November 14th, 1978

On the morning of Tuesday, November 14th, Theresa’s parents arrive from Saint John, New Brunswick. They meet with College officials. They confer with their eldest son, Andre. They talk with other students who are friends of Theresa. Leo Hamel also talks with the Allores. They inform Hamel that Theresa was a fiercely independent person who always liked doing things herself. They tell him that, despite their protestations against it, Theresa had a bad habit of hitchhiking. They are concerned for her safely, and fear for the worst. Hamel advises them that it is too early to expect “le Pire”, the worst. Theresa is probably not harmed. More likely she has runaway and is hiding some place. She will turn up. Don’t worry. Go home, and don’t worry.

At the end of the interview Hamel asks Mrs. Allore one last question. He wishes to know if Theresa was adopted.

On Tuesday afternoon, Hamel takes statements from four students; Josie Stepenhorst, Theresa’s best friends, Jo-Anne Laurie and Caroline Greenwood, and her brother, Andre Allore. These will be the only formal interviews conducted by the Lennoxville Police:

Theresa was my friend. I saw her at dinner. She was wearing a sweater dress and Chinese slippers. She borrowed blue pants from Joannah Knooops. She was staying in that weekend to study.

We rode the bus together that Friday. We sat together at lunch. On Sunday we did not see her. On Monday I asked her brother if he had seen her. On Tuesday and Wednesday we still did not see her. We did not go to the Police. We did not inform the School. We were too scared. On Thursday we told her brother.

I am her brother. I saw her on November 1st. It was my birthday. She brought me a bottle of Tequila. She sat and had a beer with me at the Lion Pup. She went to the Library to study. I saw her again on Friday. We joked about her blue pants. Theresa had a boyfriend named Vlad. They visited my parents last Summer in New Brunswick. Caroline Greenwood asked me if I had seen Theresa. She did not tell me Theresa was missing. I have a younger brother named John. He is 14 years old.

While Leo Hamel was busy handling the Police investigation, Dr. William Matson, Campus Director of Champlain, was assigned to protect the interests of the college. Dr. William Matson was serious, no-nonsense and buttoned-down. At the tail end of the swinging 70s – with his crisp, white shirts, skinny ties and horn-rimmed glasses – Bill Matson was the poster child for a square. He looked more like an I.B.M. executive than the chief administrator for a liberal arts college. In effect, he was. Prior to graduating from the University of Maine with a doctorate degree in Philosophy, Matson worked for ten years as a salesman for a tobacco distribution firm. Matson also did a stint with the U.S. Army, and it was this experience that made him most proud. Matson worked for two years as a “special agent” in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, and he took every opportunity to notify anyone who would listen about his “secret” life. Matson liked the army. “It taught me a lot about authority and when to keep my mouth shut”, he recalled in an interview.

In the matter of the disappearance of Theresa Allore, Matson was carrying out lockdown procedures. A chain of command was to be followed. Staff and students were expressly forbidden to discuss the matter with anyone from outside the College. All information was to flow through him, which in turn would be disseminated to the police. Matson was new to the position. He was appointed Campus Director the previous summer. Prior to this, he had worked as a professor at Bishop’s – the University on the same campus as Champlain. Despite a wealth of experience in the private sector, Matson had no previous experience in college administration. He had even less experience dealing with people. He was generally regarded as a son-of-a-bitch – an epitaph he surly would have welcomed.

As the newly appointed Campus Director, there seemed to be no end to the problems Bill Matson had inherited. Construction on the new residence – one that would eventually replace Compton – was hopelessly behind schedule. The new residence, located by the railway yard in Lennoxville, was originally supposed to have been completed by the beginning of the 1978 school year. A full year was wasted on securing the bids for construction because Champlain kept losing administration staff. Three of the top executives at the school, the Director General, Jean Marie Bergman; the Director of Student Services, Gerry Cutting; and the Campus Director, Matson, all had less than two months under their belt when classes commenced in late August of 1978. Added to these problems, Matson was recently forced to disclose to the Board of Governors that the School’s Vice-President for Internal Affairs had been terminated for embezzling funds from the Champlain Student Association coffers.

Now there were more problems. A student had gone missing. Not from the campus, but from a residence facility ten miles away in a farmer’s field. How could he be expected to control affairs at such a satellite location when he could barely keep tabs on affairs on campus? The thought of it made his blood boil. Matson was well known for his foul tempers and his sailor mouth. He could be particularly insensitive to his staff and co-workers. In the matter of Theresa Allore, he wasn’t about to call in the National Guard just because she went AWOL. Matson’s was cruel in his bluntness. When a group of students and teachers pleaded with him to conduct a search of the Compton campus to look for the missing student, Matson stiffly replied that he wouldn’t turn his school upside down just for some damn kid.


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