Brianna moves out of her parents home on 17th birthday
On October 8th, 2003, Brianna turned seventeen and moved out of her family’s farmhouse in Franklin, against the wishes of her parents. She moved in with her friend Katie Manning in Enosburg and enrolled in Enosburg Falls High School. The Maitland family's farm was within the district of Missisoqoui Valley Union High School, where Brianna had trouble fitting in. Brianna was pleased to now be going to school in Enosburg with her friends, including Katie, as well as Megan Jefferson, Keallie LaCross, Sydney Coon, and Hillary Robitaille.
Brianna drops out of high school
By February, Brianna was growing apart from her circle of friends and was increasingly isolated. At times she lived out of her car in freezing Northern Vermont temperatures. In late February of 2004, the instability wore thin on Brianna's academic performance. Although she was highly intelligent and a normally a great student, Brianna was forced to drop out of high school.
Brianna's High School (Enosburg Falls High School)
Late Night: Brianna attacked by Keallie
Morning: Brianna takes her GED test
Brianna woke early that Friday morning. Her mother picked her up to go out for breakfast before Brianna took her high school equivalency exam. Earning her GED would be a meaningful accomplishment after withdrawing from high school that previous year. Brianna had also been recently hired for two part-time restaurant jobs. She planned to go to college. By all accounts, Brianna was making sensible choices for her future.
Morning: Brianna & her mom celebrate
After passing the exam, Brianna’s mother took her clothes shopping. Brianna needed black pants for the dress code at her job at KJ's Diner. While the two waited to check out, Brianna told her mother she would be right back, and left the store out of her mother's sight. Her mother bought the pants, and Brianna met her at her car. Brianna’s mood had changed; she was agitated and guarded toward her mother. The two didn’t acknowledge the change, her mother opting to respect the privacy of her independent daughter. Brianna's mood change has been subject to significant speculation and conjecture- we'll get to that later.
11:20pm: Brianna clocks out of the Black Lantern
She punched out of work at her new job as a dishwasher at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vermont at 11:20 pm. Brianna's coworkers had invited her to join them for dinner after the shift, but she was tired and wanted to get some rest before her first day at her second job at KJ’s Diner, as a waitress. She had a long day.
Black Lantern Inn
Overnight: Witness sees Brianna's car backed into Old Dutchburn House with lights one
Approximately ten to seventy minutes after Brianna left work, between 11:30 pm and 12:30 am, a man driving on Route 118 saw her green sedan backed into an abandoned farmhouse, known as the Dutchburn house, at an odd angle. He remembered that the vehicles headlights may have been on.
Old Dutchburn House
Overnight: 2nd witness sees Brianna's car, possibly with turn signal on
In between 12:00 am and 12:30 am, another man observed the car in the same position, and recalled there may have been a turn signal flashing.
2:30am: James Robitaille sees Brianna's car at Old Dutchburn House
Later in the early morning hours of March 20th, Brianna’s ex-boyfriend, James Robitaille, drove by the site and recognized the vehicle to be that of Brianna’s. His stories have been inconsistent regarding the time he was there as well as why he was driving in that area. His current account, which is believed to be the truth, is that he drove past the Dutchburn house at about 2:30 am, and pulled over upon recognizing the car. He said no one was around, however the headlights were on and both the driver and passenger side doors were open. James turned off the lights and closed the doors and moved on. He had been drinking that night and was afraid of getting in trouble.
Person With Information
Morning: Group of people spot Brianna's car & stop to take pictures
Later that morning, a group of hikers driving on Route 118 observed the abandoned Oldsmobile and found it odd enough to stop. They pulled over, exited their vehicle, and gawked at the eerie scene before them. They took photographs, which are now the only photographs of the crash site accessible to the public. One of the photographers observed loose change, a water bottle, and a broken necklace (later confirmed to be Brianna's) on the ground next to the vehicle's driver's side.
Afternoon: Vermont State Trooper is dispatched to Old Dutchburn House
At 1:22 pm on March 20th, a Vermont State Trooper was dispatched to the Dutchburn house. The Trooper observed some personal effects in the Oldsmobile, including two paychecks from the Black Lantern Inn addressed to Brianna Maitland, but the Trooper saw nothing he considered to be suspicious. The officer determined the car was likely abandoned by a drunk driver, a rather common and not necessarily alarming circumstance. He collected the scattered belongings on the ground and threw them into the vehicle. The Trooper then drove up to the Black Lantern, hoping to interview staff regarding the abandoned vehicle, but the restaurant was closed, and the officer proceeded with this day. He took down the tag number of the vehicle. The car was later towed to a local automotive shop. The officer never ran the plates. It's rumored he left for a short vacation the following day.
Brianna reported missing
Jillian Stout spent that weekend away at her grandparent's house and was unaware Brianna had not returned until she arrived home that Monday to see Brianna's note left untouched. On Tuesday, March 23rd Jillian called Brianna’s mother Kellie, and after sharing notes the two quickly realized Brianna was unaccounted for. Kellie made calls to everyone she could think of to try to reach Brianna, but no one had seen or heard from her. She called Brianna’s father, Bruce, who was away in New York on business. The two became desperately worried for their daughter's safety, and Bruce drove through the night to return to Vermont. Kellie called the police to report a missing juvenile.
Parent of Victim
Bruce Maitland receives tip about Brianna
Bruce Maitland, Brianna's father, received an anonymous tip four weeks after the disappearance. He was told Brianna was being held captive in a farmhouse on Reservoir Road in Berkshire, approximately ten miles from the Dutchburn house. Ryans and Jackson, who rented and occupied the home, were implicated in the disappearance. Bruce Maitland implored the Vermont State Police to search the property, prepared to gather men do so himself if they were unwilling. The Vermont State Police did raid the residence along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents and U.S. Border Patrol agents. Brianna wasn't there, and Ryans and Jackson denied having knowledge of her whereabouts.
Sand pit searched based on tip
Vermont state police resumed their search Monday for Brianna Maitland...
Investigators looked for her body in a Richford gravel pit after receiving a tip. Maitland was 17 when she disappeared in 2004...
She was last seen at work in Montgomery. Her car was found abandoned the next day..
Monday two dozen searchers scoured the area about three miles from where the car was found...
They had help from two cadaver search dogs brought in from Connecticut...
"This specific area is a sand pit and we have permission from the land owner to search this area, it's a sand pit that's surrounded by a wooded area," said Sgt. Tara Thomas of the Vermont State Police..
Maitland's father helped search teams Monday...
Police didn't find any evidence. More searches are planned..
Vermont State Police reveal they have DNA samples from Brianna's car
Vermont State Police and Othram Partner to Investigate Brianna Maitland's Disappearance
The Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit has partnered with Othram in the hopes of generating a lead using DNA evidence recovered during the investigation. Those with any information that could assist the case are encouraged to call the Vermont State Police at 802-524-5993. A fund has been established by Othram to cover the costs of testing for this case. This case is logged in NamUs as MP2030.