Left and Center: Cathy circa, 1971
Right: Age Progressed to age 63
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: September 24, 1971
Missing From: Portland, Cumberland County, Maine
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date Of Birth: June 28, 1955
Age: 16 years old
Height and Weight: 5’4″ and 98 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Cathys four eyeteeth were removed prior to her disappearance, she was wearing orthodontic braces on her teeth in 1971, she has scars on both her feet from wort removal and flat moles scattered across her back, she has a distinctive white mark on her left elbow and she was known to wear thick eyeglasses with heavy dark colored frames
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A navy blue colored all weather coat, a navy blue pant dress, and brown leather shoes
NCMEC Number: 708865
Details of Disappearance
Cathy was last seen in Portland, Maine on September 24th 1971. She was last seen walking down Forest Avenue to walk home. Cathy had plans of attending a YMCA Dance on the evening hours of that day. She had made herself a dress and outfit for the occasion and asked her father, Lyman Moulton, to drop her off on Cumberland Avenue, she wanted to purchase some pantyhose and two tubes of toothpaste before going to the dance.
Cathy was known to have stopped at a music store and met a girlfriend there. Cathy and her talked for a bit. She told the friend that she was going home to shower and would see her at the dance later on. Cathy never showed up to the dance and failed to return home for dinner. Her parents immediately reported her as a missing person.
Witnesses saw Cathy getting into a blue vehicle with an older boy and possibly another male. The older boy was named Lester Everett and the car he was driving was a stolen blue 1963 Cadillac. After her disappearance, a woman came forward and stated she saw Cathy with two males that night.
The sighting occurred at a gas station in Presque Isle, Maine. The woman stated that she watched as one of the boys escorted Cathy to the bathroom and wrist guard there until she got out and walked her back to the car. Investigators checked out the story and were able to confirm that she did get into that car.
The car was driven by Everett and the accompanying male was named Ronald Reid Perley. Investigators believe the three traveled to the Mars Hills area of Aroostook County, Maine afterwards. There were reported sightings from people who saw and interacted with Cathy at the time.
Aroostook County is over 300 miles away from Cathys home in Portland. The sightings took place in the days following Cathys disappearance. Her and Lester were working on a potato field at McBride’s Farm. Cathy was completely distrusting or Lester and continually begged to go back home to Portland.￼
Cathy befriended a teenage girl who worked on the fields. The girl said Cathy was nervous about her parents being upset with her and that they were probably looking for her on her behalf. She was always inside the Cadillac be she it reminded her of the car he father drove the previous summer while they were on a trip.
Cathy stayed in the car all the time and was seen combing her hair a lot as well. She also slept in the car. The girl, Millie, said she suspected that Cathy was a runaway from home, she was noticeably fearful and sketchy of the other Indian workers on the field. They were all concerned for her well being. One of the men, Joe, brought Cathy a warm plate of food every evening which she gratefully accepted from him.
Lester became tired of Cathys constant complaining to go home so in the evening of September 29th 1971, while the workers were enjoying a bonfire and gossip, Lester got behind the wheel of the stolen car. Cathy was in the passenger side seat of the car and he told her that they were going for a ride. She begged him to drive her back home but he didn’t.
Instead of driving towards Portland, Lester drove towards the Canadian border. There was a secret road that Reid Perley had shown him, the road avoided the Canada Customs inspection point of the border. He took a back road over the boarder into Canada just after 10:00 pm and successfully avoided Customs and Border protection.
Shortly afterwards, Lester pulled onto the Maliseet First Nation Reservation at Tobique Point, Canada. This is where Reid Perley and his family lived. Lester stopped in front of their home and was able to convince Reid to take Cathy off his hands. Lester left an hour later. He initially stated that he was glad to get Cathy off his hands but he later stated he regretted leaving her there.
Lester returned to the potato fields later in the evening without Cathy. Millie asked Lester where Cathy was and he said “I dropped her off at another camp. I’m glad to be rid of that nagging bitch”. He never mentioned Cathy again and became irritated if anyone asked him about her.
Investigators have considered the possibility that Cathy was slain by Lester and that he left her body in the woods of Aroostook County but this theory is unlikely since he left her at the other camp. Some of Perley’s relatives would later tell investigators that Cathy had been in their home and that a relative had harmed her. It’s unknown of this is what happened. His family has refused to cooperate with police about Cathy and won’t mention her ever.
Investigators believe that Cathy met her fate at the Reservation and was killed at the location at some point on or before November 23rd or 24th 1971. Investigators think Reid Perley might have ultimately been responsible for whatever happened to Cathy. In 1996, Reid was convicted of raping his neighbor. He snuck into her room through the window to rape her. He was sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison for the crime.
Lester Everett was disturbed to discover that Cathy had never returned home to Portland, Maine after he left her at the reservation. He and a friend, John Wayne Aceto, traveled back to the Reservation to uncover what exactly happened to Cathy two years earlier. Upon arriving, they were both attacked by Reid’s family members and were kicked/punched. As they were leaving, the Perley brothers threatened to kill them if they ever came back.
Lester moved to Florida and married. He had a son who was born in 1974. He later died in 1988. His wife stated that he never mentioned Cathy Moulton before he died and she didn’t know about his connection to the case. His son, David, was later arrested on a murder charge in Florida. He said that his father never spoke of Cathy either.
On May 15th 2015, investigators received new information regarding a sighting about Cathy. A woman called police and said she recalled seeing Reid Perley dragging a sobbing young woman up the street in the weeds near her home. This sighting occurred in the fall of 1971. Perley was seen dragging the girl into the woods. She never came out of the woods.
The identity of the girl was unknown but investigators believe it was Cathy being dragged up the road. A family who lived near the woods that the girl was dragged into experienced what they call paranormal intrusions. The children who lived in the home said that they saw the ghost of a young white girl coming to them at night. The incidents terrified the children.
These incidents bothered this family for many years. Apparently soon after those incidents occurred, their dog dragged home a human skull which appeared to come from someone. The skull appeared to not be that of a child but also not quite an adult. The neighbor initially believed that the skull likely belonged to someone who was buried in an old tribal burial ground.
The skull was never identified and was later tossed into a communal dump which has since been capped and now the Tobique Band Office and RCMP police station have since overtaken the property. It’s believed that the skull might have been Cathy’s but it’s now likely impossible to find.
Reid Perley was at one point held in prison for the murder of Judy Campbell. Judy was brutally murdered after leaving a bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 27th 1978. She was stabbed multiple times and died at the emergency room afterwards. He was questioned and detained but was not charged with Judy’s murder.
At one point, Reid was formally interviewed about Cathy’s disappearance. He refused to cooperate with police and when asked if he killed Cathy, he didn’t respond but investigators noted that he looked as though he knew exactly what they were asking and that he knew what happened to her. He has never been charged with her disappearance, at one point he told someone named Brent that he killed a girl from Maine and buried her on a property. It’s unknown of the property was searched or not.
In 1983, a man who was hunting deep in the woods of Smyrna, Maine allegedly came across humans skeletal remains. The remains were surrounded by female clothing and were near a triangular formation of maple syrup barrels next to an old stove. The man stated he was positive that these remains were female because he noticed a braw on the rib cage.
He reported his discovery to police at the time but he was unable to retrace his steps and officials could not find the remains. They searched the area for a day but couldn’t continue due a heavy snowstorm. It’s believed the remains were discovered in early November since that’s when hunting season started.
The hunter was found in 2004 and interviewed regarding his discovery. He told investigators that the skull to the remains was missing. This could be due to black bear activity in the woods. In 2004, efforts were made to relocate the remains and see if they could be those of Cathy but they have never been found.
At the time of Cathys disappearance, she was described as a kind and good hearted teenager who helped her elderly neighbors and made her own clothing. She also enjoyed writing poetry and was a Junior year student at Deering High School. While Cathy did experiment with both alcohol and cigarettes prior to her disappearance, investigators do not suspect she left on her own and she had no house problems when she disappeared.
Cathys family continues to hope that they’ll uncover what exactly happened to Cathy. Her parents lived in the same home they shared with Cathy before she disappeared until they sold it in 2012. Cathy’s father passed away in 2017 but her mother and sisters are still alive.
Cathys disappearance remains unsolved and is considered the longest missing child investigation in Maine history.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Portland Police Department 207-874-8479