Police: No evidence of foul play
Thursday, October 18, 2012
MILFORD – Lorinda White’s former husband had told police to look for her in “dark places,” and it was a dark place where police found her five days after she disappeared from her Milford home in August.
Details about the disappearance of the 51-year-old Milford woman and the investigation that followed were revealed last week with the release of 98 pages of police documents obtained from the Milford Police Department after the Telegraph of Nashua filed a right-to-know request.
The documents show that White’s ex-husband, Steve Zetterberg, of Maine, was one of 30 family, friends and co-workers police interviewed in the course of the investigation, and the documents put to rest what had been a mystery surrounding White’s disappearance and death.
Police found no evidence of foul play and have closed their investigation.
The state medical examiner determined her death was an accident, the result of hyperthermia, exposure to excessive heat.
Police found White’s body behind the Jacques Memorial School on Aug. 10, five days after she was reported missing and after a worker who was preparing school athletic fields opened the utility box and found the body in a sitting position. An autopsy found no trauma to her head or any defensive wounds, nor any marks on her neck to indicate injury.
The documents also reveal details of the Milford police investigation that show how they reached their conclusions.
In trying to determine how White, who was 5 feet 4 inches and weighed about 140 pounds, went into the box and became trapped, Milford Detective Andrew Fowle, who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds, was able to easily climb into the utility box and close the door, according to the documents. He was unable to unlatch the door from inside at first, but after looking at it in the light, he figured out how it worked and escaped.
The detective said he was sweating profusely after only a few minutes in the box, according to a report written by the case’s lead investigator, Milford Police Detective Sgt. Kevin Furlong.
The report also notes that it was warm during that week of August, with heat indexes ranging from 81-97 degrees from Aug. 5-10. Furlong put a thermometer in the utility box on an 82-degree day and the temperature inside rose to 140 degrees within 30 minutes, according to the report.
Her body was seated with her knees up and she was wearing a bra, but no shirt. Her shirt, a peach colored tank top, was later found at Milford High School, where the truck had been parked earlier. That week workers were preparing athletic fields and playgrounds for the opening of school and the fall sports season.
Police believe she pushed the shirt through a drain in the bottom of the utility box. The documents also state that her boyfriend, William Pillsbury, was the one who first reported her missing, and in the days that followed he voluntarily gave police DNA samples and allowed police to search his home, yard and vehicles.
Pillsbury openly spoke with reporters on several occasions and directed volunteer search efforts in the woods around the couple’s Ford Street home.
One witness described finding Pillsbury slumped over in his truck crying during the days-long search. After police told him they found White’s body, Pillsbury said he stopped reading and watching media reports about her disappearance.
The documents also show that White disappeared twice before Aug. 5, once showing up at home again quickly and another time returning home after a solo drive to a bed-and-breakfast in Kittery, Maine.
The owners of that bed-and-breakfast said White arrived unannounced around 7 p.m. Aug. 3 and acted strangely and said “I’m running.”
On Aug. 8 White was seen near railroad tracks behind the Circle K gas station on Elm Street. A police search dog found White’s scent there and followed it west into Wilton and toward Lyndeborough, according to the documents.
Another witness told police she spoke with White on Aug. 7 on Temple Street in Nashua and she was barefoot and seemed confused.
Police spoke with 30 witnesses as part of the investigation, including family, friends and co-workers.
Pillsbury and White’s sons, Crawford and Victor Zetterberg, who live in Maine, organized searches, distributed missing person posters around town and the sons brought friends from Maine to help in the search.
They told police their mother had been interested in unusual beliefs and was researching “New Age physics” on the Internet. Pillsbury told police White had been into “spiritual things.”
Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua telegraph.com. Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@