Ralph Jean-Marie was last seen at the Hollow Inn & Motel in Barre on April 13, 2020. One year later, city officials want to renew awareness of his disappearance.
“I think on the one-year anniversary it’s the right time to bring it back up and bring it to the forefront of people’s thoughts,” said Barre Police Chief Timothy Bombardier at a press conference Tuesday.
Bombardier says after more than 56 interviews and 30 searches with scuba divers, drones, and K-9 teams, investigators still don’t have concrete evidence that explains what happened to Jean-Marie.
Jean-Marie wasn’t reported missing until almost three days after he was last seen. A full-time resident of the Hollow Inn & Motel, he was living with his girlfriend at the time. Bombardier says the first report of Jean-Marie’s disappearance came from a friend, not his girlfriend.
Barre Police is working with Vermont State Police and other municipal agencies in Washington County. Bombardier says while he’s been in contact with the FBI, it isn’t likely the department will request their assistance.
“This really isn’t, at this moment, an FBI jurisdictional event. We don’t have any nexus to an out-of-state component. We don’t have anything like a serial killer or kidnapping,” said Bombardier.
And they have no crime scene, body, weapon or suspect. “We’re not any closer today to the truth than when things were first reported on or about the 16th of April 2020,” said Barre City Attorney Rory Thibault.
Jean-Marie’s friend Danyell Flood and other activists wore shirts with the world “Guilty” at Tuesday’s press conference. The shirt is to send the message that until there is justice for Jean-Marie, we’re all guilty.
“It’s frustrating. He was a human being, a father, a son, a friend. He had a heart of gold. He would do anything for anybody and it’s a horrible situation,” said
Others have taken the case into their own hands and plan to create a documentary about the Barre man. Director Anthony Marquez, Tyanna Langevin and a film crew have spent nearly 8 months working on it.
“We’ve been in Barre, we’ve been knocking on doors, we’ve been asking businesses. Friends of friends of Ralph…” Marquez said.
“We feel if we can get eyes on Ralph being something that everyone can connect to we felt like that would be the best way about going about not only helping this case but helping the family find some sort of closure,” said Marquez.
Bombardier fears someone has harmed Ralph, and he believes there are members of the community who know something, but have failed to come forward.
Barre police are offering a $5,000 reward for information regarding Jean-Marie’s disappearance. Bombardier encourages anyone with information to call the Barre City Police Department directly at (802) – 476 – 6613. Tips may also be submitted anonymously by texting “VTIPS” to 274637 or at the Vermont Tip Line.
On Saturday, a rally is planned in honor of Ralph Jean-Marie on Battery Street in Burlington.