Article Details Waterbury Police Data
That Was Suppressed For About A Year
The Missing - A Weekly exposé of Lost Souls - Issue #9
In this week's edition of "The Missing," we revisit the mysterious disappearance of William "Billy" Smolinski, a 31-year-old resident of Waterbury, Connecticut, who went missing on August 24, 2004.
"We first learned of Billy's disappearance when his neighbor notified us that Billy had told him he was going out of town for a few days and needed someone to take care of his dog. He said he was going to look at a truck he might want to buy," Billy's mom, Janice Smolinski, said in a recent email. "This was the last time anyone saw or heard from Billy. His keys and wallet were found in his truck, and it was parked in a section of his driveway where he would have never left it."
According to Janice, Billy had recently broken up with his girlfriend, Madeleine Gleason, a bus driver in Woodbridge, after finding out she was having an affair with Chris Sorensen, an elected official in Woodbridge. As a result, Billy's family immediately suspected foul play but allegedly ran into several roadblocks from the start.
"When our family put up missing person flyers, Billy's ex-girlfriend went around and tore them down," Janice said, adding, "The Waterbury police didn't take his disappearance seriously and, in fact, lost 3 DNA samples the family had given them."
Investigators searched Billy's home and truck and conducted several interviews but found no clues suggesting what might have happed to him. The only piece of physical evidence they had was an answering machine tape they received from Sorensen that contained a threatening message Billy had left for him on the day of his disappearance. Phone records show that it was the last known call Billy placed that day. The case eventually grew cold, but Janice was unwilling to give up. She continued to post missing person flyers and at one point was arrested for first-degree harassment after putting a flyer up on a pole near Sorensen's house. Nonetheless, Janice was undeterred and sought help from the media.
In July 2006, journalist Andy Thibault, editor and publisher of The Cool Justice Report, filed a Freedom of Information request seeking information from Billy's missing person file. It took roughly nine months for the FOI Commission to approve the request, but when they did, the information obtained from it came as a shock to Billy's family.
According to a Supplementary Report found in Billy's file, the Waterbury Police Department had received a tip on June 12, 2006 from an informant who claimed he had information about Billy's disappearance. The report states that the informant told police Billy had been murdered by Madeleine Gleason's son, Shaun Karpiuk. The informant told police that he was told Karpiuk intervened in an argument between Billy and his mother and strangled Billy to death. The informant went on to say that Karpiuk took Billy's body to a construction site in Shelton and dumped it inside a hole, which was filled with concrete the following morning. Unfortunately, police were unable to question Karpiuk, who had died of a drug overdose just three months after Billy's disappearance.
In May 2007, local law enforcement, aided by the FBI, used cadaver-sniffing dogs to search several areas in and around the area the informant had mentioned to police. However, they were unable to turn up any new leads.
For now, Billy's disappearance remains unsolved. Authorities have not officially named any suspects, and they refuse to comment on the current status of the investigation.
"Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for our family," Janice said. "We are simply trying to find our son. Until we do, our relentless search continues."
Billy's family currently maintains a Web site devoted to the case at www.justice4billy.com. According to the Web site, a $60,000 reward is being offered for "information leading to arrest and convictions in the case."
William "Billy" Smolinski is described as 6' and 200 lbs., with light brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Haven FBI office at 203-777-6311. Those who wish to remain anonymous can email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 123, Cheshire CT. 06410.
If you are a family member of a missing loved one and have a case you would like covered here, contact me via e-mail. If you are a reader who would like to help, please spread the word about this blog so others can find us. The more people who see these stories, the better the chances that someone might come forward with information.