Patricia Meleady Newsom was approximately 16 years old when she vanished from Sullivan County, New York in or around the summer of 1973.
I will be the first to admit that I have some quirks when it comes to choosing the cases I feature. I’m not going to detail them here, but they mostly center around whether I have something to add. I don’t like to write articles that merely regurgitate the same information that’s easily found through other sources. Therefore, I’m not super likely to feature a disappearance that’s been the subject of an in depth podcast – and by in depth, I mean that it went beyond just repeating what is on other missing persons sites. However, I found myself in a bit of a conundrum with this case. There was an excellent podcast episode, which included an interview with one of Patricia’s family members. I recently noticed that it’s gone. Not just Patricia’s episode, but the entire podcast. It’s just gone. It still shows up in indexes, but an attempt to play any of the episodes generates an error. I don’t know what happened to it; it was a good podcast and a great episode. I’ve decided to circle back to Patricia’s case, because without the podcast, there is very little coverage of her disappearance.
Patricia was the second oldest of four children- five, if you count a half-brother. Her father was in the military, resulting in the family relocating often. She was born in Idaho, but would soon wind up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she would spend most of her formative years. When Patricia was about eleven years old, her mother died of colon cancer. Her father remarried about a year later, and her half brother was born soon after. The family, minus her older brother, John, who had already married and was living on his own, then moved to Morganville, New Jersey.
Sometime in late August or early September 1972, when Patricia was fifteen, her siblings recall that she was sent away to a boarding school. Because the siblings still living at home were very young, their own memories are vague and they have been forced to rely on recollections from their stepmother, though they clearly do not trust her.
They do not know the name of the boarding school, but believe it was located in Sullivan County, New York. When questioned by Patricia’s younger sister, their stepmother recounted a trip to the school, and being told that if she reached Monticello, she couldn’t miss it.
From what her siblings have been told, Patricia ran away from the school with another girl sometime after July 1973. They may have traveled to Maine, where the other girl’s family lived. Patricia never contacted her family again.
The children’s stepmother has been described as abusive. The younger sister of Patricia was placed in her custody following the death of their father in 1980. She was not permitted to mention her mother or her missing sister. She also was prevented from having any contact with her maternal relatives.
Questions have been raised as to whether Patricia ever went to a boarding school at all. However, their oldest brother recalls receiving one letter from Patricia while she was at the school. He states that when he wrote back, the letter was returned as undeliverable.
Some relatives believed the boarding school may have actually been in Maine, or even possibly Vermont.
I did a little digging through newspaper archives for any mention of a boarding school in or near Monticello, New York. Aside from one that was in Monticello but only accepted children aged 4-12, I was only able to find one. It was located in the town of Liberty, about 12 miles from Monticello.
This is an employment ad that ran in the paper in 1975.
From there, I did a Google search for the phone number listed in the ad, and was led to an old publication. Listed in the appendix section was a “Franklin Lake School & Franklin Lake Camp, C/O Beaumont School” on Rt. 52 in the town of Liberty. The phone number listed for this school matches the number in the ad.
A Google search of Beaumont school brings up a listing on the Department of Education website, but not much else to convince me that the school still exists. More notable is this obituary of a Dr. Seymour Burday. It reads, in part:
In 1964 Dr. Burday and his brother Dr. Gerald Burday opened Beaumont Camp for autistic children and behavioral problems in the Catskill mountains in New York. In 1969, they opened Beaumont School, a boarding school for the same type of children where he was the Administrator for both the school and camp.
I haven’t been able to find much information about this school, unfortunately. Beaumont School ran employment ads in newspapers throughout New York until at least 1980, so it existed during the time in question.
If you attended or worked at this school during the early to mid 1970’s, and have any recollection whether Patricia might have been there, please visit the Facebook group that has been set up by Patricia’s family in their efforts to find her.
Find Patricia Newsom
I seriously hope I am wrong but is it possible she was at Elan School in Maine? Multiple students lost their lives either escaping or as a part of so called “therapy exercises”. Because the school didn’t get any media attention until much later on in it’s lifespan she could have been sadly forgotten.
Patricia was just identified as a 1975 Jane Doe found bound and gagged in East Haven, CT. A press conference is currently being held.
Thank you so much for letting me know. That is so heartbreaking, especially since she was one of the rarer cases where I thought she was likely alive. 😦 I will update my article once I have a chance to read the updates.
What about DYNAMITE YOUTH CENTER on route 42 in Fallsburg it opened very early 1970s and is still operating today- less than 10min away from Monticello