It’s been nearly two months since the body of Montville native Tricia Beattie, 36, was found in shallow water near Bluff Point State Park in Groton.
On Thursday, Beattie's husband, Scott Kaune II, broke his silence in an interview with Montville Patch and shared his belief that his wife was murdered. Kaune also is frustrated by what he said is a lack of communication by the police investigating Beattie's death.
Kaune said there is no doubt in his mind that his wife was murdered. And he said police are “not talking to us.”
“They’re not keeping the family informed. Every time we call we get the runaround,” he claimed.
“Listen, I know it was a murder. I know that," he said. "Explain to me why she was at Bluff Point and her car is a half-mile from the bar behind an abandoned building.
“Explain to me why they find her purse but not her wallet. She had $250 in cash with her and another $100 in her left pocket with her ID. She keeps her cell phone in her right pocket. And the phone was took, too.”
Kaune said he has “plenty more” evidence to point to a murder.
“EMTs told me that she didn’t drown. And a town official told me that, too," Kaune said. "Let me tell you, I had a closed casket for her funeral, but before it was closed I looked at her and no makeup could hide what I saw: bruising around her neck. She put up a struggle.
“Here’s the bottom (line): My wife was murdered over something stupid.”
Kaune speculated that she went to Bluff Point with someone she knew and was robbed and killed there. And he said he has “some good idea” about who might be responsible, though he declined to share that information. “I have my suspicions. I’ll leave it at that.”
What Happened to Tricia?
Beattie, a mother of six — including two stepchildren — whose last known address was Ledyard but who was raised in Montville and graduated from Montville High School, had last been seen at 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, outside Mo's Burger and Brew, a restaurant and bar at 1649 Route 12 in Gales Ferry. Witnesses who posted online comments and blogs said she “was happy.”
The case, which is under investigation by the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crimes Squad, is stalled pending toxicology test results. But those won’t be coming anytime soon, according to the Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner.
According to a spokesman for the medical examiner's office who spoke to Patch Wednesday, “Two years ago it would have taken four to six weeks (for the results), now it’s more like 12.”
She blamed budget and personnel cuts for the delays.
“It’s hard when family members wants answers,” she said.
Those toxicology results, which would help the medical examiner determine the cause and manner of death (cause is the reason she died, and manner is how she died, whether by accident or homicide), won’t be available until the end of November.
Eastern District Major Crimes Detective Dan Cargill denied Thursday morning that the death was being investigated as a homicide, despite what two official sources told Montville Patch.
“Not sure where you got it was a homicide," Cargill said. "It’s still a suspicious death investigation.”
Cargill said any additional information would have to come from the department’s public information officer, but that there were no new developments.
'We Were Really Getting it Together'
Kaune married Beattie in 2002, but he said they’d been “together pretty much for 17 years.”
The Ledyard man said their marriage was far from perfect; they had their ups and their downs, and maybe more downs than ups, including an arrest following a fight and several trips to divorce court that were never followed through on.
“But we were really getting it together,” Kaune said.
Kaune said he was initially a suspect.
“Yeah, you know the spouse is always first," he said, but he emphatically denies having anything to do with her death.
He said he was home watching their children the night she went out with friends and work colleagues “relieving stress,” he said, at the bar. Kaune said he wasn’t concerned that his wife was not yet home when he awoke at 3:30 a.m. to use the bathroom and tend to his daughter who had awoken and asked where her mother was.
“I kissed her goodnight and told her mommy would be home soon,” Kaune said. "I figured, you know, they went to get something to eat after the bar.”
But when he woke at 5:30 and realized she had not come home, he said his first call “was to Troop E to see if she was in accident or got pulled over or something. Then at 4 that day, they found her.”
Putting the Pieces Back Together
Kaune and Beattie had three girls together, and he has two children from another relationship. He’s now raising all the kids alone.
“It’s not been easy, I’m gonna be honest. Tricia takes care of everything,” he said referring to his wife.
“To be honest, I’m having a real hard time because she did everything for us; she made the appointments, she paid the bills, she did everything,” he said.
But harder than running a household alone, he said, is helping the “girls handle all this.”
He choked up and his voice trembled when he spoke about the children.
“You have no idea how hard it is to tell your kids that their mom is gone,” he said. He praised the Ledyard school district and his in-laws and his family for helping with the children.
“We’re trying to put it back together but you know, you can’t really,” he said.
A call to Beattie’s parents, R. Bruce and Sharon Beattie of Oakdale, for comment was not returned before this story was published.