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Three years later, investigation continues into homicide of Celina Cass

Union Leader Correspondent

July 24. 2014 9:25PM
The grave of Celina Marie Cass at the Northumberland Town Cemetery. Cass disappeared from her West Stewartstown home on July 25, 2011, and her body was found a week later nearby in the Connecticut River. (JOHN KOZIOL/Union Leader Correspondent)

WEST STEWARTSTOWN — Today is the third anniversary of the last day 11-year-old Celina Marie Cass was seen alive. Though no one has been arrested in her murder, the investigation is active and ongoing, Senior Associate Attorney General Jane Young said.

The daughter of Adam Laro and Louisa (Cass) Noyes, Celina was a fifth-grader at the Stewartstown Community School. On the night of July 25, 2011, Celina watched TV with her mother in their apartment at 863 Washington St., after which her mom went to bed and Celina went onto her computer.

The following morning, Wendell Noyes, who was then Celina’s stepfather, went into her room to wake her up, but discovered she was missing.

Following an extensive search, Celina’s body was located on Aug. 1, in the Connecticut River above Public Service of New Hampshire’s Canaan Hydro dam, less than a mile from her home.

Both Wendell Noyes, from whom Louisa Noyes separated following Celina’s death, and Kevin Mullaney, who was identified as the son of one of Louisa’s former boyfriends and who also was living with Celina’s family at the time she disappeared, were subsequently subpoenaed by a grand jury. Neither has been charged in connection with Celina’s disappearance or murder.

Mullaney is currently serving two to six years at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin for crimes unrelated to Celina’s case.

In constant contact

Attempts to reach Celina’s family members for this story were not successful, but Young said Thursday her office, through a victim advocate, has remained in constant contact with both Louisa Cass and Celina’s grandparents.

Young said the case of Celina Cass has been “continuously worked on for the last three years.”

“It’s not a case that has become ‘cold,’” Young said. “We continue to have regular dialogues with the investigators assigned to this case and we continue to pursue all avenues.”

Asked why the results of Celina’s autopsy have never been made public, Young explained that it was a “strategic investigation decision to not release that information.”

“The reasoning for that,” Young continued, “is that there are a limited number — either one individual or a limited number of individuals — who would know the condition of her body.”

As to the threat to residents in Stewartstown and surrounding communities because Celina’s killer has not been identified or arrested, Young urged residents of the area to continue to be cautious.

“There is a child who has been murdered and no one apprehended at this time,” said Young, and “what I would say is that we remind people to be vigilant.”

“Our goal,” Young said, “has always been to bring the person or persons responsible for Celina’s death to justice.”

House to be razed

Robert Mills, superintendent of School Administrative Unit 7, which comprises Colebrook, Columbia, Stewartstown, Pittsburg and Clarksville, said he believes the case will be solved, eventually.

“Everyone wants to see it solved,” he said, adding that apart from Celina’s family, “nobody wants this solved more than the people who are working on that case,” namely state police, with whom he has spoken frequently.

“Life is not always like television,” where many complex situations are resolved in an hour, Mills said. While tracking down Celina’s killer may take some time, “I think it will get done.”

Although he didn’t know Celina personally, Mills said she was well-known by all of the teachers and employees at the K-8 school as well as by many of her 90 schoolmates.

The school district teaches students how to be safe outside the classroom, said Mills, but it would be hard-pressed to teach safety lessons from Celina’s death “because she should have been safe where she was.”

“It’s one thing to teach the kids when they’re out in the village or wandering around this area the things to avoid, but how do you tell a kid to watch out when they’re home?”

The house where Celina and her family lived was hit by fire last December for the second time in recent years.

The multi-family structure on Washington Street is being razed by its out-of-state owners. The demolition, according to Stewartstown Town Clerk Rita Hibbard, began Thursday.

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