On a Saturday night in the fall of 2001, a pretty young woman named Amy St. Laurent took an out-of-town friend to sample the nightlife along the cobbled streets of the Old Port section of Portland, Maine. St. Laurent, 25, had met the friend, Eric Rubright, on a trip to Ft. Myers, Fla., a few weeks before. Rubright later said St. Laurent seemed like "a totally cool girl." He wanted to see her again, so he arranged the visit to Maine, hoping for romance.
Rubright and St. Laurent spent Saturday in Boston, touring museums. They got along well enough, but by the time they reached Old Port at 10:30 that night, St. Laurent had made it clear that that the relationship was a non-starter. They stopped at Fore Play Sports Bar, where she played pool with other men while Rubright sipped a beer and watched. It was the same story when they moved on to Pavilion, a dance club. Rubright wasn't a hoofer, so he cooled his heels when St. Laurent hit the dance floorcoincidentally, with two of the same men from the pool game at Fore Play.
Rear view of St. Laurent's house
As the 1:00 a.m. closing time drew near, Rubright queued up to use the men's room. When he finally got out, St. Laurent and the men had vanished. This was odd because he was her ride home to South Berwick, a Maine-New Hampshire border town 40 miles south of Portland. Her coat, cell phone, purse and backpack remained in his rental car. "I came outside and waited right by the door until, like, everybody was out of the bar," Rubright later said. "And I didn't see her, so I figured, you know, she left, or whatever, without me."
Annoyed, he decided to drive back to her place alone, assuming she had gone home by some other means. He stopped for gas; then took the toll road south. At the Wells exit, he realized he had no cash, and he talked the toll-taker into letting him pass.
St. Laurent's living room
Rubright found his way to St. Laurent's house, but she wasn't around. Her car was in the driveway, just as they had left it that morning when they went to Boston. He fished the house key out of St. Laurent's purse and thought about going inside. But that didn't seem right, so he slept in his rental car. The next morning, Rubright went into St. Laurent's tidy housefilled with family pictures and thriving potted plantsand took a shower.
He was not happy about the night before: being abandoned in a strange city. It was a casual date, but still. He decided to cut his losses and drive back to Portland, planning to spend a couple of days killing time before flying home to Florida on Tuesday. He put her belongings on the kitchen table and left an irate note to St. Laurent on her front door: "Where the f*** did you go?"
He had no idea what a good question that was.