WALLAGRASS, Maine — Cindy Owens has worn out two pairs of shoes searching the woods of northern Maine since her friend Virginia Sue Pictou-Noyes went missing two decades ago after leaving a Bangor hospital.
On Saturday the search was joined by a southern Maine crime-fighting psychic who said a combination of dreams and sensations indicated the body of Pictou-Noyes, or clues to her disappearance, were along the banks of Wallagrass Stream.
In the early morning hours of April 24, 1993, Pictou-Noyes left Eastern Maine Medical Center, desperate to get back home to her five children in Easton, according to a Jan. 9 article in the Bangor Daily News
A 26-year-old wife and mother, Pictou-Noyes had been taken to EMMC after being beaten outside a Bangor bar, allegedly by her husband, Larry Noyes, and his brother Roger Noyes Jr., according to a police report.
Maine State Police detectives believe she made it as far north as Houlton, where she reportedly made phone calls trying to get a ride home, according to the agency’s Web page on missing people.
She has not been seen nor heard from since.
Larry Noyes was charged with domestic assault and taken to Penobscot County Jail. Roger Noyes Jr. was issued a summons on an assault charge. The charges against them were dismissed, however, after Pictou-Noyes disappeared.
Last year Larry Noyes plead not guilty to unrelated charges of domestic violence terrorism, violation of a protection order and tampering with a witness.
Roger Noyes died in October of 2009.
Owens and Pictou-Noyes were longtime friends whose children often played together in Easton.
In the 19 years since her disappearance, Owens said, multiple leads and rumors have been tracked down by law enforcement, but the case remains open and unsolved.
A psychic connection
Owens, who lived in Fort Kent for a time in the late 1990s and is familiar with the Wallagrass site, may never have revisited the wooded area on Saturday if not for Fred Hamilton, a member of the Psychic Crime Fighters now living in North Waterboro, who knew all about the Wallagrass site long before he’d heard about Pictou-Noyes.
In late 2011 Hamilton said he had a four-hour vivid dream about the case with what he said were detailed images of the area in Wallagrass.
He posted the contents of his dream on his group’s website, where it was eventually seen by Cindy Owens’ daughter Jaime Owens.
“She contacted me [and] said what I had dreamed is what had happened to her friend,” Hamilton said from the search site Saturday. “I did not even see a picture of this site until this past August [and] when I did, I said, ‘Holy cow, this is exactly what I had been seeing in my dream.’”
Hamilton, who volunteered his time and traveled to northern Maine at his own expense, is a lifelong deep-water diver and said he is very good at “finding things in dark places.” He said he has successfully predicted the outcome of around 30 criminal cases over the last two years, including murders and kidnappings.
“It’s one thing to dream about a place like this,” Hamilton said. “But I had to come up and get my boots on the ground.”
The psychic spent about two hours tramping through the underbrush and along the streambed, orienting landmarks to those he had seen in his dream and through a phenomenon he termed “remote visualization.”
As he walked he described recurring themes in his dreams including the word “bare” or “bear,” old buildings, foundations, a fallen tree, a stream, houses and a treeline, and noted the shifts in the stream’s path may have moved or otherwise interfered with any evidence of a crime.
Eventually, he narrowed the search area down to a swath of land about 500 feet wide extending from the road and down the stream several hundred yards.
“I dreamed of an old barn,” he said. “I saw people in it, like they were laying low and hiding.”
Perhaps, Owens speculated, those were the ones behind the disappearance of Pictou-Noyes, hiding out after committing their crime.
For Hamilton, not traveling north to look at the scene was never an option.
“I had to come up here,” he said. “Ever since that dream I know I had been here before [and] I’ve been eating, breathing and sleeping this place [and] it is really surreal being in this place now.”
Moreover, Hamilton said he has a deeper connection with the case, as the day of Pictou-Noyes’ disappearance he had landed at the Portland International Jetport on a business trip from his then-home in California to Maritime Canada.
“Something told me I was supposed to be [in Maine]” he said. “When I got back home I told my wife we were moving to Maine.”
Hamilton said he is accustomed to skeptics, but noted his dreams and remote visualizations have proved correct time and time again.
“I try not to put too much logic into it,” he said.
Not giving up
After four hours in Wallagrass on Saturday — her third trip to the site — Owens said she is optimistic Pictou-Noyes’ family and friends will one day have the answers to her disappearance.
“This really could be the site,” she said. “I feel really good about what went on today because every little bit helps.
She had hoped to have the services of a K-9 tracking unit specializing in the search of bodies, but the handler was forced to cancel her trip north after the dog had emergency surgery late this past week.
Last year, Owens said, the same dog detected a significant scent in a burned out car possibly associated with the disappearance.
Jaime Owens has worked to keep the case alive and in the public’s eye with a presence on Facebook.
“Someone out there knows something,” Cindy Owens said. “I just hope someone comes forward and starts talking.”
She said her friend deserves that after all these years.
“Virginia was a really good person,” Owens said. “She loved cars and loved working on cars [and] she had this gold Cutlass she was working on that she really enjoyed.”
But it was a life marked by sadness and tragedy, including the deaths of two of her seven children in a 1990 house fire.
“We’ll be back, Owens vowed as the group walked away from the stream. “We all need closure on this.”