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Story By Robert Muldoon
Karen Everett was the first.
On October 16, 1988 deer hunters found her body, clad in a light-gray tank top, dumped down an embankment by the Naugatuck River off Valley Road in Harwinton, just off Route 8. Months later, Mildred Alvarado, also strangled, was found there, too. In 1992, Evelyn Bettancourt was, too. In 2006, Jessica Marie Muskus, missing since 2004, was also. Recently, in December 2021, Brianna Beam was too.
Clockwise from top right is Karen Everett, Mildred Alvarado, Frederica Spinola and Jessica Muskus. All four deaths are linked to Campville.
In the past 34 years eighteen Waterbury women have perished in a grisly corridor of Route 8, a vector of murder and suspicious deaths beginning at Grove and Willow Streets in Waterbury, and radiating northward to Valley Road. Petite, freckle-faced Karen Everett was the first.
Karen had just turned 25 the week before. Auburn-haired with hazel eyes, her life held so much promise—and so many challenges. In short, hers was a life just like all of ours.
Karen had some advantages. She was whip-smart, friendly and courteous, a young woman with a job and an apartment. Her employer and landlord Alan Lane, of Lane Financial Services, hired her in June—and what she accomplished in short order was nothing short of “marvelous,” he said.
“She was a very brilliant kid,” Lane said in a Waterbury Republican story. Everett had straightened out his files and book-keeping system, accomplishing in a day what it would take others a week, he added. Besides working at the 2040 North Main Street office, she rented an apartment upstairs, and answered after-hours phone calls.
Growing up in Virginia, Karen loved to ride horses, and had even won awards, Lane said. But then her world was shattered. When she was 12, her mother Corrine Murphy Everett, a housewife, died of coronary artery sclerosis, at age 43. Corrine, a Connecticut native, had moved to Virginia, married Robert S. Everett, and started a family. Karen had an older brother John Henry. The small family lived in Alexandria. Corrine was buried at New St. Bridget Cemetery in Cheshire in 1976.
Her mother’s death was a devastating blow.
“Her whole life just came to an end,” Lane said. “That’s all she ever talked about was her mother.”
When she got older, in 1981, Karen returned to her beloved mother’s home state, perhaps to feel closer, or to make a fresh start. She moved to Waterbury. Sensitive and alone, she wrote poetry and read to help sort out her feelings. But inside, she harbored a deep pain.
Perhaps to numb the pain, Karen began using drugs. She started getting into trouble. On September 15, 1987, she was sentenced to a year in Niantic Women’s Prison for a violation of probation. When she was released on June 1, 1988, she began working for Lane Financial.
Despite encounters with Waterbury police, even they spoke highly of her character.
Karen Everett lived in Waterbury
“She was always courteous and never gave us a problem,” said Detective George Lescarde in 1988, who frequently spoke to Karen downtown. “She was really friendly. She just seemed like a loner, always by herself.” Karen never gave officers a hard time.
But she had her struggles. Lescarde called her nice, but “screwed up.” Detective Eugene Coyle, who also knew Karen, called her “misguided.” Detectives claimed to know her as a city prostitute, but police records showed no arrests or convictions for that offense.
Lane, the employer and landlord, said Karen was working hard to get her life together.
Alan Lane was Karen Everett’s employer and landlord, and provided extensive information to the media about Everett’s hopes and dreams in the days following the murder.
“She believed she had a handle on it, and she was trying to keep things in order and she was going to counseling and she was trying to do everything anyone can who’s trying to straighten out her life.”
Lane said he had helped Everett get into the methadone program at Connecticut Counseling on Chase Avenue. Karen was planning on taking night courses at a local college and wanted to learn more about finance, he said.
“She just needed direction and I thought she was coming along beautifully,” he said.
Lane last saw her on Friday October 14, 1988. He became concerned Saturday when she didn’t check with him to see if he needed help, which she usually did. Everett had told him about 5:30 on Friday that she was going downtown but would be back shortly.
The company car that Everett often used was broken, Lane said, and she may have hitchhiked (from 2040 North Main St), although he had warned her against hitchhiking in the North End, a high-crime area.
“As far as I know, she was waiting for the bus. Maybe she was hitchhiking,” he said, adding he had offered her a ride, but she refused saying it was out of his way. “I thought she was taking the bus.”
Hunters found her Sunday at the bottom of a steep, 40-foot bank, clad only in a tank top. She had been strangled. Her body had cuts and bruises, apparently caused when her body tumbled down the slope, police said.
Desolate area along Valley Road in Harwinton, CT, where five bodies have been found in the past 34 years, most recently in December 2021.
The happiest Lane had ever seen her was when she saw some horses while visiting company property in Litchfield.
“She saw the horses and, my God, you’d have thought you’d given her a million dollars,” he said. “It was amazing. She knew everything about horses.”
Karen also took care of the two white German shepherds he kept at Lane Financial, on North Main Street. She was spoiling the guard dogs, he said.
“She’d put them in the car and take them to get ice cream cones. I told her you don’t do that with guard dogs. They’re supposed to be vicious. She was making pussycats out of them.”
Everett often used “Brandy” as a nickname.
“Everyone got along with Brandy. She was never a problem,” he said.
Lane once asked her why she used the name Brandy, but “she never did answer me on that,” he said.
It seems to be a mystery about Karen Everett—that, and who strangled and dumped her 33 years ago, up Route 8, on the banks of the Naugatuck River in Harwinton.
Karen Everett was buried in New St. Bridget’s Cemetery in Cheshire next to her beloved mother.
New St.Bridget’s Cemetery in Cheshire, CT.
If you have any photographs or memories or information about the life and unsolved murder of Karen Everett, please contact the Waterbury Observer at 203-754-4238 or email John Murray at email@example.com. •
The Waterbury Observer is investigating the deaths of…
1) KAREN EVERETT (“Brandy”) –
10/16/88 (Valley Rd Harwinton) –
STRANGLED (age 24)
2) MILDRED ALVARADO –
1/19/89 (Valley Rd/Harwinton) –
STRANGLED (age 30)
3) MARIE THRASHER
Body found in Naugatuck River near Bank Street
4) MARY JO MARKIEWICZ –
11/25/92 -(Chase River Rd Wby) –
STABBED age 34
5) OLGA MARIE CORNIELES-UBIERA
11/01/94 -(Rte 262- Waterbury Rd in Thomaston – 8 miles south of Campville)
6) FREDERICA SPINOLA –
12/9/94 (Rte 8 Harwinton) –
RUN OVER (pushed/fell from van) (age 40)
Albert S. Boyson, age 77, van driver for Kelley Transit was driving
7) LORI DELGADO
41-year-old Waterbury resident
Notch Road embankment
Bludgeoned, blunt head trauma
Believed to be killed elsewhere and dumped
9) SHAWN MAE HASKELL
8/99 partially clothed by RR Tracks in Waterbury
Chief Medical Examiner ruled death as an overdose
10) BERNADINE PAUL (Missing)
6/7/00 – Bradlees Parking lot (Chase Ave)
11) ELIZABETH GRZYWACZ
10/7/2002 – 69 Linden St – naked, bludgeoned (age 34)
12) JESSICA MARIE MUSKUS – age 22
found 11/14/2006 (Campville Exit Rte 8/ 300 yds from Valley Rd)
The next three are Waterbury victims of convicted serial killer William Devin Howell, who murdered at least seven women, three from Waterbury. Were there others?
13) MELANIE RUTH CAMALINI (29) – missing 1/1/2003
14) MARILYN GONZALEZ (26) – mother of 2 (2003)
15) MARY JANE MENARD (40) – 10/2003
16) DEE-MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ –
Age 36 – Train Tracks – Thomaston AVE –
Medical Examiner ruled a drug overdose
17) KELSEY MAZZAMARO, 26, of Litchfield
Found murdered on May 6, 2018 in Burlington
18) BRIANNA BEAM age 20
Harwinton – 100 feet off Campville Rd
Ties to Waterbury, Thomaston, Bristol and RI
If you have any photographs or memories or information about the life and unsolved murders of any of these women, please contact the Waterbury Observer at 203-754-4238 or email John Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.