“This is a small town. Nothing ever happens here. The only thing we got for crime around here is drugs. But something like this happening to a little girl – no, that doesn’t happen around here.” Shawn Harding – lifelong resident of Stewartstown
When looking at a map, Stewartstown, New Hampshire is as north (one mile from the Canadian border) as you can get, and still be in the United States.
Only 800 people living here. This past week a quiet, peaceful New England town has been awakened, disturbed by the disappearance of an 11-year-old fifth-grader, Celina Cass.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department divers found her body at 10:30 AM Monday in the Connecticut River near a hydroelectric dam.
NH Assistant Attorney General Jane Young made the discovery of Celina Cass formal in a news conference late yesterday.
One quote from Jane Young is particularly pertinent. “We are treating it as a criminal investigation based on what we know at this juncture.”
A candlelight vigil (one of many) in a park near Celina’s house brought together many members of this small community. All present remembered what a good teenager Celina Cass truly was.
She was an excellent student, liked to play basketball, and always tried to cheer up other students, especially if they were in a bad mood. By accounts in newspapers, she was a most conscientious student and worked very hard on her homework.
The trouble begins on Tuesday, July 27th, when it was discovered Celina Cass was missing. She was last seen Monday night at 9 PM playing on her computer.
It wasn’t mentioned who reported her missing or who saw her last on the computer. This omission seems significant (to me). Celina lived with her mother, older sister, and stepfather, Wendell Noyes.
An unusual sidebar, that may be unrelated to Celina’s death, is that the biological father, Adam Laro, was recently hospitalized, and now the stepfather, Wendell Noyes,
was taken away on a stretcher yesterday, when he was seen crawling about on the driveway of his house. Disclosures as to his condition(s) are forthcoming.
The search for the missing girl this past week has been thorough and intensive. More than 100 searchers, which included the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, have scrutinized every nick and cranny of Stewartstown to try and find Celina.
I get the impression it was only happenstance that led to the discovery of the body in the Connecticut River.
As far as a solution to what’s being called a crime now, much emphasis (on the talk shows) is being applied to the teenager having a Facebook account with 35 friends, some of which are being termed as questionable.
This may turn out to be so much barking up the wrong tree. Nonetheless, a quote from the teenager (on Facebook) handily gets your attention.
“You can’t stand to live with your family and you can’t stand to live without them.” This seems normal to me – some negative, some positive. But maybe there’s more to it?
Wendell Noyes, who has a history of mental and criminal issues, broke down on Monday for reasons of physical problems, or was it mental problems?
And why do we see a New Hampshire State Trooper winding yellow crime tape around the family home, when they initially said no signs of struggle were evident in this Stewartstown residence?