Patricia Hesse disappeared without explanation from her apartment in Rutland, Vermont, on November 9, 1981. There were no reported clues, and the case seemed to grow cold before the search even began. Patricia’s sister conducted her own investigation and believed that she knew who was responsible, but no one has been charged with a crime and Patricia’s disappearance remains unexplained.
On Monday, November 9, 1981, Patricia “Patti” Hesse went shopping at the Rutland Mall, where she bought a $200 fur coat. She returned to her apartment sometime in the afternoon and began to make dinner. Later in the evening, the building’s landlady entered Patricia’s apartment and found food burning on the stove; other food had been prepared and was left in the kitchen. Patricia was missing.
Patricia’s sister, Pamela, went to the police the next morning but was told Patricia wouldn’t be considered missing until after two days. When the two days had passed, the police began an investigation but did not find anything indicating a crime had been committed. Pamela was unable to determine if anything was missing from the apartment. The fur coat Patricia had purchased was hanging in her closet.
Two years after Patricia was last seen, Pamela told the Rutland Daily Herald that she had investigated the disappearance on her own. She was convinced Patricia was murdered and that she knew who was responsible. Pamela gave the police the evidence, although she knew it was not strong enough to take to court. “I’ve obviously let someone get away with something, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” she told the paper. Law enforcement continued to say there was no evidence of foul play in the case.
Patricia’s disappearance was briefly in the news again in April 1987 when a woman’s skeletal remains were found in Chittenden, about 17 miles from where Patricia lived. Authorities believed the skeleton might have been Patricia, but it was later identified as Catherine Maranville, who had been missing since 1983.
Patricia’s case has received little media attention, and no updates have been reported in decades. Her sister Pamela died in an accident in 2005.
At the time of her disappearance in 1981, Patricia was 35 years old. She was 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighed about 110 pounds. She had long blond hair and blue eyes. She was likely wearing a long grey trench coat and carrying a black purse when she disappeared.
Anyone with information about Patricia’s disappearance should contact the Rutland Police Department at (802) 773-1816 or the Vermont State Police Rutland Office at (802) 773-9101. Tips can also be submitted anonymously at vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit or by texting VTIPS to 274637 (CRIMES).
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