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November 11, 1978
"On September 8, 1978, at about 4 P.M., fifteen year old Mary Lou Arruda disappeared while riding her bicycle near her home in Raynham.   Her bicycle was found at approximately 4:30 P.M. that same day by the side of a road.

... on November 11, 1978, Arruda's decomposed, fully-clothed body was found tied to a tree in Freetown State Forest.   The cause of her death was strangulation by ligature or positional asphyxia.   A pathologist testified that Arruda had been alive and in a standing position when she was tied to the tree, but that once she became unconscious, the weight of her head against the ligature around her neck caused her to suffocate.   Arruda most likely died the same day she disappeared.

Kater had previously committed a crime similar in significant detail to the one inferably perpetrated against Mary Lou Arruda.   On February 6, 1969, Kater pled guilty to indictments of assault with intent to rape, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and kidnapping.   All of the indictments were related to the 1968 abduction and attacks on Jacalyn Bussiere.   On June 22, 1968, between 1:30 P.M. and 2:30 P.M., thirteen year old Jacalyn Bussiere was walking her bicycle home on a quiet street in North Andover when she noticed that a small, unfamiliar light blue automobile had stopped in front of her.   It was the same car that had passed by her several times earlier that afternoon.   The driver, James M. Kater, was standing in the middle of the street.   The driver's side door was open and the engine was running.   Kater stood facing her and asked for directions to a neighbor's house.   As Kater walked toward her and Bussiere toward him, he seemed friendly.   But when she answered him by turning and pointing to the place he purportedly wanted to go, he covered her mouth and nose with his hand.   As she tried to get away, she dropped her bicycle and saw that Kater was holding an iron bar.   Kater then forced a very frightened Bussiere into the car on the floor underneath the dashboard.   He immediately got in the driver's seat, put the car in reverse, backed down the street, and turned around at an intersection.   Driving very fast, they traveled for about thirty minutes, the last few of which were along a wooded path.   Kater then stopped the car, pulled Bussiere out, and walked her further into the woods.   He hit her on the back of the head with the iron bar while forcing her to kneel at a stream.   As Kater tried to force Bussiere's face into the water, she resisted and grabbed Kater's glasses and flung them away.   As he retrieved them, she fled but did not get far before he grabbed her again.   Kater then forced her back into the car and drove deeper into the woods.   He stopped again, took Bussiere out of the car, walked further into the woods, and forced her to stand against a tree.   Kater used strips from a torn bedspread to tie Bussiere's hands, ankles, and torso against the tree.   After twenty minutes of pacing back and forth, Kater came up behind Bussiere and pulled the last strip of bedspread very tight against her neck and then strangled her with his hands.   Bussiere lost consciousness.   When she regained consciousness, she found herself alone, slumped over, and bound to the tree.   She managed to untie herself and ran until she found help.

Bussiere identified Kater as the man who had abducted and attacked her. "- taken from court documents,
COMMONWEALTH v. James M. KATER. Argued May 5, 2000. -- August 30, 2000.

mary lou arruda was in my freshman class homeroom. i have been haunted by what happened to her for these past 30 + years. if the barbarity of what happened to my classmate wasn't bad enough to contemplate and to live with( let alone the plausible idea that there might be more unfound victims of this freak considering how he had such a specific highly fetishized MO and preferred type of victim that points to having had lots of practice at abducting and torturing girls), the 30 year circus of his numerous trials is enough to make one wonder whether justice as it stands now only serves the defendant at expressed, purposeful expense of the victim(s). i may be horrified by what happened; for mary lou arruda's mother the judicial gymnastics of james kater is nothing short of sadistic infliction of pain and suffering to prolong the unthinkable devastation of losing a child in this manner. this makes sense as james m. kater is a sadist and a pedophile: pretty much the most evil of humans on earth. if one does not get that he has been enjoying all the suffering he is causing mary lou's friends and family through trials we the tax payers have to pay for- the thrill for controlling events and other people even from behind bars- you're naive and perhaps a bag of rocks has more insight into the criminal mind.

the craven piece of filth that murdered her was still filling motions to throw out his conviction as of 2006. the commonwealth vs. james m. kater is the most expensive criminal prosecution in bristol county history. his conviction was overturned several times. he was going into his third trial on the same charges by 1991( when, had she lived, mary lou arruda could have been through both college and grad school, perhaps married with several kids) . it ended in a hung jury. the 4th( that's how his trials are known in the MA court system- Kater I, Kater II, etc.) trial in 1996 ended with a guilty verdict. in 2000 this verdict was upheld by the MA supreme court. his appeals in 2006 were rejected by the same court. the commonwealth vs. kater is one of the longest criminal trials in MA state history. kater had to be moved to another state because he was in such danger in MA prisons which goes to show that even the vilest most depraved among us think james m. kater deserves exactly what he is convicted of doing not more trials and appeals.

mary lou arruda was alive when he tied her to that tree.

"When he is 6 feet under," Joanne Arruda, Mary Lou's mother, said of Mr. Kater, "justice will be served."

the Arruda family are largely responsible for the construction of a soccer field in raynham- a gift to the community. a tournament in her field is held in her honor each year.


there is no 'cure' for sexually motivated serial murderers. they must be destroyed. it is the only way to stop them.

if you have ever known of anyone to have gone missing please, please take the time through the internet to survey unidentified victims lists. while knowing someone you love has been murdered is devastating, not knowing if someone is dead or alive is a lifetime of unbearable doubt and misery.


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I went to a talk on Forensic Anthropology and she recommended http://www.namus.gov to match missing people with unidentified bones.

namUs is good if you have someone particular in mind and know something about them. the other sites are useful to people- nonprofessionals- who have made a ' hobby' of sorts trying to connect cold cases with missing persons. most of these people have lost someone and have resorted to going online when law enforcement has moved on from their case. they have been making matches to unidentified bodies from missing persons lists- because law enforcement doesn't have the resources to scan through 1000s of photos from decades old missing persons cases in order to connect them to remains.

when i was young in the 80s nearly every teen girl or boy who disappeared was considered a runaway and was barely investigated. there was no amber alert. and no one considered disappeared adults worth the bother of finding. the time right after someone's gone missing is when the most clues are available- and this was routinely ignored. we seemed to have so many serial killers because no one was looking for the people they were killing.how many people died horrible deaths at the hands of those who were never held unaccountable for their crimes because the police classified someone as a ' runaway' or merely as an adult who ' may' have left voluntarily?

now with dna matching from relatives, these online sleuths have been instrumental in a whole series of identifications- to cases as far back as the 60s. people really need that closure and now the internet and technology is allowing unprecedented turnaround in identifying jane and john does-mostly due to tips from the public and family members who wouldn't give up.

nearly every state has a medical examiner's website too- that post unidentifieds online. they have been very successful.

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