Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

America's Missing

Maitland Case

In the past 18 months, Bruce Maitland has become an unfortunate expert in missing person cases, learning the hard way.

His daughter was 17 when she vanished—the same age as Taylor Behl.

Brianna Maitland
Brianna Maitland

Yet her case has received very limited national publicity.

"It baffles me sometimes why one is picked and one isn't," he told the Crime Library. "My wife and I were talking about it. I think the missing girl has to be a perfect person."

Charlotte Riley, whose daughter, Amie, disappeared and was later found slain in New Hampshire, referred bitterly to the phenomenon in comments to the media earlier this year.

"She wasn't a beautiful college co-ed," Riley said of her daughter. "It doesn't matter what your child looks like. ... She was a person."

Like the loved ones of many missing persons, the Maitlands maintain a web site and Internet forum about their daughter (http://www.bringbrihome.org).

The Maitlands understood that publicity was essential in the days after the teenager disappeared.

Polly Klaas
Polly Klaas

A tip sheet for loved ones of missing children prepared by the Klaas Kids Foundation, named in honor of Polly Klaas, a California girl abducted from her home and murdered in 1994, suggests that media contact is second in importance only to police contact, and parents have been following that advice assiduously, including the mother of Taylor Behl.

But Vermont state police seemed to view Bruce Maitland's media advocacy as an intrusion, and law enforcement authorities there by and large declined to make themselves available when the national media called about the case.

"We begged them to cooperate," Maitland said.

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