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Brianna Maitland was eager to get some rest after her shift washing dishes at an upscale Vermont inn on the evening of March 19, 2004.

She had an early-morning shift the next day working at a diner and had to get back to her friend’s house, where she was staying at the time, to get some sleep. The 17-year-old had spent the last year or so couch-surfing with different friends instead of staying on her family’s solar-powered homestead. 

Maitland’s coworkers saw her leave the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery in her 1985 Oldsmobile 88 that evening on March 19, but she never made it back to her friend’s house.

Later that evening, authorities found her vehicle crashed backward into an abandoned farmhouse located in a rural area near Route 118, about a mile from the Black Lantern Inn, but Maitland, who would be 37 today, has never been found.

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“March 19 is a very rough day for me,” her father, Bruce Maitland, told Fox News Digital. ” . . . I’ve learned, over the years, to cope. I miss Brianna a lot. I think of her every day, still. But . . . you have to figure out how to make life move on.”

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FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Tremaroli, who leads the field office in Albany, New York, on Tuesday announced a $40,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Maitland’s body.

Brianna Maitland holding a cat

Bruce Maitland — who now runs an organization helping families who can’t afford private investigators find their missing loved ones, called Private Investigations for the Missing — noted the importance of the fact that the new reward does not require an arrest and conviction in the case. Rather, it is being offered solely for information that could lead investigators to his daughter’s body.

“It’s been too long, and it’s time to come forward.”

— FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Tremaroli

“We will not rest until we help our partners at the Vermont State Police bring her home,” Tremaroli said during a press conference, adding that “someone out there” has information that can help authorities solve the case.

VSP Director Matt Birmingham speaks during a press conference

VSP remains the lead agency on the case.

“My relationship with the police was very bad at different times, but over the years, it has evolved, and they have evolved, too,” Bruce said. “They’ve changed a lot of their investigation and some of their techniques and have certainly different ways they handle parents. . . . Certainly, in the last 17 years . . . I have a good working relationship with them, and I think they’re doing all that they can do.”

A side-by-side photo of Brianna Maitland as a teenager (left) and a digital rendering of what she might look like today (right).

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VSP initially believed that Maitland may have run away but later determined that she may have been a victim of foul play.

When Maitland’s Oldsmobile was located in Montgomery, a small town in Vermont located near the Canadian border, her wallet, paycheck and other belongings were still inside the vehicle.

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“The first person to spot the car said the doors were open, headlights were still on,” Bruce explained. “There were belongings that were kind of scattered across the ground. So it was pretty evident to me that there were signs of some kind of struggle. Somebody dragged her out of that car.”

“Somebody dragged her out of that car.”

— Bruce Maitland

Bruce said the back of his daughter’s car was “bashed” into the old house and “quasi placed in the direction that she was heading.”

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Brianna Maitland as a teenager

“So the only way that physically could have occurred is that she had stopped, maybe beyond the house, and then backed up into the house,” he said. “My own thoughts on that have always been . . . for some reason, she was stopped and then realized that she was in a bad situation and was probably attempting to turn the car around and head back toward the inn, which would have been probably the smartest thing to do, because there was people there.”

“My own thoughts on that have always been . . . for some reason, she was stopped and then realized that she was in a bad situation.”

— Bruce Maitland

While different rumors have flown through the small town over the years, there have not been many significant leads to paint a full picture of what happened to the 17-year-old two decades ago.

The Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vermont

“I was always concerned about some of her relationships, and [those were] some of the first things that the police looked into,” Bruce said, “and I also spoke with some of those people myself. . . . In the end, those people that I had initially thought might have had something to do with it . . . I no longer believe that.”

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Just before her disappearance, the 17-year-old had completed her GED and gone shopping with her mother, Bruce said.

Brianna Maitland

Maitland had only been working at the Black Lantern as a dishwasher for two weekends as of the time of her disappearance, as VSP Maj. Glenn Hall previously told Fox News Digital in 2014.

State police note on their website that Maitland had transferred high schools in the fall of 2004 to be with friends, and later couch-surfed with various friends and boyfriends. 

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Brianna Maitland close-up

Bruce confirmed this, saying she lived with different friends and, at one point, her boyfriend’s grandparents. Bruce said he did the same thing when he was about her age, and while he didn’t totally approve of her lifestyle, he and his wife still made time to see their daughter a few times per week.

“Brianna was always a fiercely independent person.”

— Bruce Maitland

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Maitland’s parents started a Facebook page titled “Brianna Maitland missing – family page.” 



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