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Missing Man: William Paul Smolinski - CT - 08/24/2004

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Hearing on plan to change laws about missing adults

by News Channel 8's Jodi Latina

Posted Apr. 4, 2007

6:52 AM

(Hartford-WTNH) __ A Waterbury couple wants to change the way police handle adult missing persons cases, and today lawmakers will hold a public hearing on a bill designed to do just that.

The family of Billy Smolinski, a Waterbury man who went missing in 2004, says the measure would save lives or at least help families get answers.

A billboard of the missing Waterbury man was put up on Route 8 last week, three years after he disappeared and only after a group that helps families of missing adults stepped up.

Smolinski asked a neighbor to watch his dog back in 2004. He left his keys, wallet and car, and no one has seen him since.

Smolinski's parents say police made them wait three days to file a missing persons report and there was no Amber Alert. Authorities believed the 31-year old may have left on his own.

The Smolinski's want Connecticut law to include more training for law enforcement in dealing with missing persons, and they want a 48 hour window imposed in which a search would have to begin.

The FBI is now involved in the Smolinski case. This morning's hearing will involve national exposure. Representatives from the group Campaign for the Missing are expected to be here., Connecticut News and Weather - Hearing on plan to change laws about missing adults

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The Orange Bulletin - New legislation could help with finding missing adults

New legislation could help with finding missing adults

By: Marilyn Moss, Special to the Bulletin 04/05/2007

The unacknowledged epidemic of missing adults and unidentified remains is "the nation's silent disaster," according to the National Institute of Justice. Although the country has arduously worked to develop protections for missing children, the same cannot be said about efforts expended for missing adults. Yet statistics suggest that the number of missing adults is alarming. Figures available from the National Center for Missing Adults reveal that by the end of 2005, 109,531 people were missing in this country; nearly 47percent of those were 18 years or older.

In general, methods used by law enforcement to investigate the circumstances surrounding missing adults are left to the discretion of the agency, or even the agent. In addition, education about new technologies and new resources is insufficient. The lack of any standardized protocol and the inadequate training of law enforcement agents leaves distraught families of missing people without much recourse.

Connecticut is poised to initiate changes that will aid in the efforts to find missing adults. Vickie Nardello, the state representative from Bethany, has introduced a measure to standardize the methods that law enforcement agencies use when an adult is reported missing. Nardello said, "We do everything for kids, but we really have very little in the state for adults."

Stephen Dargan, the state representative from West Haven, co-sponsored the bill with Nardello. He said, "We really haven't dealt with adults that have gone missing."

Nardello began working to pass legislation after meeting with Janice Smolinski, a Cheshire mother whose 31-year-old son disappeared in 2004. Nardello, herself the mother of a 29-year-old daughter, visited Smolinski at her Cheshire home. Nardello said, "This legislation came about over a cup of tea with Janice Smolinski - mother to mother."

During that visit, Nardello heard the troubling story about Smolinski's missing son, Billy Smolinski. Smolinski's son disappeared from his home in Waterbury 2 1/2 years ago, . Despite the family's concern, the Waterbury Police Department did not take the incident seriously. Smolinski said, "The police figured he was out and about."

By the time the police began any serious investigating, more than 10 days had passed. And the investigation that was conducted was flawed the mother said. At Smolinski's insistence, the police took DNA samples from the family. Smolinski said, "The police took our DNA, but they lost or misplaced our DNA three times. And no one knows what happened to the razor shavings they took from Billy's house."

Smolinski continued to urge the police to thoroughly investigate the case, but she became disenfranchised when she learned that none of the collected DNA was ever entered into CODIS or combined DNA index system. CODIS is a national database that compiles DNA evidence for missing persons and unidentified remains. DNA downloaded by law enforcement agencies can be matched against DNA entered elsewhere. This can potentially lead to the whereabouts of the missing person.

Smolinski was appalled that the police were not familiar with or chose not to use CODIS, or, for that matter, other systems used to help locate missing persons. Some of those resources, which are linked nationally, include: NCIC or National Crime Information Center, which compiles details about missing person cases; and IAFIS or the automated fingerprint identification system.

In frustration and despair, Smolinski struck out on her own, attending conferences, making phone calls, talking to other affected families, and trying to raise awareness of the issues surrounding missing adults.

Smolinski is now involved in a national grass roots initative, Campaign for the Missing, (a Project Jason program) which strives for changes in the way missing adult cases are handled. Campaign for the Missing is presently focusing on implementing legislation in a number of states to codify methods for handling missing adults. During Smolinski's Connecticut efforts, she connected with Nardello.

Nardello, after talking with Smolinski, became concerned about the deficiencies in the system. She, along with Dargon, put forth House Bill 5273 to deal with missing adults. The proposal, modeled on New Jersey legislation, outlines specific protocols for handling missing adult cases.

Highlights of the bill include:

* Law enforcement agencies accept reports of missing adults without delay Classify "high risk" cases

* those with health issues or other impairments

* those missing under suspicious conditions

* those missing under unknown conditions

* those missing for more than 30 days

* LEA enter information, including DNA, into appropriate federal databases

* LEA keep families informed

* LEA educate families about national resources for missing adults

* Commissioner of Public Safety distributes education/training for LEA

* Unidentified remains cannot be cremated

* Charge of criminal mischief in the second degree for interference with efforts

This last item seems odd, but an odd thing happened to the Smolinskis. The family, anxious for news about Billy Smolinski and getting little help from the Waterbury police, hung missing person posters in local towns, like Woodbridge.

Woodbridge was included because Billy Smolinski had been involved with a town resident, Madeline Gleason. According to the family, Gleason and Smolinski had broken up just days prior to his disappearance because of Gleason's ongoing involvement with another man, also a Woodbridge resident.

When the Smolinskis returned to Woodbridge, they found the posters missing or defaced. Subsequent investigation revealed that Gleason was responsible. Gleason admitted in a police incident report that she had torn down the posters and, according to the report, stated that "she will continue to tear them down if she sees them posted."

The friction between Gleason and the Smolinskis escalated and spun out of control. Eventually, Smolinski found herself under arrest by the Woodbridge police for criminal trespass in the first degree. Those charges were subsequently dismissed, but Smolinski now faces a harassment lawsuit filed by Gleason.

To this day, the Smolinskis continue to hang Billy Smolinski's posters, and those posters continue to be torn down. Janice Smolinski has pleaded for help, saying, "This shameful act cannot go on. I'm just trying to find my son."

Nardello praised Smolinski's efforts, even in the face of such obstacles. Nardello said it was a privilege to work with someone like Smolinski, who pushed for actions to help other families of missing adults. Nardello said, "This won't help Billy, but at least Janice Smolinski worked on an effort so that no other parent would have to go through what she did."

Dargon said, "I know this is important legislation. I'm going to do everything I can to get this passed."

Nardello is optimistic about the bill's passage. She said, "While the Smolinski family has been through a terrible ordeal, their experience can serve as a catalyst for change that will benefit all of Connecticut's families."

The law is presently being reviewed by the Judiciary Committee of the state legislature. A public hearing was scheduled for April 4.

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The Orange Bulletin - THE WOODBRIDGE CONNECTION:The trail of a missing Waterbury man

THE WOODBRIDGE CONNECTION:The trail of a missing Waterbury man

By: Marilyn Moss, Special to the Bulletin 04/19/2007

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Billy Smolinski, a Waterbury man missing since August 2004, has received intense scrutiny recently. Presently, the state legislature, prompted by the story of Smolinski's disappearance, is considering a bill to improve methods for handling missing adult cases. In addition, on April 11, the Waterbury Police Department, under orders of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, released its records concerning the investigation of Smolinski's disappearance to the public.

In those records, Madeline Gleason and Christian Sorensen, both Woodbridge residents, are mentioned in connection with the investigation.

According to the police records, as of August 2004, Smolinski had been involved in a yearlong relationship with Gleason, a Woodbridge school bus driver for B&B Transportation. During that same period of time, Gleason had also been involved with Sorensen, another Woodbridge school bus driver and a former member of the Board of Selectmen. According to the police reports, Gleason said that Smolinski broke off the relationship during the week preceding his disappearance when he learned about Gleason's relationship with Sorensen.

Gleason last saw Smolinski on Aug. 24 2004, the day he disappeared. On that same day, Sorensen's phone records revealed three calls from Smolinski. According to the police reports, Smolinski left a threatening message on the answering machine, saying, "Chris you better watch your back."

Sorensen, who was interviewed by the Waterbury police, admitted having a relationship with Gleason. Sorensen maintained, however, that he had no personal interaction with Smolinski. Initially, Sorensen denied any trouble with Smolinski, but he subsequently told police that Smolinski was responsible for breaking windows on Sorensen's bus several months earlier.

Almost immediately following Smolinski's disappearance, the Smolinski family began hanging missing person posters of Billy Smolinski in Woodbridge, as well as other surrounding towns. Those posters were torn down repeatedly. Although Gleason denied tearing down posters in a Waterbury police report dated Aug. 5, 2005, Gleason admitted to tearing down the posters in a Woodbridge police report dated Nov. 22 2004. That report states that Gleason said, "... she will continue to tear them down if she sees them posted."

After months of this poster battle, the Woodbridge police arrested Janice Smolinski, the mother of the missing man, for criminal trespass. According to the Woodbridge Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Frank Cappiello, the warrant was an attempt to quiet things down. "We were trying to defuse the situation," he said.

Those charges were subsequently dismissed at trial. However, Janice Smolinski and her daughter, Paula Bell, are facing litigation filed by Gleason and her employer, B&B Transportation. The suit claims that the Smolinskis harassed the plaintiffs.

The suit was filed in August 2006, but the Smolinskis have continued to hang missing person posters. And those posters continue to be torn down.

During the investigation by the Waterbury police, Gleason also told the police that one of Sorensen's friends, whom she refused to identify, had received a call on or about Aug. 29, 2004, from a Hartford payphone.

According to Gleason's report, the caller said, "Tell Chris to watch his back."

In that same report, Gleason said that she had received a number of hang-up calls from Rhode Island, but she had not saved the phone numbers on her caller ID. Gleason did tell the police that Smolinski "was an outdoorsman and loved to hike in the woods, and he knew how to survive in the woods."

The released police records all revealed that an Oxford man contacted "Crime Stoppers" in June 2006 in response to a segment aired about Billy Smolinski. The Waterbury police subsequently interviewed the individual, who preferred to remain unnamed. According to the police report, this individual said that in October 2004 he was told by a close friend of Shaun Karpiuk, Gleason's son who died in February 2005, that Karpiuk choked Smolinski to death at Gleason's apartment. The body was buried at a construction site in Shelton; the grave site was covered with concrete the following day. "I basically believe that that's what happened. That's why I went to the police," the man said, who had once been an employer of Karpiuk.

Although the Waterbury police drove by the area, no further action was taken, according to the police records.

The investigation was taken over by the FBI in August 2006. The FBI had no comment about the ongoing investigation when contacted on April 13. When asked about the above information concerning Karpiuk, however, a spokeswoman for the FBI, MaryBeth Miklof, said, "We're still receiving information from the Waterbury Police Department."

Despite efforts to contact Gleason and Sorensen, neither of those individuals chose to respond.

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Family of missing man hope to see police reports

Posted Apr. 11, 2007

Updated 3:50 PM

(Hartford-WTNH) _ A Waterbury family may finally be allowed to pour over police documents in the investigation of their son's disappearance.

At a Freedom of Information Commission hearing today in Hartford, commissioners voted unanimously to release documents related to the Billy Smolinski case.

A private investigator, hired by the Smolinski family, filed the Freedom of Information request. He wanted police records surrounding Billy's case opened so he that could see what leads were pursued.

The Waterbury police department has the chance to appeal the commission's decision and does not have to release the documents until the appeal process is over.

The 31-year-old disappeared three and a half years ago. His parents say their son left behind his car keys, his wallet and his truck. It is a case that them to this day, because they believe Billy was murdered and until now they have not received any clear answers.

A highway billboard has been put up just outside Waterbury city limits to generate interest in the Smolinski case., Connecticut News and Weather - Family of missing man hope to see police reports

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WATERBURY: Police release file on missing man

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The state Freedom of Information commission on Wednesday ordered the release of much of the police investigative file in the case of Billy Smolinski Jr., a Waterbury man who disappeared nearly three years ago.

The file included statements from those who had seen Smolinski in the days leading to Aug. 24, 2004, when the then-31-year-old Naugatuck native was last seen. The documents detail leads and tips chased down by Waterbury police, from September 2004 through June of last year. Waterbury police said last August that they had "exhausted all avenues of investigation available to us" and were turning the case over to the FBI.

A FBI spokeswoman said Wednesday the agency is investigating the case, and they continue to receive information from Waterbury police.

She declined to answer any other questions.

Across all 14 of the written reports made public Wednesday, the offense listed was "missing person."

Smolinski's family has long said they believe something bad must have happened to him, that he would not just leave.

Information contained in the documents released Wednesday did nothing to change that belief, said Janice Smolinski, the missing man's mother, as she huddled over the pages alongside her husband, journalists and private investigators.

Later, she reflected, "It was just an emotional day. We really need to sort through it."

A few documents were withheld from the public. It was unclear what they contained.

Witnesses' statements to police weave a tale of a love triangle that entangled Smolinski before his disappearance, a break-up he was upset about, as well as one tip police received that Smolinski may have been murdered.

So far, no arrests have been made and investigators previously have said they were not certain a crime occurred.

A Waterbury police spokesman reserved commenting Wednesday night, other than to say that the city department passed its information to the FBI, and some of that information was being investigated actively by the federal agency.

Andy Thibault, a Litchfield private investigator who writes the Web log about public safety issues called the Cool Justice Report, filed a Freedom of Information complaint seeking the police documents about eight months ago.

Thibault said he hopes to assess the contents in coming days to determine, among other things, the vigor with which police pursued this case.

"At this point, we have more questions than answers," Thibault said.

"The Waterbury Connecticut Republican American Newspaper"

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The Waterbury Observer - Buried Secrets

Buried Secrets


She couldn't go.

Janice Smolinski knew that if she drove to Shelton she'd be on her knees clawing at the earth to uncover Billy. No, she couldn't go, Janice and her husband Bill had to first process the devastating information they had just read in the Waterbury police report. After three years of searching for their 31 year old son, the Smolinskis now believed they knew what happened to Billy when he vanished from his life in August 2004. The moment that Bill and Janice Smolinski had long sought was here, but it wasn't playing out the way they'd imagined.

Instead of a personal visit to their home by FBI agents, the Smolinskis were in the middle of the Barnes and Noble Cafe in downtown Waterbury sitting with five journalists and a private investigator. Three coffee tables had been pressed together to accommodate the gathering. The group was surrounded by customers playing chess, holding book discussions, studying for tests, or thumbing through potential $25 hardback purchases. The bizarre surroundings made perfect sense in a case fraught with absurdity.

From the very beginning Bill and Janice Smolinski had difficulty getting the Waterbury Police Department to take Billy's disappearance seriously. Problem #1 was that Billy was a physically fit 31 year old male who appeared capable of fending for himself. Problem #2 was that Billy's neighbor had told police that Billy had headed north for a few days to check out a car, and had asked the neighbor to care for his German Shepherd, Harley. In the morning when the neighbor went over to Billy's house to feed Harley he was unable to get into the house. The spare key that was supposed to be under a mat wasn't there. The neighbor called Mary Ellen Noble, who also cared for Harley, and within minutes an alarm blared through the Smolinski family.

Billy would not have left his dog locked in his house unattended, his parents said. Billy didn't need a new car, and he wouldn't have traveled north without telling his family. The Smolinskis are a close family and Billy lived with his parents into his late 20s. Bill and Janice Smolinski immediately recognized something was wrong, but were unable to get the Waterbury Police Department to share their concern. Law enforcement officers across the country go into a heightened state of alert if a child goes missing. The media snaps to attention when children, or attractive young women disappear, but when a vigorous 31 year old man goes missing, nobody cares.

Except his family.

They organized city-wide searches, brought in dogs, hired private investigators, listened to psychics and hung thousands of missing person posters around Connecticut. But they couldn't capture the attention of the Waterbury Police Department, who told the family that Billy would show up back home when he was ready. The police noted that Billy had been wrestling with issues in his personal life at the time of his disappearance - romance problems and the loss of a job - and speculated he had either fled town, or committed suicide. The Smolinskis didn't buy it.

After two weeks the Waterbury police finally started to act when Paula Bell, Billy's younger sister, stormed the detective bureau and demanded that someone pay attention to Billy's disappearance. Within hours a detective found Billy's wallet and keys stuffed underneath the driver's seat of his truck. The family's hope began to sink.

At the time of Billy's disappearance he was involved in a love triangle with Madeleine Gleason, a bus driver in Woodbridge, and Chris Sorensen, an elected official in Woodbridge. Billy had been dating Madeleine for a year and had recently discovered that she was also involved with Sorensen, a married man. A search through Billy's phone records revealed that the last phone call he placed before he vanished was to Chris Sorensen's house in Woodbridge.

Sorensen and Gleason were brought down to police headquarters on East Main Street for questioning. Sorensen brought in his answering machine that contained a threatening message from someone telling him to "watch his back."

Billy's sister Paula listened to the recording and confirmed to detectives that it was her brother's voice on the answering machine.

By September 2004 the Waterbury Police Department had confirmed that Billy was involved in a love triangle and had threatened his male rival on the day he vanished. The police questioned Sorensen and Gleason, and without giving them a lie detector test, concluded they had nothing to do with Billy's disappearance. It didn't matter that Madeleine Gleason's son, Shaun Karpuik, was a former grave digger now employed in landscaping and construction. It didn't matter that Chris Sorensen was involved in a long distance trucking company.

With enough clues to send Sherlock Holmes into orbit, detectives inside the Waterbury Police Department told the Smolinskis they suspected "no foul play" and their investigation was stymied.

Janice and Bill Smolinski were stunned.

Click on the link provided above to read the complete article.

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House passes bill to improve investigations of missing people

Posted May 22, 2007

3:40 PM

(Hartford-AP) _ The state House of Representatives has unanimously approved a bill that would improve standards for how police investigate missing person cases.

The legislation is in response to the case of Billy Smolinski, a 31-year-old Waterbury resident who disappeared in 2004 and has yet to be found.

Smolinski's family says police made them wait three days to report his disappearance, and authorities lost or misplaced Billy Smolinski's DNA samples three times. His relatives also say they had to pressure police to fingerprint his truck.

The House approved the bill 148-0 and sent it to the Senate.

Representative Vickie Nardello of Prospect urged the House to approve the bill, saying no one should have to go through what the Smolinski family went through. The legislation would require the state's Police Officer Standards and Training Council to develop guidelines by next January for how police accept missing persons reports and what information they should provide to victims' families.

Several other states are considering similar laws.

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May 22 2007 3:40 PM

Proposed bill would change police procedures on missing persons cases

HARTFORD (AP) — Police departments statewide would have to change the way they handle missing persons cases under a bill that the House of Representatives approved unanimously today.

The legislation, which now heads to the Senate, requires the state’s Police Officer Standards and Training Council to develop a policy by Jan. 1, 2008, on how municipal departments should handle such cases.

The policy would include guidelines for accepting reports, the kind of information police must collect, and what details police should provide to anyone reporting a missing person and to the person’s relatives.

The bill was spurred by Waterbury resident Janice Smolinski, whose 31-year-old son Billy disappeared in 2004.

Police made her family wait three days to report his disappearance, and authorities later lost or misplaced DNA samples — including Billy Smolinski’s razor shavings — three times, Janice Smolinski said.

The family organized search parties and had to pressure police to fingerprint Billy Smolinski’s truck, his mother said.

The legislation, which the House approved 148-0, is part of a national grass-roots effort to lobby for more consistent laws for handling missing adult cases.

"No one should have to go through what the Smolinski family went through," said Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect.

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Legislature approves bill to improve missing persons investigations

Posted June 4, 2007

10:20 PM

(Hartford-AP) _ State lawmakers have approved a plan they say will improve how police investigate missing person cases and how information is released to victims' families.

The Senate voted 36-0 in favor of the bill and sent it to Governor Rell. The House approved it unanimously last month.

The legislation would require the state's Police Officer Standards and Training Council to develop new policies for municipal departments by next January. The policies would include guidelines for accepting reports, the kind of information police must collect and what details police should provide to relatives of people who have vanished.

The bill was spurred by Waterbury resident Janice Smolinski, whose 31-year-old son Billy disappeared in 2004 and remains missing. Janice Smolinski says police made her family wait three days to report his disappearance, and authorities later lost or misplaced DNA samples three times. She also says the family had to organize its own search parties and pressure police to fingerprint Billy Smolinski's truck.

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From the family:

"Candle Light Vigil For William Paul Smolinski Jr. (Billy)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

6:30 pm

On The Green, Naugatuck CT 06770

If you can please join our Family for an evening of prayer. It will be three years that Billy has been missing and your presence would be greatly appreciated. If you are unable to attend please remember Billy in your own personal thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely The Smolinski Family

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Missing people's families await new Connecticut law

She considers Gov. M. Jodi Rell's signing of what Smolinski calls the "watered down version of the bill" last month a small victory. The initial bill, as submitted, would have mandated a uniform set of procedures, covering everything from the dissemination of information to the submission of DNA samples from coroners and medical examiners.

NORWICH -- Families of missing loved ones are counting on a new state law to provide peace of mind when it comes to the law enforcement's handling of the cases.

Janice Smolinski of Cheshire spearheaded passage of the bill in the wake of the Aug. 24, 2004, disappearance of her son, William "Billy" Smolinski, 31, and what she said was a pattern of inaction by Waterbury police in the subsequent investigation.

"There is not a uniform national procedure for investigating these cases," Smolinski said. "I'm pushing to get Washington to make it a national issue. If we can just get people to grab hands here. It's not just a local issue."

The final version of Connecticut's bill rests with the Connecticut's Police Officer Standards and Training Council, which will develop and implement a policy by Jan. 1. The board is in charge of training and requirements for municipal officers across the state.

Executive Director Thomas Flaherty said the board is researching the document and will look at policies other states have in place as well as guidelines used by such organizations as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"We plan to draw from all available resources in deciding what's appropriate," Flaherty said.

While state police follow a prescribed set of policies, there are no uniform guidelines for local police departments. Juvenile cases typically are handled with immediacy, but cases of missing adults sometimes are lost in the shuffle or not taken as seriously.

As of Jan. 1, there were 110,484 active missing persons cases in the FBI's National Crime Information Center.

Carol Cirioni of Norwich also believes the fact her missing daughter is an adult hasn't helped that case progress. Erika Cirioni, 27, a mother of two, has been missing since Dec. 31.

"I don't care how old they are, they're still our children," Cirioni said in tears Tuesday. "I just hope they're checking."

Norwich Police Lt. Stephany Bakoulis said missing persons reports are handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances. Because of Cirioni's history of substance abuse, the case has risen to the level of endangered missing. Because of a different, and complex set of circumstances, Billy Smolinski also is identified as endangered.

Divers search riverSeveral times city police detectives have acted on tips, searching areas for signs of Cirioni. Last month, divers searched the Thames River after a tuft of hair was discovered by a fisherman. Bakoulis said the DNA was tested and was not a match with Cirioni.

Smolinski and Cirioni say they have little hope of seeing their children alive again.

Kelly Jolkowski, president and founder of Project Jason, said the organization's Campaign for the Missing is focused on passing model legislation in each state to allow agencies across the country to use the best procedures and technology to help find the missing. Her son, Jason, 19, disappeared from her driveway June 13, 2001.

Janice Smolinski is a volunteer with the organization.

Jolkowski awaits to see the final outcome of Connecticut's law and wants to know if there are provisions requiring coroner and medical examiners to take DNA samples before disposing of bodies.

She said procedures for investigating missing person cases are minimal at best in many departments across the country. Without training and education for these departments, many of the missing will remain so, she said.

"We need to use DNA as a tool to resolve cases using the CODIS (the FBI's Combined DNA Index System)," she said. "Many time, bodies are found but never reported to other agencies. A lot of these unidentified bodies could be our loved ones and we don't know it. Thousands of these bodies have been disposed of and we'll never know the answer."

"It's not just Connecticut, it's across the board," Jolkowski said. "This is 2007. We have the technology, why aren't we using it?"

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Vigil Remembers Billy Smolinski

Waterbury Man Disappeared Three Years Ago

POSTED: 4:45 pm EDT August 27, 2007

Smolinski disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004. Three years later, many questions remain unanswered as to about what happened to the 31-year- old Waterbury man.

"With family and friends gathered together, it gives us the strength to continue on. There is someone out there that knows what happened to Billy and we need them to come forward," Smolinski's mother, Janice, said.

Janice Smolinski has been working to convince lawmakers to pass legislation that would improve investigating standards in cases like her son's.

If you have information regarding this investigation, contact Waterbury police by dialing 203-755-1234.

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From the Family:

"We are pleased to announce William (Billy) Smolinski Jr. will be aired briefly on the "Without a Trace Show" at 10:00 PM Eastern time Thursday evening, September 13. Following morning there will be an interview with our FBI special agents discussing Billy's case on the "Early Show" at 7:18 AM eastern time. All will be shown on CBS. Thank you CBS and FBI for making this happen. Time is coming when we will be getting our answers as to what happened to our Billy. Please say a prayer that the truth will be revealed soon. With much appreciation,

Faith & Always Hope,

Bill & Jan Smolinski "

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CBS Show Includes Profile For Smolinski

'Without A Trace' Features Missing Conn. Man

POSTED: 4:08 pm EDT September 14, 2007

UPDATED: 4:44 pm EDT September 14, 2007

Billy Smolinski Jr. disappeared in Aug. 24, 2004. Three years later, his whereabouts remain unknown.

The Smolinski family has posted fliers, held vigils and erected billboards since the 31-year-old's disappearance from his Waterbury home after returning from a trip to Florida with his girlfriend.

The CBS show "Without a Trace" featured Smolinski's missing profile during the program this week. "The CBS Early Show" then aired a report updating the search for Smolinski.

Janice Smolinski and her husband, William, are keeping the faith their son will be found.

"Billy was our son. And, how could you give up on a child? You can't," Janice Smolinski told Eyewitness News in May. "We're not giving up."

The FBI calls it a difficult case, CBS News Early Show reporter Bianca Solorzano reported.

"Essentially, the man just disappeared off the face of the Earth," FBI Special Agent Bill Aldenberg told CBS News. "There are suspects, based on tips and based on interviews and based on investigations that we've conducted."

Searches throughout western Connecticut have turned up nothing, but the family is holding out hope.

"It's worse not knowing because the pain doesn't go away," Janice Smolinski told CBS News. "It's like suffering a loss day in and day out."

Anyone with information regarding the investigation into Smolinski's whereabouts can anonymously call the FBI at 203-777-6311, or visit the Web site created by his family.

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She's On A Mission For The Missing


You know those sad stories about missing persons and mothers and fathers who can't stop talking about sons or daughters who have vanished?

I listen, change the channel, and move on. Don't you?

And that, said Janice Smolinski - the mother of a missing Waterbury man - is the problem. People, police included, don't take these cases seriously enough.

It's too easy to think of them in Hawaii or just hiding out, fleeing a life gone sour. As a result precious time is wasted, evidence is lost and connections are missed.

Janice's son Billy disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004. It took weeks before police treated Billy Smolinski as anything more than a routine case of young-guy-feeling-his-oats. Fingerprints weren't taken, DNA samples were lost or misplaced.

Janice Smolinski believes Billy, 31 when he vanished, is almost certainly dead. There have been no arrests. Critical information about him still has not been entered into nationwide law enforcement computer databases.

"I've learned that our system is much less organized," said Smolinski, whose burning intensity is there in her small dark eyes that keep staring back at me, unblinking. She is a mother who won't forget, who has taken on a cause larger than her own loss.

"You have to question everything," Smolinski told me.

Would you believe that the real world isn't like an episode of "CSI?" You can't punch up a computer file and find the answer.

There are more than 100,000 missing persons cases across the country and about 40,000 unidentified bodies out there. A federally funded national database that matches DNA of the missing and the found bodies has but a few thousand participants.

The truth is that investigators often never collect DNA of relatives of the missing and from the thousands of bodies that turn up.

Fingerprints, dental records and other important "markers" also could be entered into another national database.

"Most of it is not getting entered. It's just a matter of participation and understanding," said William Hagmaier, executive director of the International Homicide Investigators Association. "Those databases can solve a whole lot of problems."

Responding - a little - to Smolinski, state legislators passed a lukewarm law this year that sets guidelines for police investigators to follow when a missing person report comes in.

"It won't be mandated. It will be recommended," said state Rep. Vickie Nardello, whose district includes Janice Smolinski's hometown of Cheshire. "There is agreement that clearly we need change."

Smolinski and others such as George Adams, who runs the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, say police must be required to take part.

Adams' program collects the DNA data and enters it into the national database. It is woefully underutilized, even though the federal government pays for everything down to the swab kits used to collect DNA samples.

"This is simple and practical and it doesn't cost anything," Adams said.

Smolinski, meanwhile, keeps up her campaign, meeting with politicians and activists and connecting to a national network of families of missing persons.

It won't bring Billy back, but it could bring changes that lead to the arrest of violent criminals.

"Good has to come out of bad here," Smolinski vowed. "I can't sit back and watch this happen. I'm just going to keep on pushing until something happens."

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Music for the missing

By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff  |  November 1, 2007

Two local singer-songwriters - Jodi Griffith of Weymouth and Grace Morrison of Wareham - will perform tonight at the Beachcomber in Quincy as part of the Squeaky Wheel Tour, a national concert series that raises awareness about missing people.

During the show, they will ask attendees to post fliers in their communities to help find three New Englanders.

One is from Quincy: a 14-year-old girl named Soomaiiah Quraiishi. She was last seen on April 13, 2001. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, authorities believe she was abducted by a family member and taken overseas, perhaps to Lebanon, Syria, or Pakistan.

The Squeaky Wheel Tour is an annual event that was founded in 2001 by Jannel Rap, a singer-songwriter from southern California. The concert series and website ( were established in honor of her sister, Gina Bos, who vanished on Oct. 17, 2000.

Griffith got involved in the Squeaky Wheel Tour about a month ago, after she received an e-mail from Rap.

"I jumped at the opportunity because this is one of my goals in life, to help people with my music," said Griffith.

The other two missing people who will be highlighted at tonight's concert are William Paul Smolinski Jr. and Mary Edna Badaracco - both from Connecticut.

Smolinski was 31 when he disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004. He was last seen at his home on Holly Street in Waterbury, Conn., and his personal belongings were left behind at his home. He was never seen again.

Badaracco was 38 when she disappeared on Aug. 20, 1984. She would now be 61. She was last seen at her home in Sherman, Conn., and her husband reported her missing when he returned home from work. Her car was still at the house, its windshield smashed. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Badaracco's disappearance.

Griffith has been posting fliers about the coming show and missing person posters at businesses and schools in Quincy and Weymouth. "When I was handing out fliers, there were a lot of people concerned about the people who are missing," she said.

She's hoping tonight's show will generate more buzz around these three missing people, and uncover information that can help investigators locate them. "I've gotten a lot of feedback," she said. "I think it will generate some response."

The show is free and starts 9 p.m. The Beachcomber is at 797 Quincy Shore Drive, in Quincy. For more information, visit

Anyone with information about Quraiishi should contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or the Quincy Police Department at 617-479-1212.

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In A Bizarre Twist, Billy Smolinski's ex-girlfriend, Madeleine Gleason, sues the Smolinski family, and The Waterbury Observer

Column By John Murray


How much abuse can Janice and Bill Smolinski take?

The Waterbury Police Department failed them, the political process is messing with their heads, and now they find themselves trapped in a lawsuit filed by their sons ex-girlfriend that amounts to legalized extortion.

This extraordinary story began three years ago when Janice and Bills 31-year-old son disappeared in Waterbury. The Smolinskis were unable to get local authorities to treat the situation seriously, and their own efforts to find Billy have been thwarted by sloppy police work, bungled science, and a national missing person network with holes large enough for a herd of elephants to stampede through.

Everywhere they turned for help they crashed into a wall of incompetence. Their faith in the system is shattered.

Everything that could go wrong in this case has gone wrong, Janice Smolinski said. Everything.

The Smolinskis are convinced their son was murdered three years ago. At the time of his disappearance Billy Smolinski was involved in a love triangle with enough haunting circumstances to launch a Stephen King novel. Billy was dating an older woman, Madeleine Gleason, who was 16 years his senior. After dating for more than a year, Billy discovered Madeleine was also involved with a married Woodbridge politician named Chris Sorensen.

Billy and Madeleine argued, and broke up. Billy left a threatening message on Sorensens answering machine telling him to watch his back, and a few hours later Billy vanished off the face of the earth.

Janice and Bill Smolinski dont know the details of what happened to their son on August 24th, 2004, but they believe he was murdered and his body buried somewhere in the lower Naugatuck Valley.

A tip called into CrimeStoppers, and subsequently released by the Freedom of Information Commission, fingers Madeleine Gleasons son, Shaun Karpuik, as the murderer. The information given to CrimeStoppers was highly detailed and alleged that Karpuik, with help from at least one friend, strangled Billy inside Madeleines apartment.

Karpuik was a former grave digger in Seymour, and at the time of Billys disappearance Karpuik was working for a landscaping company and had ready access to heavy earth moving equipment.

Three months after Billy Smolinski vanished, Shaun Karpuik died of a drug overdose in Waterbury. The FBI seized control of the investigation in August 2006, and earlier this year they excavated several sites in Shelton in an unsuccessful effort to unearth the remains of Billy Smolinski. The federal investigation is ongoing.


Several days after Billy disappeared the Smolinski family, unable to get the attention of Waterbury police, launched their own search. They scoured the banks of the Naugatuck River and combed through all the spots they knew Billy loved.

The Smolinskis hung missing person posters throughout western Connecticut, and followed up on every lead that came their way. A month later reports started filtering in from several towns that someone was tearing down Billys missing person posters. Janice and Bill drove around Ansonia, Seymour and Woodbridge, and discovered that dozens of posters had been removed.

Eventually a witness in Amity caught a woman standing on the bumper of her car tearing down a poster and jotted down the license plate number. The vandal turned out to be Madeleine Gleason, Billys ex-girlfriend.

Thats when the chaos started. Janice Smolinski said. We brought the information to the Waterbury police department and the Woodbridge police department and they were both totally disinterested.

So the Smolinskis set up a surveillance operation and videotaped Madeleine tearing down the posters. The family would hang them up, and at night Madeleine and one of her friends would tear them down. In addition to ripping posters off telephone poles Gleason eventually began slashing Billys face on the poster and spray painting Who cares?.

We couldnt understand why she was doing this, Janice Smolinski said. Our son was missing and instead of helping us find him, she drove around slashing his photograph. Why would anybody do that?

Unable to get any police assistance, the Smolinskis continued the cat and mouse game for months, convinced that Madeleine knew something about Billys disappearance. The game grew so bold that Janice would hang a poster on a telephone pole and Madeleine would walk up and rip it down right in Janices face.

In a world turned upside down, the confrontation ended when Janice Smolinski was arrested by Woodbridge police for harassment. Gleason lived in Woodbridge and was a school bus driver in town. Sorensen, the other part of the love triangle, was an elected official in Woodbridge, and a prominent businessman involved in running a long distance trucking company. Janice had dared to enter the lions den in search of her son, and she was bitten. The charges against Janice were eventually dropped, but not before the soft-spoken woman was booked and fingerprinted. She was told to stay out of Woodbridge.

In March 2006 the Observer published a five page investigative piece on the case entitled Gone, airing out explosive details of the love triangle, and exposing the inept police investigation into Billys disappearance. There were impossibly strong leads to follow in the case, yet Waterbury detectives said their investigation had stalled. Deputy Chief Jimmy Egan had the nerve to say that Billy was probably having a beer somewhere in Europe.

Three months after the story was published Madeleine Gleason and B and B Transportation (her employer) filed a lawsuit against Janice Smolinski, Paula Bell (Billys sister) and The Waterbury Observer for harassment and invasion of privacy. One month later the FBI took over the investigation into Billys disappearance and the lawsuit went silent for 14 months, until a few weeks ago.

A judge called the lawyers together on November 15th in a move my lawyer, Atty. Mark Lee, said was a simple procedure to see where the lawsuit stood. Atty. Lee and the Smolinskis lawyer both said we didnt have to be present, and I went out of town on a previously scheduled trip to Ohio. I missed the unexpected fireworks.

Despite our lawyers statements that we didnt need to be present, Bill and Janice Smolinski, and their daughter, Paula Bell, went to Superior Court in New Haven to see what would happen. Madeleine Gleason showed up with high powered lawyer John Williams, who decades earlier had built a reputation by challenging police corruption, and defending the Black Panthers in New Haven.

As the proceedings began the judge unexpectedly tried to settle the case on the spot. Instead of dismissing an outrageous and baseless lawsuit, the judge asked Atty. Williams what his client needed to settle the case.

The response was $115,000 from the Smolinskis, and $115,000 from the Observer. After some wrangling Atty. Williams set his clients final demand at $25,000 for Gleason and $5000 for B and B Transportation. The offer was quickly refused.

The charges against Janice Smolinski and Paula Bell is a he said - she said story. Gleason accuses the two women of systematic harassment that led to emotional distress. She has no proof to back up her allegations and Janice and Paula state the charges are total lies.

The charges against the Observer are more specific and easier to decipher. The paper is accused of invasion of privacy for publishing the sordid details of Gleasons life - which are all true - and for publishing photographs of her tearing down missing person flyers in public.

The charges are ludicrous. For nine months Madeleine Gleason destroyed hundreds of missing person posters of Billy Smolinski in broad daylight - in public - having the nerve to tear them down in the face of a grieving and distraught mother. The Smolinskis have videotape of Gleason stopping her school bus to tear down flyers. A Woodbridge police report names Gleason as a suspect in the disappearance of Billy Smolinski. The report said she would remain a suspect until she took a polygraph test. She has never taken the test, so she remains a suspect. A document released by the FOI Commission alleges that Billy Smolinski was murdered in Madeleine Gleasons apartment.

And Madeleine Gleason is the one filing a lawsuit?

It reminds me of a case a lawyer friend had back in 1992. She had just been hired by a local firm that specialized in personal injury law and her first client was a real slug. Her client had been intoxicated, sped through a red light and crashed into another car. He claimed damages and wanted to file a lawsuit. My friend was shocked, but her boss told her to file the lawsuit. The insurance company eventually settled for $10,000 rather than pay expensive legal fees to fight the case. It made no sense to her, or to me.

And thats the situation the Smolinskis find themselves in now. There is no way Madeleine Gleason could ever win her lawsuit against the Smolinskis, or the Observer, but that doesnt matter.

If we fight the ridiculous charges in a full blown trial we are going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on depositions and legal fees. Several lawyers estimate that a trial could cost the Smolinskis $50,000 to $100,000. No lawyer Ive spoken to believes Madeleine Gleason has a shot of winning a verdict at trial, but who has an extra $50,000 laying around to pay for that outcome?

And thats why I describe this process as legalized extortion. Fighting this absurd charge will cost you $100,000, but if you pay us $25,000 right now well settle the lawsuit. Either way you lose. It doesnt matter about being right or wrong, about printing the truth or publishing lies. The system forces people to accept a punch in the face to try and get out of the court system with their vital organs still intact.

While the lawyers were in the judges chamber going over the case, four people sat quietly in a hallway; Bill Smolinski, Janice Smolinski, Paula Bell, and not far away Madeleine Gleason. And when their lawyer came out and told them they could settle the case for $115,000, Bill Smolinski said he wouldnt give Madeleine Gleason one dollar. Their lawyer advised them that if they went to trial they would spend tens of thousands in legal fees, and if they lost, they could lose their house and their life savings.

I was crushed, Janice Smolinski said. I always thought we could depend on the authorities and society to help us out. But the whole system completely failed us.

The Smolinskis have already shelled out more than $10,000 in legal fees, and now trapped in a legal vice, they eventually offered $2500 to settle the case. That offer was refused by Gleason and B and B Transportation. The Observer has shelled out $5000 in legal fees, offered $500 to settle, and that offer was also refused.

Neither the Smolinskis or The Waterbury Observer will offer another dollar to settle the case. Let the chips fall where they may.

We are not going to give anyone a dime for false accusations, Janice Smolinski said. We were caught off guard that day in court, but well go to trial if we have to.

In the three years since Billy disappeared the Smolinskis belief in the system has crumbled around them. They not only lost a son, they have lost faith in the concept of justice in America.

If we werent going through this I wouldnt believe that all this could happen, Janice Smolinski said. We used to believe that if someone got arrested it meant they had done something wrong. We used to believe that if somebody was sued they had done something wrong. Nothing makes sense anymore. I feel like we are in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

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Search Continues For Missing Waterbury Man

Disappearance Similar To Another Case

POSTED: 5:08 pm EST February 14, 2008

UPDATED: 4:09 pm EST February 15, 2008

WATERBURY, Conn. -- Police continue to search for a missing Waterbury man who disappeared in a manner similar to another Connecticut man.

Thomas Paternostro, 24, was last seen a week ago from Wednesday. His car was found parked with his keys and wallet inside.

Billy Smolinsk, 35, disappeared three and a half years ago. However, his keys and wallet were also found inside his parked vehicle.

Paternostro and Smolinsk are both described as family men who enjoyed working on cars.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Heather Hegedus reported that the Smolinsk family continues to post a billboard on Interstate 84 West appealing for help in the case of its missing son.

Janice Smolinski met with Paternostro's mother about other possible similarities between the two cases.

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State Offering $50K For Information About Missing Man

Billy Smolinkski Jr. Has Been Missing Since 2004

POSTED: 3:43 pm EDT April 1, 2008

UPDATED: 5:00 pm EDT April 1, 2008

WATERBURY, Conn. -- The state is offering a $50,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest in the 2004 disappearance of a Waterbury man.

William “Billy†Smolinkski Jr., 35, has been missing since Aug. 24, 2004. The reward is for information that could lead to an arrest and conviction in his case, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Tuesday.

The state’s reward is in addition to the $10,000 reward Smolinski's family offered.

Waterbury police said they suspect foul play in Smolinski’s disappearance.

On Aug. 24, 2004, Smolinkski asked a neighbor to watch his dog for a few days while he went to look at a car he thought he might buy, according to the FBI’s Web site.

No one heard from him for a few days and Smolinski’s family reported him missing to the Waterbury Police Department, according to the FBI.

He left his keys, wallet and vehicle.

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Smolinski Case Triggers Reform In Way Police Respond To Missing Persons in Connecticut

Story By John Murray

Janice and Bill Smolinski’s relentless search for their son ignited a chain reaction that has changed the way law enforcement officers in Connecticut respond to the report of a missing person.

Billy Smolinski vanished from his life three and half years ago and a bungled investigation led the Smolinski’s to question procedure inside the Waterbury Police Department. Reports hadn’t been filed with federal agencies, three DNA samples were lost, and detectives were lackadaisical about investigating the disappearance of a vitally fit 31 year old male.

“Everything that could go wrong in our case, went wrong,” Janice Smolinski said.

As the Smolinski’s pressed authorities to assist in finding Billy they ran head first into a shattered bureaucracy that extended well beyond Waterbury and Connecticut. The system for handling missing person cases in the United States was as solid as a piece of Swiss cheese. Data bases couldn’t communicate, police officers across the country lacked basic DNA training, and there were more than 110,000 people currently missing in the United States.

Instead of throwing their arms up in frustration, the Smolinskis set about changing the system. They began their efforts by introducing a bill in the 2007 legislative session in Hartford, sponsored by State Representative Vicki Nardello, that would create a uniform response by law enforcement to the report of a missing person. (Through Project Jason's Campaign for the Missing)

Using model legislation crafted by the Department of Justice, the Smolinski’s testified in front of several committees in 2007. They were instrumental in pushing the issue into the public spotlight and the bill flew through the legislature without one representative or senator voting against it.

Governor Jodi Rell signed the bill last summer, but at the last minute, all the procedures that the law would mandate were watered down to recommendations. Then the bill was handed over to Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) for review. POST had until January 1st to submit final recommendations that would then be disbursed to law enforcement agencies throughout Connecticut.

When the mandatory procedures mysteriously transformed into recommendations at the last hour, Janice and Bill Smolinski were frustrated.

“I thought they were patting us on the head and shoving us out of the way,” Janice said. “ I wasn’t happy.”

But Chief Thomas Flaherty of POST took his assignment seriously. He met with Waterbury Police Chief Neil O’Leary for several hours to go over the Smolinski case, and then he spent several hours meeting with Janice Smolinski at her Cheshire home to discuss her perspective. POST also reached out to national experts on DNA and the missing. POST contacted states that have implemented new systems for handling missing person cases, and in the end, the 19 page report that Flaherty and POST published was thorough and well researched.

The only problem the Smolinskis have is that the procedures are recommendations for police to follow, not mandatory law.

“Chief Flaherty was very responsive to this issue,” Janice Smolinski said. “He proved to be a very caring and dedicated man.”

That being said, Janice Smolinski isn’t satisfied.

“I want these changes to be mandatory,” she said. “We’ve started collecting signatures on a petition and are going to try and get 40,000 signatures by next January. Recommendations are nice, but we are going back to Hartford to make these procedures mandatory.”

Chief Neil O’Leary agrees that the procedures should be mandatory to ensure that police officers across Connecticut are all doing the same thing.

On the heels of the negative publicity the Waterbury PD got for the botched Smolinski investigation, O’Leary revamped training inside the department on handling missing person reports.

“What I learned from the Smolinski case is that we should be treating every missing person case as a homicide until we know otherwise,” O’Leary said. “We made these changes before POST came out with their recommendations.”

The Smolinskis still don’t know what happened to Billy in August 2004, but they know that their search for their missing son hasn’t been in vain. They have successfully changed police procedure in Connecticut and they are now talking with Congressman Chris Murphy and Senator Joe Lieberman about trying to pass federal legislation that would force law enforcement officers all across America to handle the report of a missing person in a uniform manner.

Chief O’Leary has spoken with Senator Lieberman and recommended that federal legislation be pursued.

“It’s really amazing what Janice accomplished in such a short time,” O’Leary said. “She found a broken system and she’s trying to fix it.”

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The Missing - A Weekly exposé of Lost Souls - Issue #9


In this week's edition of "The Missing," we revisit the mysterious disappearance of William "Billy" Smolinski, a 31-year-old resident of Waterbury, Connecticut, who went missing on August 24, 2004.

"We first learned of Billy's disappearance when his neighbor notified us that Billy had told him he was going out of town for a few days and needed someone to take care of his dog.  He said he was going to look at a truck he might want to buy," Billy's mom, Janice Smolinski, said in a recent email.  "This was the last time anyone saw or heard from Billy.  His keys and wallet were found in his truck, and it was parked in a section of his driveway where he would have never left it."

According to Janice, Billy had recently broken up with his girlfriend, Madeleine Gleason, a bus driver in Woodbridge, after finding out she was having an affair with Chris Sorensen, an elected official in Woodbridge.  As a result, Billy's family immediately suspected foul play but allegedly ran into several roadblocks from the start.

"When our family put up missing person flyers, Billy's ex-girlfriend went around and tore them down," Janice said, adding, "The Waterbury police didn't take his disappearance seriously and, in fact, lost 3 DNA samples the family had given them."

Investigators searched Billy's home and truck and conducted several interviews but found no clues suggesting what might have happed to him.  The only piece of physical evidence they had was an answering machine tape they received from Sorensen that contained a threatening message Billy had left for him on the day of his disappearance.  Phone records show that it was the last known call Billy placed that day.  The case eventually grew cold, but Janice was unwilling to give up.  She continued to post missing person flyers and at one point was arrested for first-degree harassment after putting a flyer up on a pole near Sorensen's house.  Nonetheless, Janice was undeterred and sought help from the media.

In July 2006, journalist Andy Thibault, editor and publisher of The Cool Justice Report, filed a Freedom of Information request seeking information from Billy's missing person file. It took roughly nine months for the FOI Commission to approve the request, but when they did, the information obtained from it came as a shock to Billy's family.

According to a Supplementary Report found in Billy's file, the Waterbury Police Department had received a tip on June 12, 2006 from an informant who claimed he had information about Billy's disappearance.  The report states that the informant told police Billy had been murdered by Madeleine Gleason's son, Shaun Karpiuk.  The informant told police that he was told Karpiuk intervened in an argument between Billy and his mother and strangled Billy to death.  The informant went on to say that Karpiuk took Billy's body to a construction site in Shelton and dumped it inside a hole, which was filled with concrete the following morning.  Unfortunately, police were unable to question Karpiuk, who had died of a drug overdose just three months after Billy's disappearance.

In May 2007, local law enforcement, aided by the FBI, used cadaver-sniffing dogs to search several areas in and around the area the informant had mentioned to police. However, they were unable to turn up any new leads.

For now, Billy's disappearance remains unsolved.  Authorities have not officially named any suspects, and they refuse to comment on the current status of the investigation.

"Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for our family," Janice said.  "We are simply trying to find our son.  Until we do, our relentless search continues."

Billy's family currently maintains a Web site devoted to the case at  According to the Web site, a $60,000 reward is being offered for "information leading to arrest and convictions in the case."

William "Billy" Smolinski is described as 6' and 200 lbs., with light brown hair and blue eyes.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Haven FBI office at 203-777-6311.  Those who wish to remain anonymous can email or write to P.O. Box 123, Cheshire CT. 06410.

If you are a family member of a missing loved one and have a case you would like covered here, contact me via e-mail.  If you are a reader who would like to help, please spread the word about this blog so others can find us.  The more people who see these stories, the better the chances that someone might come forward with information.

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The Waterbury Observer MAY 2008

Hope For The Missing

New National Program Launched To Help Solve Missing Person Cases

By John Murray

Last year the Observer published an in-depth report called “The Silent Scream†in which we reported a national crisis involving missing persons and the unidentified dead across America. The numbers were shocking - 110,000 missing, and more than 40,000 unidentified human remains being stored by coroners and medical examiners.

The executive director of the International Homicide Association, William Hagmaier, told the Observer that he believed many of the unidentified dead were murdered, thousands of the missing were no longer alive, and in many cases, the missing were the unidentified dead.

DNA is the way to cross reference the two categories and match a missing person to a unidentified human remain, but gapping holes in state and national data banks have created a woefully inefficient system. In addition, law enforcement officers across the country have not been properly trained to respond to a report of a missing person, and many don’t have basic knowledge how to collect and process DNA samples. Medical examiners and coroners were no better. In many parts of the country the unidentified dead were being buried or cremated without DNA samples being uploaded into national data banks.

Each cremation ensured that a mystery would remain unsolved, and that grieving families would never find the answer they so desperately sought.

But things are changing.

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched NamUs, a National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, that has the potential to close the gaps. In early April the new program was unveiled in public for the first time by George Adams, the missing persons coordinator at The Center for Human Identification at North Texas State University. Adams is involved in the formation of NamUs, and used the opportunity as keynote speaker at the 7th Annual New York State Missing Persons

Day, in Albany, NY, to help expose NamUs to law enforcement, politicians and families of the missing.

“This will revolutionize how a law enforcement officer conducts a case,†Adams said. “It brings all law enforcement

into one place.†NamUs was created to address the challenges involved in investigating and solving missing person and unidentified decedent cases. It creates a uniform clearing house for DNA data, and other key information, which until NamUs was formed, often languished in systems that could not communicate with one another.  NamUs is creating two national databases, one for missing persons and one for unidentified dead. The key is that the two databases can be cross referenced for matches because they will be able to communicate with each other. The unidentified dead database is already up and running. It allows searches based on dental information, demographics, distinct body features and anthropological analysis. The missing persons database is scheduled to go online in the autumn.

“The best thing is that there is no cost to NamUs,†Adams said. “It will not cost law enforcement officers anything to use it. From now on it is no longer valid anywhere in the United States when an officer says “Sorry, there is nothing we can do.’â€Â

The key to NamUs is getting DNA reference samples uploaded into the system. Police need to learn how to collect and process DNA samples from family members of a missing individual, and medical examiners and coroners need to upload DNA samples from the unidentified dead. Adams stressed repeatedly that there is no cost to law enforcement or medical examiners to collect and process the DNA. The University of North Texas Center For Human Identification is funded by the National Institute of Justice.

“How are we going to find out who those 40,000 unidentified dead are? By uploading DNA samples,†Adams said. “No case is too old. Law enforcement may not solve their investigation, but they might solve someone else’s. A partnership between all law enforcement makes us all safer.â€Â

Smolinski Family

The Observer travelled to Albany with Bill and Janice Smolinski, whose son, Billy, went missing from Waterbury nearly four years ago. The Missing Person Day in New York was triggered by the efforts of Doug and Mary Lyall, the co-founders of the Center For HOPE. Their daughter Suzanne Lyall vanished ten years ago, and the family established the center to “provide resources to educate, assist and support families and friends coping with the ambiguous disappearance of a loved one.â€Â

The Smolinskis have become friends with the Lyalls, a relationship forged by shared grief. Throughout the day the Smolinskis talked with other families struggling for answers. They shared stories, tears and laughter.

“It’s not a happy thing coming to these conferences and listening to these sad stories,†Bill Smolinski said. “But that’s life.â€Â

Janice Smolinski said they are drawn to a community of people they can identify with. “People come for a reason,†she said. “They want to talk about their loved one.â€Â

The conference in Albany was held on April 6th at the New York State Museum.

Through the Lyall’s dogged effort they have managed to bring politicians and law enforcement together to help acknowledge the local, state and national crisis of missing persons. In October 2006 New York state dedicated a “Remembrance†monument in Albany to all those missing in New York.

Efforts in Connecticut to create a Missing Persons Day have been led by State Representative Selim Noujaim, and he informed the Observer on April 30th that he believed the law might be passed this legislative session. Jan and Bill Smolinski believe they are getting closer to finding out what happened to their son back in August 2004. They believe he was murdered and they believe they have a rough idea where he is buried. While the FBI continues to investigate, the Smolinskis have focused their energy on trying to change the way this country responds to the report of a missing person.

“Instead of coiling back we are trying to make things better,†Janice Smolinski said. “And when NamUs gets up and running we will all be safer.†•

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IMHO Billy's family has been victimized many times since he disappeared: by LE and the ex-girlfriend.

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Jan, it's good to see you here.

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