Former Arlington woman found dead in Winooski

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WINOOSKI — Winooski Police are investigating the suspicious death of a former Arlington mother and the mysterious disappearance of her fiance.

Hannah Keyes, 28, a 2010 graduate of Arlington Memorial High School who moved to Winooski about two years ago, was found dead inside their basement apartment at 65 Audet St. when Winooski Police were asked to respond for a welfare check about 10 p.m. Saturday.

"The fiance is in the wind," Winooski Police Chief Rick Hebert said. "You would think he would want to know where his kids are."

The chief said Keith Gaston, 32, and Keyes had two daughters, ages 3 and 4.

"We'd like to speak to him. We are doing due diligence," Hebert said.

The two daughters were at the residence when police arrived Saturday night. The apartment's storm door was closed, but the wooden door was ajar a few inches, the chief said.

Gaston was last known to work at Global Foundries in Essex, but company officials have not been forthcoming with some details that investigators tried to secure as part of the case, the chief said.

Hebert said Vermont's Chief Medical Examiner's Office has been unable to determine cause or manner of death from the autopsy. Police did not see any marks on the body. Toxicology tests results are pending, he said.

The chief reported Keyes had no known issues with drugs or alcohol, according to an interview with the victim's sister.

Hebert said there have been no calls for any service by Winooski Police at the apartment.

Gaston is described as a black man, 5-feet-10 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. While he has grown facial hair in the past, it is unknown if he has some now or may have shaved.

The chief said police recovered Gaston's car, an older Volvo, on West Canal Street on Sunday morning. A parking enforcement officer had issued it a warning and later returned to issue it a ticket. The police dispatcher recognized it as a car wanted as part of the investigation, the chief said.

Gaston is from Detroit, where his father still lives. His mother is in Baltimore, the chief said.

Investigators from the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations have conducted interviews with the children to try to determine what they may know, the chief said. The children have been placed in the care of Keyes' family.

Hebert said the preliminary investigation has shown Gaston has been in the area for about six months and had been in Arlington previously. Keyes is a 2010 graduate of Arlington Memorial High School, about 115 miles south of Winooski. She has been in Winooski for a couple of years, the chief said.

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Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah Fair George was alerted, but did not come to the scene, Hebert said. Officers remained in constant contact with her and she agreed to respond if investigators found anything.

Officers did respond to the apartment check on Keyes after her employer, The Arbors, a senior living center on Harbor Road in Shelburne called police when she failed to show up for work.

A spokeswoman for The Arbors said the staff and residents are "extremely saddened" by the death of Keyes, who was a resident care associate.

"Hannah was a compassionate caregiver who was much beloved by our residents, their families and her fellow associates. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and children during this difficult time," Carol Arnold said in an email.

The Arbors is a 24-hour memory care provider on secured property.

The Winooski Police Department is the lead agency in the investigation.

Winooski Police Lt. Justin Huizenga called Vermont State Police Detective Capt. Scott Dunlap at 7:13 a.m. Sunday seeking the Crime Scene Search team to come to the apartment, records show.

VSP Detective Sgt. Aimee Nolan, head of the team, subsequently issued an alert to members sprinkled across the state to report to Winooski Police by 10 a.m. Members were told it was an inside crime scene that members would be working.

It was shortly before 8 a.m. that a second alert went to team members notifying them that the Winooski request had been canceled, VSP spokesman Adam Silverman said.

He explained that special teams within Vermont State Police respond to communities with police agencies only when requested and as needed.

"And in this case we were asked for our Crime Scene Search Team," he said.

Hebert said there was not much of a crime scene to process at the apartment and department members thought they could handle it.

"It was mostly electronics," Hebert said.

Winooski Police did reach out again Monday to state police for assistance in processing the recovered electronics, Silverman said. He said the VSP Technology Investigations Unit was activated.

Hebert said Homeland Security Investigations also has offered its services.

There was some confusion over the spelling of the street's name. Hebert and City Clerk Carol Barrett said it has always been Audet Street, but the chief said apparently when somebody ordered a street sign a few years ago, changed it to Audette Street. The city sends its tax and water bills to Audet Street.


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