Case against Easthampton woman who allegedly misled police in missing-person probe could head to grand jury

  • Joanne ‘Jo’ Ringer, pictured here, went missing on March 2. Submitted photo

  • Laura Reilly SUBMITTED PHOTO—SUBMITTED PHOTO

Published: 5/23/2017 3:38:23 PM

The case of an Easthampton woman accused of misleading police in connection with a missing-person investigation could be presented to a grand jury in the coming weeks, according to an attorney involved in the case. 

Prosecutors allege that Laura Reilly made “serial misstatements” to investigators looking into the disappearance of Joanne “Jo” Ringer of Easthampton, who has been missing since March 2. Authorities allege Reilly misled them at the behest of her ex-boyfriend Chad Reidy, who was married to Ringer and is considered the sole suspect in the case. Reidy was found dead inside his garage in Clarksburg of apparent suicide on April 7.

Reilly’s attorney, Jesse Adams, said the Berkshire district attorney indicated that the commonwealth will present the case to a grand jury in the coming weeks, potentially transferring the case to Berkshire Superior Court. A spokesman for Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless declined to comment on the case.

Reilly was in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday for a pretrial hearing, and her next court hearing is scheduled for June 30, though Adams indicated that date may change if a grand jury hands up an indictment.

“Ms. Reilly had nothing to do with the disappearance of Jo Ringer,” Adams said.

Ringer failed to show up for her first day of work on March 2 as a taxi driver in Easthampton, where authorities found her car abandoned on March 6. Capeless has said investigators considered the case a homicide from the beginning.

Reilly, who was previously in a relationship with Ringer’s husband Reidy, was arrested last month after investigators said she misled them “in an attempt to hide actions by herself and or Reidy as they directly relate to the disappearance of Joanne Ringer,” according to court documents.

After Ringer’s disappearance, Reidy said in an interview with the Gazette that the last time he had seen her was on the morning of her disappearance, when she got a phone call and left their home in Clarksburg to visit someone. He said he was visiting friends that morning in Worthington and when he returned to the house that afternoon, she was gone.

But investigators have exposed serious flaws in Reidy’s account, and believe that Reidy ditched Ringer’s car in Easthampton to misdirect authorities, according to those documents.

An application for arrest filed by State Police trooper Ryan Mauer states that investigators determined that Reidy and Reilly were together at the Northampton Cumberland Farms and Florence Bank on King Street at around 3:30 p.m. on March 2, the day Ringer went missing. Then, investigators say they determined that the two were in the North Adams area between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. that same day. Investigators determined that Reilly stayed there until at least 8 p.m.

Reidy also allegedly used “a cell phone that belonged to a female party not related to the investigation” to contact Reilly “at a critical point when investigators believe Ringer’s Volkswagen Jetta was brought to Easthampton,” the court documents say.

Law enforcement authorities also determined that Reidy and Reilly were together on March 3, when they took a trip to Chicopee, according to the documents.

Police arrested Reilly, according to court documents, after she allegedly provided investigators with inconsistent statements during four interviews between March 6 and April 13.

Capeless has discouraged members of the public from conducting their own searches for Ringer, instead urging anyone who has information about her to contact authorities. The investigation is being led by the Massachusetts State Police working with the Berkshire district attorney’s office. Other agencies assisting in the case include the Northampton and Easthampton police departments.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.




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