Chelmsford

Search for Long-Missing Teen Judith Chartier Continues in Concord River

The "major update" in the search for Judith Chartier, a teenager from Chelmsford who went missing nearly 40 years ago, doesn't necessarily mean the remains are hers, officials say

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Search teams continue to scour areas of the Concord River in Chelmsford in hopes of cracking a decades-old cold case.

Divers and investigators returned Thursday looking for more clues connected to the disappearance of Judy Chartier. Human remains were found in the river a day earlier, which could give a family and a community answers after 40 years.

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Divers found the remains Wednesday, along with pieces of a Dodge Dart Swinger on Tuesday. It's the car then-17-year-old Chartier was driving the night she disappeared in June 1982; she was last seen leaving a party in neighboring Billerica and never heard from again.

Human remains and a car possibly belonging to a teenager who went missing in 1982 were discovered in the Concord River in Chelmsford, Mass. earlier this week.

Investigators will not say what led them to search the specific area of the river, though it is not far from where the party was held all those years ago.

They say the car and human remains were found in water that’s 10 feet deep and sonar technology helped them make the discovery. They also found a purse with Chartier’s work ID.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan confirmed that a variety of human remains were found close to the car that belonged to Chartier. They have yet to confirm whether or not the remains belong to Chartier.

"That does not mean the remains are Judy Chartier but it is a piece of information we've taken from that area," Ryan said.

State officials will work to identify the body and work to determine what led to their death.

After human remains were found in the Concord River on Wednesday as police searched for Judith Chartier, who went missing in1982, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan gave an update to press.

Chelmsford Police Chief James Spinney said that, "while this is a major, major case development, it affects a person and a family forever," adding that "we've never closed the case, it's been something we've been ongoing working on involving multiple investigators."

About 10 Massachusetts State Police divers had been in the river Wednesday continuing a search for evidence, officials had said earlier.

"We make a commitment to families when someone either loses their life or disappears that we will not give on the cases, and I know, often, when there is not a result, people thinks that means there is no effort," she said.

Investigators will now try to talk to the people who were at the outdoor gathering in Billerica with Chartier before her death to gather more information that may help determine what happened to her, Ryan said.

"You know, for a long time, we knew where the story ended in those early morning hours. Now, we have a conclusion to where the car and these human remains were found, and the question now will be connecting that," she said.

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