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April 29, 2008

 

Vigil slated to spur public interest in missing woman

Bethanie

By AIMEE MILKS
Staff Reporter
amilks@cortlandstandard.net

MARATHON — A candlelight vigil is scheduled Wednesday night at the Three Bear Inn for the Killawog woman who has been missing since April 1.
Friends of Bethanie Dougherty, 40, of 554 Jennings Creek Road, organized the vigil that is planned for 7 p.m.
Sharon Toussaint, owner of the Three Bear Inn since 1987, agreed to have the event at her business.
“The purpose is to reignite awareness that she is missing,” Toussaint said.
At the vigil, candles will be for sale and people will gather outside or inside, weather permitting, for moments of silence and to share memories of Dougherty.
Toussaint said she has known the family for a while and Dougherty’s children — Logan, 18; Josh, 15; and Samantha, 14, sometimes do work for her.
Dougherty lived in Marathon before moving to Killawog.
“Her friends and family haven’t forgotten she is missing and we want the general public to remember,” Toussaint said. “We’d just like some kind of resolution.”
She added that a fundraiser for the family is in the works but has not been organized yet.
Dougherty’s first husband, Pat McMahon of Marathon, is taking care of their three children.
Avis Dufresne, Dougherty’s mother who lives in Homer, said she would most likely be attending the vigil with her daughter, Billie-Jo Kuckolls.
“I don’t know how I feel,” Dufresne said of the vigil. “I just hope and pray every day that they just find her alive.”
The Broome County Sheriff’s Department, which has been leading the investigation into the suspicious disappearance, has searched hundreds of acres of land near Dougherty’s home and looked up and down the Tioughnioga River. It has also been investigating various leads.
“We were up again Friday searching the river but still haven’t found anything,” Broome County Sheriff David Harder said Monday morning, adding that if Dougherty was in the water, she would begin to rise because the weather is warming the river.
Cold water keeps a body under water. Once the water temperature increases, a body will rise.
About 15 investigators are still interviewing people and keeping in contact with the family.
Harder said investigators have eliminated people who may have been involved in Dougherty’s disappearance with lie detector devices and through the interview process.
“We hope that she’s alive; that she just ran off with someone like some people have done,” he said. “We have interviewed hundreds. No one has seen anything or heard anything.”
The FBI added the mother of three to its list of kidnapped and missing persons several weeks ago.
Dougherty, whose maiden name is Curtis, was last seen at her home on the night of April 1.
Her oldest son, Logan, last saw Dougherty at 10 the night she disappeared. On April 2, Dougherty did not show up for work at the Freeville Xtra-Mart and was reported missing later that evening. She was scheduled to work at 6 a.m.
Harder said she was last seen in purple pajamas, which have not been found in her home.
The FBI Web site states she may have been wearing green-colored contact lenses when she went missing. Dougherty is 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds, with blue eyes and red hair.
Police are still searching for a mid-to-late 1990s Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck that was reported in the area the night of her disappearance.