- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Ten years of tips, supposed sightings and theories and there’s still no sign of Brianna Maitland.

The 17-year-old who vanished a decade ago Wednesday wasn’t the victim of a serial killer, authorities say. Nor do they believe her disappearance was connected to a suspiciously similar case in New Hampshire.

All anyone really knows is that Maitland’s pale green 1985 Oldsmobile was found with its back end rammed into of the side of an abandoned farmhouse about a mile away from the inn where she worked.

But authorities still hold out hope that somebody knows what happened the night of March 19, 2004.

“We do our best to keep her story alive because we do believe there’s someone out there who knows something that could be helpful to us,” said Vermont State Police investigator Major Glenn Hall, who commands the state police bureau of criminal investigation.

Even 10 years on, tips about Brianna still come in, Hall said. And technological advances mean any leads, however minor, could be the big break they’re looking for.

Throughout the investigation, there have been many conflicting stories about where Brianna might have gone when she left the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, where she worked as a dishwasher. Her father, Bruce Maitland, accused police of not being appropriately aggressive early in the investigation. In a 2004 interview, he said her case was treated as a runaway and felt that melting snow had destroyed the crime scene.

Then there were fears of a serial killer on the loose because of similarities with the disappearance of Maura Murray, who vanished in New Hampshire a month earlier. Both women had gone missing after their cars were damaged and abandoned on remote roads but state police said there were no links between the cases.

In 2006, the sister of a Burlington woman convicted of killing her friend and drug dealer told police that an alleged drug dealer killed Maitland. But Hall said nothing has indicated that Maitland was involved with drug dealers.

And serial killer Israel Keyes, who confessed to the 2011 killing of an Essex couple, was ruled out as a person of interest in the case when the FBI said financial records indicated Keyes was elsewhere on the day Maitland disappeared.

Hall said police still chase tips and keep in touch with Brianna’s family. A Facebook page now posts information about unresolved missing persons with hopes for more information from the public.

The Maitland family and state police continue to offer rewards linked to the case.

But Hall acknowledged last week that the chances of a happy ending are dwindling.

“We believe that something bad happened here,” Hall said.

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