Encompassing 200 square miles, the area of Massachusetts known as The Bridgewater Triangle has been a hotbed for strange phenomena including UFO sightings, unknown creatures, and ghostly activity for centuries. Aside from the mostly unsubstantiated claims of all things that go bump in the night, the area has also seen its share of tragedy. Murders and unexplained disappearances have been linked to the land, and whether or not you believe the stories of extraterrestrials and cryptoids rumored to inhabit the area, the stories that we know to be true are just as chilling.
The Mary Lou Arruda Murder
15-year-old Mary Lou Arruda was last seen riding her bike near her home in Raynham when she disappeared. Witnesses claimed they had seen an unfamiliar green car with a black racing stripe in the area and were able to give police a description of the driver. For nine weeks a citywide manhunt was on for Mary Lou. That search would come to an end just 11 days after Halloween. She was found in the Freetown-Fall River State Forest with a ligature tied around her neck and secured to a tree. She died in agony as the ligature slowly strangled her to death.
Her killer was identified when police were able to match witness descriptions to a wanted poster for a man named James Kater. Kater was on probation for an incident in 1969 involving the kidnapping and attack of a young girl. Kater denied any involvement in the Arruda murder, but was tried and convicted of first-degree murder. This ruling was overturned several times, but the fourth trial would lead to a conviction that would stick. Kater died in prison in January of 2016.
George Nardi had recently lost his job after an accident left him without steady transportation. Nardi’s mother, Dianne Barchard, was upset that her adult son was not helping her with bills and instead choosing to spend his days drinking and playing Yahtzee with friends. She planned to move to a senior retirement community, which meant that Nardi would have to find a home of his own just after the holidays.
Sometime prior to Christmas it is believed that Nardi strangled his mother to death. A trail of blood stains were found leading from the kitchen into Barchard’s bedroom. Nardi claimed that the woman had died of natural causes, due to her heart condition. When he came home and found her dead he quickly cleaned up the blood and then placed his mother into her bed so he could spend one last holiday with her. When Barchard’s body was discovered, police found that Nardi had been living with the corpse for 15 days. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006.
Brockton Serial Killer
In 2015, two dismembered bodies of young women stacked on top of one another caused some to speculate that there may be a serial killer operating within the Bridgewater Triangle area. According to an article published in the Boston paper The Enterprise, retired FBI profilers were asked to look at the cases. The consensus was that the women had both been killed by the same person and that it was likely that the killer would strike again. Thus far there haven’t been any other cases reported to be linked to the two murdered women. Could a killer be lurking in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike again? Or were the women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?
The Halifax Murder House
It’s one of the most gruesome murders the area had seen at the time. On the night of February 15, 1874, William E. Sturtevant walked to the home of his great-uncles, Thomas and Simeon Sturtevant, in Halifax. Finding one uncle getting ready to check over the grounds before retiring for the evening, Sturtevant bludgeoned him to death before going upstairs to do likewise to his other uncle who was in bed at the time. Witnessing the murder, the home’s maid tried to make a run for it. Sturtevant beat her to death in the yard.
A friend paying a visit to the home stumbled across the gruesome scene the following day. Police were able to tie the murders to Sturtevant after bloody clothing was found in his possession and investigators found that Sturtevant was to be left a large sum of money upon the deaths of his great-uncles. One of the more unusual twists in the case was the discovery of the maid’s parrot who appeared to be in a state of shock. It’s been reported by the Hanson Historical Society that upon taking Sturtevant to the scene of the crime the parrot cried out, “Murder Murder, Help Help!” Sturtevant was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.
Serial killer Carl Drew was a known occultist who referred to himself as “Satan.” Drew was later found to be nothing more than a pimp who used his bizarre form of Satanism to keep the women who worked for him in line. The women were forced to participate in strange rituals that involved the torture and murder of other women who had crossed him. All of the bodies of these women were later uncovered within the Bridgewater Triangle area including Fall River, Westport, and the Freetown-Fall River State Forest – leading some to speculate that the murder of Mary Lou Arrouda may have been related to Drew.
Drew and others were later found to be tied to the murders after one of the women working for Drew confessed that she had witnessed at least two murders. They are all currently serving life in prison.