Search goes on after 40 years

MIDDLEBURY — Saturday, Dec. 10, will mark 40 years since Middlebury College student Lynne Schulze walked off campus and seemingly off the face of the Earth.
And while no one has reported seeing the auburn-haired, petite young woman from Simsbury, Conn., for the past four decades, her siblings along with Middlebury police continue to run down leads and work the phones in an ongoing quest to finally thaw one of Vermont’s longest running cold cases.
“It has been a lesson in patience,” Anne Schulze, Lynne’s younger sister, said during a phone interview on Monday.
“We still hold out hope that there is some information out there.”
Unfortunately, Lynne Schulze didn’t leave investigators many clues. She was 18, rounding out her first semester at Middlebury, when she was last seen walking to an exam hall. She suddenly told her friends she needed to run back to her dorm room to get a pencil.
That’s when Schulze disappeared into thin air.
Later, when they went looking for her, authorities found all of Schulze’s possessions — including her wallet — still inside her room. Police throughout the region searched in vain for the young woman, whom the Middlebury Campus newspaper reported on Jan. 28, 1972, as having been seen on Route 7, presumably hitchhiking.
The trail got colder over the years, but the Schulze family and Middlebury police have kept the case open. Anne Schulze and some of Lynne’s friends visited Middlebury three years ago to meet with authorities in an effort to inject new life into the investigation. Their visit ironically coincided with the search for another missing Middlebury College student, Nicholas Garza, so local police didn’t have a lot of time and resources to redirect the Schulze case.
Tragically, Garza’s remains were found below the Otter Creek Falls on May 27, 2008. But the search for Lynne Schulze continues, with sporadic leads, noted Middlebury police investigator Vegar Boe.
In 2010, Huntington Beach, Calif., and New York City police departments released 120 photos of young women that were in possession of convicted rapist serial killer Rodney Alacala.
“There were a couple of photos of a girl that looked a little like Lynne,” Boe said. But that lead fizzled after a series of facial comparisons ruled out Lynne as a match.
Middlebury police are currently waiting on the results of a dental records check on the remains of a woman found in the Miami, Fla., area. The remains are of a woman roughly fitting the age and disappearance timeline for Lynne Schulze, Boe said.
“The most recent and active lead remains in Florida,” Boe said.
No lead has proven too sensational to at least look into, noted Boe, who recently checked out a ghost story.
“A person heard from someone who heard from someone that Lynne’s ghost had been seen at a farm in Salisbury,” Boe said.
In the meantime, the Schulze family continues to assist in the investigation. Anne Schulze has contacted the Sund/Carrington Foundation to see if it could offer a reward for information leading to the solving of her sister’s disappearance. The family is also working with a forensics expert and is making sure that Lynne’s story gets on as many cold case and missing persons lists as possible.
Those looking for Lynne aren’t just exploring the “long-shot” avenues.
Anne Schulze said that she has e-mailed “just about everyone who met (Lynne) at college” since her visit to Middlebury in 2008.
“I spoke directly with her roommates and the people who knew her from Simsbury,” she added. Anne Schulze has also re-read the many letters her sister sent her and her family while she was in college. Those letters, she said, revealed among other things that Lynne attended a wood whittling class in Middlebury’s Frog Hollow district during the fall of 1971.
“We believe she knew a group of people off campus,” Anne Schulze said. That fact, she said, should widen the scope of people who might have information about her sister and where she might have gone.
“My sister was a very friendly person,” Schulze said. “She was very interested in the arts and artistic things.”
Lynne Schulze would be 58 if she were alive today. Anyone with information helpful to the case should call Middlebury police at 802-388-3191.

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