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Vermont police release sketch of man sought in murder of 77-year-old woman on hiking trail

Vermont State Police have released a sketch of an unidentified man they say witnesses saw on the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail in Castleton last week at the same time 77-year-old retiree Honoree Fleming was found shot dead there.

The sketch shows a man with short, disheveled hair, a round face and big eyes. It was drawn by a composite sketch artist with the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office in Maine, who is assisting state and local investigators. 

Police say the suspect is around 5 feet, 10 inches tall and has red hair. He was last seen wearing a dark gray T-shirt and carrying a black backpack, heading off in a “northerly” direction up the trail.

The sketch is based on interviews with witnesses who saw a person of interest on the trail around the time of the shooting, Vermont State Police Capt. Scott Dunlap told reporters during a Wednesday evening news briefing.

VERMONT POLICE RELEASE NEW PROFILE OF SUSPECT IN RETIREE MURDER ON POPULAR HIKING TRAIL

“We’d like to have anybody who recognizes or thinks they recognize the person in the sketch to reach out,” he said. 

Witnesses reporting seeing the same individual behaving “odd” just moments before finding Fleming’s remains on the trail, he added.

Police have alternately called the man a suspect and a person of interest. He is considered armed and dangerous.

“We don’t know right now if it’s random or if it was targeted,” Dunlap added.

Honoree Fleming looking up

VERMONT STATE POLICE SEARCHING FOR ‘ARMED AND DANGEROUS’ SUSPECT IN ‘SUSPICIOUS DEATH’ OF WOMAN ON TRAIL

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has information on the case is asked to call police at 802-773-9101 or send an anonymous tip online at https://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.

Authorities have received hundreds of tips in the case, and investigators were following up on them. Police have asked local residents, business owners and even hunters with trail cameras to check their images for anything suspicious between 3 and 5 p.m. on or near the trail the day of the murder.

Honoree Fleming sitting

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Fleming was a longtime fixture at the nearby Vermont State University Castleton Campus, where she retired as its dean of education.

Hikers found Fleming dead around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, near the campus entrance of the trail. She was wearing a white and blue striped shirt, black pants and black sneakers, and police are also asking to hear from anyone who saw her alive earlier in the day.

Her husband is an Emmy and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist named Ron Powers, who co-wrote “Flags of Our Fathers” and assisted the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy with his memoir, “True Compass.”

Honoree Fleming pictured with her husband Ron Powers

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Fleming lived near the trail, according to police, which has two sections and runs about 20 miles along the border between Vermont and New York. It is open to pedestrians, bicyclists and horseback riders and seasonally open to snowmobiles and cross-country skiers. 

Classes have resumed on campus, but police continue to increase patrols in the area and maintain a visible presence. 


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