Patricia Lee Hesse, age 34, vanished from Rutland, Vermont on November 9, 1981.
The last confirmed sighting of Patricia was at Rutland Mall, where she purchased a fur coat for $200. Although she wasn’t seen again after making this purchase, it is believed that she made it back to the room she rented at 81A Davis Street. Her landlady found food burning on the stove, and the table set for dinner. The coat Patricia had purchased was found hanging in her closet.
One strange detail I’ve seen is that she was believed to be wearing a trench coat when she vanished. I honestly can’t think of a time that I’ve seen anyone cook dinner in a trench coat. I’m not sure if this coat is mentioned because she was wearing it when she was seen at the mall, or if it was missing from her residence. If it did go missing with her, it would likely indicate that she, at least initially, left the apartment voluntarily.
Patricia’s sister, Pamela, told police that she believed her sister was murdered, and that she knew who was responsible, but it doesn’t appear that investigators suspected foul play. Her mother had died three years earlier, and her boyfriend had taken his own life in the ealy 1970’s, so possibly law enforcement was leaning toward her taking her own life? In addition, her father had died in 1975, and her brother, Gary, had been killed in a car accident in 1969.
Articles further state that Patricia had not been employed in years and had only ever worked sporadically. This has led many to wonder how she was supporting herself and able to afford luxuries such as a fur coat. While it’s possible that she received an inheritance or maybe disability benefits, some theorize that perhaps a man was supporting her.
There has to be more to this case than what has been reported. Sadly, this family has experienced even more loss following Patricia’s disappearance, with her sister Pamela’s son being charged with killing his father, and then Pamela herself being killed in an accident.
Patricia was not married and didn’t have any children, and with her parents and siblings all deceased, it doesn’t seem that anyone is left to look for her. Whatever information her sister had, if documented at all, is likely buried under a foot of dust in a storage room, a case long forgotten in the community.