Mary Day mystery: Could a suspected murder victim – back from the dead – really be an imposter? – CBS News, CBS News

Mary Day mystery: Could a suspected murder victim – back from the dead – really be an imposter? – CBS News, CBS News

Produced by Chuck Stevenson

Mary Day was when she vanished from her family’s Seaside, California, home in . There is no record of her parents ever reporting her missing.

“I can’t remember a time when a child was not reported by the parents, “former Seaside Police Chief Steve Cercone told” (Hours “correspondent Maureen Maher.)

Sherrie Calgaro, who was when her sister disappeared, was told Mary ran away. The family was not allowed to talk about Mary, said Calgaro, who was haunted by what happened. When she became an adult, she reported her sister missing.

What ever happened to Mary Day ?                                                      Sherrie Calgaro                                      

“My mother told me that there were a lot of places in California that you could bury a body and they’d never be found,” Calgaro said. “I started believing she was murdered.”

Years later, after her sister got police. On the case, they believed she was murdered, too.

But then there was a turn no one saw coming. “And I’m like,” This case just gets weirder and weirder, ”said Cercone.

Seaside, California, Detective Joe Bertaina first heard the name Mary Louise Day back in 2019. He’d been asked to lead the investigation into her disappearance. Det. Joe Bertaina : The case was… a tangle of weeds that went all different directions.

Mary was gone – seemingly without a trace. Det. Joe Bertaina : There was no evidence that she was alive.

Bertaina’s boss at the time was Steve Cercone.

Ste ve Cercone | Seaside Police Department : Not a trace of her as an adult; no Social Security record of her having a job, getting welfare benefits … we have nothing on this person’s identity. [Phone call] Maureen Maher : She did not exist?

Steve Cercone : She did not exist. Mary’s existence came close to being completely erased; There’s no record that her stepfather William Houle or her mother Charlotte had ever reported her missing.

Maureen Maher : It’s hard to believe … allowing a child to walk away or a child go missing and it’s not reported.

Steve Cercone : I can’t remember a time when a child was not reported by the parents.

Sherrie Calgaro : I couldn’t understand how a mother could not go to the ends of the earth to find her child.

It was Sherrie Calgaro, Mary’s sister, who finally got authorities on the case.

Sherrie Calgaro : I wanted to know what happened to my sister , Mary. Sherrie was

when Mary went missing. As an adult, she filed a missing persons report and told the police about Mary’s troubled childhood.

Steve Cercone : The information we have through the sisters is that … it was a very dysfunctional household.

The Day sisters. From left, Kathy, Sherrie, and Mary.                                                      Sherrie Calgaro                                      

In their early years, Mary, middle sister Kathy, and Sherrie were in and out of a foster home. Their mother couldn’t take care of them. Sherrie was adopted by the foster family.

[cries] Sherrie Calgaro : We were separated when I was 6 years old.

Mary and Kathy were returned to their mother Charlotte. By this time, Charlotte had married William Houle and the couple had two kids of their own. Houle was a soldier. The family moved around a lot from base to base. At one point, detectives say, Mary’s stepfather had been reportedly physically abusing her.

Steve Cercone : Children’s protective services had taken custody of Mary… she was eventually turned back over to the family. … In my opinion, the system failed.

At the time Mary disappeared, Houle was assigned to Fort Ord, on the California coast north of Monterey.
Det. Joe Bertaina : They were living in Seaside, which was kind of a military town at that time and that’s where she was last seen.

Sherrie, who kept in touch with her birth family, later visited them.

Sherrie Calgaro : When I went to visit my family, I asked them, “what had happened to my sister, Mary?”

Sherrie Calgaro : Kathy … was, like, “Shh – don’t say anything. We’re not allowed to talk about Mary.”

But Kathy did say her mother Charlotte told them that Mary had run away. Sherrie Calgaro : At the time I was not sure what I thought except that it did make make sense to me.

When Sherrie grew up, she filed that mi ssing persons report. By the time Seaside Police launched its investigation in , there was little to go on.

Steve Cercone : The neighbors barely recall the family living there … nobody really knew this family and they sure didn’t know Mary Day.

Mary had never been enrolled in school in California and her parents had never told anyone she was gone. Bertaina says they had at least one reason to keep quiet. Mary had been getting government checks because her birth father had died in an accident.

Joe Bertaina : They were taking Mary’s social security checks and cashing them.

In March , Detective Bertaina went to the Seaside home – Mary’s last known whereabouts. He brought Kathy with him. The visit was recorded.

Kathy Pires was just when she last saw her sister.

Kathy Pires: That day lives in my head a lot. It feels like you’re opening a scab, you’re opening it up and it hurts.

Det. Joe Bertaina : Mary was at home along with Kathy when the rest of the family went out. … They came home later that evening, and while they were gone, the dog became sick and was dying in the kitchen area. When William saw that, he immediately accused Mary of poisoning the dog.

Kathy Pires : He started yelling at us… and I got scared… all hell broke loose…

KATHY PIRES [On video with detective]: This is corner where he was hittin ‘ her, the fight was back here …

Kathy Pires : [Crying] I can hear her yelling. There’s nothin ‘we – we can do.

[In car with Maureen Maher] Maureen Maher : He hit her?

Kathy Pires : [breaks down]

KATHY PIRES: Last time I saw her, she had the blood coming out of her mouth.

Kathy said after Mary disappeared, her parents ordered the kids to stay away from one particular area of ​​the backyard. [Phone call]

In , Seaside Police Detective Joe Bertaina took Kathy back to the Houles’ home in Seaside; Mary’s last known whereabouts. Kathy showed the detective a corner of the backyard where she said her parents told her not to play.                                                      Seaside Police Department                                      
KATHY PIRES [on video with detective]: We were not supposed to come over to this part. DET. JOE BERTAINA: You weren’t supposed to come over there? Who told you that?

KATHY PIRES: My father.
The clues were adding up and detectives felt that they could be dealing with something much more sinister than a runaway teenage girl.

They brought in team of cadaver dogs – dogs trained to find human remains.

Steve Cercone : As the dogs went into the back yard, They each hit on one particular spot near a tree.

(Steve Cercone) : We started to dig … As a father … my heart was pounding … and as we dug, I saw a little girl’s shoe … my heart started pounding even more and I thought… “Here we are. We found her.” (WAS MARY MURDERED? Mary Day investigation In , the missing persons case of Mary Day was quickly becoming a homicide investigation – with police facing the grim task of digging in the dirt where the cadaver dogs alerted. [In car with Maureen Maher] Steve Cercone : And we kept digging – and th ere was no body. I said, “Well, it must be here.” … And they kept digging.

[In car with Maureen Maher] Maureen Maher : They were sure that a body had been there.

[In car with Maureen Maher] Steve Cercone : They were positive. They said, “Our dogs don’t lie, and four of them independently hitting … on the same spot before we dug.”

Steve Cercone [In car with Maureen Maher] : The dog handler said … it’s been moved.

Steve Cercone : At this time, there was no question that the parents were the suspects in the possible homicide of a little girl from .

Steve Cercone: We knew that we had to find the parents.

While the girls were in foster care, Charlotte divorced Charles Day and married William Houle, who enlisted in the Army soon after.                                                      Kathy Pires                                      

They found them in Kansas.

It was more than 32 years after Mary disappeared. Her stepfather William Houle had left the Army and was now at a Kansas prison working as a corrections officer. He and Charlotte were still together. She agreed to talk with local detectives about the daughter who vanished so long ago: CHARLOTTE HOULE: You don’t have whips and chains do ya?

COP: Oh, absolutely not.

) Steve Cercone : I remember watching the interview… and realizing that she had something to tell us. CHARLOTTE HOULE: You know life is full of regrets. . If you go back and say, you know, “if I had did this, and this and this.” [In car with Maureen Maher] Steve Cercone : Her body language and then her sinking down in the chair and saying words to the effect of “you know, sometimes you do things in your past, and it comes back…” I knew that it was something there. COP: When’s the last time you heard from Mary?

CHARLOTTE HOULE: ‘, last time she ran away.                                    
Mary Day’s mother to police: “Life is full of regrets”                                                     Charlotte said Mary running away was no big deal; she did it all the time:

CHARLOTTE HOULE: Oh, what a mess. It was like trying to get… a night crawler out of a wormhole and just grabbin ‘it and it was gone, and grabbin’ it, it was gone … I mean… how many times did she run away? You know, all of these questions I can’t answer.

COP: When you were back in California … did you guys take any kind of steps to find her?

CHARLOTTE HOULE: We should have, we should have.

COP: But you did not?

CHARLOTTE HOULE:… my husband says we filed a police report with the Salinas Police Department. If we did, I don’t remember.

There is no record of a report.

Steve Cercone : I couldn’t understand a parent – number one – not reporting their child as a runaway, but number two… treating this case, the status of their missing daughter as basically no big deal. It did seem to really concern them … they were not really, really surprised at us being there.

Detective Bertaina later questioned Mary’s stepfather William Houle.

Det. Joe Bertaina : I just asked him, “Tell me about the last time that you saw Mary?”

He told me that well, he was going room to room checking on the kids and he discovered Mary was not in the bedroom. He tells Charlotte, she panics, he panics, called the police.

Det. Joe Bertaina : And he knew I was not buying that. I said, “William, she runs away all the time, why did you panic?” … I never got a good response.

The Detective pressed Houle and brought up the story. of the sick dog.

Joe Bertaina : And he said five or six times, “You know what she did? She poisoned my dog . I was really angry “…” She tried to run out of the house. I did not want her to go, so I caught her before she got out of the front door. She was kicking me, punching me, so I pushed her “and when he’s doing this, he’s making a— [gestures with his hand].

Maureen Maher : A choking?

Det. Joe Bertaina : Yeah, gesture, he – yeah, with his hand, and it’s like a hand strike I ‘ve seen before … it’s a martial arts technique. So, I asked him, “Where’d you hit her with that?” And he said, “Well, in the upper chest.” And I said, “Could it have been the throat? And he said,” It may have slipped off and hit her in the throat. “

Mary Day ended up in protective custody in December while in Hawaii. Detectives say that her stepfather, William Houle, had reportedly been physically abusing her.                                                      Kathy Pires                                      

Det Joe Bertaina : I wanted to know on a scale from one to his anger when he had done this, when he had struck Mary. He said on a scale of one to I was a 23. And I said, “You’re this angry, I think you may have killed her.” He looked at me and said, “No, I did not kill her. But the next day my wife Charlotte told me that that night she saw Satan in my eyes. And she said I was possessed by a demon.”

Det. Joe Bertaina : And then it dawned on me that he’s admitting, but not admitting that he killed her. And I said, “OK William, I believe you, you did not kill her. But what about that demon inside of you? Could that demon have killed Mary?” And he looked at me and said, “Yes, the demon could have killed her.”

Maureen Maher

: When he walked out did you think you were letting a killer go?

Det. Joe Bertaina : Yeah, yeah.

Steve Cercone : Joe said, “Yeah, we don’t have a body,” but he said, “This guy came so.” close to confessing, “it was as close as he’s ever had anybody come.

Maureen Maher : Is that enough to go to a prosecutor and say, “I don’t know if we’re ever gonna have a body, but we have a lot of pieces of the puzzle.”

Steve Cercone : Yeah, the DA was not ready to file at that time .

(Maureen Maher : Did you think there was enough?

Steve Cercone : I thought there was probably enough… I was not worried really, because I tho ught we are building the case here.

Then, just as the detectives’ confidence was growing, the case took an unexpected turn.

Remember, police had no record of Mary Louise Day as an adult; There were no credit cards, no driver’s license or ID recorded anywhere. There hadn’t been a trace of Mary in more than two decades – until police in Phoenix, Arizona, made a traffic stop.

Steve Cercone [In car with Maureen Maher] : I got a phone call… I was at home, I had left work. He told me, “Hey captain.” He says, “Are you sitting down?” I said, “What happened?” He said, “Just gotta let you know, Phoenix Police Department in Arizona pulled over a car and they say that they found Mary Day.” AN UNEXPECTED APPEARANCE November , in Phoenix Arizona – it was a routine traffic stop: a pickup truck with stolen plates. When police ran the IDs of the passengers, one of them hit: a woman named Mary Day.

Det. Joe Bertaina : He said, “Joe, guess what? Mary Day’s been found.” And I was stunned.

Investigators had put Mary Day into a missing persons database long ago .

Det. Joe Bertaina : She identified herself with a Phoenix identification card. Or Arizona – state identification card.

Back in California, Detective Joe Bertaina felt like a ghost had just appeared. In his mind, Mary Day had been murdered more than 29 years earlier at the home of her parents.

Maureen Maher : You talk to William and Charlotte in April of . And then, seven months later or so, a woman named Mary Louise Day just falls out of the sky.

Det. Joe Bertaina : Right, I was stunned.                     
Is the woman pictured at right. the same person as the girl at left who disappeared in 2003? md-full.jpg                                                      Sherrie Calgaro / Phoenix Police Dept.                                      

His boss, Steve Cercone could not believe it.

Steve Cercone : Joe went down there, and he met her and he sent a picture of her, and we went, “What, wait a minute, no. Alright, alright.” It looked like it could be her.

[cries] Steve Cercone : I said, wait a minute, all these years, bits of circumstantial evidence.

Maureen Maher: The father almost confessing to something.

Steve Cercone : Almost confessing to the murder of a little girl . [In car with Maureen Maher] And now, here was this woman miles away with a valid Arizona state ID. Strangely, that ID had been issued only three weeks earlier, while the homicide investigation was underway.

Maureen Maher

: You must have found the timing awfully suspicious.

Steve Cercone

: Yes, it was very suspicious.

When Detective Bertaina went to Phoenix, the woman he was sure had been murdered told him she had run away from her mother Charlotte and stepfather William when she was a teenager. She basically lived under the radar and by her wits ever since. But she seemed hesitant, and her story seemed sketchy. Later in a phone call, Mary told Bertaina she had some awful memories:

DET. JOE BERTAINA [phone call]: Do you want to talk about what happened that last night? [cries] MARY: It hurts.

DET. JOE BERTAINA: I’m sure it does… but what happened that last night?

MARY: I’m so confused anymore [sic] , I don’t know what’s real or not. … I remember he kept slamming my head into the tub and it hurt [cries].

DET. JOE BERTAINA: Is that when you started bleeding?

MARY: I started bleeding and he hit my head on the coffee table … I think I blacked out … maybe that’s why I can’t put all the pieces together. But she did not remember anything about the sick dog.

Maureen Maher : Was that troublesome to you?

Det. Joe Bertaina : That was, yeah.                     
(Detective Bertaina recalled the awful memories) Mary had, but it was the memories Mary could not remember that he found tr oublesome.                                                      CBS News                                      

Investigators say it was hard to pin down much of anything about her past two decades. They began to wonder if the woman with the freshly-minted ID was really who she claimed to be.

[In car with Maureen Maher] Maureen Maher : You refused to call her Mary Louise Day?

Steve Cercone : (We called her Phoenix Mary. ) In phone conversations, Phoenix Mary was sounding increasingly frustrated:

MARY [phone call]: Can I throw one question at you if you if you don ‘ t mind?

DET. JOE BERTAINA: Go ahead, Mary.

MARY: If you were to find my body , how were you gonna be able to prove who the hell I was?


MARY: Oh, so since I’m still alive, you all can’t prove who I am?

DET. JOE BERTAINA: There’s no record of you ever being anywhere … it’s like you haven’t existed up until now.

MARY: So, I’d be better off if I’m just dead and then you all can do that detecting from there. Steve Cercone : I said, “all right, let’s get a DNA test on this woman… let her prove that she’s the daughter of Charlotte. “

(Steve Cercone) : We’re gonna disprove that she’s Mary, of course, ’cause there’s no way her DNA’s gonna match.

Except it did match.

Steve Cercone : I nearly fell on the floor. I couldn’t believe it. The DNA came back positive to being a daughter of Charlotte.

The case was closed. Sherrie Calgaro invited her long-lost sister to move in with her. In most cases, that would be the end of the story – but not in this


Maureen Maher : So now DNA matches. Case closed.

Steve Cercone : Yeah, well, if it were that simple, right? Once Phoenix Mary moved in, Sherrie started to have her own doubts.

With DNA proving Mary’s identity and the case closed, Sherrie Calgaro invited Mary to move in with her in North Carolina. From left are sisters Sherrie, Kathy, center, and Mary.                                                      Sherrie Calgaro                                       Sherrie Calgaro : The first thing I noticed was she – it sounded like she had some weird, Midwest or southern accent. Weird to me. The detectives had noticed that too: DET. JOE BERTAINA [phone call]: That’s an interesting dialect you have Mary.

MARY: What do you mean?

DET. JOE BERTAINA: I don’t know I’ve ever heard that particular manner of speaking.

MARY: Then y’all still trying to prove who I am, huh?

DET. JOE BERTAINA: Yes, ma’am. We are.

Phoenix Mary also said she never used her real name:

MARY [phone call]: Nobody … knows me as Mary. I gave that name up years ago.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Cowboys signing Andy Dalton to one-year deal worth up to $ 7 million, per report | CBS Sports HQ – CBS Sports,

Cowboys signing Andy Dalton to one-year deal worth up to $ 7 million, per report | CBS Sports HQ – CBS Sports,

North Korea, South Korea troops exchange gunfire along border, South says – Fox News, Fox News

North Korea, South Korea troops exchange gunfire along border, South says – Fox News, Fox News