Re: Angelo Puglisi
Angelo Puglisi vanished in August of
Last Edited: Monday, 17 Nov 2008, 11:25 PM EST
Created On: Monday, 17 Nov 2008, 4:48 PM EST
LAWRENCE, Mass., (WPRI) - Imagine trying to find a childhood sweetheart 32 years after you last played together. A Massachusetts mom and film-maker felt compelled to take up that search, but what she turned up was more than she bargained for: a mystery long buried in her past.
His name was Angelo Puglisi. "Andy" was ten years old when he vanished without a trace on a hot August day in 1976. He had just moved into a housing project in Lawrence, Massachusetts. And right across the street was the community swimming pool.
Melanie Perkins is the director of "Have You Seen Andy?" Perkins says, "It was a great place to grow up."
Perkins went to the pool with Andy that fateful day. She came home, but he never did. She says he was more than just the boy next door, even though she was only nine years old.
Pamela Watts asks, "Who was Andy to you?"
Perkins responds, "He was definitely among my first crushes."
When Andy disappeared, Melanie made two vows; never to swim in the pool again, and "I promised when I grew up I would try to find out what happened to him. I would try to find him," says Perkins.
What Perkins has now found is revisiting a chilling cold case more than three decades old. The film-maker dug up new clues in her HBO documentary, "Have You Seen Andy?"
From police she says she made one appalling discovery.
"I found there were five known pedophiles at the pool the day Andy disappeared," says Perkins.
One of them, she says, was Wayne Chapman, a man who worked as a janitor at a hospital in Rhode Island.
Perkins says, "He was from New York but he lived in Providence a long time."
Two weeks after Andy's disappearance, Chapman was stopped in New York for a routine traffic violation. In his car, police confiscated child pornography, handcuffs, rope, and a starter pistol.
And later, a Providence police detective found audio tapes Chapman had made. In his own words, his eerie narration as we watched little children:
Wayne Chapman on Audio Tape: "Another school bus just passed loaded with small children."
While Chapman was a prime suspect, there was not enough evidence to charge him with Andy's disappearance. However, Chapman did confess to raping two boys he met at the same swimming pool in Lawrence, just a year before Andy went missing.
Chapman remains in prison to this day in Shirley, Massachusetts, where he is deemed sexually dangerous. But the story does not end here. The documentary also raises questions about several unsolved crimes connected to Chapman in Rhode Island.
"Rhode Island police had several cases against him of rape of a child. He was charged with at least, I think, eight counts of sodomy," says Perkins.
Two cases were prosecuted. Chapman pleaded no contest and received a five year sentence. But it has never been served, nor was Chapman charged in any other Rhode Island cases, partly because authorities believe he will never be released from prison in Massachusetts.
Perkins feels this is unfair. She says, "Justice has not been served to the little children in Rhode Island who were abused by Wayne Chapman."
Melanie Perkins is convinced Andy's remains will be found one day near this woodland stream not far from the pool. She has requested an interview with a now-aging Chapman, so she can ask him face to face... "have you seen Andy?"
"I believe Wayne W. Chapman knows what happened to Andy," says Perkins.
And until she finds him, a memorial right outside the swimming pool in Lawrence is the only solid testimony to the haunting memory of her first, young love.
Eyewitness News has also put in a request to interview Wayne Chapman. As of yet, there has been no response.
Have You Seen Andy? Homepage: www.haveyouseenandy.com/index.html