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Crime News Cold Cases

Daughter Wants Answers In Mother's 1976 Beating Death Outside A Maine Laundromat

Dorothy "Dottie" Milliken was expected to return to work following maternity leave just days before her murder.

By Jax Miller
Dorothy Milliken Maine State Police

A woman is searching for answers 45 years after her mother was murdered in front of a Maine laundromat.

Dorothy “Dottie” Milliken, 27, left home at around 11:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5, 1976, to do her laundry in Lewiston, Maine, according to a release from the Maine State Police. A newspaper delivery person found her beaten body outside Beal’s Laundromat at around 4:40 a.m. the following day.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Dorothy’s daughter, Tonia Ross, was only seven years old at the time.

“The loss doesn’t go away,” said Ross, according to the release. “It’s something you think about every single day.”

Family members described Dorothy as “feisty, quick-witted, with a deep love for her family.” Dorothy typically did her laundry with Tonia in the morning time but chose to do it late on Friday evening. She was preparing to return to work on Monday after maternity leave.

“It’s time. I deserve, my sister and my family deserve closure, and it’s not fair that the person who did this has just gone on through life without a conscience like it’s OK because it’s not OK. It’s not OK to take a life,” Ross was quoted in the release. “They should come clean; they should get it off their chest and bring me, my sister, and my family closure.”

After more than four decades, Detective Michael Chavez of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit also hopes to get answers.

“These kinds of cases are the most challenging to work on,” said Chavez in the release. “Over the years, a number of other State Police Detectives have been working on this case, and we have still yet to uncover both the motivation for the crime and the person responsible.”

Chavez, who has led the case since 2012, added that he feels closer to the truth than ever before.

“It’s all here in these old reports,” stated Chavez, referring to the files on Dorothy’s murder. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the person who did this was so consumed by anger that they made a conscious effort to brutally strike down an unarmed woman without thinking twice about the consequences.”

Chavez added, “To make things worse, this person had the audacity to just walk away.”

Tonia Ross described growing up without Dorothy in her life.

“Your first boyfriend, first school dance, you get married, have children, all those big life moments that come along, and there’s a void because you wish you could talk to your mom and share those moments with her,” said Ross. “Even the everyday things. It never goes away; it never goes away.”

Dorothy’s family has put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to the killer’s arrest and conviction.

“I don’t hate the person who did it,” concluded Ross. “I forgive the person who did it. But it’s time for us to know what happened.”

Anyone with information about Dorothy Milliken’s murder is urged to contact the Maine State Police at 207-228-0857.

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