Collier Landry, the boy from Ohio who at 11 years old solved his mother’s crime committed by his own father – La Opinion

Collier Landry, the boy from Ohio who at 11 years old solved his mother’s crime committed by his own father – La Opinion


-I’m Collier Landry Boyle.

-Tell us how old you are now.

-I’m 12 years old.

-You said that you went to bed around nine on December 30. Did something happen during the course of that night that woke you up?

-I heard a scream from my sister. The first thing I thought was that something was wrong with my mother.

-A little bit later, maybe about three minutes, I heard a sharp knock.

-Could you describe that sound to us?

-It was that strong.

Collier slams his two hands open in unison on the wooden table in front of him.

-Then, about a minute and a half later, I heard a loud thud like this.

Collier hits the table again with both hands.

-Or even stronger. And at that moment I was petrified. I mean, I was scared.

-Well, did you get up at that moment to investigate what had happened?

-No, I did not do it.

-Could you tell the jury why you didn’t do it?

-Because I was very afraid of my father and I always have been.

This dialogue by Collier when asked by a lawyer in a court in the United States occurred in 1990, when The boy denounced and took his own father to prison for the murder of his mother months before, when he was 11 years old.

But the story had begun long before.

An angry divorce request

Collier lived with his parents, John and Noreen Boyle, and his sister in Mansfield, a small town in Ohio.

He spent most of his time with his mother because his father, a prominent and respected doctor in his community, was a workaholic. Or at least that’s what her son believed.

When I was 11 years old, Collier discovered that this was not the truth.. His father took him on a couple of occasions to another house where a woman, Sherri, lived with her children, and on the last visit he saw his father kissing that woman.

Upon returning home, he told his mother that that respected doctor had a “girlfriend,” as he understood it.

It was not John Boyle’s first extramarital relationship. Noreen knew about the multiple affairs of her husband for more than two decades and he accepted it, with the only condition that he did not involve his children in it.

Collier Landry and his mother
Collier lived with his family in Mansfield, Ohio.
Credit: Collier Landry

At Collier’s story, Noreen picked up the phone, called her husband, started yelling at him, and he asked her for a divorce.

It was late 1989 and the couple decided to stay together until the holidays were over. Then, in 1990, Noreen would start a new life.

“My father starts to get more and more aggressive and starts telling me how he is going to make sure that my mother and I live on the streets. How it’s going to turn our whole life into hellthat he has a new family that is much better and that Sherri’s children are much better than me,” Collier told the BBC.

Now 46 years old, he remembers that his father once took him to a store where they bought a blue canvasto which he did not give importance.

Then his father came one day with a green carpet outdoors, which he installed on the back porch of the house.

The purchases seemed irrelevant, but soon the truth would come to light.

The list on Garfield plush

As Noreen began to take steps toward leaving her marriage, she confided more and more things to Collier about her father.

“In November 1989, my mother picked me up from school and took me to a small restaurant. We were in the car and my mother told me: ‘Collier, I want you to know something. I would never leave you. And if I ever do it and your father says he left you, it’s not because he left me. It’s because your father had me killed‘”, said.

The boy then made a list of the phone numbers of all of his mother’s friends and hid them in a Garfield stuffed animal in his bedroom.

On December 30, 1989, Collier was at the house along with his sister and mother, waiting for his paternal grandmother, who was staying with them, to arrive.

His father left his grandmother and left.

“That was the last time I saw my mother,” he said.

In the early hours of December 31, 1989, Collier woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like a scream.

And he heard two very loud knocks a minute and a half apart.

Between those blows, he heard his father murmur in a very low voice.

“Shall I get up and go see what’s going on? Or do I stay in bed? ”She asked herself at that moment. He listened to his footsteps slowly down the hallway, hidden in the bed, and looked at the Batman clock he had on the wall. It was 3:18.

I stay as still as I can under the covers and watch the feet at the door.. I’ve got my head down and everything inside of me, there’s like this one, I don’t know, call it spirit, call it whatever you want, that’s saying, ‘Don’t look up. Don’t look up!’” He continued.

He pretended to be asleep and saw that they were gone. He lay still and somehow fell back asleep.

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Collier Landry: Noreen warned her son that if she ever disappeared, it wasn’t that she was gone, but that her father had ordered her to be killed.

When he woke up, the sun had already risen and he ran straight to his mother’s room.

The sheets on the bed were messy and that caught his attention, because Noreen made the bed immediately after waking up.

So he went downstairs and saw John sitting on the couch with a towel around his waist. He had just gotten out of the shower.

“Where is mom?”asked.

His father looked at him calmly and answered: “Collier, mom took a little vacation.”

“At that moment I knew I had done something to him.”

John went on a tirade about how they got into an argument in the middle of the night and his mother was yelling at him about his lover, money, and divorce.

-What about those knocks I heard in the middle of the night?

-Your mother threw her purse at me, so that was the sound of the purse hitting the wall that you must have heard.

-“Twice?

-Yes, yes, that’s what you heard, Collier.

At that moment her grandmother appeared, the man told her that Noreen had left after the fight, and told her that They weren’t going to call the police..

“There is no reason to panic. Your mother will return. “She has done this before,” she expressed to them.

The detective who believed the boy

Collier did not remember his mother leaving home before and did not believe his father.

He grabbed the cordless phone, ran up to his room, and searched for the list of phone numbers inside Garfield. She locked herself in the bathroom and started calling.

“My father told me I couldn’t call the police, but you can, call the police.”he told Noreen’s friends.

The police arrived at the house and the grandmother opened the door. Seeing them, she went crazy.

“Your father told you not to call the police!”he reproached him.

The boy managed to pull one of the agents aside and said: “Something happened to my mom. “I don’t trust my father in the slightest.”.

At first they didn’t take him seriously, but thanks to his insistence, a missing persons report was filed.

On New Year’s Day, a detective named David Messmore He found Noreen’s missing person report and started snooping around.

So David Messmore showed up at the house.

The father had left that morning and was attended to by the grandmother who, worried, went to the kitchen to call her son.

This was Collier’s moment.

He looked the detective straight in the eye, told him that his mother would never abandon him, and asked for his card with contact details.

“Tomorrow I’m going to school and I’m going to call you because I can’t talk here,” he explained.

Most kids would be a mess at this point, confused and devastated by the loss of their mother, terrified of their father, but not Collier.

It was as if his emotions were on pause.

Collier arrived at school the next day, where he walked directly into the principal’s office and asked to call the number on Messmore’s card.

David drove to school and the boy told him everything he knew.

“Dave, when I get home, I’m going to take out the shelves and look in the basement to see if I can find my mother’s body.”, he continued.

“I’m going to look for my mother’s bag. If she was going to leave, she should have taken the bag. And I’m going to watch my father’s behavior like a hawk.”

He had become Little Detective Collier.

Messmore believed him and continued to stop by almost daily for the next few weeks, unsuccessfully asking to speak to Collier’s father, who refused to speak to the police.

And throughout this time, Collier was in constant communication with the detective, giving him tidbits of information to aid in the investigation.

But when the detective tried to make inquiries, he ran into his own problems.

Since John Boyle was rich and influential, his boss in the police ordered him to forget about the case.

Although he kept thinking: “This kid knows something.”

Two photos that did not fit

“My father said to me, do you want to come with me to my office? I’m going to look for some papers, come with me. And I thought, well, yeah, I’m not going to let you out of my sight,” Collier said.

“On the way back, we stopped at a gas station. My father enters the gas station and I watch him. He started looking through his car and found two photos. One is from a house I had never seen. And the second is of his girlfriend or his lover and his two children sitting in front of a fireplace wrapped in plastic,” he recalled.

As soon as he could, Collier told Messmore about the photos.

The photos helped the detective figure out that, in addition to establishing a new medical practice in the town of Erie, Pennsylvania, a three-hour drive from Mansfield, John Boyle had also purchased a new house there and moved into it just before that Noreen disappeared.

Messmore also contacted the real estate agent who had handled the sale and asked if there was anything suspicious.

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Collier Landry: Collier Landry (right) confronted his father for a documentary about his story called A Murder in Mansfield (“After Violence”), which premiered in 2017.

The agent told him that Collier’s father had been in a hurry to get onto the property and had asked what was under the new basement floor in case he wanted to lower it.

The investigation was gaining momentum and Collier’s father could feel it.

“She sits me down and says, ‘You know, Collier, I know it’s been very, very hard for Mom to leave us in such a state to fend for ourselves and I know it’s affected you a lot, it’s affected me a lot to be without her. “I miss her a lot, we love her very much.”

“I have a medical conference coming up in Florida next week and I think we should take a father-son trip.”

Collier sensed that this was not a good idea.

So he called Messmore the next day from school and said: “He wants to take me to Florida and I’m not coming back.”.

I was terrified. Absolutely terrified.

The blue canvas and the green carpet

On the morning of January 24, less than four weeks after his mother disappeared, Collier and his adopted sister were taken from their home. With the social service employees was Messmore.

Investigators destroyed the house in search of the mother’s body. They also searched the Erie home.

The next day, investigators found Noreen Boyle’s body. Collier’s mother had been buried under the basement of the brand new house.

“The prosecution told me, you don’t have to testify against your father. And I said, over my dead body. I wanted to make sure he was convicted because I knew what the truth was.”

The blue tarp that Collier’s father had bought with him was the one in which Noreen’s body was found wrapped.

The green carpet that was on the back porch of his Mansfield home was used to cover the fresh cement on the basement floor.

John Boyle was convicted of aggravated murder.

As an adult, the then boy dropped his father’s last name and was renamed Collier Landry.

*This article is based on an episode of the radio program Outlookfrom the BBC World Service.

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