Local News

At 17, she left a Billerica party in 1982 and was never seen again. Her car — and possibly her remains — were just found in the Concord River.

Judith Chartier was last seen at 2 a.m. on June 5, 1982.

Human remains were found Wednesday in the Concord River in Billerica near where investigators discovered pieces of a car that belonged to a 17-year-old Chelmsford girl who has been missing since 1982.

While authorities can’t say right now if the remains are Judith Chartier, they were found by investigators and civilian divers near the submerged 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger that Chartier was said to be operating the night she went missing, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The vehicle is no longer intact; it was found about 50 to 75 yards into the river under about eight to 10 feet of water. Officials were able to identify it as Chartier’s Tuesday by using its vehicle identification number, or VIN.

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Along with the vehicle and remains, authorities found a laminated work identification that belonged to Chartier, among other items. The search had resumed around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Chartier was last seen leaving a party in Billerica around 2 a.m. on June 5, 1982, according to Ryan’s office. The gathering, which included other teenagers, was said to be in an outdoor area.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and state anthropologist will now work to identify the remains as investigators work to piece together how Chartier’s vehicle and belongings ended up in the water.

“We will be going back into the water in the upcoming days,” Ryan said during the press conference.

She said she’s been in contact with Chartier’s family since the discovery.

“As you can imagine, after all of these years, first to hear just a little bit of news yesterday, that we’ve been able to locate the car, and then to hear this morning that we’ve actually found these human remains is both heartening in that they now have a sense of what happened to their sister, but also distressing in terms of all the years they have waited,” Ryan said. “Their parents are no longer with us and obviously went to their grave not knowing what had happened to their daughter.”

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Ryan couldn’t say if officials suspect foul play, noting that it’s too early to determine that.

The river and access to it was different in 1982, she said, adding that that’s something investigators will research.

The investigation is being conducted by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit and local and state police. The search also included the help of Bruce Stebbins and Hans Hug fo Sonar Search and Recovery who used Edgetech Sonar System to find the vehicle, according to Ryan’s office.

It was the new technology that was key to finding the remains, Ryan said.

Watch the full press conference:

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