Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Tim Barry

Real Name: Timothy Barry
Aliases: Tim
Wanted For: Murder, Escape
Missing Since: May 1990


Details: Tim Barry was a happily married man with a loving wife named Andrea, two children, and the respect of his friends in Everett, Massachusetts. Tim was close to his Andrea's family; after their father died, he became their unofficial head. On Thursday, October 6, 1977, his sister-in-law, twenty-three-year-old Nancy Brown, had the day off. She started her day early, doing laundry. The only other person in the house was her sixteen-year-old sister, Moira, who was home sick from school. Early that morning, Moira heard Nancy slam the back door to the porch and turn on the radio in the kitchen. After that, she mysteriously vanished, along with her car.
That evening, their mother, Ida, contacted Andrea and Tim, concerned about Nancy's absence. They, along with Andrea's expectant sister, Allison, rushed to the home. They called several of Nancy's friends, but nobody had heard from her. Andrea noticed that Tim began acting somewhat strangely after Nancy disappeared. He appeared to be acting more nervous than everyone else. The family split up and decided to search again. While in the basement, Ida found Nancy's glasses on the stairs. This made her family very concerned because she was practically blind without them.

Nancy Brown

The next day, investigators began to search for Nancy. The day after that, her car was located in a store parking lot. Interestingly, Tim had suggested that they look in there. It was unlocked and the keys were under the driver's seat. There were no apparent signs of foul play. However, they discovered that the alarm was not set, which was unusual as she had always set it. The only other evidence in it were some particles of sand. Her family tried to cope with her disappearance.
A few days after the disappearance, Allison gave birth to her child. As the sisters were talking, they mentioned how they wished Nancy was there to see her new niece. Suddenly, Tim became angry about them talking about her all of the time. He said that she was gone and there was nothing they could do about it. Andrea noticed that he was very moody and was not acting like himself. She also noticed that he was starting to drink heavily. At around the same time, investigators had asked him to take a polygraph test; he refused.
Evidence continued to point to Tim--especially after they learned that he had been charged with the murder of a soldier while he was in the military in Germany. A military court acquitted him of it, but noted his so-called "clairvoyance". He had led investigators to both the victim and the murder weapon. This discovery led them to believe that it was more than just a coincidence that he suggested the location of Nancy's car.
On April 25, 1979, he went to a Catholic church and confessed to Nancy's murder. He told the priest that he broke into the house at around 5am and waited for her in the basement. He said he abducted and blindfolded her. He then put her in her own car and made her sit on the front passenger floor. He wore a fake mustache so no one in the neighborhood would recognize him. He drove her to a beach in Ipswich, twenty miles north of Everett. He forced her to walk through the dunes into a heavily wooded area. He carried a hunting knife and a shovel. He claims that when she stood up to him, he killed and buried her.
The priest convinced him to confess to the police. After his second confession, he led them through the woods behind the beach to Nancy's body. Her family was shocked that he would commit such a horrible crime. On February 11, 1980, he was convicted of second degree murder and kidnapping; he was sentenced to life in prison plus five to ten years. Eight years later, he was labeled a model prisoner and began working in lower-security places. While working at a government office on Election Day 1988, he escaped when he asked to go to the bathroom. His escape was made easier due to the crowds and confusion on the first floor, which had several voting booths.
Over a year later, during Memorial Day weekend in 1990, Tim walked out of the woods and arrived at his sister's home in Vermont. He briefly spoke with his children before leaving. He has not been seen since.

Tim after his 1994 arrest

Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 11, 1994 episode.
Results: Captured. As a result of the broadcast, Tim was captured on November 7, 1994 in Akron, Ohio, just days before it aired. He was working as a truck driver under the name John Prendiville. At a federal court hearing, he waived extradition and was put in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. He was returned to Massachusetts and is now serving the rest of his life sentence.