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Thread: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

  1. #21

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    ......"That's where his name came to light," Mitchell said.

    One Guy In School You Never Hear Fuss

    Cochran's visit to the scene raised a small suspicion that mushroomed when detectives learned more about this man living in their midst.

    Albert Cochran was born in Maine and raised in Oakland.

    He attended Williams High School, where his yearbook described him as "quietest" and included the rhyme:

    C is for Cochran
    Albert to us
    He's one guy in school
    You never hear fuss

    He played football at the school but classmates said he generally kept to himself and didn't seem to have a lot of friends.

    Cochran graduated in 1956, then joined the Air Force.

    Air Force records detailing his service were unavailable late last week, but according to police, Cochran received an honorable discharge.

    By 1960, he was living in Kalamazoo, Mich. working as a management trainee at a retail store. He married Patricia Sinclair when he was 21 and she was just 15. She soon gave birth to their first child.

    Sinclair's father later told reporters that Cochran tried to get a job with the Kalamazoo Police Department but failed the psychological exam. He also struck out when he tried to get a job at the post office.

    In October 1962, the young couple moved to Joliet, Ill, where Cochran had a job as a manager at a Topp's discount store.

    A little more than a year later, the Cochran's had three children: Christin, 3; Christopher, 2; and Craig, 10 months... and a marriage on the rocks.

    Albert Cochran had been invoilved with other women and he told friends he wanted to divorce his wife to marry someone else, according to Illinois court documents.

    The Cochrans had been seperated for several weeks when on Feb. 10, 1964, police discovered that Patricia and all three children had been killed inside their home..........

  2. #22

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    ............Patricia Cochran's body was found wrapped neatly in a blanket with a towel on her face. Her three children, dressed in pajamas, were found stabbed to death in a bathtub.

    At first Cochran denied he killed his family. Then he changed his story, saying he killed his wife in a fit of rage after he discovered that she had killed her children.

    "I choked her and choked her and choked her until she dropped," Cochran told investigators at the time.

    Investigators didn't believe that Patricia Cochran killed her children because she had no blood on her, except some mingled with skin under her fingernails.

    Albert Cochran had a scratched face when police interviewed him and tests of clothing he sent to the cleaners the morning after the killings turned up human blood, according to police and court documents.

    Although Cochran later confessed to killing his children, the confession, as it pertained to the children, was thrown out on a legal technicality, court records show.................

  3. #23

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    ...........Cochran pleaded guilty to strangling his wife and was sentenced in September 1964 to 50 to 75 years in prison, with eligibility for parole in 11 and a half years.

    In June, 1976, he was granted parole in Oakland Maine, where his brother agreed to provide him with a job in his construction business.


    Soon after his return to Maine, Cochran hooked up with Pauline Rourke, a distant relative who was raised in his parents home, family members said.

    Pauline Rourke generally accepted Cochran's story that he killed his wife in a fit of rage over the death of the three children. She agreed to allow Cochran to move in with her and her twelve-year-old daughter, Honey, in their trailer in Fairfield Center, her sister, Joy Card, recalled. Cochran and Pauline Rourke were soon romantically involved.

    Honey remembers frequent fighting between her mother and Cochran, a tension that seemed to escalate after the Baxter murder.

    Cochran was obsessed with the case, Honey said, and talked about it all of the time.

    Card said that when she visited her sister for the Thanksgiving holiday, Cochran had newspaper clippings about the Baxter case all over the trailer. Pauline, she said, seemed nervous.

    Card said she asked her sister what was troubling her. Pauline told her she was afraid of Cochran, she suspected he was involved in the Baxter murder, Card said.

    Card urged her sister to move out, but Pauline was reluctant to move again and put Honey in a new school.

    The sisters never spoke again.

    Pauline Rourke disappeared Dec. 12, 1976, four days before her 32nd birthday

    His Story Was Kind Of Weak

    Around the time Pauline disappeared, police were already takling a hard look at Cochran.

    Cochran was formally interviewed by detectives on Dec. 17, and told a story that did little to allay their suspicions.

    According to police reports, Cochran told detectives that on the night Baxter was killed he met up with three men in the parking lot at the Bob-In tavern in Waterville. He said they drank beer and vodka and smoked marijuana.

    Cochran told police he agreed to go to a party in Athens with the men, but he drove his car to the JFK Plaza, several miles away, because he did not want to lkeave it at the Bob-In.

    Cochran told police he became nervous about the men and jumped out of their car about midnight in Skowhegan.

    Then he said he walked to his brother's house, in Norridgewock, arriving about 3 a.m., according to police.

    Across the river from his brother's house, Cochran could see the police clustering around the Ford where Baxter's body had been found inside the trunk only a few hours earlier.

    Perrino's assessment then and now, "His story was kind of weak."

    Investigators theorized that Cochran came upon Baxter in the darkened parking lot of the JFK plaza, abducted her, raped and killed her. There is no evidence that Baxter and Cochran knew eachother, police said..................... .....
    Last edited by Starless; 03-20-2010 at 03:59 PM.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    ..........Detectives had a harder time trying to figure out what happened to Pauline Rourke.

    Although Rourke was not formally interviewed, Perrino said he remembers, that she may have briefly met with police before she was reported missing and that her disappearance was not considered coincidental.

    Withmetal detectors, and heat sensors, officers scoured the construction job sites where Cochran had worked, trying to find her body.

    "No question about it. We searched the sites where he waqs working," Perrino said," Everybody felt there was foul play involved, but we didn't have any leads to follow."

    Still pressing hard on the Baxter case, investigators obtained a search warrant in January 1977 to take samples of Cochran's hair and his fingerprints. But when the hair and fingerprints didn't match up with evidence found in the Ford, the case against Cochran stalled.

    It stayed stalled for 21 years.

    McLeary Family Never Lost Hope

    Robert and Gladys McCleary, Janet Baxter's parents, never gave up hope that someone would be charged with their daughter's murder.

    "You have to have faith some where along the line that justice would come aboard,: Robert McLeary said in a telephone interview last week from a vacation home near Sebastian, Fla.
    He kept that faith for himself, his wife, his daughter, and his grandaughter, Julie.

    Raising Julie, just 7, when her mother was killed, kept their hands and their hearts full.

    Soon after her mother was killed, Julie asked them "Who's going to be my mother?"

    Nanna and Bamp will be there, he told her. Nanna and Bamp will try.

    Julie, now a 29-year-old University of Maine graduate working in Portland, helped them steer their way through the difficult times, McLeary said.

    "She had so many of Jan's characteristics," he said "We could see Jan in so many ways every day."

  5. #25

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    .................Their lives carried on, but the case and Jan's death were always there.
    "It's a clous that continually hangs over your head," he said, "It's always there."

    McLeary stayed abreast of the investigation, even after the hardpress in the first couple of years gave way to what McLeary called "on hold mode."

    "When they had done everything they could physically, there was a denouement," he said, "you gotta go into peaks and valleys."

    The case passed from detective to detective to detective in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Once a year, and often more, McLeary would check in and make sure the thick, and sometimes dusty file was getting another look.

    There were other leads and other suspects. For years, detectives searched for a yellow Volksw3agon Bug that may have been driven by the crime scene the night Janet Baxter was killed. Nothing ever panned out.

    "There were more yellow Bugs than Carter has little pills," Perrino joked last week, "There were some other red herrings thrown at us at the time, but Cochran kept coming back up to the surface.

    Perrino said he wanted to put Cochran back behind bars, and thought he might be able to when Cochran was arrested for breaking into some camps in Somerset county in the late 1970s. A conviction would have, among other things, meant a parole violation for Cochran and a return to prison. But Cochran was acquitted.

    Cochran completed his parole in March 1979. Soon after, he moved to Florida.

    Perrino, now a criminal defense attorney in Augusta, confessed to a joyous outburst, when the Attorney General's Office disrupted his ski vacation in Utah last week to tell him about Cochran's arrest.

    "I was convinced he was the guy," Perrino said, "But we didn't have enough evidence. We didn't have enough and we didn't have the right technology.

    Introduction Of New DNA Test

    The technology came into play last summer, when the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory introduced highly sophisticated DNA testing.

    The new tests prompted a new look at some very old evidence, the hair plucked from Cochran's head 21 years ago and the semen on a slide saved from Baxter's autopsy.

    The DNA work, which began in October and ended earlier this month, determined that the samples came from the same man. The chance that the DNA extracted from a white male other than Cochran is 1 in 37 billion, police say. There are only 5.8 billion people on earth.

    "In this case, the technology finally caught up with us," said Maine State Police Sgt, John Dyer, who supervises detectives working in central Maine. "But it's too bad it took nearly 22 years."

    McLeary, after waiting for so long for someone to be charged with his daughter's murder, said he wasn't at all surprised when he got Mitchell's call.

    Mitchell had been calling him fairly regularly, so McLeary knew that Mitchell was enthusiastic about the case, even optimistic.

    "At this point in time, I think the world of Mike, I'd like to adopt him," McLeary said "He came along at a good time, he had his track shoes on and he was ready to go."

    MMcLeary said he and his wife are relieved that Cochran was charged in their daughter's death, and it gives them a certain buoyancy. But, he said, they know there is still much ahead as the case works it's way through the criminal justice system.

    "We've got a long road ahead, but I want to see this to the end." McLeary said.

    The case is not over for detectives either.

    In Florida, where Cochran has lived for nearly 20 years, detectives are taking a closer look at unsolved homicides and missing persons cases in the cities and towns where Cochran had lived. Detectives say they are checking to see if Cochran crossed paths with any known victims.

    In Maine, they're re-interviewing people involved in the Baxter case, tying up loose ends, making sure everything is in order for the legal fight ahead.

    Mitchell, who was also assigned the Pauline Rourke case, will continue to tackle that as well.

    "I want to answer any and all questions," Mitchell said "There are still loose ends I want to tie up.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    So anyway, the pictures are not great, but it's all we got for now. No description of her. I do have the article as well, TKG, that was the one you wanted me to look up, it's not as long as the one I posted and I have to re-read it, but there wasn't any more information in it. No description of Paula, except that she was 31, about to be 32 in a few days. That is why I took her off as a possible match for Beth Doe, I think that's pushing it a bot, even though in these two photos she does appear very youthful looking. Could be older pics too.

    Anyway, notice how Cochran wrapped both his known murder victims in something ? He wrapped Baxter in a jacket and concealed her in a car trunk. His former wife, he wrapped in I think a blanket and put a towel over his face. If Pauline was or is ever found, how much you wanna bet she's wrapped in something and concealed in some way ?

    Wonder why he didn't feel compelled to do this with his children ?

  7. #27

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    I would also bet there were other murders, and I would also say more can be in found in archives now that we have some names. Maybe even a better pic of Rourke.

  8. #28
    staceyk Guest

    in8 Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    I can't see the picture of Pauline.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    The best photo I could get is posted on post #s 15, 16, and 17 on this thread. I tried to get better, but could not.

    If there are any family members out there anywhere of Pauline's, could you please contact me at
    Last edited by Starless; 04-23-2010 at 01:00 PM.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Pauline Rourke, 32, Missing 1976, Maine - Likely a Homicide Victim

    The photos are on posts 15, 16, and 17 of this thread, it was the best I could get for now.

    If there is any family out there anywhere of Pauline Rourke, could you please contact me at

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