The tranquil setting of a small Vermont university town was shattered as news spread of the murder of Honoree Fleming, a retired dean from Vermont State University in Castleton. Authorities discovered her lifeless body last Thursday, just a mile away from the campus, on her preferred walking trail.
Residents and students, already grappling with their grief, are now on high alert, heeding the police’s advice to lock their homes and venture out only in pairs. The pressing question on everyone’s mind: Was this a random act of violence or a targeted assassination?
Commander of the Vermont State Police’s criminal division, Maj. Dan Trudeau, urged, “I recommend to the public to be vigilant, have some awareness. If you’re out, be with a friend.”
Detective teams are meticulously scouring the vicinity of the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail, piecing together events that transpired between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the day of the murder. Their breakthrough might come from a witness who reported a suspicious male figure moving towards the campus after gunshots echoed. The individual, described as a white male, around 5-foot-10, with short, red hair and seen wearing a dark gray T-shirt, is believed to be dangerous and possibly armed.
The historic town of Castleton, located close to the Vermont-New York border, is famed for its captivating mountain vistas and rich mineral quarries. Despite its natural beauty, the town now rests under a shadow of fear and uncertainty.
Mary Waite, a lifelong Castleton inhabitant, commented on the eerie transformation of her hometown, saying, “We’ve never had anything like this. Not a thing.”
Despite the heightened police presence, which has reassured many like Valma Brown, who works at the local store, the fear remains palpable. Many residents and students, including John Hendley, a senior from the university’s cross-country team, have decided to stay clear of the trail for their safety.
Tragically, this cruel act occurred just days before Fleming and her husband, acclaimed author Ron Powers, would have celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Powers, renowned for co-writing “Flags of Our Fathers” and a biography on Mark Twain, is now grappling with a loss that words cannot describe.
As investigations proceed, the community hopes for swift justice and healing for a wound that has deeply scarred their peaceful haven.