The lady vanishes: NJ native’s cold case lead ends in Death Valley

For one brief moment, the Nevada detective thought he’d finally learn what happened to Maureen Fields years ago in the desert.

Leaning over an elderly sex offender who lay in a prison hospice bed in California, he asked the frail man if he knew Fields’ husband, Paul.

“I think so,” the man answered.

Eager to hear what the man had to say, the detective continued: “Do you remember how you knew him?”

The man’s head lolled to one side and a vacant look came over his face. There was a long pause, as the fog of dementia rolled back in. “No,” he rasped.

And with that, the brief spark of hope extinguished, just another entry on the cold case’s long list of lost chances.

When Maureen Fields’ empty green Hyundai was found in 2006, marooned in a stretch of the Mojave Desert near Death Valley, it looked like the New Jersey native had committed suicide. Her purse and wallet were still in the car, as were her car keys and an empty bottle of Xanax.

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