|Case #: A84277483||Soc.Sec.#: NA||Name: Mary Badaracco||Alias: Mary Poo|
|Address: Sherman, CT||Height: 5 ft. 7 in.||Weight: 145||Age: 53|
|Sex: F||Eyes: Brown||Hair: Brown||Complexion: Dark|
|Race: White||DOB: 3/11/1946|
Mary Badaracco has been missing since August 1984 and is believed to be a homicide victim. She was last seen at her residence in Sherman.
There is a $50,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for her disappearance and/or homicide.
If you have any information concerning Mary Badaracco, please telephone the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad at Troop A in Southbury. You can also leave confidential TIPS on the family website.. Here
The Connecticut State Police
Detective Joseph Bukowski
The Hartford Courant August 20, 2000
Cloudy and humid, it was one of those thick, breathless summer days when it feels as if something has to give.
Not long after sundown, the foreboding skies let loose with drenching rain and crashing thunder, soaking the dark, green hills of western Connecticut. The night was perfect for sliding unnoticed into the densely forested back country of Sherman and slipping away into a new life.
On the other hand, Aug. 19, 1984, was also a pretty good evening for dumping a corpse.
The next day, all that remained of 38-year-old Mary Badaracco were her car keys and a wedding ring, left on the kitchen counter. A wry parting gift, perhaps, to a husband who wanted to ditch her.
That morning dawned breezy and bright, like an open door to a new life. Maybe she really did have that sack of money – more than $100,000, her husband, Dominic, claimed – stuffed in her bags.
Problem is, Mary was a fighter and a hometown girl who never strayed far. A feisty, compact woman of 145 pounds, she loved but a few things dearly: her daughters, painting pictures and serving beers on a smoky Friday night.
….Mary Poo,” her girlfriends at work called her. Her laugh could be heard clear across a noisy cafe.
She’s still missing. No body. No weapon. No evidence of a new life anywhere.
But 16 years is a long while, time enough for friendships to unravel and people who know something to think about speaking for someone who can’t.
And when it comes to the name Badaracco, therein lies a boozy, decades-old tale of fact and dark rumor, of murder and Hell’s Angels. Wrapped within in it are violent men and unsentimental women, tough workingman’s bars and the vanishing of a bereft barmaid.
..Your Mother Left Me’ Sherrie Passaro was nervous as her hands gripped the steering wheel. Driving up Route 37, a twisting blacktop that snakes from Danbury into the hills of western Connecticut, the forest seemed in places to almost strangle the highway.
She thought about her mother. At dinner the week before, there was an odd edginess.
Now, a few days after Aug. 19, her stepfather wanted to talk with her. Could they meet? Strange, she thought – he never asks for me.
Sherrie, 21 and the oldest of Mary Badaracco’s two daughters, turned on to Wakeman Hill Road and looked for the long driveway.
The rest still feels like a dream.
Mary Badaracco’s car, a 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier, was parked out front, the windshield smashed in on the driver’s side. Soon, Dominic Badaracco appeared. ….Your mother left me. She took some money and took off,” he said.
It hadn’t been an easy summer for Mary and Dominic Badaracco. After 15 sometimes-violent years together, they had moved recently from Danbury to Sherman, renovating a home on a few pristine acres on a hillside where the deer came from the dark woods to eat right out of Mary’s hand.
Mary and Dominic had met in the late ’60s. Tall and handsome, he was a man who at times could be a real charmer, driving children about on his riding lawnmower. She was a barmaid, he a bar owner of places named Fats and The Three Kings. He had four kids; she had two. They married in 1970 and made a twisted ….Brady Bunch” go of it.
….She would come to work with a black eye. Two or three times she would come knocking on [my] door at 2 o’clock in the morning and I would put them up,” recalled one friend, who like others remembers the times during the 1970s when Mary and her daughters would flee Dominic. Still, Mary always returned home.
In spite of her happiness to be in Sherman, as the summer of 1984 wore on, life closed in. Friends noticed that the woman who never took grief from anyone seemed agitated.
Nine months after Mary disappeared, Dominic Badaracco went before Judge John J.P. Ryan and said he and Mary had been planning in detail for a divorce. Mary, he said, agreed to leave and give up the home in return for ….approximately $100,000.”
He also told the judge during the divorce hearing that Mary happened to have taken just that amount of ….goods and cash” that he had stashed around the house. No evidence of the money has ever turned up.
….You came home from work one day and she was gone?” asked Heidi G. Winslow, Dominic’s lawyer, referring to Monday, Aug. 20, 1984. Mary Badaracco was not represented at the hearing, her whereabouts listed only as ….parts unknown” on court documents.
Dominic, who got the house, the car and freedom from a 15-year marriage that day in May 1985, had one word for the judge: ….Yes.” What he didn’t say was he had never bothered to tell police she was missing in the first place.
For Years, Nothing At various times, the peculiar vaporization of Mary Badaracco has consumed no more than a handful of people.
Her daughter Beth, now 36, is one. She keeps a thick briefcase that belonged to her mother, crammed with copies of dozens of letters she has written in vain to law enforcement agencies from Washington to Hartford. With her sister, Sherrie, they have consulted a psychic, even appearing on an early version of Regis Philbin’s talk show.
Another is Lynn Taborsak, a former state representative and one- time congressional candidate from Danbury. At the daughters’ request, she took up the case in the 1980s and helped persuade the police to declare the disappearance a homicide and offer a $20,000 reward.
….She didn’t wander off and start a new life,” Taborsak said flatly.
Like other friends and family members of Mary Badaracco, Taborsak said she also felt local pressure not to get too close to the truth.
….There was a time a friend of the [Badaraccos] told me to mind my own business for my own sake,” Taborsak recalled recently.
For years, police have felt that there are those who know precisely what happened to Mary Badaracco but have remained silent out of fear. Last fall, however, the reward attached to the case suddenly jumped to $50,000, suggesting that police were on to something new. Recently, the state police added new detectives to the investigation and placed Mary Badaracco on its high-profile ….cold case” list.
….Over the past two years, this case has become more active,” said Sgt. Wesley Clark, a former principal investigator on the case. ….People are talking.”
The police won’t discuss their new findings, but there is plenty to examine in a disappearance that once seemed nothing more than a runaway wife.
In 1985, there was a tip from an informant in the federal witness protection program that the Hell’s Angels had killed Mary Badaracco under a contract ….hit.” Police won’t say whether they are still looking at this connection.
In 1990, Dominic’s son, Joseph ….Joey” Badaracco, went to prison on an arson conviction after hiring two men in 1989 to firebomb a bar owned by a rival of his father. Joey Badaracco is an acknowledged member of the Hell’s Angels. Police refuse to say whether he is a suspect in his stepmother’s disappearance. Now out of prison and living in upstate New York, he could not be reached for comment.
Then, on Super Bowl Sunday 1997, a drunken confrontation at the Tortilla Flat restaurant in Danbury left another Badaracco son, Dominic Jr., fatally shot. The fight has a connection to Joey: It began after his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child, threw a drink in Dominic Jr.’s face.
Just this past winter, a public defender sought to keep Joey Badaracco out of the courtroom in the trial of a man charged with Dominic Badaracco Jr.’s death for fear that he would intimidate witnesses. The judge rejected the attempt, as well as an effort to ask Joey about something else: the whereabouts of his stepmother.
..We Were The Enemy’ Sixteen years later, Dominic Badaracco lives in the same house and has remarried. Now 64, he starts his days working out of the basement of a Pembroke Road bar in Danbury, where he runs a siding and roofing company.
No one has ever been charged in the case.
Dominic Badaracco denies any knowledge of what happened to his former wife. ….I don’t know nothing at all,” Badaracco said one morning recently before heading out to a job site.
He hasn’t spoken to his former wife’s daughters since they reported their mother missing.
….Once we talked to the police, there was no relationship. We were the enemy,” said Sherrie Passaro, now 37. As the years pass, she said she no longer worries as much about her lost mother.
Some things, though, Passaro cannot push aside from that day when she went to see her stepfather.
What she found entering the Wakeman Hill home sent a jarring jolt through her body that lingers still.
….I went up to her room to pack,” Passaro recalled, thinking that a woman who left in a hurry without her car might leave something behind. ….There was nothing there. I opened drawers, there was nothing. Not one odd sock, not one old shirt.”
Then looking around the house, she saw something more chilling: every picture of Mary and her daughters had been carefully removed from the frames on the walls.
Brown-eyed Mary Badaracco had ceased to exist.
If you have any information on this case please contact CUE Center For Missing Persons using the contact form below or contact Cue Center at (910) 343-1131 24 hour tipline (910) 232-1687.
All information submitted to CUE Center For Missing Persons is confidential.