Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Name: Doreen C. Picard
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Date: February 19, 1982


Details: Twenty-two-year-old Doreen Picard lived in an apartment at 409 Providence Street in a quiet residential community in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The apartment was owned by twenty-five-year-old Susan Laferte and her husband, Ernie. At approximately 3:30pm on February 19, 1982, another tenant of the apartment, Doug Heath, returned home from work. He lived there with his wife and stepdaughter.
As Doug walked through the back door, he found Susan's three-year-old daughter, Nicole, locked out of her apartment. When he saw her standing alone on the stairs, he knew something was wrong. He asked her where Susan was. She told him that Susan was downstairs, lying down.
Doug tried to open the first-floor door into the Lafertes' apartment, but it was locked. He went down to the laundry room to check on Susan. He noticed blood splattered throughout the room. He saw Doreen's body "basically sitting" between the washer and the dryer. However, there was so much blood that he could not tell who she was. He turned to his left and saw Susan lying face down in a puddle of blood. He immediately went upstairs and called the police.
When paramedics and police officers arrived at the scene, they found that Doreen and Susan had been brutally attacked in the basement and left for dead. Doreen was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been beaten and strangled with her own sweater. Susan was unconscious and in critical condition. Paramedics stabilized her the best they could and then transported her to a nearby hospital.
Susan was in surgery for two-and-a-half hours, during which a fiberglass plate was inserted into her skull. While she clung to life, Ernie waited and prayed. The doctors described her as "hanging by a thread." Her injuries were so severe that it was "touch and go" at the time.
Miraculously, Susan survived, but she remained in a deep coma. Fearful for her safety, the police guarded her room around the clock. Sgt. Doug Connell of the Woonsocket Police Department felt that the attacker, in his mind, had left her and Doreen for dead. Sgt. Connell and the other detectives feared that the attacker would come back and kill Susan since she would be able to identify him. They were hopeful that when she came out of her coma, she would be able to tell them who was responsible.
Thirty days later, Susan finally came out of her coma. But she had no memory of her attack or her attacker. She developed total amnesia about what happened that day. She also sustained injuries that have left her physically disabled. She still occasionally loses her balance, has a broken left eardrum, and has only partial use of her right hand. And her amnesia sent the investigation of the seemingly motiveless crime back to square one.
Susan said that everyone expected her to wake up and tell them who attacked her and killed Doreen. However, unfortunately, she does not know who attacked them. In the years since, her memory (or lack thereof) has remained the same regarding the attack. She does not know what their attacker looked like or anything else about him. She has no memory whatsoever of the attack. Even now, her family is concerned for her safety.
Years later, the police are still searching for a motive. Susan was a housewife with two young children and an active neighborhood watch member. Doreen was a high school homecoming queen from Bellingham, Massachusetts. At the time of her death, she was studying for a career in childhood development. She lived upstairs with her boyfriend in the apartment building that the Lafertes owned. Ironically, she was packing to move to a new building on the very day of the attack.
Like Susan, Doreen's parents desperately want to find the attacker. Her mother, Simone, notes that their family goes to bed thinking about her and wakes up thinking about her. They plan to keep pushing and knocking on doors because they believe someone has the "missing piece" to the puzzle.
Susan maintains that she has almost no recollection whatsoever from New Year's Eve 1981 to February 19, 1982. February 19, the day of the attack, is a "total blackout" for her. On that day, she had lunch with her sister, Carol Rivet. At 1:30pm, two male friends came to the door. When Susan returned from the doorway, she stuck her head in the parlor and said, "Carol, I'm going downstairs. I'll be right back."
When Susan came back upstairs, Carol could hear her talking to someone in the doorway. Carol got up to see who she was talking to. Carol recognized one of the men but did not recognize the other one. Susan introduced Carol to him. The men then went to the basement to look at some puppies Susan was selling. Susan talked to them for five minutes, and they left. Ten minutes later, at 1:45pm, Carol went home. That was the last time anyone saw Susan before the attack.
No one can be sure what happened that day between 1:45 and 3:20pm, when Doug discovered Susan and Doreen in the basement. It is believed that both of them, either together or separately, went down to do their laundry when they were attacked. Sgt. Connell was shocked by the initial scene. To him, the attack was unnecessarily brutal. It was not just a simple assault. It was a "frenzied attack" and "overkill." The attacker left his murder weapon, a 28-inch metal pipe, in the house as he left. It was not found for four days.
Only one person apart from Susan saw the attacker: Nicole, who was in their apartment that afternoon. Her grandmother, Florence Laferte, tried to coax the details of the attacker's identity out of Nicole's memory. According to Florence, from the very beginning, Nicole said she "let him in." She thought he was one of Susan's friends.
Nicole said the attacker was a bit bigger than Ernie. He had a mustache. He wore jeans, sneakers, and a cap with the visor turned towards the back of his head. She said that when she heard Susan crying, she went downstairs. As she was going down, he was coming up. He had a rag in his back pocket. It was red and white; she called it "polka dots." She was then locked in the hallway while he escaped through the front.
After the attack, Nicole was questioned extensively by the police department. Sgt. Connell notes that, as much as they would like to have a person who saw the attacker that day, her story has changed too much to be of real value to the police. The stress and confusion that she was under made it difficult to get a "solid, sure" story from her.
According to Sgt. Connell, this case is complex because of the different factors involved. First, there are two victims who bring their individual traits with them. They have their own friends and are involved in different things. Next, there were two newspaper ads that the victims had been running. One was for puppies for sale, and the other was for an apartment for rent. Sgt. Connell speculates that the attacker may have responded to one of the ads, was a friend of either Doreen or Susan (or their families), or was a total stranger.
Since the attack, Doreen's family has conducted their own informal investigation, which they believe has led to a series of anonymous phone calls. A few months after the attack, her father, Ron, received a phone call at about 2am. The male caller said Ron should be concerned about his family and children and not pursue the matter so hard. The caller also said that "for openers," they might burn down his repair shop. Ron says every time they pursue the matter, they get more calls. He believes that they are making someone uneasy.
For Simone, this experience has been like a nightmare. She feels that she is watching over her shoulder all of the time. She also fears that the attacker may come back for Susan since she might remember him.
Susan still hopes every morning when she gets up that maybe that day, something will snap, and the memories will come back. However, she notes that she is no closer now than she was when the attack occurred. She feels hurt. She does not look over her shoulder when she does things, but she always has a thought in the back of her mind: is he still there?
The police are at a dead end in their investigation but feel that one new lead may solve this brutal murder.
Suspects: Nicole said the attacker had a mustache, wore a cap, jeans, and sneakers, and was somewhat taller than Ernie. However, the description may not be accurate due to her young age at the time of the attack.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the May 18, 1988 Special #7 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. It was later re-profiled in the Dennis Farina hosted series on the August 11, 2009 episode.
  • It was also featured on the show, Guilty or Innocent?, and The Trail Went Cold podcast.
  • Fearing for her safety, Susan asked for her identity to be concealed during her interview.
  • Some sources state that Susan was twenty-seven at the time of the attack.

Results: Unresolved - The police received several tips as a result of the broadcast, which led them to new witnesses in the case. In 1990, thirty-six-year-old Daniel Shaw, an unemployed Woonsocket construction worker, agreed to cooperate with the police. He implicated his friend, thirty-seven-year-old truck driver Raymond "Beaver" Tempest Jr., in Doreen's murder and Susan's attack.
Shaw said that he and Tempest were at the crime scene and that Tempest had attacked the women. Tempest was a family friend of the Lafertes and had been considered a suspect from the beginning. However, the police did not have enough evidence to charge him at the time.
Susan was close friends with Tempest's wife and had been the maid of honor at their wedding. Susan and Tempest were reportedly having an affair at the time of the attack. Susan remembered having two affairs, but she could not remember who they were with.
Shortly before the attack, the Lafertes arranged to mate their pit bull terrier with Tempest's pit bull. In return, he was to receive the pick of the litter (the ones that the Lafertes were selling at the time). He, in turn, promised to give it to John Allard. Allard was living with Sherri Richards, Tempest's former sister-in-law.
Allard and Tempest were the two men who visited Susan's apartment on the day of the attack. After the visit, Tempest returned alone to Richards' apartment at around 2:30pm. He left to meet his brother-in-law, Bobby Monteiro, at a lounge. They returned to Richards' apartment at around 4:30pm in Monteiro's large, maroon, four-door car. Tempest had a bite or scratch mark on his wrist that had not been there earlier. He had also changed his boots.
The next day, Tempest, Allard, and Richards discussed the attack. They agreed to lie and say that Tempest had been with Allard at Allard's father's house at the time of the attack. Tempest claimed he needed the alibi because he was using his brother's car to buy drugs.
The car driven by Monteiro matched the one seen by Lisa LaDue, Doug Heath's stepdaughter. She reported coming home at around 3:20pm on the afternoon of the attack, shortly before him. While walking around the apartment building, she noticed an unfamiliar "big maroon" car parked in the driveway next to the back door. When she entered the apartment, she heard movement coming from the basement (possibly from the attacker). By the time Doug returned home, the car was gone.
Following the attack, Tempest reportedly confessed to the crime to several people. John Guarino, Tempest's neighbor, claimed that about a year later, he asked Tempest if he was responsible. Tempest said that he had gone into the basement and hit one woman over the head, and when another one came down, he "beat her up" as well. While describing the attack, he moved his right hand up and down as if he were reenacting what he had done.
Guarino did not take the confession seriously at first, as Tempest was "kind of laughing" as he talked. When Guarino returned home, he told his then-girlfriend, Donna Bousquet, about Tempest's confession.
A few weeks later, Tempest came to Guarino's apartment and appeared "very nervous," saying the cops were outside, watching his house. He also threatened Guarino, saying that he "better keep [his] mouth shut" about their previous conversation or else he and Bousquet would be "seriously injured." He then confessed again but added that "they had no proof."
Bousquet was also there when Tempest came to the apartment. She said he was upset at the time of the attack because Susan was going to tell his wife something and that he and his wife had just gotten back together. He also said that "the other girl" came down the stairs and saw him hitting Susan. He said he "could not let her get away, so [he] had to do her, too." He also said that his father had "paid off a large sum of money to make sure that [Tempest's] name was never mentioned about this" and that the pipe used in the attack had been wiped clean.
Tempest also reportedly confessed to the attack on numerous occasions to Ronald Vaz. They occasionally snorted cocaine together. The first admission occurred two days after the attack. Tempest asked Vaz if "Danny [Shaw] told [him] everything about it?" to which he replied that Shaw had. Tempest then said that he was in serious trouble and that "they'll get me for this one; my father won't get me out of this one."
According to Vaz, on several occasions, Tempest visited him and gave him detailed accounts of the attack. On one occasion, he said he had left the crime scene with Shaw and Monteiro in Monteiro's "big maroon car." They drove to Tempest's house because he had blood on him. On another occasion, he told Vaz he was afraid Monteiro would talk. According to him, Monteiro had already told someone about his involvement in the attack. He also said his father had told him to get some "strong" alibis.
On another occasion, Tempest told Vaz that on the day of the attack, he and Susan had argued in the basement over the puppy he was supposed to receive. Their argument then focused on their relationship. She wanted them to leave their respective spouses, but he refused. She hit him, and he beat her. On another occasion, Tempest reportedly brought crime scene photos of the victims to Vaz's house. He passed them around and said, "They said I did a bad job. I don't think I did a bad job, do you?"
Tempest also reportedly admitted to his involvement in the attack to Loretta Rivard, a prostitute. They had met at a bar in Massachusetts in January 1988. After drinking, snorting cocaine, and spending time together, they went back to his house. While there, he said to her, "Do you remember the girl that was killed in the basement in Woonsocket? I killed her, but I'll get away with it; I'm a Tempest, I'll slide."
The police suspected that Tempest used his connections to law enforcement to cover up evidence and prevent him from being charged. Before retiring, his father was the Chief Inspector for the Woonsocket Police Department. At the time of the attack, he was the high sheriff of Providence County. Tempest's brother, Gordon, was a police lieutenant at the time; he took Tempest's first statement.
According to Vaz, Tempest told him that on the day of the attack, Tempest's father and Woonsocket Police Captain Francis Lynch went to the crime scene and forced everyone out. They then told Gordon to find the pipe and wipe it clean of fingerprints. After being unable to find it, they called Tempest, and he told them its location. Gordon found it, wiped it clean, and placed it in another location in the apartment. A few days later, he and other officers returned to the apartment. While walking through one of the hallways, he "found" the pipe.
Terrence Gelinas, who lived across the street from the apartment, said that when he arrived home on the day of the attack, he noticed Tempest's father nearby. He also said that in 1991, Tempest told him, "You are going to wish you never got involved in this...You're going to get into a lot of trouble if you speak to the police."
According to Gelinas, Tempest said that he was going to kill one of the detectives involved in the investigation and that his father was going to "take care of" other people involved in the case, including the prosecutor. He also said that if he got convicted, his father would "take care of you" (referring to Gelinas). He also expressed regret for having the affair with Susan.
Two locksmiths who were installing deadbolts at the apartment the day after the attack said they saw Gordon and another police officer there. One locksmith said he saw one of the officers holding a pipe wrapped in a piece of cloth.
After Daniel Shaw came forward in 1990, a statewide grand jury was convened. During the sixteen-month investigation, eighty witnesses were called. On June 4, 1991, the grand jury indicted Tempest for Doreen's murder. He was arrested the next day. By that point, the statute of limitations had expired on Susan's attack.
Prosecutors claimed that, along with a cover-up, Tempest's family also helped to intimidate witnesses involved in the case. Assailants reportedly cut Vaz off while he was driving on a country road in Burrillville, Rhode Island, and beat him, warning him not to testify against Tempest. Assailants also repeatedly fired a shotgun at him in another incident.
Prosecutors theorize that Tempest attacked Susan in the basement with the pipe during an argument. They believe he killed Doreen because she walked in on the attack and tried to help Susan. They also believe Shaw and Monteiro acted as accomplices.
However, in January 1992, Shaw, an alcoholic with mental health issues, recanted his testimony, claiming that it was coerced. He was dropped as a witness. At Tempest's trial, Monteiro was called as a witness for the prosecution, but he repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to questions from prosecutors.
Tempest and his attorneys claimed he was charged because of "overzealous police work" and that investigators were so eager to convict him that they coerced witnesses to alter their stories. They also noted that no physical evidence tied him to the scene. Prosecutors claimed that the witnesses were telling the truth and that none of them received deals or rewards for their testimony. On April 22, 1992, Tempest was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to eighty-five years in prison.
Shortly after Tempest's arrest, Gordon was arrested and charged with two counts of perjury for falsely testifying before the grand jury. He was later charged with five more counts following his testimony at Tempest's trial. Prosecutors claimed he falsely testified that he never interviewed a Woonsocket man who disputed Tempest's alibi. On July 6, 1993, he was convicted on all charges. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and has since been released.
Monteiro was also charged with perjury. He was accused of lying in his grand jury testimony about his whereabouts on the day of the attack. In June 1992, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.
Captain Lynch was suspended but later cleared of allegations that he meddled in the case. Captain Maurice Jalette was accused of not passing along a 1984 tip from an informant who claimed that Tempest had killed Doreen. The charges were later dismissed.
Since his arrest, Tempest has maintained his innocence. He claimed that he never had an affair with Susan or argued with her that day. He also claimed that he was drinking beer and getting high with Monteiro and other friends when Doreen was killed. He said he did not come forward with this information sooner because he did not want to embarrass his family. He did not tell his lawyer about this until after his 1993 trial, for unknown reasons.
In 2002, Tempest approached the New England Innocence Project for help. They agreed to take on his case. He and Gordon claimed that two police officials, Sgt. Ronald Pennington and Police Chief Rodney Remblad, targeted Tempest for "political reasons."
According to Tempest, Gordon was investigating Remblad for narcotics dealing, bribery, and auto theft. Gordon had also busted a chop shop and arrested Remblad's brother-in-law for possession of stolen vehicles. Gordon believed that Remblad was upset with him and that Remblad targeted Tempest as a result.
Tempest claimed that Pennington and Remblad coerced witnesses by feeding them information about the crime and convincing them to implicate him. He claimed that the witnesses were vulnerable to police pressure because many were involved in drugs and/or prostitution. They also gave "inconsistent and highly suspect testimony."
Tempest claimed that the prosecutors were "overzealous" and withheld evidence favorable to his defense. Gordon claimed he uncovered evidence that pointed to the "real" attacker a few weeks after the attack, but the lead was never seriously pursued by his superiors. He said he disclosed the suspect's identity to the 1991 grand jury but was told the suspect had an alibi.
Tempest and Gordon claimed that the real attacker was a man named Donald Dagesse, who died in 2011. According to one source, at a get-together after Doreen's funeral, Nicole saw Dagesse and said, "I think that's the man who 'boomed' Mama." She had also interacted with Tempest but never reacted negatively to him.
Dagesse reportedly made incriminating statements to witnesses. He had an alibi for the day of the attack, but there were apparent inconsistencies with it. When asked in the hospital to identify her assailant, Susan wrote the letters "D A" and either a Y or a G. When asked if Dagesse was her attacker, she nodded. However, after she recovered, she said she did not remember being questioned or naming Dagesse as her attacker. Furthermore, another name she nodded in the affirmative to was "Donald Duck."
Tempest's lawyers located a deed that cast doubt on some of Ronald Vaz's testimony. He claimed that several conversations between him and Tempest occurred shortly after the attack on a farm he owned. However, the deed showed that he did not purchase the farm until several months later.
Tempest's lawyers conducted DNA tests on hairs found in Doreen's hand. The tests determined that two hairs did not belong to him, and a third one could not be excluded as his. However, investigators theorized that the hairs came from the basement floor. Supporting this theory is the fact that the hairs came from at least two different people. Also, no roots were attached to the hairs, meaning that she most likely did not pull them from her attacker.
In 2014, Tempest and his attorneys asked for his conviction to be vacated based on his allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct. The request was denied. In 2015, the request was made again. In July, after reviewing the case, State Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini decided to vacate Tempest's conviction. He concluded that the police and prosecutors had violated Tempest's right to a fair trial by coaching witnesses, using improper police procedures, failing to disclose favorable evidence, and suppressing key details about a witness's changing statements.
Judge Procaccini found that prosecutors did not disclose statements from the owners of the maroon car that was reportedly seen at the crime scene. They said that, although they sometimes lent the car to Bobby Monteiro, they did not let him borrow it on the day of the attack.
Judge Procaccini noted that one witness, Lisa LaDue, originally did not mention seeing an unfamiliar car outside the apartment. However, after a conversation with an investigator years later, she "remembered" seeing the car.
Judge Procaccini ruled that the initial investigation was mismanaged. He stated the crime scene was never properly secured, and the only person available to gather evidence was unfamiliar with standard procedures. However, he also noted that the newly discovered evidence did not prove Tempest's innocence.
Tempest was released on bail and remained in home confinement while prosecutors debated whether or not to retry him for Doreen's murder. In 2016, the Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld Judge Procaccini's ruling.
In March 2017, prosecutors announced that they planned to retry Tempest, even though nine witnesses had died since the first trial. They maintained that his accusations of prosecutorial misconduct were "pure speculation and conjecture" that would be best addressed through cross-examination at a new trial.
However, on December 18, 2017, Tempest entered an Alford plea on the second-degree murder charge. This meant that, although he maintained his innocence, he accepted that there was enough evidence to convict him. As a result of the plea, he was sentenced to "time served" and released from police custody after serving twenty-four years in prison.
Tempest later claimed that he felt forced to enter the plea because the judge's pretrial rulings favored the prosecutors, and he feared spending more time in prison. With his plea, the police consider this case closed. However, there is still debate over whether he was responsible.
In December 2020, Tempest filed a lawsuit against Pennington, Remblad, and the town of Woonsocket for their alleged roles in his conviction. He argued that he was improperly arrested, unfairly tried, wrongfully convicted, and imprisoned due to the "unlawful and improper" actions of Remblad and Pennington. In April 2021, the town of Woonsocket and former investigators asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit. In July 2022, the courts dismissed all but one charge in the lawsuit.