Daily News from New York, New York on March 10, 1991 · 24
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Daily News from New York, New York · 24

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 10, 1991
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24 J UU Vy LJ V II .. - L..-li-.-EJ VliJ i L- r, ,,. .i 1 I , w- .i..4 By JOSEPH McNAMARA Daily New Slaff Writer THE RED SNOW MURDERS exerted fearful pressure on the tranquility of the young women of New Hampshire. The crimes were so named because the life-blood of two teenage girls was spilled over snowbanks after they had been abducted, shot, knifed and sexually abused. Fear was almost tangible in that New England state. The first victim was Sandra Valade, 18, who vanished the snowy night of Feb. 1, I960 on the outskirts of Manchester. Sandra, dark-haired and brown-eyed, had gotten off a bus for a mile walk to her home. She never arrived. Sandra, a coil-winder at a local factory, had visited a library after work, gone swimming at the YWCA and attended a movie before setting out for the home she shared with her parents. She wore a red blouse, black slacks and a heavy hooded coat . . . when she stepped into swirling oblivion at 9:14 p.m. Nine hours after being reported missing, Sandra's red pouch bag and a storm boot were found on a screen of the municipal waterworks canal. Skin divers found her coat and wallet in the 18 foot-deep canal. A police technician said two holes In back of the coat were caused by bullets. Chief Is Pessimistic "I would say the girl is dead," Police Chief Francis Granaghan told her parents. "No! No! Just kidnaped," screamed her father, Charles, a retired mill worker. "Held in a cabin somewhere." On the ninth day of a widespread search a youth spied Sandra's red blouse in the snow off Derry Road. He called police. Sandra lay dead in the snow, her blouse and bra yanked upward to expose her breasts, her corduroy slacks slit up the back. She had been shot twice in the head, twice in the back with a .22-caliber gun. She had been beaten on the head, slashed repeatedly and sexually abused. Attorney Ceneral Louis Wy-man headed a giant probe that zeroed in on local men, since the kidnap site and the. spots where Sandra's clothes and body were found lndlcat- ed the killer knew the area. Several good Samaritan motorists told cops they had DAILY NEWS pushed a Chevrolet out of the snow near the place where Sandra was kidnaped. Every local owner of a Chevy made between 1949 and 1954 was queried by police. Also, known owners of .22 guns, sex deviates of record and all men who knew Sandra. In two years, sleuths checked out 2,000 tips and 700 suspects, including one who confessed he used a .43 on the girl. Police knew that was impossible. Shocked as residents were they got a ruder jolt Jan. 13, 1964 when Pamela Mason, a 14-year-old baby-sitter, disappeared. As in Sandra's case, a driving snow pelted the area when Pamela was picked up at home to baby-sit a 1-year-old for several hours. Pamela had advertised her baby-sitting on a laundery bulletin board. Her mother, Joan, 32, was reluctant to let Sandra go but the man on the phone said he lived a quarter mile away. "All right, but you'll have to have your wife with you when you pick her up and drive her home," Joan said. The mother went off to work but asked her son, 11, to walk Sandra to the car. Just as the man honked, however, the landlord asked the boy to help him with a fuse and he never saw the car or driver. To his horror, her father, David, learned when he returned home that the phone number and address given by the male caller were those of an elderly couple who had no baby or need of a sitter. Chunky Pamela was dressed in white blouse and sweater, green stretch pants and hooded car coat. She carried school books and papers, for her homework. Her-, mother publicly appealed to the unknown kidnaper; "Whoever you are, for ' God's;sake don't harm my baby. 1 have no money, but -I'll get som even if I hav to mortgage my life." Five days later a truck driver spotted Pamela's green purse and school books off Interstate 93, 2 miles from the spot where Sandra was found dead. Then he saw Pamela's body, barely visible in a melting snowbank stamed with her blood. Police found the girl's blouse partially removed, her panties and bra missing. She had been shot twice in the head with a .22, stabbed four times and slashed repeatedly. She had been abused sexually. She was killed the night she disappeared. "This murder closely resembles the Valade slaying," said Hillsboro County Medical Examiner Lionel Lavoie. A Father Is Quizzed Again there was a canvass of weirdos. And .22 owners. Among them was Edward H. Coolidge Jr., 27, who had been quizzed in the Valade killing. He was married and had a 17-month-old daughter. As before, Coolidge was cooperative with investigators. They found that his mother ran a coin-operated laundry, so he probably was familiar with girls advertising babysitting on bulletin boards Coolidge admitted it was his. car that the Samaritans. . Sunday, March 10, 1991 rz I f - -? - I . - Ar y : ' v3-v: 7l ft fa"-' WINTER EdLLS: Pamela Mason, top left, and Sandra Valade. Edward H. Coolidge Jr., above left, is shown being led to jail after his arrest. had freed from the snow on Route 93 the night Pamela vanished. The Samaritans told cops the time was different from what Coolidge said, and a spot closer to where Pamela's body was found. Coolidge, a salesman, surrendered a .22 Mossberg rifle, which ballistics linked to the slugs that had killed Pamela Mason. On Feb. 19, 1964, Coolidge was arrested for the kid nap-slaying of the babysitter. A month later he was indicted in the slaying of Sandra Valade. On May 16, 1965, Coolidge went on trial before Superior Court Judge Robert F. Griffith in Pamela's death. Witnesses testified that Coolidge gave three versions of where he was the night of Pamela's slaying. Four men he indicated would substantiate his alibi for that night swore they had not seen him. Experts declared that Pamela's hair was found on Coo-lidge's clothing, that gunpowder on her clothing was identical with that found in the defendant's auto and on his clothes. Ballistics men swore that slugs from Pamela's body were fired from Coolidge's .22 Mossberg rifle, and the defense startled the prosecution by admitting that slugs from Sandra's body also were fired from the weapon, v ; The defense strategy was revealed when Coolidge took c the stand and testified - he . won the Mossberg rifle. in, , 4 A 1 ' 1 T f Two victims of Red Snow Murders were sales contest in December, 1961 22 months after Sandra was slain. But the prosecutor, then Attorney General William Maynard, got a contest official to admit that Mossberg rifles bore no serial number and thus could not be identified. In short: Coolidge could have owned two Mossbergs, one that he won and one that committed the two murders. Coolidge was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in Pamela's slaying. And that August the state dropped the Valade murder charge against him. But on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court voted June 1971 that sweepings from Coolidge's car had been done on a search warrant signed by the attorney general, who later became the trial prosecutor. The court said a neutral magistrate would have to sign the warrant, and it ordered a new trial. He's Resentenced But before that trial got under way, Coolidge pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. On Dec. 29, 1971, Coolidge was resentenced to 25 to 40 years. On Saturday, New Hampshire will release Coolidge from prison. He will have "maxed out," satisfied the maximum term because of time granted for good behavior, and he will be freed without parole, a Department of Corrections spokesman said. ti Kit

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