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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.....
When serious leads aren't followed up by law enforcement, Bill and Jan Smolinski scour the woods for the remains of their missing son Billy, who was murdered in August 2004.
Story and Photographs By John Murray
Picture the murder of Billy Smolinski as a crystal vase. Hold it in your hands. Spin it around. Now drop it on the kitchen floor and watch it shatter into a thousand pieces. Each shard of glass represents a clue into who killed Billy on August 24th, 2004. When patched together the vase reveals the gruesome truth of who murdered Billy, and why. The vase points to the spot Billy is buried in the Naugatuck Valley.
Re-Introduced In Congress
Congressman Chris Murphy (left) and Texas Congressman Ted Poe (right) have joined forces to co-sponsor “Billy’s Law”. Murphy said the collaboration on missing person legislation is unusual, as the two men, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, rarely agree on any issue. Janice Smolinski is pictured in the middle. Photo by John Murray
Last year’s effort to pass Billy’s Law flew through the House of Representatives, but like hundreds of other bills, was gummed up in the United States Senate. Time expired on the bill when the calendar year changed, forcing legislators to re-introduce it in 2011.
Bill and Jan Smolinski Continue To Fight For Legislation To Alter The Way Police Respond To The Report Of A Missing Adult
Story By John Murray
State Rep. Vickie Nardello, left, confers with Jan and Bill Smolinski in Hartford.
Jan and Bill Smolinski refuse to stop searching for the body of their son, Billy, who was murdered - and buried - in the lower Naugatuck Valley area six and half years ago. During their quest for truth the Smolinskis have clashed with local, state and federal police who have mishandled critical evidence and lost seven DNA samples in the case.