Reilly pleads not guilty to misleading police in disappearance of Joanne Ringer
PITTSFIELD — "Laura Reilly had nothing to do with the disappearance of Jo Ringer."
That was the contention of Jesse Adams, Reilly's attorney, before she was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday.
While Reilly, 42, of Easthampton, has not been directly implicated in the disappearance of Joanne Ringer, of Clarksburg, she stands accused of misleading authorities investigating the matter. Ringer, 39, has not been seen since March 2.
During Monday's arraignment, First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello reiterated what has been said by Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless; Ringer's disappearance is being considered a homicide.
In April, Capeless said there are "other indicators and circumstances" that led investigators to believe Ringer may be the victim of a homicide, beyond the amount of time that has passed, but he declined to elaborate.
Ringer's body has yet to be found.
The lone suspect in Ringer's disappearance, her late husband, Charles "Chad" Reidy, died of an apparent suicide at the couple's Clarksburg home on April 7.
Investigators believe Reilly purposefully misled authorities "in an attempt to hide actions by herself and/or Reidy as they directly relate to the disappearance of Joanne Ringer," according to court files.
Reilly was identified by investigators as an ex-girlfriend of Reidy's.
The Berkshire District Attorney's office said Monday it had nothing new to report regarding the case; there have been no details released since a press conference following Reilly's district court appearance on April 21.
Ringer's 19-year-old daughter, Savanah, and a close family friend, Ginger Plantier, attended Monday's arraignment.
Savanah Ringer said she and others were frustrated about the lack of information, but she understands the need to keep details confidential at this point.
"I would rather their case go smoothly, instead of knowing something I shouldn't and accidentally impeding their investigation and damaging something," she said.
She said she's also grateful for the outpouring of support she has received since her mother was first reported missing.
"It's good to have the people behind us, backing us up and understanding what we're going through," she said. "My mom has a lot of friends."
Plantier said a candlelight vigil has been scheduled for 8 p.m. June 21 at Millside Park in Easthampton.
She said the site of the vigil is about 800 yards from where Ringer's abandoned car was located four days after her disappearance and near the location of the job she was supposed to start on March 2. She never arrived to begin that shift.
Savanah Ringer and representatives from domestic violence service, Safe Passage, are expected to address the crowd that evening, Plantier said.
"The public needs to hear from Savanah, too, because I know a lot of people are really concerned about her," Plantier said.
She invited people from the Berkshires who may know Ringer or have been following the case.
"We know there's a lot of people up here following the case," she said. "It would be nice to see that represented at the vigil."
Reilly's name was provided to investigators as someone who might have information connected to Ringer's disappearance.
Reilly told investigators multiple times she could not remember many answers to questions posed to her, and she blamed that lack of recall on prior drug use, according to police.
"However, investigators also noted there were numerous occasions where Reilly remembered many innocuous details from those same time periods," police said.
Reilly gave four interviews to police; March 6 and 7, April 5 and April 13, and made inconsistent statements from one interview to the next.
During the investigation, police determined that Reilly used her car to take Reidy from Northampton back to his Clarksburg home.
According to court documents, investigators believe Reidy disposed of Ringer's car in Easthampton in an effort to misdirect authorities.
In an April 13, interview, six days after Reidy's suicide, Reilly told police she picked up Reidy in Northampton and drove him to Clarksburg in her car — not that they traveled in two separate cars as she had first said.
Reilly told police Reidy had asked her to lie to them and say she had not given him a ride to Clarksburg.
She also told police she did not see Reidy on March 3, the day after Ringer failed to show up for her shift. Witness statements and surveillance video contradict that claim and show the pair together on that day in Chicopee.
In her April 5 interview, after being confronted with the evidence, Reilly admitted she and Reidy were together in Chicopee, but could not remember whether it was Friday or Saturday.
Police said Reilly's information hindered the investigation into Ringer's disappearance.
She pleaded not guilty before Judge Maureen Hogan on Monday to three counts of misleading a police officer, the same charges she faced in Northern Berkshire District Court in April.
She was indicted by a Berkshire grand jury in late May, moving the case into superior court.
Reilly is free on the same $1,500 bail posted in district court.
She is due back in court on Nov. 29 for a pretrial hearing.
Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.