December 3, 2021

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Car, unidentified remains found in search for Massachusetts woman who vanished in 1982 – NBC News

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Divers searching for a young Massachusetts woman who vanished almost 40 years ago found human remains in a river, along with the missing woman’s work ID and parts of her car, officials said.

The discovery in around 8 to 10 feet of water in the Concord River in Billerica could finally provide an answer as to what happened to Judy Chartier after the 27-year-old left a party in the town on June 5, 1982.

The remains found in the river have not been identified, and a cause of death or if there was any foul play, has yet to be determined.

“For a long time, we knew where the story ended in those early morning hours,” Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said. “Now we have a conclusion as to where the car and these human remains were found, and the question now will be connecting that.”

Divers on Tuesday found parts of the 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger that Chartier was driving, and the vehicle identification number confirmed the pieces belonged to her car, Ryan said at a news conference.

On Wednesday, divers returned and found human remains and some personal items, including a purse or card case with Chartier’s work ID, she said.

Now the medical examiner’s office and state anthropologists will work to identify those remains and try to determine what happened, Ryan said.

Friends last reported seeing Chartier, of the town of Chelmsford near Lowell, leaving an outdoor party in Billerica at around 2 a.m.

The investigation is not over, officials said.

17-year-old Judy Chartier of Chelmsford, circa 1982.WBTS

“We’ve never closed the case,” Chelmsford Police Chief James Spinney said.

Chartier’s surviving family members have been informed, Ryan said. Her parents have died since she disappeared.

“As you can imagine, after all of these years — first to hear just a little bit of news yesterday that we’ve been able to locate the car, and then to hear this morning that we’ve found these human remains, is both heartening, in that they now have a sense of what happened to their sister, but also distressing in terms of all the years they have waited,” she said.

Part of what led to the discovery was sonar technology not available after she disappeared and in the decades since, Ryan said.

The area, described as between 50 to 75 yards into the river, had been an area of interest, she said.

The next steps into the investigation will involve talking to people who were at the party, and also people in the area who can shed light on what the area was like and what access there was to the river in the 1980s, Ryan said.

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