Details of Disappearance
Maureen's husband of fifteen years, Paul Fields, says he last saw her at 8:00 a.m. on February 15, 2006 at their home in Pahrump, Nevada. The couple had an argument just before Maureen left for her job at the Pahrump Valley branch of the Wells Fargo bank, where she had worked as a teller for the past three months.
Maureen didn't arrive at work by 8:30 a.m. as scheduled, and after waiting twenty minutes, her coworkers called Paul. He said he thought she had left for work. After getting off the phone he went directly to the police station.
Paul later claimed he attempted to report Maureen as a missing person at this time, but the police wouldn't accept a report because she hadn't been gone for 24 hours. The police said, however, that when Paul did visited the station he said nothing about a missing person and only asked if there'd been any accidents involving a green Hyundai. A photo of Paul is posted with this case summary.
On February 16, Maureen's green 2004 Hyundai was found in Inyo County, California, about twelve miles from the Nevada state line. It had been stuck in the sand in a desert area about 125 feet off the road.
Her keys were in the ignition, the driver's seat was fully reclined, and slippers and eyeglasses were under the gas pedal. Some religious pamphlets were fanned out next to her purse, which contained her credit cards and wallet. A knotted pair of pantyhose was also present, as were bottles of prescription painkillers and tranquilizers, at least one of them empty.
On the ground nearby was a blanket stained with a small amount of blood and vomit. There was no sign of Maureen at the scene.
Authorities initially believed Maureen wandered off into the desert and committed suicide. An extensive search of the area turned up no sign of her, however, and no suicide note was recovered.
DNA from an unidentified male was subsequently discovered on items at the site of the abandoned car. Investigators stated they believed the scene had been staged by whoever was responsible for Maureen's disappearance.
Authorities believe foul play was involved in Maureen's case and for years they focused on Paul as their prime and only suspect. Maureen's family claims the marriage was very troubled and she wanted a divorce.
One of Maureen's friends described Paul as a jealous, domineering husband, and stated Maureen was afraid he would kill her. She told many people she was afraid of Paul, but she denied any physical abuse. The day before her disappearance, Valentine's Day, she was extremely upset at work and told coworkers "something's going to happen."
Paul maintains his innocence in his wife's disappearance. He stated that, just before she left the house the day she vanished, Maureen said, "I might as well do it now. Why wait?"
He also claimed Maureen had been draining thousands of dollars from their joint accounts prior to her disappearance and he believed she had a gambling problem as well as a problem with prescription drugs. She normally handled the couple's finances, but after Paul found out about the missing money he told her he was going to start checking their bank and credit card statements from now on.
Paul said Maureen took two $7,000 cash advances off their credit cards prior to her disappearance, and withdrew $2,000 from their joint bank account; he theorized she staged a suicide and ran away rather than face up to what she had done. He also said he had evidence that Maureen had asked a third party to kill him prior to her disappearance, an allegation police do not believe.
Police checked into the couple's finances after Maureen disappeared and said Paul's statements were inaccurate and his wife only took one $4,000 cash advance off a credit card. She used the money to pay off another card.
Paul allowed the police to search his house and property several times. He initially consented to a polygraph, but later reneged on the advice of his attorney. He has stopped cooperating with police in Maureen's disappearance.
After waiting the required 90-day period following Maureen's disappearance, he went to court to get her name taken off their jointly owned land, claiming abandonment. In an effort to keep Paul from getting her assets, Maureen's father attempted to become her legal guardian.
In response, Paul dropped his claims that Maureen abandoned her property and changed her status to a missing person. While she was legally missing, he could not divorce her. He had her declared legally dead in 2009, and was named executor of her estate.
The investigation went in an entirely different direction in the fall of 2012, when DNA from another man was found on the knotted pantyhose left near Maureen's car. A photo of the person, Keith Wayne Holmes, is posted with this case summary.
He was in his mid-seventies at the time of Maureen's disappearance, and a registered sex offender with two prior convictions for child molestation. He was arrested in June 2011 for trying to lure a twelve-year-old girl into his car. At the time of his arrest, he lived in Pearblossom, California, over 200 miles from Pahrump. Investigators know he was in the Pahrump area in 2006, however.
Holmes died in a prison hospice in April 2014. He claimed he'd met Maureen and they had consensual sex, and he left her alive in Death Valley. He also stated he knew Paul, but he didn't provide any further information about Maureen's disappearance.
He was questioned repeatedly by the police in his final days, but he had dementia and was often not lucid. Authorities stated finding Holmes's DNA didn't mean rule her husband out as a suspect.
Maureen graduated North Arlington High School in New Jersey in 1983. Her loved ones stated she was very particular about her appearance; she had cosmetic nose surgery and liposuction, she never wore jeans or t-shirts in public, and she never left the house without makeup.
Maureen left behind her eyeglasses, contact lenses, prescription medicine, shoes, and her cherished pet pit bull dog. Her loved ones don't believe she would have left of her own accord, especially without her pet. Her case remains unsolved.