Franklin, VT

In 2004, a teen girl disappeared on her way home. Hours later, a bizarre discovery was made by a group of hikers.

Fatim Hemraj

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Brianna MaitlandPhoto byTwitter

Brianna Maitland grew up on a farm in East Franklin, Vermont. She was raised by her parents, Bruce and Kellie. A few months after Brianna moved out of her family home, she suddenly vanished without a trace in what is known as one of the most confounding missing person cases in America.

On October 8, 2003, Brianna turned 17. That day, she told her parents she wanted to move out on her own and become independent. They weren’t exactly thrilled with Brianna’s decision but supported her choice. The Maitlands would later state that there were no family issues that led Brianna to leave, only that she wanted to be closer to her friends.

Brianna moved in with her friend Katie Manning, and Katie’s family in the neighboring town of Enosburg Falls and she transferred to Enosburg High School which several of her friends attended. Brianna felt like she didn’t fit in at her previous school and was elated to finally have a social circle.

One of those friends was Keallie Lacross. Keallie’s boyfriend of two years, James Robitaille, had previously dated Brianna. In February 2004, Keallie went on vacation with her family for a week and when she returned, there were rumors around town that James had cheated on her with Brianna

Keallie confronted James and he admitted cheating on her. After their break up, James and Brianna started dating. This caused a huge rift in their friend group and Brianna was asked to move out of Katie’s home. She started living in her car in freezing temperatures and her grades began to suffer, causing Brianna to drop out of school altogether on February 1st.

On February 4, Brianna showed up at a party with James. Enraged, Keallie started to taunt her. Brianna told James she wanted to leave and waited in his truck. Keallie knocked on the passenger side window and when Brianna rolled it down, Keallie punched her twice in the face. Although Brianna was trained in Jiu-Jitsu, she refused to engage later telling her mom she “didn’t want people to not like her.”

Brianna was diagnosed with a concussion and a broken nose. Although she didn’t want to at first, Kellie encouraged her daughter to file charges against Keallie. A few weeks later, Brianna mysteriously disappeared and as a result, the charges were dropped. Keallie was questioned multiple times and ultimately ruled out. She went on to get married and have children of her own.

A few weeks later, Brianna decided it was time to turn her life around. She moved in with her friend Jillian, started working at the Black Lantern Inn as a dishwasher, and began studying for her GED. Brianna also got a second part-time job at KJ’s Diner, for which she needed black pants.

On March 19, 2004, Brianna took her GED test and passed. Kellie picked her up and they went out to lunch to celebrate. Afterward, they went to a local mall where Brianna bought a pair of black pants for her new job. While checking out, Brianna told her mom she would be right back and went outside to the parking lot. When Brianna returned, she seemed upset and quiet. Not wanting to pry, Kellie didn’t ask her daughter what was wrong.

Kellie dropped Brianna off at Jillian’s and she started getting ready for her shift at the Black Lantern Inn. Before Brianna took off for work, she left a note for Jillian writing she would be back later that evening. After Jillian read the note, she left to visit her grandparents for the weekend.

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The Black Lantern InnPhoto byTwitter

That night, Brianna clocked out at 11:20 pm, got into her green 1985 Oldsmobile, and started driving home. She was supposed to start her first shift at KJ’s Diner the next morning but she never showed up. Brianna was never seen or heard from again.

Between 11:30 pm and 12:30 am, several witnesses saw a 1985 green four-door Oldsmobile rammed into the side of an abandoned farmhouse called the Old Dutchburn House just one mile from the Black Lantern Inn.

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Photo byFacebook

James, by then Brianna’s ex-boyfriend, said he drove by the Old Dutchburn House at 2:30 am and saw her car but didn’t stop. He later admitted to pulling over. James said the headlights were on and the driver’s side and passenger side doors were open. He turned the lights off, closed the doors, and drove away. James said he initially lied because he was driving while intoxicated.

Luckily, a group of hikers stumbled upon Brianna’s car later that morning. Finding it unusual, they took a few photos and continued on their way. Without them, there would not have been any photos of the crime scene.

At 1:20 pm, someone called the police to report an abandoned vehicle and a trooper was dispatched to the Old Dutchburn House. He found loose change on the ground and a broken necklace later determined to be Brianna’s. The trooper looked inside the car and found two paychecks addressed to Brianna from the Black Lantern Inn. He went to the inn to interview employees only to discover that it was closed. Instead of running the plate, he towed the vehicle and left on vacation the very next day.

When Jillian returned home on March 22nd, Brianna’s note was still in the same place where she had left it but Brianna was nowhere to be found. The next day, Jillian called the Maitlands. Frantic, they reported Brianna missing and started driving around town, in search of her and her vehicle.

It wasn’t until March 25th that authorities realized Brianna’s car had been found five days earlier. A massive search ensued and scent-sniffing dogs were deployed but Brianna was never found, and ultimately labeled a runaway. The Maitlands dismissed that theory, insisting Brianna wouldn’t have left without her most prized possession, her car, which had been gifted to Brianna by her grandfather. Brianna also left behind her paychecks, contact lenses, and migraine medication which she relied on.

In 2012, the authorities stated that Brianna had likely been harmed.

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Brianna MaitlandPhoto byFacebook

Years later, Keallie Lacross said someone met Brianna in the parking lot the day she disappeared and told her not to go to work that night. Keallie claimed that everyone in their friend group knew who was responsible for Brianna’s disappearance and that some of them still live in Enosburg to this day. Brianna’s friend, Katie Manning, claimed that she owed the wrong person money.

Nathaniel “Low” Jackson and Ramon “Street” Ryans were known dealers from New York who rented a farmhouse 10 miles from the Black Lantern Inn to conduct their so-called business dealings.

On April 20, 2004, Brianna’s father, Bruce, received a tip that Brianna was being held in the farmhouse over an unpaid debt. It was determined that Brianna had been seen at the house with Nathanial and Ramon multiple times prior to her disappearance and was involved in their dealings.

The farmhouse was searched but nothing in relation to Brianna was ever found. Nathanial and Ramon admitted to knowing Brianna but denied any knowledge of her whereabouts.

In March 2010, investigators searched the home of Brianna’s ex-boyfriend, James Robitaille but once again, didn’t find anything. James passed away in 2019 at the age of 33.

In March 2016, DNA samples were recovered from an “item of interest” found near Brianna’s car but it wasn’t until March 18, 2022, that investigators were able to determine who the DNA belonged to through genetic genealogy. They have not released the individual's name to the public and no POIs have been named.

Brianna Maitland (R) age-progression at 24Photo byNCMEC

19 years later, the search for Brianna continues. Today, she would be 36.

If you have any information, contact Vermont SP at (802)-524-5993.

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