MA AMY SHER: Missing from Cambridge, MA - 18 October 2002 - Age 38


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Amy Sher was last seen leaving her workplace at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts early on October 14, 2002. She phoned in sick the next two days. On October 17, her husband Robert Desmond called stating she would not be returning to work anymore.

Amy was a victim of domestic violence and was estranged from her family for many years due to the abusive relationship.

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Details of Disappearance
Sher left her job in the finance department at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts early on October 14, 2002. She said she didn't feel well. For the next two days, she called in sick. At 10:00 a.m. on October 17, her husband, Robert Desmond, telephoned Sher's boss and said she would not be able to report to work again.

The day after that, Desmond contacted Sher's employer again, asking for her email address; he stated Sher wanted to send her boss an email but was "unable to do it herself." A few minutes later Sher's boss got an email from Desmond with an attached resignation letter from Sher. She never collected her last paychecks.

Sher's boss became concerned about the situation and contacted police, who spoke to Desmond. He said his wife had left him voluntarily and under "amicable" circumstances on October 18, four days after she was last seen at work. He said he dropped her off at the Alwife train station in Cambridge, Massachusetts at noon and never saw her again.

As there was no evidence that Desmond's story was untrue or that any harm had come to Sher, no further investigative action was taken at that time.

Sher was estranged from most of her family at the time of her disappearance. They stated she began to have differences with them when she began dating Desmond in the early 1990s. Desmond allegedly made threatening telephone calls to Sher's relatives, and they got a restraining order in 1994 which forbade him to contact them.

At the time of her disappearance, Sher was living with Desmond and their young son in Billerica, Massachusetts. Her family was unaware of her son's existence, as she had kept the child's birth a secret.

She was not reported missing for eighteen months; her estranged relatives told the police of her disappearance after they hired a private detective to find her and the detective discovered that Desmond and Sher's son were living together without her.

When investigators questioned Desmond again about his wife's disappearance, he repeated that she had left voluntarily and he assumed she was fine.

Authorities do not believe Sher disappeared of her own volition and are investigating her disappearance as a potential homicide.

Sher's family and co-workers stated that Desmond has a violent temper and severely abused her physically and emotionally, and she had to keep Desmond constantly informed of her whereabouts. She had been very close to her family before becoming involved with Desmond.

He has not been charged in connection with his wife's disappearance, however, and continues to maintain that she simply left him.

Sher's driver's license lapsed after her disappearance and has not been renewed. Her 1994 Pontiac has also not been re-registered. Sher is a graduate of Brookline High School and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; she has a degree in engineering and hospital maintenance. Desmond is her second husband; she divorced the first in 1990 after a two-year marriage.

She was raised in a Jewish family, but Desmond is a Christian. Her loved ones do not believe she would have abandoned her son. Billerica police are investigating Sher's disappearance and foul play is suspected.


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Very long, but informative article on Amy's disappearance.

Search for Billerica woman appears to have gone cold
By Evan Lips |
PUBLISHED: November 20, 2011 at 12:00 a.m. | UPDATED: July 12, 2019 at 12:00 a.m.

BILLERICA — In one 1987 photo, Amy Sher’s smile practically jumps off the paper. Her face is beaming. There’s life and beauty in those eyes.

In another photo, Sher’s face is sullen, as if the vibrant soul lingering behind those brown eyes had died a long time ago. That photo hangs on the wall of the Billerica Police Department. It’s her work ID, the last known photo of Sher, who vanished in October 2002.

“Everything about her final pictures looked broken, numb, beaten down,” her sister, Joani McCullough, said last week. “The Amy I remember was not in that picture.”

Her disappearance wasn’t noticed immediately. And if her bosses at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington hadn’t called police after she stopped showing up for work, it’s possible no one would have ever known.

McCullough is convinced Amy met death at the hands of a man Billerica police Sgt. Roy Frost would describe as “a monster.”

Sher was raised in a wealthy Boston suburb and would have turned 47 this past April. McCullough said it’s easy to see what happened to Amy Sher by looking at photos taken of her sister before and after she met Robert Desmond. Sher met Desmond in the early 1990s while she was still married to a man named Paul Pomerantz. Sher and Desmond married in New Hampshire in 1992, but none of Amy’s family members was invited. McCullough said her sister was working at Massachusetts General Hospital as a systems analyst when she met Desmond.

Boston attorney Wendy Murphy, who helped the Sher family win visitation rights to see Amy’s son, said Desmond was an office temp. “He must have really swept her off her feet,” Murphy said last week.

In 2007, Murphy scored a landmark victory when an appellate court determined that Sher’s family had the right to visit Amy’s son, Michael, born in July 1996. The Shers were so detached from their daughter that they did not know about Michael until they hired a private investigator to reconnect with her in 2002.

The investigator, Joel Picchi, said last month he managed to find Amy on Oct. 9, 2002, at the Lahey Clinic parking lot. Picchi said he showed her photos of the nieces she had once doted upon. Picchi said Amy started to cry.

Hours later, Amy would call Picchi from her desk and tell him she did not want to reconcile with her family.

Five days later, Amy would tell her boss, Chris Lucchesi, she felt sick and needed to go home. She called in sick the next two days to Lucchesi’s direct line. On the next day, the receptionist transferred a call from Desmond, who said his wife was still sick. On Oct. 18, Desmond called Lucchesi again to ask for his email address.

Desmond told Lucchesi that Amy wanted to send an email but “was unable to do it herself.” Lucchesi received an email from minutes later that contained a resignation letter, signed in Amy’s name but in handwriting Lucchesi did not recognize.

Lucchesi would later tell police about the times Amy showed up to work limping. About the clumps of hair missing. Co-workers told Lucchesi about the tearful conversations Amy had over the phone with her husband. The calls were such a distraction that Amy had to be moved to an isolated area.

Lucchesi told The Sun he’s still haunted by what likely happened to Amy.

“We were at the point before she disappeared where we were willing to relocate her and Michael out of state,” he said. “And I fail to believe for one moment Amy would have left that boy. The kid was her world.”

Lucchesi said he contacted police after receiving Amy’s resignation.
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What happened to Amy Sher? Family still searching for answers

Inspired by the movie, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,” billboards in Massachusetts are now up asking “What Happened to Amy Sher?”

Sher disappeared in 2002 and her body has never been found. Sher’s family said she was a victim of domestic violence.

“It was documented. It was real. It was very isolating,” said Joani McCullough, Sher's sister. “Her husband frightened us. He threatened to wipe out the whole family.”

Because of that, McCullough said Sher had an estranged relationship with her family. They didn’t even know she disappeared until about a year or a year-and-a-half later after she was last seen.

“We didn’t know she got married and had a son,” McCullough said. “My mother would always send out a private investigator to kind of check on things and that’s when we found out she did have a son.”

Sher was last seen alive at Lahey Clinic in Burlington where she worked. Though no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance, her family believes she was murdered.

“We don’t have enough evidence yet, but I think we’re going to get it from these billboards,” said Wendy Murphy, the family’s attorney. “Stop, take a look at that face.”


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On Monday, October 14, 2002, Amy Sher left her job at the Lahey Clinic earlier than usual. On Tuesday and Wednesday she called in sick to work. And then on Thursday, October 17, her husband Robert Desmond called in sick for her and told Amy’s employer that she would not be returning to work. He called back on Friday to ask for Amy’s supervisor’s email address, stating that she was not able to send an email herself. Later, when asked by police where his wife had gone, Robert Desmond told them that he had dropped her off at a train station and that he had not seen her since but this wasn’t the first time Amy had disappeared. She fell out of sight long before that fateful October day, when her abusive husband forced her to refuse contact with her family and friends. Now Amy was actually missing, and there is no evidence Amy chose to leave.

If you have any information about Amy’s disappearance, you can call the Billerca, Massachusetts Police Department at 978-671-0900.


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70 Mass. App. Ct. 270
May 9, 2007 - September 27, 2007
Middlesex County

Due Process of Law, Grandparent visitation. Grandparent. Interference with Parental Rights. Parent and Child, Interference with parental rights. Minor, Visitation rights. Child Abuse. Practice, Civil, Complaint, Affidavit.


Below contains details of the horrific emotional and physical violence to which Amy was subjected to for many years.

The first of the mother's managers said he had been trained to recognize victims of domestic violence and observed in the mother the signs and symptoms of a person suffering from "significant' and severe physical and emotional abuse." Among other things, the mother frequently was observed with swollen, cut, and bruised hands (which she often tried to hide). Her face, at times, appeared bruised; at other times, she was seen to limp visibly as she walked. The mother had numerous unexplained absences and wore full-length wool sweaters and skirts with heavy, dark stockings in the middle of summer. It was a regular occurrence that the mother was overheard sobbing, pleading, and begging on the telephone to the extent that it disturbed her coworkers. These coworkers divulged to the first manager that there was a "history of abuse concerns" with respect to the mother and that, although she never talked about the father, she "share[d] stories about her son and the joy he brought to her life."

The mother's second manager had known the mother for five years at their place of employment. He related that he person-ally had observed "horrible conditions" involving the mother, whose life was totally controlled by the father. The mother, who received constant and excessive calls from the father while she was at work, appeared uncomfortable when away from her desk and could not attend meetings without one day's notice. On one occasion when the mother was away from her desk, the father called repeatedly, screaming at a secretary that the mother was not at her desk. The mother left work on that occasion to go home; when she returned she had a bruise on her cheek and a black eye. The mother was frequently absent from work and often would return with injuries (including a severely damaged leg). She was observed with black eyes, broken eye glasses, and hands that were swollen, scratched, and, at times, burned; on one occasion, the mother came to work with a large gash on her head and "the hair around the injury was missing, either shaved or perhaps ripped out." The second manager and others, who often overheard the mother on the telephone "pleading for forgiveness and promising to be a better person," approached the mother with offers to help her but she turned down their offers of assistance and would not state that she had been abused. The second manager reported that one of the mother's coworkers had put brochures discussing battered women in the ladies' room and in office mail slots and counselors were called into the workplace to help staff understand what they could and could not do to assist the mother. [Note 3], [Note 4] In the period shortly before the mother abruptly resigned from her job in October, 2002, the mother's "physical appearance had greatly deteriorated." She had lost a significant amount of weight and did not appear to eat regularly when at work; her facial color was gray and her eyes blank. The second manager stated that by the end of her employment, the mother did not discuss her son, whereas she previously had "beam[ed]" when discussing him.


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Amy Sher's story was just featured on the Vanished Podcast. This is one of the most horrible, heartbreaking stories I've ever heard.

A recap of the episode and Amy’s story.

Amy was a battered woman who was estranged from her family for many years, Amy met Robert Desmond at her finance job in Boston, they married in 1992 but none of Amy’s family members were invited to the wedding. Shortly after the marriage Desmond sent violent threats to Amy’s family including an antisemitic letter to Amy’s mother which declared he was going to wipe the entire family out. Amy’s mother obtained a restraining order against Desmond and all contact between Amy and her family ceased. Over the years, Amy's mother hired a Private Investigator to keep tabs on Amy to check if she was okay, through this they discovered that Amy and Robert Desmond had a child together in 1996. Amy's family had no idea.

In October 2002, shortly before Amy’s disappearance Amy’s family had their Private investigator hand Amy photographs of her nieces in the parking lot of her workplace, Amy cried when viewing the photographs but later called the PI and told him she doesn't want anything to do with her family.

All of Amy's co-workers were aware she was being abused and it was upsetting everyone in the office. Amy’s boss and co-workers stated she would often come to work visibly beaten. Her boss told of one incident where she came to work dragging her leg behind her and clinging to the walls, grimacing in pain. Her leg appeared to be broken and a couple days later returned to work with crutches meant for a child which she struggled with. When asked what happened to her leg, Amy stated she was thrown from a horse, the co-workers called a nurse to offer her some help, but she refused. Amy's boss stated Amy would come to work with very large and swollen knuckles, and at one occasion they were too swollen for her to type. There were also scratches and burn marks on her hands.

Amy's co-workers went above and beyond to try and help her, they put up battered women posters in the bathroom and placed them in everyones office mail slot, they even at one point pulled Amy aside and offered her $10,000 to go underground with her son and start a new life but declined the offer. Amy's husband Robert Desmond sent Amy's boss a resignation letter and stated Amy would not be coming to work anymore. When Amy disappeared her co-workers sent a very detailed letter to the police stating they believed that Amy had been murdered. One of Amy's neighbours who works as a nurse, stated she smelt burning flesh that she was convinced was human coming from the home shortly after Amy disappeared.

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