Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Does Missing Person / Love Triangle Case Add Up To Homicide?

News & Commentary

Does Missing Person /
Love Triangle Case
Add Up To Homicide?

By ANDY THIBAULT
The Cool Justice Report
www.cooljustice.blogspot.com
July 26, 2006

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report, http://cooljustice.blogspot.com

Big, tough guy in Waterbury leaves his dog and his truck behind. Was sharing the sack with someone you normally wouldn't bring home to Mom. His older Love Bunny was sharing her feelings with a married pol whose business covers the Eastern Seaboard.

The big guy didn't like it when he found out about the other man. He threatened the pol. And was never seen again. Police have a tape of the threatening call.

Still, this scenario did not raise much suspicion with certain elements of the Waterbury police department, namely the detective bureau.

Billy Smolinski, six-feet, 200 pounds, was not someone to go quietly. He worked several jobs including a stint as a tow truck driver. When he disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004, he was 31 years old. His girlfriend was 47 then.

Police told the Smolinski family Billy was probably in Europe or on the lam somewhere having a good time. Despite pleas from the family, police never took fingerprints from Billy's truck. They misplaced DNA samples and couldn't figure out how to place them on various local, state and national databases.

Credit John Murray, a Lone Ranger in the journalism world, with breaking ground in this story. Murray, a respected and talented photographer and writer, has published the monthly Waterbury Observer for 13 years. He has written in detail about investigations of the local police department that went nowhere, including missing drugs and cash in the six-figure range.

Murray maintains pipelines with all levels of the department. The tone changed in March of this year when he reached Chief Neil O'Leary: "I would never rule out foul play. I don't think he [Billy Smolinksi] disappeared on his own and is hiding from his family. My gut feeling is something is wrong."

Ultimately, police spoke with Murray about details of the case on the record. They confirmed the identities of Players Two and Three in the love triangle.

The love interest, Woodbridge bus driver Madeleine Gleason went public herself in a curious legal action. After tearing down handbills about a $15,000 reward for finding Billy, Gleason sued Billy's mother Jan Smolinski and Murray for invasion of privacy. Murray had published photos of Gleason in public.

"She has no expectation of privacy whatsoever on the street," said noted media attorney Alan Neigher of Wesport, a long-time counsel for Connecticut Magazine. "Whatever she does on a public street is public business. She loses."

The case has had no shortage of bizarre twists. Woodbridge police arrested Jan Smolinski last year, charging her with disorderly conduct after she posted reward flyers and confronted Gleason. The case was dismissed.

Notably, the Woodbridge police identified Gleason as a suspect in the case. Waterbury detectives told Murray that neither Gleason nor her politician boyfriend were suspects. Yet, a Woodbridge police report states: "That Waterbury police did look into Gleason as a suspect. That Gleason was advised by them that she could remove herself from being a suspect by taking a polygraph exam…"

I called O'Leary, Gleason's lawyer and the politician. There are many questions they could answer. They did not call back.

"There is a lack of will to pursue this case," Murray told me. "They're not handling it seriously. They're either covering up bungling - or something worse."

If the Waterbury police are not going to pursue the Smolinski case, then some other law enforcement agency should. The Smolinski family and the community deserve answers.

Andy Thibault, author of Law & Justice In Everyday Life and a private investigator, is a mentor in the MFA writing program at Western Connecticut State University, consulting editor for the literary journal Connecticut Review and adjunct professor at the University of Hartford's Hillyer College. Website,www.andythibault.com, and Blog, http://cooljustice.blogspot.com

14 comments:

BrewerFactor said...

Waterbury seems to be unable to get out from the interminable apathy about government accountability. My good friend and law school classmate Mayor Mike Jarjura is a breath of fresh air. But I seriously doubt he can change this ingrained inertia. I hope these people get some answers. This is appalling.

Concern Taxpayer and Voter said...

I for one would like to know the name of this political figure/ business man/married in question. We has voters and taxpayers have the right to know who this man is. In doing so, it might bring in new information to highlight this case, for this Family. Why? isn't his name being mentioned.

Dawn said...

I want to thank the writer for an excellent story on this case. I hope there is someone out there who could break this case WIDE-OPEN. Missing adult cases need to be taken more seriously in Waterbury and Ct. The State has even Stalled in passing a Missing Person Day Bill in Hartford!
We need to find out what happened to WILLIAM SMOLINSKI.
Thanks again for putting the truth out in the public.

Eileen/Wtby Resident-head hung low said...

R U KIDDING ME?????
It doesn't take much of a detective to add up the circumstances and see something DOESN'T ADD UP! Hello- Waterbury Police Dept? Are you there?
And to think my tax dollars pay their salaries- and that they actually get 6 months of training??? What a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

This is heart renchin. This poor family. What about their Civil Rights. I think it's been valided. Can't they do anything about that.

felecia said...

i just read the story of william and it is devastating! ther has to be someone who can do something. what is wrong with people. this family needs answers. it is hear reching. my prayers are out there!

Anonymous said...

THIS IS TO COMMEND ANDY THIBAULT AND JOHN MURRAY FOR HAVING THE*#*#__AND THE *#*#_____TO LET THE PUBLIC KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON REGARDING WILLIAM SMOLINSKI'S JR'S CASE,THATS MORE THAN I COULD SAY FOR ALOT OF OTHERS WHO DON'T HAVE A CLUE TO WHAT IS GOING ON.I KNEW SOMEONE WOULD FINALLY STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND HIT A HOME RUN! ANDY AND JOHN DID JUST THAT! GREAT JOB!!!THANKS FROM SOMEONE WHO CARES

Anonymous said...

this story is realy unbelievable!! the fact that this "trying to convince the PD to do the JOB THEY ARE HIRED TO DO is still even a thought let alone a fact is another thing! i am curious as to wether or not the PD has done anything regarding THE OTHER 3 PEOPLE MISSING THE SAME MONTH AS BILLY. HAVEING 1 PERSON IN THE AREA YOU LIVE GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE IS ONE THING , BUT THREE IS A TOTALY DIFFERENT STORY.

Brenda / from Florida said...

I applaud you Mr. Thibault for telling it like it is. Excellent article. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Great work!
[url=http://gxfrfzlh.com/ksvq/tqfo.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://lvpmyvtb.com/quxb/pugs.html]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Great work!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Good design!
http://gxfrfzlh.com/ksvq/tqfo.html | http://nusbwejx.com/bjvm/espr.html

Anonymous said...

How many times have we heard love triangle. Why in God's name haven't the Waterbury policy looked into the other two parties? We all cannot say it enough, the ball has been dropped and it doesn't appear that anyone is doing anything to fix this mess. This poor family lives day to day with unanswered questions, and you have an ex-girlfriend, and a politician that are going on with their lives like nothing has happened...This is a total disregard for human life, and a mockery of police departments everywhere, not just in Waterbury...Shame on everyone that is not doing everything in their power to help find Billy... Someday you will answer to a much higher power and then what?

Murzman said...

This investigation is a prime example of how politics and police work go hand in hand to protect everyone BUT the taxpayer and victims. The Smolinski case is a typical example of justice in Connecticut.

Score: Police=1 Taxpayers=0