Investigators say they recovered a car from the Concord River on Tuesday that belonged to a teen from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, who went missing nearly 40 years ago.
The car, a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger, has been positively identified as the one driven by Judith Chartier when she was last seen on June 5, 1982, authorities said.
Chartier, who was 17 at the time, disappeared after leaving a party in Billerica. Friends reported that she was last seen around 2 a.m.
A Massachusetts State Police dive team and civilian divers located significant portions of a vehicle in the Concord River in Billerica on Tuesday. The pieces were confirmed to be from Chartier's car through a match of its Vehicle Identification Number.
“This is a very significant development in this case and we are still processing the car for any additional evidence," Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said. "Sadly, this discovery comes after nearly forty heartbreaking years of Judith’s friends and family missing her and wondering about what happened that day. We are committed to continuing the search for those answers."
Judith's brother, Joe Chartier, spoke to NBC10 Boston about the case in 2017.
"It hurts all the time," he said at the time. "It's a hurt I can't explain. It's heavy on the heart. It's very hard because Judy was my best friend growing up; her and I did everything together."
He said his sister was with her fiancé at the party in Billerica. They had an argument and she drove him back home to Chelmsford, then returned to the party. Friends say she was last seen leaving to go home.
Until this week, police never found Judith or her car. Her brother said her social security number never came up and she never picked up her last paycheck from work.
There was a glimmer of hope in 2012 when police found bones in a yard by the Chartiers' old home on Gorham Street in Chelmsford, but they turned out to be deer remains.
The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the district attorney's office, along with Massachusetts State Police, Billerica police and Chelmsford police.