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Brother of 1969 murder victim waits for justice
Robert Breest is shown in a 1969 photo. (Union Leader File)
Her partial remains were found 29 years later by two people hiking in the Hopkinton woods. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, but it was never determined how she died.
There is little that Blakeslee, living in England, can do. His long wait for justice is slipping away for his accomplished sister, the valedictorian of her class at Pembroke Academy, a Tufts University graduate and a student at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Before she disappeared that Fourth of July, her father talked to Luella as she stood in the kitchen of their modest Hooksett home ironing an outfit. She said she was going on a date with Breest, her boyfriend of three years, according to Blakeslee and then deputy and later Merrimack County Sheriff Ronald "Dana" Daniels. Her father headed out the door to visit friends. He never saw her alive again.
Daniels said state police investigators focused on Breest because of the statement Luella's father gave them. Daniels, who now lives in Las Vegas, became involved after Luella's father asked him to investigate. He knew Breest and had arrested him earlier for burglary. Breest was in prison for a short time for that incident. Blakeslee said his father brought him some books to read, but Luella never visited him.
Two months after Luella disappeared, Breest was arrested for allegedly assaulting a young woman from France, said Daniels and Blakeslee. Breest allegedly picked up the young French woman and a companion as they were hitchhiking, He told them he had to stop by his house in Hooksett to check on his mother and took them there, recalled Blakeslee who attended one of Breest's court hearings. Breest's mother was not home, and when one of the young women went to use the bathroom, Breest allegedly assaulted the other. One of the women ran out of the house to a neighbor's home, and soon police were on the scene and arrested Breest.
Police honed in on Breest when they learned he had been at a Kidder Street residence on Manchester's West Side that night, not far from Granite Square. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to 40 years to life. Breest always maintained his innocence, even when he was up for parole. All he had to do was admit to the murder, complete a sexual offender program and admit to any other crimes, convicted or not.
"My intention is to try and get the whole story out so that he's not loosed," Blakeslee said. "Bob was very clever, very much so. Look, he's considered to be the prison lawyer and helping all the other people there." Breest is imprisoned at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Shirley.
No DNA testing
Breest, in an interview with the New Hampshire Sunday News in 1998, blamed Daniels for being wrongly convicted.
Daniels maintains it was Breest's mother who testified at a hearing that Daniels said he would get him. He doesn't recall ever saying that.
When Breest obtained an attorney and investigators were told they could not talk with him anymore, Daniels instead would stop by his mother's house and sit and chat with her.
Daniels became very close to the Blakeslees, and when George Blakeslee moved to Florida a couple of years after Luella's disappearance and Kenneth Blakeslee moved overseas, Daniels took Luella's dog to live with him and his family.
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