The Badaraccos lived for 13 years in Danbury. After the children had grown and left, Dominic paid $114,000 cash for the house in Sherman ( photos above )on Nov. 1, 1982, and spent a year renovating it. He put it in his Mary’s name, and encouraged her to call it her dream home.
Mary returned to work cleaning houses. She now had a granddaughter to spoil. There were gardens to plant, and deer that took food from her hand in the private, woodsy yard. Her daughters hoped her marriage had improved.
Six weeks before she vanished, Mary added Dominic’s name to the deed.
On Aug. 29, 1984, two days before the daughters filed their missing person report, Dominic’s lawyer, Winslow, filed motions for divorce based on abandonment.
Winslow, now a Superior Court Judge in Danbury, declined to comment for this story.
Dominic told police Winslow had met privately with his wife. He claimed his wife had agreed to turn over the house in exchange for about $100,000. The divorce was granted in May 1985, following a hearing in Danbury Superior Court. Dominic said under oath his wife had left without a trace Aug. 20, 1984.
For reasons which aren’t clear, Mary’s name wasn’t removed from the deed until 1991 to free the title, about the time Profeta hired an attorney to have the divorce overturned and her mother’s interest in the property turned over to her. Her efforts failed. In 2001, Dominic turned the house over to Perrone.
In 1990 the case was classified as a homicide after Profeta won support from former state representative Lynn Taborsak, who lobbied to have the case re-evaluated. A $20,000 reward was offered, an amount which increased to $50,000 in 2000 when police said they had new leads.
Taborsak said she was pressured not to ask questions because the case involved the Badaraccos. Dominic Badaracco and his sons were rumored to be dangerous, Taborsak said. In 1990, Dominic’s son Joe served 41 days in prison for spearheading a 1989 firebombing of the Carriage House, a bar owned by one of his father’s rivals. He was an acknowledged member of the Hells Angels. Contacted for this story, Joe threatened a lawsuit if his name was mentioned, and responded with expletives when asked what he recalled of his stepmother.
Taborsak said she was threatened after getting involved.
“Someone delivered a message to me second hand through my son from one of the Badaracco sons, warning me for my own good to keep my nose out of it or I would end up hurt,” said Taborsak, who said she never reported the threat to police.
‘A wound that won’t heal’
The case lingered and was turned over to Major Crime Squad detectives in 1999 “because it was unsolved,” said Lt. Paul Vance, the state police spokesman. Vance declined to provide further details, describing the case today as an active investigation.
Only one arrest has ever been made in connection with the investigation, in October 2007. Ernest Dachenhausen, a Danbury resident, was charged with interfering with an officer. Dachenhausen, 66, of Hillside Avenue in Danbury, was acquainted with the Badaracco family and was friendly with Joseph Badaracco. He also owned a home on Farrell Road in Newtown where police, armed with a search warrant, showed up and excavated a six-foot-deep, 50 foot long trench. They had reason to believe cars were buried on the property, and thought one of them might be Mary’s Cavalier. Several vehicles were removed, but the missing Chevrolet was not found.
Dominic Badaracco, 73, still lives in the Sherman home with his current with Perrone.