‘I didn’t see this one coming’: Parents of Maddilyn Burgess give first interview since their daughter was found dead in the trunk of her boyfriend’s car

“If we can use this experience with Maddilyn to help one person, it's something that Maddilyn would want.”

The parents of a 28-year-old Sturbridge woman who was found, murdered, in the trunk of her boyfriend’s car earlier this month say their daughter was a victim of domestic violence, CBS Boston reports.

Cindi Ciani and Bill Burgess told the television station they’re starting a foundation named for their daughter, who they described as a straight-A student who only saw the good in people, to try and help other victims of domestic abuse.

“If we can use this experience with Maddilyn to help one person, it’s something that Maddilyn would want,” Burgess said.

The 28-year-old’s parents said their daughter was dating 34-year-old Sturbridge resident Gyrth Rutan, who shot himself during a traffic stop on Aug. 9 in Maine. Police then found her dead body in the trunk of his car and “evidence of a crime scene” at his apartment. The Worcester District Attorney’s office said she died of “blunt force injuries” and her death was under investigation.


“He isolated her,” Ciani told the station. “She lost contact with most of, if not all of, her very close friends. Gareth was very skilled and manipulative.”

The 2008 Medfield High School graduate, who grew up in Oxford, got a restraining order against Rutan in June and moved out of his apartment, her parents said.

“I found out that she had started — after a couple of weeks — communicating with him, and, ‘Oh, he said he wants to go and get coffee.’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t — block his number,’” Burgess recalled. “I missed a large portion of the last month of her life because I was so dead against her being with him.”

Maddilyn Burgess moved back in to Rutan’s apartment, her parents told CBS Boston.

“As a parent, you fear this for your children,” Burgess said. “It’s the worst thing that could ever happen, but I didn’t see this one coming.” 


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