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October 09. 2013 10:19PM

A year of pain, grief for family of 'Lizzi' Marriott


LIZZI MARRIOTT 


Police divers search around Peirce Island in Portsmouth for Lizzi Marriott’s body last October. It has never been found. (UNION LEADER FILE)

DOVER — It has been one year since the Marriott family's world was turned upside down.

One year since they believed their daughter, Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, 19, was on her way to a friend's house from a class at the University of New Hampshire. One year since she was reported missing. And one year since the family discovered she had been murdered.

On Oct. 12, 2012, police searched the waters near Peirce Island in Portsmouth and Dumpsters throughout the Seacoast looking for evidence.

They did not find Marriott's body — her body has never been found — but on Oct. 13, police announced the arrest of Seth Mazzaglia, 30, of Dover for Marriott's murder. The details that followed were too much for any family to bear, but Bob Marriott, Lizzi's father, did his best to show strength to the many people who came out to show love and support for his family, both at UNH and in the family's hometown of Westborough, Mass.

At a memorial service in front of Thompson Hall on the UNH-Durham campus, he talked of his daughter's dream of working in marine biology, how excited she was to be starting her first semester at UNH, and all of the ways she wanted to help educate others about the marine world she loved so much.

"Lastly, please reach out to your parents and tell them you love them. Give them a hug," Marriott told the somber crowd of UNH students.

Mazzaglia is facing numerous charges, including first- and second-degree murder alleging different theories of the crime. Last month, a new indictment was handed up by a Strafford County grand jury alleging a higher level of hindering apprehension and prosecution than previously revealed in court documents.

Police allege Marriott was lured to a Sawyer Mills apartment in Dover by Mazzaglia's girlfriend, Kathryn "Kat" McDonough. There, police say Mazzaglia strangled and/or suffocated Marriott before, during or after committing felonious sexual assault.

The couple then allegedly took several steps to cover up the crime, deleting text messages on their cell phones, discarding clothing, Marriott's GPS and cell phone, and the rope Mazzaglia allegedly used to kill Marriott.

Police allege they transported Marriott's body to Portsmouth and dumped her in the Piscataqua River before abandoning her car in a UNH parking lot.

Following Mazzaglia's arrest, he and McDonough allegedly discussed getting married, motivated in part by a belief that McDonough would not be forced to testify against Mazzaglia.

Mazzaglia also allegedly sent McDonough letters in jail that she later destroyed, detailing a false account of what happened for her to commit to memory. Prosecutors say he discussed fleeing the country with McDonough, and killing witnesses Roberta Gerkin and Paul Hickok.

McDonough will testify against Mazzaglia as part of a negotiated plea deal reached in July. She is currently serving a 1 1/2- to three-year sentence on charges of hindering prosecution, a sentence that outraged the Marriott family.

"Accessory to murder would be much more fitting as it relates Kathryn McDonough to the death of my daughter and does not suggest some victimless crime," Bob Marriott said at the hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Mazzaglia's trial is scheduled to begin in 2014.

In April, through their attorney George Thompson, the Marriott family said they are "resolute" in their demand for justice for Lizzi and their defense of her life and legacy.

The Lizzi Marriott Intrepid Explorer Trust Fund was established in her memory to help perpetuate her love of the environment.

gmacalaster@newstote.com


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