Connecticut river valley killer

A composite of the Connecticut River Killer

Real Name: Unknown
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Murder, Attempted Murder
Missing Since: March 28, 1987

  • Cathy Millician
  • Mary Elizabeth Critchley
  • Bernice Courtemanche
  • Ellen Fried
  • Eva Morse
  • Lynda Moore
  • Barbara Agnew
  • Jane Boroski


Details: During the mid 1980s, a suspected serial killer murdered at least six women along the New Hampshire/Vermont border. It is believed that the killer also attacked a pregnant woman, Jane Boroski, but she miraculously survived, despite being stabbed twenty-seven times. The suspect attacked all of the women in the Connecticut River Valley near Route 91 in both Vermont and New Hampshire.
Cathy Millican, the first known victim, was found murdered in New London, New Hampshire on October 24, 1978. The next victim, Mary Elizabeth Critchley, was found murdered on August 9, 1981, in Unity, New Hampshire. Then, Bernice Courtemanche, a seventeen-year-old nurse's aide vanished on May 30, 1984 in West Claremont, New Hampshire. It is believed that she was abducted while hitchhiking to her boyfriend's home. On April 9, 1986, her remains were found in Kellyville, New Hampshire. Another nurse, Ellen Fried, vanished after calling her sister from a payphone in West Claremont, New Hampshire on July 20, 1984; her remains were also found in Kellyville, New Hampshire on September 19, 1985.
Eva Morse, a single mother, was hitchhiking from work in Charlestown, New Hampshire when she vanished on July 10, 1985. A logger found her remains on April 25, 1986 in Unity, New Hampshire. In Saxtons River, Vermont, the killer changed tactics to murder Lynda Moore during a home invasion on May 15, 1986. Thirty-six year old nurse, Barbara Agnew, was missing for two months in Hartford, Vermont before she was found dead near Advent Hill Road in Hartland, Vermont on March 28, 1987. Not only had all of these women been stabbed in similar geographical areas; all had their throats slit.
At around midnight on April 6, 1988, Jane Boroski, then twenty-three and seven months pregnant, was returning from a county fair when she stopped at a soda machine next to a market near Winchester, New Hampshire. After returning to her car with her drink, a man appeared next to her door, asking about the phone. He then opened her car and began to attack her. He pulled a knife and claimed that she had hurt his girlfriend. However, she denied this. She tried to run and the man chased her and stabbed her twenty-seven times.
After stabbing her, the assailant got in his car and left her to die. Jane crawled back to her car and managed to drive to her friend's house two miles away. While driving, she was disturbed to find that she was right behind her attacker's car. When she got to her friend's house, her attacker stopped for a second and then drove away. Fortunately, both Jane and her unborn baby survived.
With the investigation at a standstill, detectives brought in criminal psychologist John Philpin to develop a profile of the killer. Philpin made several trips to the area where Bernice and Ellen's bodies were found, hoping to get a better understanding of the killer's mindset at the time of the murders. He believes that the killer pre-selects sites to take his victims to in order to frighten them before killing them.
Philpin also interviewed Jane and put her under hypnosis. She described to him, in detail, the brutal attack. She remembered that her attacker seemed extremely calm and collected. She also recalled that when she stopped struggling with him, the attacker seemed to lose interest and stop attacking her.
Philpin also tried to get Jane to recall the attacker's car and license plate number. She believed that the vehicle was a '75 to '85 Jeep Wagoneer and that the license plate had the numbers "6 6 2". After getting the vehicle description, detectives tried to locate the attacker's vehicle. They were able to narrow down the vehicles to approximately 350. However, they were unable to determine who the attacker was.
Extra Notes: The original airdate for this case is October 9, 1991.
Results: Wanted. After the broadcast, an Idaho law enforcement officer called the telecenter. He recognized the composite as matching a man who was being held in an Idaho prison. However, it is unknown if anything came from this lead.
Police have indicated that one of the suspects, Michael Nicholaou, a former Army helicopter pilot from the Vietnam War, matches the physical description of the person who attacked Jane Boroski. Nicholaou killed himself in Florida in 2005 after he murdered his wife and step daughter. During the time of the murders, Nicholaou lived in Holyoke, Massachusetts. His wife at the time had relatives living in Vermont. His residence was also very close to Interstate 91. He is also believed to be responsible for the murder of his first wife, Michelle Ashley.
Police have had difficulty linking Michael Nicholaou to the killings as there has been no evidence other than Jane Boroski's description to tie him to the case. DNA testing in the cases was inconclusive. Also, Nicholaou was living in Virginia at the time of the Courtemanche, Fried, and Morse murders.
Police have looked into at least two other suspects in the case. One was Delbert Tallman, who was confessed to killing a woman named Heidi Martin in 1984. Her death was similar to the Connecticut River murders. However, he recanted his confession and was acquitted of her murder. He has never been officially connected to the other cases.
Another suspect was Gary Westover, who confessed to being involved in the murder of Barbara Agnew, the final Connecticut River victim. He claimed that he and three other men had abducted and murdered Barbara. However, he died shortly after his confession. It is unknown if he was actually responsible or involved in the other murders.
To date, the Connecticut River murders remain officially unsolved.