The mysterious disappearance of Mary Badaracco
The mysterious disappearance of Mary Badaracco, a 38-year-old resident of Sherman, Connecticut, who went missing in August 1984.
"I need this issue resolved ASAP. Twenty-three-years of my life have gone by, and this has truly been a nightmare for me, as well as my family," Mary Badaracco's daughter, Beth Profeta, said in a recent e-mail.
On Aug. 23, 1984, Beth's stepfather, Dominic Badaracco, called Beth’s sister, Sherrie Passaro, asking her to come over to talk about their mother. When Sherrie arrived at the house in which her mother and stepfather lived on Wakeman Hill Road, she noticed her mother’s car, a 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier, was sitting in the driveway. Curiously, the driver's side windshield had been smashed. Badaracco told Sherrie that her mother had run away, taking more than $250,000 dollars of their money with her. As evidence, he pointed out that her clothes were missing, and her wedding ring and car keys had been left behind on the kitchen counter. Oddly enough, all framed photos of Mary that had once hung inside the house were also missing.
Investigators initially believed Mary had left to get away from her husband. It was no secret that their marriage was troubled. Mary had left in the past, and her coworkers later said it was not uncommon for her to have a black eye following an argument with her husband. Mary's daughters have also made similar statements, claiming that their stepfather was violent and abusive.
"My mother made a mistake. She made the very bad decision of ever getting involved with Badaracco," Beth said. "At the time of this decision, my sister and I were only about 3 and 4 years of age. When they married in 1970, we then suffered right alongside our mom during the entire 14 years of her marriage. Although she tried, our mother never knew how to get us away from him. We'd leave after another very violent episode, and he'd find us every time and literally drag us all back. My sister and I told the police when we filed our mom's missing person’s report back in 1984 that she was a battered wife throughout the marriage. We also made them very aware of the fact that we, too, were in fear for our lives, as we had defied Badaracco's orders to 'tell no one.'"
When police questioned Badaracco, he told them he had last seen Mary when she left for work on Aug. 20, 1984. He said that when he returned home, her car was in the driveway, but she was nowhere to be found, and her personal belongings were missing from the house. Because the police had few leads, their work on the case quickly came to a standstill.
Approximately nine months after Mary's disappearance, Badaracco appeared for a divorce hearing before Judge John J.P. Ryan. Mary was not at the hearing. Court documents listed her whereabouts as "parts unknown." During the hearing, Badaracco told the court that he and Mary had worked out the details of the divorce before she left and that she had agreed to let him keep the home in exchange for the amount of cash she had taken with her. As a result of Badaracco's testimony and because Mary did not appear in court, Judge Ryan granted Badaracco the divorce and gave him the remainder of the couple’s property, including the house and motor vehicles.
Mary's missing person file continued to collect dust until 1986 when police received a tip from a former member of the Bridgeport chapter of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang who was in the Witness Protection Program. The informant said he had heard another member of the gang discuss "hitting Mary Badaracco." Police questioned the person the informant identified, but he denied any involvement, and the case again went cold.
An August 2000 issue of the Hartford Courant states that Badaracco's son from a previous marriage, Joseph "Joey" Badaracco, is "an acknowledged member of the Hell's Angels." The article also indicates that Joey served time in prison for arson after hiring two men to firebomb a bar in 1989. Nonetheless, neither Joey nor his father has ever been named as a suspect in Mary's disappearance.
Because of the dogged determination of Beth and Sherrie, police reclassified their mother's case as a homicide. Since that time, there have been a few promising leads, but the case remains unsolved.
"As these years go by, I still ask the very same questions, and still no one answers me. I want to know, I have the right to know, I demand to know what happened to my mother," Beth said. "Why is no one being held accountable? I've worked very hard to get mom's case where it is today. I've spent every spare ounce of energy trying to do right by my mother, to not let this crime be forgotten. I need to know when will someone step up and do the right thing? My children and I are always afraid because we know the killers are roaming the streets."
Despite the lack of leads in the case, Mary's family remains dedicated to uncovering the truth. In addition to taking part in the investigation, they maintain a Web site on the Internet dedicated to the case, and they have created a profile about Mary's disappearance on MySpace.com.
According to Beth, a $50,000 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to Mary's whereabouts.
"And to those who will not come forward, may GOD forgive you when your day comes and you are held responsible for your actions," Beth said. "Will this secret you have been keeping be worth it?"
Anyone with information is asked to contact Troop A at 1-800-376-1554 or 1-203-267-2200.