Badaracco case finds new life
Published 7:35 pm, Wednesday, October 2, 2013
State Police are expected to begin re-interviewing witnesses in the Mary Badaracco case in the wake of the recent sentencing of the man long considered a chief suspect in her disappearance and presumed murder.
Sherrie Passaro, daughter of the 38-year-old Sherman housewife who vanished without a trace 29 years ago, said investigators told her a new round of interviews will take place.
Passaro's information was confirmed by a law enforcement official familiar with the long-running mystery.
The case had been stalled since early in 2012, when a Superior Court judge acting as a one-man grand jury wrapped up the investigation without finding probable cause to charge anyone with her death.
The probe did, however, lead to the arrest and conviction of Badaracco's husband, Dominic, on a charge of attempting to bribe another judge to influence the grand jury.
The 77-year-old former contractor began serving a seven-year prison sentence Sept. 13.
While his attorney is appealing the conviction, authorities apparently are hoping, with Badaracco behind bars, people who may have been reluctant to provide information now may be willing to do so.
"Extended time usually works against you because memories wane," he said, "but there are times when it does benefit police because relationships may deteriorate over time and people may provide you with information that they didn't before."
When the person being investigated is in prison, Pudlinski said, witnesses who previously thought they would be in danger if they talked to police could open up.
Also working in investigators' favor, he said, is, as some people age, they could "feel they are closer to meeting their maker and want to do it with a clear conscience."
Mary Badaracco's disappearance, which was reclassified as a homicide in 1990, remains an active case under the jurisdiction of the department's Major Crime Squad and missing persons unit, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the Connecticut State Police.
"In any type of cold-case investigation, anytime there is a lead, it is always followed up," he said.
But no usable leads have been developed in the nearly 20 months since the grand jury ended, although a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case remains to be claimed, Vance said.
Retired Danbury State's Attorney Walter Flanagan said the chances of developing enough evidence to bring the person responsible for Mary Badaracco's disappearance to trial are slim.
"Before I left as state's attorney eight years ago, they had done a lot of work, and none of it has borne fruit," he said. "Even with the reward and all the publicity, I don't think this (Badaracco's conviction) would move it forward."
Vance said state police hope someone who knows something will eventually decide to talk.
"The family needs and deserves closure," he said.