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Haunted by murder


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The wrenching sobs from Felix Newman are as fresh and heartbreaking as they would have been nearly 28 years ago.

“She was only 20 years old,” he says of his daughter, Marilyn Ann Newman, who was brutally murdered in 1983.

She was the second victim of Malcolm Norman Cuff, although people didn’t know that at the time.

He’d already killed Janet Louvelle.

Nov. 12 would have been Marilyn’s birthday. She was the first of  three children for Felix and his wife, Florence, whom people called Flossie.

“There’s not much you can do, only take over some flowers to the cemetery,” Felix says, speaking through wracks of anguish.

“Oh my, she was a wonderful girl, too … very dependable. She was like her mom.”

She would’ve been 48 next week if not for Cuff and his accomplice, Robert Roland Durnford.

Marilyn knew the man who murdered her. On her last night alive — Jan. 14, 1983 — she picked him up hitchhiking, after finishing her shift at a Corner Brook gas station.

“I think about it every day,” Felix says.

“Where would she be now? What would her life have been if she had to live?”

He figures he might have had more than three grandchildren — girls he thanks God for.

He also thinks his wife might still be alive — Flossie died in 2002, and Felix blames her death on the loss of Marilyn, as does their former neighbour, Priscilla Boutcher.

“They weren’t like mother and daughter — they were like sisters,” Felix says.

“It was the stress that killed her,” Boutcher adds. “She got bottled up.”

After high school, Marilyn began nursing studies, but couldn’t bear the sight of blood.

There’s no shame in it, Felix says.

But if she had stayed in nursing school, she might not have been working at the gas station, a job she took while she figured out her future — and that fateful night might not have happened, her father reasons.

Boutcher remembers the pretty, pleasant girl as someone who was serious about doing well in life.

“There wasn’t a wild bone in her body,” says the former mayor of Corner Brook.

Her best friend, Vickie (Young) Fisher, said Marilyn stuck to a strict routine. After work, she would leave the Ultramar and drop off the money bag at home for safe keeping.

Fisher was on her way to meet Marilyn that Friday night so they could make plans for the weekend, but it was snowing and Fisher’s dad always told her to bring the car back home if it got stormy.

She’d gone to bed when Marilyn’s mom called her house to say that Marilyn hadn’t come home.

“It was very definitely out of the norm. That wasn’t Marilyn,” says Fisher.

At two or three in the morning she got another call saying that Marilyn was missing; by then, people were descending on the Newman house to offer help.

Felix says he and Flossie were at a hockey game that night and had come home around 11:30 p.m. Flossie phoned some of Marilyn’s friends and no one had seen her.

“…She had a bad feeling,” Felix remembers.

“I hopped in my truck and went to the parking lot where she worked and the car was gone.”

Felix drove around and found her Pontiac Acadian on a dead-end road. The rearview mirror was ripped off — likely where Marilyn had grabbed it to try to escape Cuff and Durnford — and her glasses were on the floor.

Felix ran to a nearby house and called the police and his wife. The search went on all through the night, covering every nook and cranny of Corner Brook.

On Sunday, Jan. 16, 1983, her body was found dumped near Pasadena.

For a long time, whenever he was in a mall or another crowded place, Felix would think it was Marilyn every time he saw a girl  in the distance with the same hair and build.

“I was chasing these girls a lot of the times, thinking it was her,” he says.

“Oh my God, I could hear her in the house calling out to me.”

When Durnford and Cuff were charged — both were 23 then — Felix was torn between going to the trial and staying away.

“I wanted to stay away from them as much as possible,” he says.

“It was a terrible way she died, what she went through.

“About this, too — neither one of those parents of the men who done the crime phoned or said they were sorry. Everybody in Corner Brook was looking for her everywhere. We were well known here.”

Felix was the manager of a convenience store on the same parking lot as the Ultramar where his daughter worked. He had to change jobs after her death.

The Ultramar is torn down now, but the vacant lot still makes him shudder whenever he has to pass by.

Vickie Fisher remembers people that people lined up for hours and hours to attend the trial.

“It gives me goosebumps again thinking about the trial — seeing (Cuff and Durnford) on a daily basis” she says.

Fisher, who’s a chef, wants her best friend to be remembered as the loving person she was.

They met in elementary school and graduated from Presentation all girls high school together. They walked to and from school together, went bowling and attended school dances — normal stuff.

She gave  Marilyn a silver friendship ring when they were 17 and Marilyn was wearing it the night she died. Her parents returned the ring to Fisher, but she doesn’t  put it on.

“I never want to lose it,” she says.

Though January is always a difficult month, Fisher said Nov. 12 is the day when she most remembers the girl who would definitely still be her closest friend if she were alive.

“What it amounts to is it doesn’t really matter how much time goes by, you never forget  your best friend,” she says.

“Marilyn 27 years ago means just as much as she does now. She’s my guardian angel. I know whenever I have needed help or have had a bad day, she has always helped me.”

 

•••

Madeline Louvelle is the younger sister of Janet Louvelle, who would have been 48 on July 3.

The 16-year-old went missing in February 1979, and her body was found that June.

“We were hoping she did run away,” says Madeline, who was about 13 at the time.

Malcolm Cuff later claimed he and Janet had been dating. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter more than two decades after her death.

But Madeline said her sister wanted nothing to do with him.

She thinks of the tall, pretty, dark-haired Janet every day, “just wishing she was still here.”

“We could have grown up together,” says Madeline, the youngest girl among seven siblings.

“She was only just a kid. I sit down sometimes and try to remember back then, sitting down and having a meal with her, and I can’t remember that. … People block things out,” she says.

“When it comes to a loved one, a sister or daughter being murdered and taken away from the world so short, it’s not fair. ”

She says her family still finds it unbearably difficult; their only way to visit with Janet is to put flowers on her grave.

Her terrible death has also shattered Madeline’s sense of safety.

“After she went missing, I was afraid to go out at nighttime,” she says.

“And now, today, knowing what I know, I check the backseat before I get in the car. I keep the doors locked and I always look over my shoulder.”

 

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For more on this story see the Weekend print edition or click on our Smart Edition.

The wrenching sobs from Felix Newman are as fresh and heartbreaking as they would have been nearly 28 years ago.

“She was only 20 years old,” he says of his daughter, Marilyn Ann Newman, who was brutally murdered in 1983.

She was the second victim of Malcolm Norman Cuff, although people didn’t know that at the time.

He’d already killed Janet Louvelle.

Nov. 12 would have been Marilyn’s birthday. She was the first of  three children for Felix and his wife, Florence, whom people called Flossie.

“There’s not much you can do, only take over some flowers to the cemetery,” Felix says, speaking through wracks of anguish.

“Oh my, she was a wonderful girl, too … very dependable. She was like her mom.”

She would’ve been 48 next week if not for Cuff and his accomplice, Robert Roland Durnford.

Marilyn knew the man who murdered her. On her last night alive — Jan. 14, 1983 — she picked him up hitchhiking, after finishing her shift at a Corner Brook gas station.

“I think about it every day,” Felix says.

“Where would she be now? What would her life have been if she had to live?”

He figures he might have had more than three grandchildren — girls he thanks God for.

He also thinks his wife might still be alive — Flossie died in 2002, and Felix blames her death on the loss of Marilyn, as does their former neighbour, Priscilla Boutcher.

“They weren’t like mother and daughter — they were like sisters,” Felix says.

“It was the stress that killed her,” Boutcher adds. “She got bottled up.”

After high school, Marilyn began nursing studies, but couldn’t bear the sight of blood.

There’s no shame in it, Felix says.

But if she had stayed in nursing school, she might not have been working at the gas station, a job she took while she figured out her future — and that fateful night might not have happened, her father reasons.

Boutcher remembers the pretty, pleasant girl as someone who was serious about doing well in life.

“There wasn’t a wild bone in her body,” says the former mayor of Corner Brook.

Her best friend, Vickie (Young) Fisher, said Marilyn stuck to a strict routine. After work, she would leave the Ultramar and drop off the money bag at home for safe keeping.

Fisher was on her way to meet Marilyn that Friday night so they could make plans for the weekend, but it was snowing and Fisher’s dad always told her to bring the car back home if it got stormy.

She’d gone to bed when Marilyn’s mom called her house to say that Marilyn hadn’t come home.

“It was very definitely out of the norm. That wasn’t Marilyn,” says Fisher.

At two or three in the morning she got another call saying that Marilyn was missing; by then, people were descending on the Newman house to offer help.

Felix says he and Flossie were at a hockey game that night and had come home around 11:30 p.m. Flossie phoned some of Marilyn’s friends and no one had seen her.

“…She had a bad feeling,” Felix remembers.

“I hopped in my truck and went to the parking lot where she worked and the car was gone.”

Felix drove around and found her Pontiac Acadian on a dead-end road. The rearview mirror was ripped off — likely where Marilyn had grabbed it to try to escape Cuff and Durnford — and her glasses were on the floor.

Felix ran to a nearby house and called the police and his wife. The search went on all through the night, covering every nook and cranny of Corner Brook.

On Sunday, Jan. 16, 1983, her body was found dumped near Pasadena.

For a long time, whenever he was in a mall or another crowded place, Felix would think it was Marilyn every time he saw a girl  in the distance with the same hair and build.

“I was chasing these girls a lot of the times, thinking it was her,” he says.

“Oh my God, I could hear her in the house calling out to me.”

When Durnford and Cuff were charged — both were 23 then — Felix was torn between going to the trial and staying away.

“I wanted to stay away from them as much as possible,” he says.

“It was a terrible way she died, what she went through.

“About this, too — neither one of those parents of the men who done the crime phoned or said they were sorry. Everybody in Corner Brook was looking for her everywhere. We were well known here.”

Felix was the manager of a convenience store on the same parking lot as the Ultramar where his daughter worked. He had to change jobs after her death.

The Ultramar is torn down now, but the vacant lot still makes him shudder whenever he has to pass by.

Vickie Fisher remembers people that people lined up for hours and hours to attend the trial.

“It gives me goosebumps again thinking about the trial — seeing (Cuff and Durnford) on a daily basis” she says.

Fisher, who’s a chef, wants her best friend to be remembered as the loving person she was.

They met in elementary school and graduated from Presentation all girls high school together. They walked to and from school together, went bowling and attended school dances — normal stuff.

She gave  Marilyn a silver friendship ring when they were 17 and Marilyn was wearing it the night she died. Her parents returned the ring to Fisher, but she doesn’t  put it on.

“I never want to lose it,” she says.

Though January is always a difficult month, Fisher said Nov. 12 is the day when she most remembers the girl who would definitely still be her closest friend if she were alive.

“What it amounts to is it doesn’t really matter how much time goes by, you never forget  your best friend,” she says.

“Marilyn 27 years ago means just as much as she does now. She’s my guardian angel. I know whenever I have needed help or have had a bad day, she has always helped me.”

 

•••

Madeline Louvelle is the younger sister of Janet Louvelle, who would have been 48 on July 3.

The 16-year-old went missing in February 1979, and her body was found that June.

“We were hoping she did run away,” says Madeline, who was about 13 at the time.

Malcolm Cuff later claimed he and Janet had been dating. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter more than two decades after her death.

But Madeline said her sister wanted nothing to do with him.

She thinks of the tall, pretty, dark-haired Janet every day, “just wishing she was still here.”

“We could have grown up together,” says Madeline, the youngest girl among seven siblings.

“She was only just a kid. I sit down sometimes and try to remember back then, sitting down and having a meal with her, and I can’t remember that. … People block things out,” she says.

“When it comes to a loved one, a sister or daughter being murdered and taken away from the world so short, it’s not fair. ”

She says her family still finds it unbearably difficult; their only way to visit with Janet is to put flowers on her grave.

Her terrible death has also shattered Madeline’s sense of safety.

“After she went missing, I was afraid to go out at nighttime,” she says.

“And now, today, knowing what I know, I check the backseat before I get in the car. I keep the doors locked and I always look over my shoulder.”

 

bsweet@thetelegram.com

For more on this story see the Weekend print edition or click on our Smart Edition.

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