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By John Murray
Ten years after his 31-year-old son vanished from Waterbury, Bill Smolinski Sr. uncorked a raw emotional speech last night during a Missing Persons Vigil held on the Naugatuck Green. When Billy Smolinski disappeared on August 24th, 2004, his family had trouble getting the Waterbury PD to take the report of a missing adult male seriously. Frustrated, the family had little choice but to search for Billy themselves. The results have been nightmarish.
The annual “Night of Hope,” the official Connecticut Missing Persons Day, will be held on the Naugatuck Town Green on Sunday, August 25, 2013. A Night of Hope is held each year in honor of William “Billy” Smolinski (pictured here) who went missing from Waterbury on August 24, 2004.
Paula Bell, left, and her parents, Bill and Janice Smolinski, at the vigil on the Green in Naugatuck.
(Editor’s note - A vigil was held on the Naugatuck Green, August 26th, to mark the 8th anniversary of the disappearrance of Billy Smolinski. Congressman Chris Murphy, Waterbury police chief Michael Gugliotti, CT’s Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz, the Smoliniski family, and Waterbury Observer publisher John Murray all spoke. The following are the remarks Murray delivered at the vigil)
Photographs By John Murray
While much of Connecticut enjoyed another glorious summer day in New England, I spent most of mine trying not to vomit as I closely read through the verdict in the civil trial between Madeline Gleason and the Smolinski family. The lawsuit, filed by a named suspect in the disappearance of Billy Smolinski, took six years, tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and three days in court. After all of this, Superior Court Judge Thomas Corradino ordered Janice Smolinski and Paula Bell to pay Madeline Gleason $52,000 in damages for allegedly harassing her, defaming her, and falsely accusing Gleason of having anything to do with the disappearance of Billy Smolinski.
Janice Smolinski applauds U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy's comments about 'Billy's Law", the federal legislation that was triggered by the disappearrance of her 31-year-old son, Billy, eight years ago.
Story and Photograph By John Murray
Eight years after Billy Smolinski vanished from Waterbury, Connecticut, his family continues to seek answers to what transpired on the night of August 24th, 2004. Billy was involved in a love triangle and had left a threatening message on the voice mail of his male rival. It was the last telephone call he ever made.
When Billy disappearred his family immediately reached out to the Waterbury Police Department for help. They were told to wait for three days, and even then the local police were sluggish to investigate the disappearance of an adult missing male. Terrified, the Smolinskis organized their own search parties and hung thousands of missing person flyers all across western Connecticut. When hundrds of posters were vandalized and destroyed in and around Woodbridge, the Smolinskis entered the lion's den. They discovered that Billy's former girlfriend, Madeline Gleason, was the person destroying the posters. Woodbridge was where Gleason worked, and was the home of the married politician, Chris Sorensen, who had been the other male in the love triangle.
Billy Smolinski Jr. vanished eight years ago and his family's relentless search to find answers has led to his mother Janice, middle, being arrested, and his mother and sister being sued.
Story By John Murray
The Smolinski family is headed to New Haven Superior Court today in what may be the final chapter in a bizarre civil lawsuit filed against them by a named suspect in their son's disappearance. Billy Smolinski Jr, vanished from his life on August 24th, 2004, and when local law enforcement were sluggish to respond to pleas for help, Billy's family and friends launched their own search.
Billy Smolinski Jr. vanished from Waterbury August 24th, 2004.
Story By John Murray
Seven and a half years after Billy Smolinski Jr. disappeared from Waterbury, Connecticut, the local police department is taking another look at the case. The new development was triggered when Billy's parents, Bill and Jan Smolinski, met with Waterbury Police Chief, Michael Gugliotti, on March 22nd.
"The Smolinskis asked me a lot of questions that I had no answer for," Gugliotti said. "I wasn't involved with the investigation seven years ago, but it was a complete disaster. We need to find answers to their questions."
Janice and Bill Smolinski inside New Haven Superior Court.
Column by John Murray
That’s how you spell backwards, backward.
And that might be the best way to describe the civil trial of Madeline Gleason versus Janice Smolinski and Paula Bell taking place in New Haven Superior Court. It is so backwards, it is insane.
Here’s the background.....
Attorney Mark Lee, Paula Bell, Bill Smolinski and Janice Smolinski in New Haven Superior Court.
Story By John Murray
Janice Smolinski sat at the defense table with her daughter, Paula Bell, and Attorney Mark Lee, and listened to Madeline Gleason testify under oath about the events surrounding the disappearance of Billy Smolinski. Gleason had been dating Billy Smolinski at the time of his mysterious disappearance and was named a suspect in police reports written by the Woodbridge Police Department in the Spring of 2005.
Janice Smolinski's relentless optimism has transformed a murder investigation into a vehicle of change. In addition to fighting for the truth of what happened to her son seven years ago, Smolinski has triggered local, state and federal reform in the way law enforcement officers respond to the report of a missing adult. The Smolinski family is asking for a federal grand jury to probe into the case. Photographs By John Murray
Missing Person Legislation Triggered By Disappearance Of Waterbury's Billy Smolinski Passes CT Senate, Now On To Governor Malloy
Billy Smolinski vanished on August 24th, 2004
Story By John Murray
Last night the Connecticut Senate voted unanimously to approve new legislation that alters the way state and local police officers handle the report of a missing adult. The legislation, which still needs Governor Dannel Malloy's signature to become law, ensures that reports of missing adult persons are accepted and investigated by the police in an effective and timely manner.