Mystery in the Mountains: ‘It became a homicide once the body was found’

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“She just crossed paths with a random act of evil… in a blizzard… on a January night in Vermont,” said Brad Hanson, Vermont State Police Cold Case Specialist.

January 10th, 1987, was the last time anyone saw Barbara Agnew alive. She was traveling back to Norwich from a day of skiing at Stratton Mountain. The 39-year-old pulled off into a rest stop on interstate I-91 in eastern Vermont near Hartford.

“Just ten miles from her home… that’s where her car was found abandoned and the door was found ajar. Inside the car, there was evidence to believe that foul play was suspected,” Hanson said.

According to Vermont State Police, just a few days after her car was found by the rest area attendant, it was towed.

Her late ex-husband, reported Agnew missing on January 14th, after receiving a call that didn’t sit well with him.

“The towing company attempted to get ahold of her to find out what was going on with her vehicle and they contacted him and that’s when a report was made that she was missing,” said Det. Sgt. Tyson Kinney, Vermont State Police Major Crimes Unit.

The two shared a 7-year-old son at the time.

A few days later, the rest area attendant didn’t find Agnew but found an important clue.

Barbara Agnew

“Clothes were located in the dumpster and they did have Ms. Agnew’s identification in it. They were able to find and identify the clothing and the objects in the dumpster and relate that back to Ms. Agnew,” said Det. Sgt. Kinney.

Vermont State Police then launched an extensive search for Barbara Agnew.

“Initially they coordinated the search around the efforts around the rest area, around her vehicle to make sure she wasn’t close by, and then once that was unsuccessful they reached out to family and friends combing the areas of known places for her,” said Det. Sgt. Kinney.

Investigators had been searching for Barbara Agnew for months, but it wasn’t until hikers walking on March 28, 1987 on Advent Hill Road in Hartland where they thought they spotted a pile of clothes. It was Barbara Agnew.

“It became a homicide once the body was found and an autopsy revealed that she had been stabbed to death,” said Hanson.

Investigators said the murder weapon has yet to be found but there was some evidence from inside the car.

“There were some fingerprints taken from inside the car that we have not been able to identify,” said Det. Sgt. Kinney.

Police said there aren’t many suspects.

“We have some people who are persons of interest, however, there is nothing that we can substantially say this is the person that we believed did it… and at the end of the day we just have to follow the evidence and see where it takes us,” said Det. Sgt. Kinney.

If you have any information regarding the murder of Barbara Agnew please contact Vermont State Police Major Crimes Unit.

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