Pauline Rourke

Pauline, circa 1976; Albert Cochran

  • Missing Since 12/15/1976
  • Missing From Fairfield, Maine
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Age 32 years old
  • Height and Weight 4'11, 100 - 120 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Pauline was last seen in Fairfield, Maine on December 15, 1976. She lived in a mobile home off Route 139 with a distant relative, Albert P. Cochran. Pauline's twelve-year-old daughter, Honey, who was the last person to see her, reported hearing her mother and Albert arguing the night before she disappeared. Honey said they often fought, because Albert wanted Pauline to be his girlfriend.

When Honey got up on the morning of her mother's disappearance, she saw her mother lying on her side in bed, not moving. Honey assumed she was asleep, kissed her on the head and left for school. When she returned home that afternoon, Pauline was gone. She has never been heard from again. A couple of days later, Honey's aunt came to pick her up and took her to live in Vermont.

Honey believes her mother was probably already dead when she saw her this morning. She asked Albert about it on multiple occasions over the years, and he told her several different stories about what had happened.

Pauline was scheduled to be questioned by the Maine State Police in connection with the murder of Janet Baxter, who had been killed in November. Albert did not know her, but but he seemed "obsessed" with her murder after it happened, even taking Pauline and Honey to see the crime scene. Pauline told a relative she was afraid Albert was involved in the murder. She disappeared before the interview.

When questioned after Pauline's disappearance, Albert never admitted to killing her, but said he knew her body was in a well. Police checked several different wells as per Albert's instructions, without result.

In 1964, twelve years before Pauline's disappearance, Albert's family was murdered in Joliet, Illinois. He was separated from his wife, Patricia Cochran, at the time, and she lived alone in an apartment with their three children, who ranged in age from ten months to three years old. Patricia was found strangled at her apartment. The children were all stabbed to death and their bodies were left in the bathtub.

Albert initially admitted to strangling his wife, but denied involvement in the deaths of the children. He said Patricia had killed them and he had killed her in a rage when he saw their bodies. Later he made a second confession where he said he'd killed all of them, but never signed that confession. He was charged in all four deaths, but in the middle of his trial he agreed to plead guilty only in Patricia's case and the other charges were dropped.

He was sentenced to fifty to seventy-five years in prison for the killing, but served only eleven years before being paroled. It's unclear whether Pauline knew about his conviction when she agreed to be his roommate.

In 1999, Albert was convicted of Janet Baxter's murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died there in 2017, at the age of 79. A photo of him is posted with this case summary. He was never charged in Pauline's disappearance and her body has never been found, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Maine State Police 207-624-7143

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 8, 2019; casefile added.