After 27 years, a father continues to search for his daughter, presumed dead

It’s been 27 years since Richard Moreau, 70, of Jay, last saw his daughter, Kim Moreau. She was 17 when she disappeared in May 1986. Police suspect foul play, and she is presumed dead. Moreau said he doesn’t need to know details of what happened to her or see her assumed killer prosecuted. What he wants most of all is the closure that might come with finding her remains.

Kimberly Moreau, 17, was last seen in Jay in May 1986. Her father, Richard Moreau, continues to look for her remains after 27 years.

“All I want is her remains to put her down at the cemetery at the side of her mum, her grandmother and grandfather and eventually me,” he said. In 27 years, he hasn’t stopped searching. He has walked the woods over and over, looking. He still puts up posters on utility poles every week.

Few things are worse than losing a child. The least Maine communities can do is keep their memories intact and, if they have not been found, to look for their bones.

When Moreau hears news of other teenagers being killed, he relives the loss. The pain does get better, he said, but it never completely leaves. The death of Nichole Cable, 15, of Glenburn, is an “absolute tragedy,” he said. Police have charged Kyle Dube, 20, of Orono, with her murder, and her family appeared in court Wednesday to watch as a judge denied him bail. “My heart goes out to them,” he said.

He knows their long road ahead, to be filled with memories and reminders. Recently, at his church, he saw a little girl run down the aisle. She was lost and confused for a moment until she saw her parents. She smiled widely. He thought of his daughter then as a little girl. He recalled seeing a teenage girl, tall like his daughter, and, “I can almost picture her there,” he said. Or maybe he encounters a young woman with a baby, and he remembers what he never got to see.

He still pictures her first day sitting behind the steering wheel in his car. He remembers the regular things, like the bickering between all three of his daughters. He said, “I can picture her and her two sisters right here at the table.” He still lives in the house in which Kim grew up. When he drives around town and passes a poster with her picture on it, “I wink when I go by and say, ‘Hi, darling,’” he said.

Some things have helped, including the presence of family, friends and strangers. People have stopped when he’s taping up posters to ask about them. Others have said, “God bless you for what you’re doing.” In a grocery store, a woman recognized him and grabbed his hand and told him she was so sorry. She said she would keep praying.

“More people tell me that: ‘She’s in my prayers; she’s in my prayers.’ I tell them all, ‘That’s the only thing that will get her home,’” he said.

He knows tragedy. The year after Kim disappeared, his father, Donia Moreau, 70, died. The next year his wife, Patricia Moreau, 48, died. He married again, to Beatrice, who “has given me 110 percent cooperation whenever I’ve got to do anything about my daughter,” he said.

According to the Maine State Police, Kim was last seen in Jay at about midnight on May 11, 1986, in the company of someone she had met earlier that day. She was wearing a white blouse, blue jeans, white high-top sneakers and a men’s class ring engraved “Mike ’87.” The case continues, and people are encouraged to call state police at 657-3030 if they know something about her disappearance.

Moreau said bringing her killer to justice is not important. “I would let the individual go because I truly feel this way: In our lifetime, anything we do, sooner or later, we get to answer for it,” he said. “God will take care of all of that. He would do a much better job than I ever would.”

What is important is the closure. There’s a stone at the cemetery with his daughter’s picture on it, he said, but the ground is empty. He will continue searching until he finds her remains or until his own body is lowered down.

Erin Rhoda

About Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is editor of Maine Focus, a journalism and community engagement initiative by the Bangor Daily News.