Court documents reveal details surrounding killing of 11-year-old NH girl 5 years ago
LANCASTER — After five years, details are being made public after the unsealing Monday of court documents involving the homicide of 11-year-old Celina Cass.
The police affidavit said the young girl was found in a T-shirt and bra and had abrasions in and around her genitalia, which were consistent with sexual penetration. Her body was wrapped up in the two blankets missing from her bed, sealed by 30 feet of twine, and weighed down by a 52.2-pound bag of sand. Celina weighed 95 pounds at the time of her disappearance.
Celina's stepfather, Wendell Noyes, 52, is accused of killing her by submerging her body in the Connecticut River, where she was found six days after she was reported missing in July 2011, but on Monday, a judge found him unfit for trial.
On July 27, 2011, before the discovery of Celina's body, Kevin Mullaney, who was living with the Noyes at the time of Celina's murder, gave police permission to search his truck. In between a set of tires, under a bag of trash, police found a pair of girls underwear and pajama bottoms later identified as belonging to Celina.
On several different occasions, Mullaney "adamantly denies any involvement in Celina's death of disposing of her body," as stated in the affidavit. Mullaney told officials he believed that Noyes put the underwear and pajama bottoms in his truck to frame him.
When searching a truck belonging to Noyes, officials found three bags of sand, matching the bag that was found tied to Celina when her body was recovered. Investigations revealed that Noyes' mother had given him four bags of sand earlier that month. The bags were intended to add weight for winter driving, which she gave to her son when she traded in her truck, the affidavit states.
A former inmate at the Coos County Jail in Stewartstown told police that while they were in an area where inmates are kept in segregation, he "straight up asked" Noyes if he had killed Celina. Noyes then allegedly said, "he had choked her while she was in her bed, then wrapped her in blankets or sheets and dumped her in the river," according to the affidavit.
The inmate, Zachariah Dambrosia-Shaw, also told police that Noyes allegedly also said there was another person involved with the murder, who also reportedly had sex with Celina. The two men allegedly thought they had gotten the young girl pregnant, which is why they "had to get rid of her," the affidavit states.
Dambrosia-Shaw also agreed to take a polygraph, which indicated this information was "100% authentic," the affidavit states. Dambrosia-Shaw is a convicted felon and has "a violent criminal history," so his credibility has not yet been established by investigators.
On another occasion, Noyes' half-brother, Josh Richards asked Noyes, "What happened to Celina? Did you kill her?" Richards said Noyes answered with "they were f**king with my pills," the affidavit stated.
Richards told police he didn't know what Noyes' meant by that, and when he asked, Noyes hung up on him.
Noyes had a trucker friend, Robert Wheeler, who he spoke with every day between 4 and 6 a.m. because of Wheeler's odd work schedule. The morning of Celina's disappearance, Wheeler told police Noyes never called, which he found "unusual."
Wheeler called Noyes at 7:40 a.m. after he did not hear from him. It was later revealed that Noyes told Wheeler that Celina was missing during their call, which contradicted his earlier statements to police. Noyes originally told police he did not know Celina had disappeared until after her mother left for work around 8 a.m.
Wheeler recalled seeing a side of Noyes he had never seen before when he called him Aug. 1. Wheeler told police that Noyes kept saying "I've got something to tell you," but never reveled what it was, the affidavit stated.
Noyes was accused of watching porn on their family computer on several occasions throughout the investigation. Once by Celina's sister, Kayla Laro, who was unhappy with Noyes marriage to her mother to begin with.
In the days following Celina's disappearance, Laro and her friend Cassie Belanger went with Noyes to a local motel to donate food.
Belanger said she witnessed violent behavior.
"Noyes stood up and stared at Celina's missing person photo, which was in the window of (her mother's) vehicle. He, while huffing and puffing, then angrily punched the photograph of Celina 3 times," it stated in the affidavit. Noyes denied punching the photo.
Throughout the interviews in the affidavit, Noyes is portrayed as a "freak," and a "pervert," from several witnesses who spoke throughout the years-long case.
Paula Leigh, Noyes' ex-girlfriend, has two daughters who are both "deathly afraid of Wendall (Noyes.)"
Leigh's sister, Donna Leigh, recalled several instances where Noyes would buy clothes for her nieces, who were 5 and 8 at the time. He would have them try them on, then would allegedly tell them to turn around so he could see, "what their asses look like," in the clothes, the affidavit stated.
Several school officials gave statements regarding Celina in the months leading up to her murder.
Margaret Miller, a special education teacher at the school who had Celina in class for three years, said that Celina expressed excitement over her mother marrying Wendell but later became very withdrawn as the school year went on, the affidavit stated.
The school nurse, Krysten Lyons, stated she had not seen noticed any recent behavioral change in Celina, but knew that Celina was afraid to be around Wendell when he was off his medication, according to the affidavit.
The court said Monday that convincing evidence showed no reasonable likelihood that Noyes could be restored to competency through appropriate treatment within 12 months.
According to one evaluator, his mental illness creates a potentially serious likelihood of danger to others.