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New Hampshire search linked to Connecticut River Valley killer

The search for physical evidence taking place Tuesday in Newport is related to the investigation of multiple unsolved cases popularly linked to the so-called Connecticut River Valley serial killer, News 9 Investigates has learned. Investigators began executing court-authorized search warrants Tuesday morning in the Kelleyville Neighborhood of Newport, including a home on Ayers Street. There were more than a dozen cars parked along the cul-de-sac, and dozens of bags of trash were seen piled up outside what appeared to be a barn. It is not known if the trash bags are related to the search. Officials did not say which cold case the search was related to, but sources said the search is related to a series of unsolved murders in the Connecticut River Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. There are at least two unsolved cases. solve related to Newport, including the mid-1980s murders of Bernice Courtemanche, 17, and Ellen Fried, 25. Courtemanche’s body was found on April 19, 1986 on Cat Hole Road. Meanwhile, Fried’s skeletal remains were found on September 19, 1985 in a wooded area along the Sugar River in the Kelleyville neighborhood. Beyond the Courtemanche and Fried cases, more cases have been popularly linked to a possible serial killer, but Cold Case unit officials previously told WMUR that they do not believe the cases are connected. However, that possibility cannot be fully investigated until one of the cases is resolved, they said at the time.>> Download the free WMUR app for on-the-go updates: Apple | Google Play <

The search for physical evidence taking place Tuesday in Newport is related to the investigation of multiple unsolved cases popularly linked to the so-called Connecticut River Valley serial killer, News 9 Investigates has learned.

Investigators began executing court-authorized search warrants Tuesday morning in Newport’s Kelleyville neighborhood, including at a home on Ayers Street. There were more than a dozen cars parked along the cul-de-sac, and dozens of bags of trash were seen piled up outside what appeared to be a barn. It is not known if the trash bags are related to the search.

Officials did not say which cold case the search was related to, but sources said the search is related to a series of unsolved murders in the Connecticut River Valley in the 1970s and 1980s.

There are at least two unsolved cases linked to Newport, including the mid-1980s murders of Bernice Courtemanche, 17, and Ellen Fried, 25. Courtemanche’s body was found on April 19, 1986 in Cat Hole Road. Meanwhile, Fried’s skeletal remains were found on September 19, 1985 in a wooded area along the Sugar River in the Kelleyville neighborhood.

Beyond the Courtemanche and Fried cases, more cases have been popularly linked to a possible serial killer, but Cold Case Unit officials previously told WMUR that they do not believe the cases are connected. However, that possibility cannot be fully investigated until one of the cases is resolved, they said at the time.

>> Download the free WMUR app to get updates on the go: apple | Google Play <

Julie Murray, sister of Maura Murray, the Massachusetts college student who disappeared in New Hampshire in 2004, told WMUR that her family was aware of the search and said they are in close contact with investigators. The Maura Murray case has not typically been linked to the unsolved Connecticut River Valley murders from decades before, but in 2023, Julie Murray helped lead a group of victims’ families to demand a change in the way the state investigate all unsolved cases.

“And last summer we had a big demonstration about this because there hasn’t been much movement in these cases. And evidently the demonstration may have (led them) to move forward with these cases, start reinvestigating them and examining them and not forgetting them,” said Jane Boroski, who was seven months pregnant when she was stabbed 27 times in 1988 in Swanzey.

Boroski’s case remains unsolved, but he has been popularly linked to the unsolved Connecticut River Valley murders. Again, state officials have never confirmed such a connection.

Boroski, however, said state police called her Tuesday and told her about this search in Newport and said it was related to the murders in the Connecticut River Valley.

“I’m trying not to get emotional about this now because there have been a lot of people, there have been a lot of persons of interest over the years and no real suspects,” Boroski said. “This came out of nowhere today. I wasn’t expecting it.”

Officials involved in the search include members of the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit working in conjunction with investigators from the New Hampshire Department of Justice, the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit, Claremont police and Newport police.

Officials with the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said the search activity does not pose a danger to the public and should continue throughout the day Tuesday.

In a statement, officials asked that the public respect the privacy of residents in the search area and stay off private property in the area as the investigation continues.