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Vanished, Part 1 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

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Vanished, Part 1

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Russ Bovit Russ Bovit
Dwayne Langmaid Dwayne Langmaid
Betty Hatch Betty Hatch

Walden, Vermont - April 30, 2008

Spring has returned to this Walden farm-- just like it has every year since the previous owner vanished 22 years ago.

"He was a cow man and he was into his land, and he was a fine farmer from what I heard," says Dwayne Langmaid.

Friends last saw Russ Bovit at his farm on May 6, 1986, watching television.

The next morning, his car turned up stuck in the mud on a back road several miles away.

"So I came down and looked at the car and the car struck me as a little strange," says Langmaid, who found Bovit's car.

Langmaid says the car was surrounded by mud, but didn't look like a car that had accidentally gotten stuck.

"And this car-- it was in there, but they didn't really, really try to get out like most of us would. We would have fooled around until we were stuck," explains Langmaid.

Police found Bovit's blood inside the car on the passenger seat and in the trunk-- blood matching that found on Bovit's mattress back at the farm. That prompted searches of both the farm and the woods surrounding the car. But in the years since, nothing has turned up.

Betty Hatch was Russ's next-door neighbor. She's followed the case closely, and like many others, believes Bovit was murdered.

"Apparently whoever pulled it off did a good job and I'm hoping they paid for it in the years since," says Hatch.

Bovit's disappearance turned the lives of his family members upside down. After dozens of leads resulted in dead ends, Bovit's parents hired a private investigator to help with the case. They also offered a $50,000 reward to anyone with information, and even paid for a submarine to search Lake Willoughby multiple times after a man in prison told police the Bovit's body was in a U-Haul trailer at the bottom of the lake.

"You hear rumors and rumors and rumors. I've heard everything," says Langmaid.

Bovit's father, Robert, died a year and a half ago never knowing exactly what happened to his son. The family says they have put the case behind them because the private investigator had reason to believe Bovit was murdered by a man who died just weeks after Russ disappeared.

"There was this theory that he hired to do this, that it was a hired killing, and it was a drug killing," explains Vt. State Police Sgt. Robert Cushing.

But as far as Vt. State Police are concerned, Bovit is still a missing person. Sgt. Cushing is one of a handful of investigators to inherit the case. While he isn't sure whether drugs had anything to do with Bovit's disappearance, he says anything is possible.

"Obviously with these old cases people have died. There's no doubt about it. Some of the witnesses in these old cases have passed away, so it gets challenging," says Cushing.

The leads have all but dried up, but Cushing hopes this publicity will spark renewed interest in the case-- ultimately providing answers for police and community members who are still wondering what happened to Russ Bovit.

Family members say Russ Bovit did not use drugs and was a non-drinker. He was actually planning to move to Stowe and had an appointment scheduled with a realtor for the day after he disappeared. Bovit's mother and brother declined to be interviewed for this story.

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

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Vanished, Part 2

Vanished, Part 3

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