Details of Disappearance
Maria was last seen at her home on Milwood Road in Norwalk, Connecticut on February 12, 1976. She was supposed to go to a vocal lesson in the afternoon, then babysit a neighbor's child that evening. Her father saw her at 2:15 p.m., while he was leaving for work.
Maria did not go to her lesson or her 5:00 p.m. babysitting job. After her disappearance, her blue English Racer bicycle was found abandoned near St. Mary's Lane, approximately one mile from her residence. The bike was found at the home of one of Maria's friends, but the girl said she hadn't seen or heard from her. There was no sign of her at the scene and she never returned home.
Maria's parents stated she was behaving normally on the day of her disappearance. She had threatened to run away two weeks before, but her father talked her out of it. She reportedly took some money, pajamas, a pair of jeans and several sweaters from her home when she went missing, indicating she left of her own accord.
There were several reported sightings of her around Norwalk in the days and weeks after her disappearance; many of the witnesses were people who knew her. She was reportedly seen at the Duchess Restaurant on Main Street and possibly in an orange car and a black car in the same vicinity.
In August 1976, a fifteen-year-old classmate saw Maria at a bar on Westport Avenue and told her she should go home. Maria started crying and said, "I know." She was accompanied by a man who was a member of the Charter Oaks Motorcycle Club. Police identified the biker and traced him to the town of Bethel, Connecticut.
It was thought that Maria was sighted at the Charter Oaks clubhouse on August 13, but in 2015 authorities identified the girl they'd thought was Maria, and it was a different person, a 17-year-old girl from Danbury, Connecticut.
Maria apparently ran away when she left her home in 1976, but it would be highly unusual for her to not contact her family for so long, and there is suspicion that she was a crime victim. There is no hard evidence that foul play was involved in her disappearance, however.
Maria was a freshman at Norwalk High School in 1976. Her friends described her as an artistically talented teenager who took ballet lessons and drama classes was was involved in her school theater group. Both of Maria's parents died in the early 1980s, but her brother and sister are still alive and hope she may be found. Her case remains unsolved.