Years After Her Bones Washed Up, a Picture of Her Final Night

A family searches for answers in the death of Jaimee Mendez
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2018 7:00 PM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2018 11:08 AM CDT
Her Bones Washed Ashore, but They Didn't Bring Closure
A stock photo of Swampscott, Massachusetts.   (Getty Images)

After learning his 25-year-old daughter had gone missing from her apartment in Swampscott, Mass., Steven Mendez raced from his home in Maine to the office park where Jaimee Mendez's jacket had been found. She had been missing two days, having last been heard from in an ominous phone call on the night of Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. And what greeted Steven unnerved him: "They weren't calling anyone or putting up fliers—they were searching the forest floor with dogs," writes Evan Allen for the Boston Globe. It wasn't a search for a missing person, but for a body. That body would ultimately be found, with Jaimee's bones washed up onto King's Beach months later in late January, tangled in lobster traps. Who killed her would become clear, too. But then the clarity stopped.

Jason Fleury pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a 17-year sentence; the deal meant there was no trial, and Jaimee's remains were too decomposed to reveal much, leaving her family to wonder how he killed her, and why. The Globe was able to get the evidence in the case released, giving the "best glimpse" into Jaimee's final night. She had gotten into a van with Fleury, someone she had bought drugs with a handful of times in the past; a Percocet prescription tied to a diabetes-related condition had snowballed into a heroin addiction. About 30 minutes later, she called a friend, telling her Fleury was coked-up and acting like a "freak"; an hour later, she placed a final fearful call to another friend, saying she needed help and could he pick her up. When he arrived at the location she specified, she wasn't there. Read the full story for more on the case against Fleury and the questions that linger. (More Longform stories.)

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