New England's Unsolved: The Death of Linda Dotolo Connors

New England's Unsolved: The Death of Linda Dotolo Connors

BROCKTON, Mass. — There is no question the horrific death of Linda Dotolo Connors is wrapped in mystery.

On April 23, 2003, Brockton Fire Fighters responded to a 911 call for illegal burning on Yarmouth Avenue.

When they arrived, they found the burned body of 47-year-old Linda Dotolo Connors on the sidewalk, directly across the street from the home she shared with her husband, George Connors.

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A lighter was found on the sidewalk near Linda's remains.

To this day, investigators still don't know how this fire started.

According to the Plymouth County DA, the State Medical Examiner ruled Linda Connors' death was caused by smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, suggesting Linda was alive when she was burned.

The manner of death has been ruled "undetermined." A major reason for this is the fact that no evidence of any accelerant was found on Linda's body.

And that means no one knows if someone did this to Linda, if she suffered a strange accident, or if she somehow did this to herself.

How is any of this possible? No one knows.

Recently I spoke to two of Linda Connor's daughters: Melissa Shaw and Terry Lebel.

Understandably, they can't get this out of their minds.

"I can only imagine how long that fire lived, or how long she was in pain," Melissa told me.

Both daughters believe Linda was murdered and that she could not have done this to herself.

"It's pretty disturbing someone is getting away with something. There is no way on earth that someone would set themselves on fire," Terry Lebel said.

Linda's husband, George Connors, was home at the time Linda died.

I recently caught up with George out of state where he currently lives. I asked George what he remembers from that night and how he remembers Linda.

"I remember it very vividly," George said. "That evening, I remember it like yesterday.  She was incredibly calm, totally uncharacteristic."

George told me that just before Linda left the house, he was trying to fix a computer. Linda, he said, told him she was going to a store, and there was a discussion about which car she should take.

George told me he got lost in his work and didn't notice the commotion right outside his window when the fire department arrived. That all changed, George said, when firefighters knocked on his door and he saw his wife's remains.

George Connors remembers seeing "a very, very burned body. She wasn't under a sheet. She was sitting on the sidewalk, with her legs crossed, sitting there."

"That's a horrible thing you saw," I said.

"It shocked me. It's something I still see in my dreams," he replied.

George Connors told me he talked to the police several times and even submitted to a lie detector test. A law enforcement source told me George passed the polygraph.

Still, I had to ask him.

"Did you have anything to do with Linda's death?" I asked.

"Absolutely nothing. Absolutely." George answered.

"You didn't walk her out of the house or carry her and set her on fire?"

"Nope. I remember working on the computer, and she coming up to me and saying, 'I'll be right back.'"

George Connors was not the only person questioned in this case.

In a statement to New England's Unsolved, the Plymouth County DA's office said:

State Police Detectives, Brockton Police and the State Fire Marshal's Office performed a thorough and extensive investigation, which included conducting searches of the area, use of an accelerant sniffing K9, consulting with an outside fire forensics expert, and interviewing numerous people, including those closest to Ms. Connors. No one was charged in the death.

Linda Connors family tells me she struggled much of her adult life with mental health issues. But her daughters reject any suggestion that their mother killed herself.

"She would have popped pills and died," daughter Melissa Shaw said. "She was a wimp for pain. She would not have a tolerance to burn herself to death."

Right now, the disturbing questions surrounding the death of Linda Dotolo Connors remain unanswered. And so does the pain for Linda's family.

"I miss my mother," Melissa Shaw said. "I want my mother."

If you have any information about what happened to Linda Dotolo Connors call Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Plymouth County DA's office at 508-894-2600.