatures and suffocating air. By the time things cooled, eleven women were missing. All but two eventually were found dead near or along highways circling New Bedford.

Every summer, when the temperatures hit 90 and when, some years, that stretch of heat continues for weeks, the families of the eleven are drawn back to that time in 1988 when there was still hope the women would return.

It would take the cooling months for that hope to vanish.

Eleven women went missing between March and September of 1988. Nine were found dead. Two remain missing. The first of the nine was identified in November of that year. The last was found in April of 1989.

Did the killer think of the victims each summer as the temperatures rise? Did the killer ever wonder about the families left behind? Did anyone else know what he was doing and remained silent? These are some of the questions so many may ask as the decades pass. There are two questions that need answering first.

Who was the killer? Why did he kill?

If you know who the killer is, call the Bristol County District Attorney's Office Cold Case Unit.

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As a child, I was drawn to mysteries. The short stories in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen, Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew series, the books by the legendary Agatha Christie and the da