Authorities in western Massachusetts have found what they believe to be the remains of a missing 42-year-old English teacher.
Meghan Marohn vanished from the Lee, Massachusetts area on March 27. She was reported missing on March 29, according to local news reports, after a stay at the popular Red Lion Inn, an historic and picturesque New England hotel in adjacent Stockbridge. (That structure was famously depicted by illustrator Norman Rockwell, who lived nearby.)
The purpose for the stay, according to a friend, was less than pleasant.
Marohn’s black Subaru turned up “at the trailhead for Longcope Park off Church Street in South Lee on March 29,” according to The Berkshire Eagle. “A resident who lives down the road said he spotted her car there when an ice storm gripped the county.”
Missing, Hedges wrote, were the keys to his friend’s car and hotel room, “her daily diary, her good luck stuffed animal Bun, her computer, her wallet, the book she was reading, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry, and [her] cell phone.”
Marohn’s final cell phone ping came from a “rural residential area across the road” from where her car was found, Hedges indicated.
Despite efforts on the ground and online, the search went as cold as the early spring weather in the mountains of New England.
Please retweet to help find my sister, Meghan Marohn. Meghan is a high school teacher and missing since 3/27/2022, last seen in Stockbridge & Lee, MA. If you have seen Meghan, please call 911 immediately. More Photos & Info at: https://t.co/LgksHkRhRC #FindMeghanMarohn pic.twitter.com/PW1MhE0SgK
— Find Meghan Marohn (@FindMeghan) April 10, 2022
More than five months after the disappearance, the missing woman’s presumed remains were found in Lee this week in what appears to be a wooded area adjacent to the aforementioned park.
A citizen found human remains on Thursday and notified the authorities, according to Albany NBC affiliate WNYT-TV. The authorities felt confident predicting that an autopsy will soon confirm the remains are Marohn’s, WNYT reported.
“Even though they are going to continue to determine that those are Meghan’s remains, we are fairly certain it is her,” the missing-and-presumed-dead woman’s brother, Peter Naple, reportedly told The Eagle. “And we’re heartbroken.”
Video of search activity observed by WNYT on Friday showed state and local police cruisers focusing on Fox Drive, a dead-end gravel road south of both the village center and Interstate 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike, which bisects Lee on an east-west axis. The area of the find was described as “heavily wooded.”
Fox Drive is about a mile and a third by vehicle from the location where Marohn’s car was found, but the local roads between the two points take an indirect path. The area where police set up a command post this week, described by The Eagle as a meadow or field, appears to be about a half a mile when measured straight over the terrain from the spot were the car was discovered.
Marohn was a teacher at Shaker High School in Latham, New York, a suburb of Albany.
The circumstances of Marohn’s disappearance have been vexing.
Hedges, in a lengthy tome on the facts and on his friend, explained why:
A few days before Meghan Marohn . . . disappeared, she confided to friends that she had gone into hiding to escape from a man who had “brutally harassed and intimidated me because I wouldn’t sleep with him.” She said she was too afraid to stay at home, especially when she saw him drive by her house. She was granted a leave from teaching and camped out at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
The friend and author hypothesized whether Marohn could have been murdered, abducted, or gone “underground.” He then contemplated whether she might have taken her own life. He concluded that the latter was “doubtful” given Marohn’s “empathetic” nature as a writer and the lack of an easily discoverable suicide note.
But Hedges did say that Virginia Woolf, one of Marohn’s favorite authors and who was also “a victim of sexual abuse,” died by suicide on March 28, 1941.
The date struck Hedges as notable: Marohn is believed to have vanished on March 27, and she was reported missing on March 29.
“Meghan, a poet and gifted writer, was a voracious reader,” he explained. “She would have been aware of the date of Woolf’s suicide which so eerily coincides with her disappearance.”
“All of this is speculation,” he said in a clearly labeled caveat that also functioned as a jarring turn back to the known facts. “What is not speculation is that, like many girls and women, she feared for her life because of male violence.”
The Eagle reported that the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that a “civilian” found the remains. The DA’s office reportedly said that there was a “high likelihood” that the “evidence collected” pointed squarely toward the eventual identification of Marohn as the individual found. Beyond that, the prosecutor declined to comment.
The newspaper noted, however, that the DA said in April that there was “no evidence a crime was committed.” It is unclear whether or not that assessment might change.
Albany CBS affiliate WRGB indicated that Marohn was “known to hike and travel alone.” That television station station added that the rough terrain made it difficult to search the area back when Marohn vanished despite a two-square-mile search zone.
The school district where Marohn worked released the following statement to WRGB:
The North Colonie CSD community is devastated to share that investigators located and recovered human remains that are presumed to be Shaker High School English Teacher Meghan Marohn. Meghan was a valued member of our school community and the news of her death impacts us all. The district is focused on supporting its students, teachers, staff and the community. The district will be offering counseling services for those who would like to receive support. Details about support opportunities will be shared directly with faculty, staff and families.
“She has left a large void,” Naple, the missing woman’s brother, told The Eeagle. “There’s a lot of people that are going to miss her tremendously. The world as we know it has changed knowing this news.”
Hedges, Marohn’s friend, described her as “quirky” — in an endearing and magnetic way. She only shopped at thrift stores, he wrote, and she spent her free time engaged in several pursuits: mentoring and feeding kids from low-income families at a downtown diner in Troy, New York; writing poetry with passers-by; or engaged in projects at a local independent media sanctuary.
And then, of course, were her views on education.
“Meghan would become hot with anger at the focus in schools on ‘vocational’ texts, designed to teach students about the ‘real’ world, by which school administrators meant the world of technology, business and careerism,” Hedges recalled. “This was not the real world to Meghan.”
Hedges then included a list of more than a dozen works and authors whose epic and transcendent descriptions of love, war, tyranny, race, and evil — and even “despair, disappointment, and death” — were works Marohn believed students needed to read and understand in order to find their own place in the world.
“Meghan lived in the real world, the one many around her could not see,” Hedges concluded. “This was her curse, and her gift.”
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]