Where is Brianna Maitland? Police identify source of DNA

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Advanced testing methods and forensic genealogy have helped police identify the source of a DNA sample found during their investigation into the 2004 disappearance of a 17-year-old Vermont girl. State police say an “object of interest” was found near Brianna Maitland’s car about a week after she went missing in Montgomery. That sample has since been matched to an unidentified person by authorities, who have repeatedly stressed that the new information does not mean a suspect has been found. “It’s hard to keep hope alive, but I’m still trying,” said Bruce Maitland, Brianna’s father. He still hopes to find his daughter. Saturday marks the 18th year of his disappearance. “It is important to note that this does not mean that we have identified a suspect,” Vermont State Police Sgt. Angela Baker wrote in a statement. “The use of genetic genealogy to identify DNA found 18 years ago is just one example of how detectives continue to pursue all potential leads in this case.” Investigators initially submitted DNA profiles through a Federal Bureau of Investigations database, which did not come back every match. The new results were obtained after samples were sent to a Texas-based sequencing lab, which identified a number of possible matches which were then questioned by police. ‘The Perfect Storm’ Maitland was last seen returning from work at the Black Lantern Inn on March 19, 2004, supposedly on her way to a friend’s house where she was living. She never arrived. His 1985 Oldsmobile was later found by police, backed into a barn about a mile from the restaurant, near where police found the last DNA sample. “It was kind of like the perfect storm,” retired Vermont State Police Lt. Brian Miller told NBC5 News during a 2019 interview about the case. A number of factors meant Maitland wasn’t immediately missing — she wasn’t living at home with her parents, her roommate was out of town, and she wasn’t due back at work the next evening. Police then towed the car, which was not registered in his name, unaware that it was a potential crime scene. Investigators said there was no evidence that Brianna left the area voluntarily and they believe she was the victim of foul play. The following weeks and months brought several searches in northern Vermont. Maitland’s family have worked tirelessly to bring the missing teenager to light. “I want to find Brianna so, you know, so much,” Maitland said. “That’s my, my life’s purpose. And as I get older, you know, that, you know, that becomes a, you know, being able to reach that and be able to find it. A brief glimmer of hope came in 2006, when surveillance video from a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey showed a woman who police said might have looked like Maitland. State police attended the scene but the woman was never found. “It’s just pretty unlikely, from what we know, that it’s her,” Miller said. “But it certainly gave us some hope.” Saturday marks 18 years since Bruce spoke to Brianna. A day to remember and keep looking for answers “I think about Brianna every day of my life,” Maitland said. “But I usually spend a little more time that day and sometimes I connect it with a few people who have been supportive of me.” The Vermont State Police is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to a resolution in the case. Tips can be submitted by emailing Sgt. Angela Baker or file information through the state’s anonymous tip line.

Advanced testing methods and forensic genealogy have helped police identify the source of a DNA sample found during their investigation into the 2004 disappearance of a 17-year-old Vermont girl.

State police say an “object of interest” was found near Brianna Maitland’s car about a week after she went missing in Montgomery. That sample has since been matched to an unidentified person by authorities, who have repeatedly stressed that the new information does not mean a suspect has been found.

“It’s hard to keep hope alive, but I’m still trying,” said Bruce Maitland, Brianna’s father. He still hopes to find his daughter. Saturday marks the 18th year of his disappearance.

“It is important to note that this does not mean that we have identified a suspect,” Vermont State Police Sgt. Angela Baker wrote in a statement. “The use of genetic genealogy to identify DNA found 18 years ago is just one example of how detectives continue to hunt down all potential leads in this case.”

Investigators initially submitted DNA profiles through a Federal Bureau of Investigations database, which returned no matches. The new results were obtained after samples were sent to a Texas-based sequencing lab, which identified a number of possible matches which were then questioned by police.

‘The Perfect Storm’

Maitland was last seen returning from work at the Black Lantern Inn on March 19, 2004, supposedly on her way to a friend’s house where she was living. She never arrived.

His 1985 Oldsmobile was later found by police, backed into a barn about a mile from the restaurant, near where police found the last DNA sample.

“It was kind of like the perfect storm,” retired Vermont State Police Lt. Brian Miller told NBC5 News during a 2019 interview about the case.

A number of factors meant Maitland wasn’t immediately missing — she wasn’t living at home with her parents, her roommate was out of town, and she wasn’t due back at work the next evening.

Police then towed the car, which was not registered in his name, unaware that it was a potential crime scene.

Investigators said there was no evidence that Brianna left the area voluntarily and they believe she was the victim of foul play.

The following weeks and months brought several searches in northern Vermont. Maitland’s family have worked tirelessly to bring the missing teenager to light.

“I want to find Brianna so, you know, so much,” Maitland said. “That’s my, my life’s purpose. And as I get older, you know, that, you know, that becomes a, you know, being able to reach that and be able to find it.

A brief glimmer of hope came in 2006, when surveillance video from a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey showed a woman who police said might have looked like Maitland. State police attended the scene but the woman was never found.

“It’s just pretty unlikely, from what we know, that it’s her,” Miller said. “But it certainly gave us some hope.”

Saturday marks 18 years since Bruce spoke to Brianna. A day to remember and keep looking for answers

“I think of Brianna every day of my life,” Maitland said. “But I usually spend a little more time that day and sometimes I connect it with a few people who have been supportive of me.”

The Vermont State Police is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to a resolution of the case. Tips can be submitted by emailing Sgt. Angela Baker or file information through the state’s anonymous tip line.

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