Maine man stole fiancee’s ashes, woman says

Posted May 04, 2011, at 11:09 a.m.
Last modified May 04, 2011, at 3:15 p.m.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The mother of a deceased Vermont woman whose ashes were stolen from a grave in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Washington last year said Wednesday that her daughter’s fiance is one of four people charged in the case.

Patty Clark of Williamstown said she didn’t know why Gene Sargeant, 30, of North Waterboro, Maine and three others allegedly took the ashes of her daughter Tori Lynn Clark last September.

“We had given him part of her ashes after the service. I guess that wasn’t enough,” Patty Clark said.

“It’s just very upsetting,” she said. “Obviously, she died and then she was taken from the grave. It’s like we lost her twice.”

The ashes have not been recovered.

Patty Clark’s comments came the day after police announced they had made two additional arrests in the case, bringing to four the number of people charged with the unauthorized removal of human remains for taking the ashes of Tori Clark from the cemetery.

A funeral notice after Tori Clark was buried also listed Sargeant as the fiance. He was cited last month along with David Mares, Jr., 30, of Barre. Earlier this week police charged Rosalee Marie Moodie, 22, of North Wolcott, and Melissa Sue Estivill, 32, of Barre, in the same case. All four are due to appear in court in Chelsea on June 1.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Since the four have not yet appeared in court, it’s unclear if they have lawyers. Efforts to reach them directly were unsuccessful.

Patty Clark said Wednesday her daughter and Sargeant had been scheduled to be married last August, but they broke up about a month before Tori Clark, 33, committed suicide last June 15.

Patty Clark didn’t blame her daughter’s suicide on the break-up.

“She had had mental health issues for a number of years. They fought, broke up. I just think that was the last straw,” Patty Clark said.

State Police Trooper Ryan Green began investigating the case after Tori Clark’s father Michael received an anonymous call. The grave was opened and the ashes were gone.

Patty Clark said the charges were comforting, but only a first step.

“It will help bring closure when we get her ashes back,” she said. “Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

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