Just before 10 p.m. on the night of October 13, 1984, an unknown man pulled into the emergency room drop-off at Eastern Maine Medical Center. He threw open his door and hurried to the attendant on duty. The man didn’t identify himself, or the badly injured woman sitting in his front seat. The driver told hospital staff that she was hit by a car. As they placed the woman in a wheelchair and brought her inside, the driver sped off without another word.
Within minutes, the injured woman succumbed to her injuries. She died there at the hospital, nameless and alone.
Today, we know her name, but nearly 37 years later we still don’t know the truth about what happened to her, or who is responsible. Out of all the cold cases I’ve researched, this one leaves me with the most unanswered questions.
The woman was small in stature with dark hair. She wasn’t carrying a purse and she had no ID on her, but she did have three Canadian dollar bills in her pocket. That, along with her appearance, led responding officers to believe she might be part of a Canadian First Nations.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy the next day and immediately forwarded the results to the Maine Attorney General’s Office. The result of that autopsy and the details of the woman’s injuries were never publicly released, but a source close to the investigation told the Bangor Daily News that the woman was badly bruised with injuries consistent with either a beating or an automobile accident.
The driver had told the hospital that the woman was hit by a car, but at the time, there were no immediate reports of pedestrian accidents or even missing persons that could aid the initial investigation to give the woman her name back.
The hospital attendant told officers that the man who dropped the woman off at the emergency room was white, roughly 35 years old, about five feet six inches to five feet eight inches tall and around 170 pounds. The Bangor Daily News published a composite sketch of the man, who Bangor Police Lt. Donald O’Halloran named the prime suspect in her death.
The man is depicted with longer, side-swept hair, thick eyebrows, and close-set eyes. He has an oval-shaped face with a round chin and no facial hair. The attendant also told police that the driver had a small white car with bucket seats.
I’m going to ask you to bear with me here, because the publicly available information on this case is sparse. I almost opted not to cover it because I was frustrated by the limited details and the massive gaps in time and connecting facts, but then I paused. Isn’t that why I started this podcast? To shine a light on long unsolved cases, especially the ones with limited information, in hopes of bringing new information to light?
By October 16, 1984, three days after the woman died at Eastern Maine Medical Center, she finally had a name: 25-year old Beverly Polchies of Woodstock First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada. Along with her identity, Bangor Police reported that Beverly was last seen alive walking along U.S. Route 2 in Milford, Maine around 8 p.m. the night of October 13, the night she died.
What was Beverly doing in Milford, a full two hours away from home and across the U.S.-Canadian border? How did she end up in the car of an unknown man with critical injuries that ultimately ended her life? And were those injuries truly the result of Beverly being hit by a car — an accident — or were those injuries inflicted on purpose? Was Beverly Polchies murdered?
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Episode Source Material
- Man vanishes after leaving dying woman, Bangor Daily News, 15 Oct 1984
- Car accident killed woman left at EMMC, Bangor Daily News, 16 Oct 1984
- Suspect composite sketch, Beverly Polchies case, 21 Dec 1984
- Police seek information on death, Bangor Daily News, 01 Nov 1984
- Maine’s Vehicular Homicide and Manslaughter Laws and Penalties
- Maine State Police Unsolved Homicides: Beverly Polchies
- 1984 homicide victim’s niece: ‘The ball was dropped’ by Nit-Noi Ricker, Fox Bangor, 20 Sept 2019
- Maine tribal leaders highlight crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, Maine Beacon
- Maine State Police Facebook Post
- Abbe Museum: About the Wabanaki Nations
- Indians to vote on land settlement, Bangor Daily News, 14 Mar 1980
- National Inquiry into MMIWG Truth-Gathering Process: Bonnie Polchies and Valentino Polchies