While the initial story presented to the police following disappearance of Mary Badaracco some 37 years ago seemed somewhat plausible, it quickly disintegrated under scrutiny. Mary’s car keys and wedding ring were left on the kitchen counter, while all of her belongings and personal effects had vanished, including every framed photograph of her in the house.
Mary’s two adult children, Sherrie and Beth, would later tell missing person investigators that Dominic Badaracco, Mary’s second husband, had discouraged them from reporting her missing. Dominic himself would paint a picture of a man left by his wife—claiming to have given Mary $100,000 as an informal separation settlement payment before she left.
But The Details Just Didn’t Add Up
38 year old Mary Badaracco, a brunette Caucasian female with brown eyes, had last spoken to her daughters on August 19. She worked sporadically as a house cleaner and bartender in Sherman, Connecticut, and while she had a stormy relationship with her husband Dominic, Mary was close to her two daughters—one of whom had just given birth to Mary’s first grandchild.
Missing person investigators would later find that the couple, who married in 1970, had a long history of domestic violence which had seen Mary repeatedly reported as the victim. They would also discover that Dominic had been having an extramarital affair. Knowing that something was wrong, Sherrie and Beth decided to report their mother missing on August 31.
When police arrived, they discovered Mary’s 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier was parked at the end of the house’s driveway, with the driver’s side of the windshield smashed inwards. Dominic claimed to have last seen his wife on August 20, and admitted that he had smashed the car. Finding no evidence of foul play, police decided not to seize the vehicle, which also later disappeared. As suspicion mounted and the authorities tried to retrace their steps through the evidence, no trace was again found of the car, or of the $100,000 that Dominic claimed to have given his wife.
A Missing Adult and Shifting Circumstances
Loved ones insisted that Mary Badaracco would never have left without sharing her plans, however no clues to her whereabouts emerged. It soon came to light that Dominic had filed for divorce two days before Mary was reported missing on grounds of abandonment. Divorce proceedings followed nine months after Mary vanished. A woman named Joan had moved into the family home only weeks after Mary had gone missing, later becoming Dominic’s third wife.
A search was conducted of the home on Wakeman Hill Road, its outbuildings, and the surrounding woodland, sadly to no avail. The case would go cold for a further six years before missing person investigators received a tip in 1990. The informant claimed that Mary was murdered after a contract was issued on her life by members of The Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. The tip accused Dominic’s son Joseph, a member of the gang, of killing Mary with an accomplice named Steve Kendall. It claimed that Mary had been killed because she intended to go to police with incriminating information about her husband.
Joseph, who was in prison at the time for an unrelated crime, refused to cooperate, while Kendall reportedly failed a lie detector test. However, authorities were unable to confirm the tip and the pair were never charged. During this stage in the missing person investigations, Mary’s disappearance was finally classified as a homicide. The following year, in 1991, she was declared legally dead.
A New Suspect and A Bribery Attempt
In 2007, the spotlight of suspicion turned to a new individual. Ernest Dachenhausen, age 64, was a known associate of Dominic Badaracco. Suspecting his involvement in Mary’s disappearance, Police excavated the yard of Dachenhausen’s former home located in Newton, Connecticut. No evidence was found, however in April of 2008 Dachenhausen was arrested for attempting to interfere with the missing person investigations—a charge for which he would be found not guilty the following year.
By June of 2013, even though no hard evidence had been uncovered that pointed in his direction, Dominic must have felt that he was under threat. He was arrested for attempting to bribe a State Superior Judge with $100,000, in the hope that he would sway the grand jury probe into Mary’s case. Found guilty, Dominic was sentenced to seven years in prison, although he was granted early release only three years later.
A mother and grandmother known affectionately as Mary Poo, Mary Badaracco would have been 75 years old today. She was a chain smoker at the time of her disappearance, with distinguishing scars on her abdomen and right thumb from an appendectomy and stitches respectively. If Dominic Bandaracco, his son Joseph, or any of the other characters tied to the case know what happened to Mary, it remains uncertain that they will ever share their story. For Mary’s loved ones left behind, her disappearance sadly remains a mystery.
Taking Swift Action When Someone Goes Missing
Whenever someone disappears under suspicious circumstances, time should always be considered of the essence. Experienced and professional investigators can provide vital missing person assistance, swiftly enacting an independent investigation and following every lead no matter how small.
Knowing that families in such a desperate situation can often hesitate over costs, dedicated investigators from Lauth Investigations also provide assistance in setting up Go Fund Me donation campaigns. Strategic fundraising of this nature can empower loved ones to pursue a missing adult or child unimpeded. We can also advise on organizations able to offer further missing person assistance, such as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, and Interpol’s I Familia. If you are searching for someone who has disappeared, contact us today to discover how we can help.