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Reine, Wanda 03/1971; East Falmouth, Massachusetts 25 YO
Topic Started: May 7 2006, 12:55 PM (4,180 Views)
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
[ *  *  * ]

May 7, 2006
Shirley's secrets
EAST FALMOUTH - On what would have been Shirley Souza Reine's 52nd birthday in August 2005, her sister Loretta Gilfoy gathered a group of girlfriends at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Shirley Reine's murderer remains at large one year after her killing.
(Staff photo by Steve Heaslip)

They divided up her collection of Snowbabies and fox figurines. And then they cried for their lost sister and friend, now buried under a pink granite marker next to her father.

To Gilfoy, 45, Shirley Reine was her big sister and her best friend. She was a devoted aunt who baked birthday cakes for Gilfoy's son, and a wife soldiering on despite her husband's early onset dementia.

Over the past few years, Shirley Reine also had become the embattled matriarch of her husband Melvin Reine's clan, the successor to his once flourishing trash business.

One year ago this week, she became the latest in a string of violent mysteries surrounding her husband, one of East Falmouth's most notorious residents.

In the early morning hours of May 10, Shirley Reine was found shot to death in the garage of her home at 657 East Falmouth Highway. Her murderer has yet to be apprehended.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe will say little about the investigation - not even to offer a suggestion of how his investigators have spent the past 52 weeks probing Reine's death.

But the sordid family history offers a list of reasons people might dislike Reine - from a pitched battle with her stepsons to the attempted murder of a police officer.

Her violent death and the postmortem revelation from her attorney just hours after her body was found that Reine was living in fear, has left Gilfoy wondering what secrets her sister took to the grave.

''What Shirley knows, I don't know. That's what's scary. She never told me how scared she was,'' Gilfoy said.

Reine grew up as Shirley Souza, the middle child of three girls in an entrenched East Falmouth family.

When the sisters were children - Shirley, 9, and Loretta, 2 - their family moved from another part of town into a home on East Falmouth Highway, right around the bend from the Reine family compound.

Melvin Reine, a trucker, had a reputation. He spent 20 months in jail for arson and conspiracy for a string of house fires in the late 1960s.

The teenage Shirley Souza was the baby sitter for Todd and Melvin Jr., the sons of Melvin Reine and his then-wife Wanda Medeiros Reine.

In March 1971, Wanda went missing.

Melvin Reine told police he dropped off Wanda at the Falmouth bus station so she could go visit a cousin. She was never seen again. Police spent years investigating whether Reine had anything to do with her disappearance.

With Wanda gone, Shirley Souza developed a romantic relationship with Reine, despite her father's warning to keep her distance, Gilfoy said.

''I remember my dad saying, 'Stay away from him. He's the Falmouth fox.'''

In 1972, Shirley Souza, 18, moved in with Reine, according to her own court affidavit. That same year, 17-year-old Jeffrey Flanagan of Falmouth was found murdered execution style in the cranberry bog across the street from the Reine homestead.

Flanagan, according to his relatives, had romantic feelings for Shirley. She was one of the last people to see him alive, having gone to the movies with him the night before his body was found.

Shirley Souza lived with Reine for decades until they married in 1999. But shortly after she moved into Reine's house, she started working for Melvin's trash hauling business, Five Star Enterprises. She became the person customers dealt with every day. She also helped raise Reine's sons. The boys grew up and drove trash trucks for their father.

''They seemed normal,'' Gilfoy said. ''Well, not normal. But I assumed they all loved each other.''

In August 1979, Falmouth was shaken by another violent episode.

Falmouth police officer John Busby was shot in the face while driving to work on Sandwich Road. All eyes were on the Reines, who had several run-ins with Busby in the months before the shooting. But police never arrested anyone.

In fact, investigators never charged anyone in connection with the Flanagan murder, the disappearance of Wanda Reine or the 1977 mysterious vanishing of Paul Alwardt, a 17-year-old who worked for Reine. Depending on who you ask, it was either Melvin Reine's close ties to local cops or his intimidating presence that allowed these cases to go cold.

''It seems to be that anything that involves Reine or the Reine family somehow, mysteriously doesn't leave Falmouth,'' Busby said during a recent telephone interview. ''They just leave them alone.''

In 2002, after their father was institutionalized, Todd, now 39, and Melvin Reine Jr., now 41, went to police with information that Melvin Reine participated in the attack on Busby. The next year their uncle, John Reine, told police he drove the car while Melvin Reine shot Busby out an open back window. In the car with the Reine brothers that night, John Reine told police, was Mrs. Reine.

The confession came too late for police to charge anyone with a crime, investigators said. The statute of limitations had expired.

But the Reine sons also told police about their father's connection to weapons and stolen vehicles, which spurred investigators to search the family's property. They also went digging for bones - Wanda's bones.

Mrs. Reine was arrested on a charge of possessing an unlicensed gun. But the police never found any human remains, according to court records. The gun charges were later dropped after Mrs. Reine's lawyer convinced a judge to suppress the evidence because of a faulty search warrant.

In 2003, Melvin's sons began a civil lawsuit against their stepmother, contending that their father was mentally incompetent when he signed over his estate and property to her in 2001. The change essentially disinherited the sons.

The stress of the investigation and the lawsuit was taking a toll on Mrs. Reine. One day, while touring the family properties with Todd Reine and his attorney for the lawsuit, Shirley Reine told her attorney William Enright that she would never make it to court to settle the case. She told him the boys would make sure she never got there, Enright recalled last week.

Enright said he later asked her what she meant. She told him if anything happened to her, tell everyone the boys were responsible.

Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. have repeatedly turned down requests for interviews. Their attorneys have not made them available to investigators or reporters.

The unsolved disappearances and murder swirling around Melvin Reine were whispered about in Falmouth for years. If Mrs. Reine had any clues to the crimes that police suspect were perpetrated by her husband, she kept them to herself, Gilfoy said.

Only once did Mrs. Reine speak to her sister about the questions surrounding her husband and the disappearance of Wanda. It was on the day the police started digging around the family's 336 Old Barnstable Road property, an illegal dumping site, Gilfoy said.

''Channel 5 or Channel 7 was up in the air in a helicopter and she just said to me, 'I don't know what happened to her.' That's the only thing she ever mentioned about it.''

Gilfoy thinks her sister died not knowing that John Reine had told police she was in the car when Busby was shot.

''How come nobody questioned Shirley back then? That's what I don't understand. Here she goes to the grave not knowing she was ever accused of being in this car. Personally, I don't think she was in the car. I don't think Melvin would have put her through that.''

Gilfoy is convinced that Mrs. Reine was ambushed as she got out of her car by someone who knew her routine.

Michael Domingues, 42, discovered the body when he arrived for work before dawn on May 10. Looking through the garage door window, he saw Mrs. Reine in a pool of blood next to her Nissan Maxima sedan.

He called police, then Gilfoy.

When she reached the crime scene, Gilfoy noticed that her sister was still wearing the yellow shirt she had on when they dined together the night before.

''When I think of her all I see is that darn yellow shirt,'' she said.

After seeing her sister's body, Gilfoy went and pounded on the doors of two other homes located on the compound. Jo-Ann Souza, the mother of Todd Reine's children, told Gilfoy she did not hear anything suspicious during the night. Marie Reine, John's wife, said the same thing even though her bedroom window overlooks the garage.

''That's when I just remember losing it. I couldn't talk,'' said Gilfoy, who was hospitalized that day.

Investigators will not discuss possible suspects. They cleared Busby of any involvement in Mrs. Reine's murder several months ago. But they have questioned friends and relatives of John Rams Jr., 32, a Wareham man who served seven years in state prison in the 1990s for manslaughter. He is also an acquaintance of Todd Reine.

Rams' friends who were called to testify to a grand jury in October say he ''shot his mouth off'' at a party about a diamond ring in his possession that supposedly had something to do with the murder.

Rams is currently serving one year for a parole violation. His father, John Rams Sr., said police visited him again last month asking specific questions about his son's job and schedule. He said he had few answers about his estranged son.

Since their stepmother's murder, Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. moved back into the family home on East Falmouth Highway. Jo-Ann Souza was appointed Melvin Reine Sr.'s legal guardian in October.

Gilfoy tries to stay away from the Reine compound and is anxious as this bitter anniversary approaches.

She longs for the days when she and her sister would goof around and gossip like they were school girls again. ''I miss that a lot.''

Gilfoy wants investigators to take as long as they need to solve the crime. It would be the first Reine family mystery to find a conclusion.

''When someone is caught and is responsible for her death, then I can put her to rest. I'm sure she's up there just looking over us, you know, just hoping that it will be solved,'' Gilfoy said. ''That's my main goal. It really is.''

Amanda Lehmert can be reached at alehmert@capecodonline.com. George Brennan can be reached at gbrennan@capecodonline.com.

(Published: May 7, 2006)

Reine Timeline

March 1971: Wanda Medeiros Reine, 25, Melvin Reine‘s first wife, disappears.
1972: Shirley Souza, the family baby sitter who would become Melvin‘s wife, moves in with the family.
August 1979: Falmouth police officer John Busby, who had run-ins with members of the Reine family, is shot in the face while on his way to work.
October 2001: Reine is charged with threatening to shoot a woman in East Falmouth. He is later committed to Taunton State Hospital. Shirley Reine maintains control of the business.
June 2002: Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. talk with police about their father and uncle‘s role in the shooting of Busby.
March 2003: Police interview John Reine, who tells them he and Melvin Reine did the Busby shooting.
March 2003: Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. file a lawsuit in Barnstable Superior Court, charging that their stepmother Shirley Reine disinherited them when she took control of the business and properties. They say their father was mentally incompetent to transfer the property to his wife.
May 10, 2005: Shirley Reine is found shot to death in her garage by an employee, Michael Domingues, 42, a child Melvin Reine sired out of wedlock. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to court later that month.
June 2005: Attorney Lewis Whitman appointed receiver to run Five Star.
July 2005: Five Star sold to John Boyle for $225,000 and renamed Trash Guy.
August 2005: Busby confronts Falmouth selectmen about police department‘s refusal to release records of shooting investigation. District attorney denies access as well. Authorities cite ongoing Reine murder case as justification to keep the records secret.
September 2005: Police arrest John Rams, 32, of Wareham on a probation violation. In October, they question friends and acquaintances of Rams before a Barnstable County grand jury after Rams allegedly tells friends he has a diamond ring connected to the murder of Shirley Reine. Rams is an acquaintance of Todd Reine.
October 2005: John Busby retains Michael Altman, a Boston civil rights attorney, to see if he has a case for a lawsuit.
November 2005: Rep. Eric Turkington, D-Falmouth, presents a bill to extend the statute of limitations of assault on a police officer. Busby testifies in Boston.
December 2005: Altman asks Busby for $50,000 to represent him. Busby decides not to pursue it because the case is too old.
April 2006: Five Star is sold again to Tim Scales and Richard Clark, who are operating under the name Scales and Clark.
2006: State police follow leads on John Rams, question his father.
Turkington‘s legislation remains among 800 bills that must be considered by the legislature‘s Joint Judiciary Committee by June 30.

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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Regarding the Reine family


May 7, 2006

Officer's quest for justice unfulfilled
FALMOUTH - A police officer's 27-year struggle to hold someone responsible for his shooting has hit new roadblocks - attorney fees he can't afford and federal authorities unwilling to investigate allegations of corruption within the police department.

John Busby, 63, was shot in the face Aug. 31, 1979, as he drove along Sandwich Road to work the midnight shift. No one was arrested before the statute of limitations expired in 1989 - 14 years before investigators got a confession in the case.

His shooting resurfaced last year in the days after Shirley Reine, 51, was found shot to death. She was the wife of trash hauler Melvin Reine Sr., long a notorious figure in Falmouth.

While investigators probed Shirley Reine's murder, stories about Busby and three other unsolved Falmouth cases emerged - Melvin Reine was fingered as the prime suspect at the time each case began, but he was never charged.

The other cases involved the disappearance of his first wife, Wanda Medeiros Reine, in 1971; the shotgun murder of 17-year-old Charles ''Jeffrey'' Flanagan in 1972; and the disappearance of 17-year-old Paul Alwardt in 1977.

But Busby's case had something the others didn't have - a survivor. And with his survival, a possible explanation of what happened to him and why.

In a detailed 2003 confession to police, John Reine, Melvin Reine's brother, told investigators he drove the car while his brother shot Busby. He told investigators the shooting was revenge for several run-ins Reine family members had with the tough, no-nonsense cop.

He also said former Falmouth patrolman Arthur Monteiro helped plan the attack and kept Reine apprised of the investigation into the shooting.

These revelations and Shirley Reine's murder prompted former colleagues of Busby to talk for the first time about the investigation.

Last summer, two dozen former and retired Falmouth and state police officers told the Times about how some of their colleagues looked the other way for decades when it came to Melvin Reine. The night Busby was shot, he scrawled this note to his wife: ''Melvin Reine is responsible. This is not an accident. Where are the children?''

But not one investigator questioned Reine that night or in the days after the shooting.

Public attention to the cold cases after Shirely Reine's murder spurred a local official to ask U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan's office to investigate for possible obstruction of justice within the police department. But an assistant prosecutor in Sullivan's office responded his office already looked into the case in 2003 and could find no way to prosecute it.

It's unclear why federal investigators, with a police report pointing to possible police complicity to the crime, have never opened an active investigation. It is the U.S. attorney's role to investigate alleged police corruption.

An attempt by the Times to inspect records from the Busby investigation under the state's Public Records Law was rejected by Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe. He claimed the records were not public because they are connected to the investigation into Shirley Reine's murder.

In October, high profile Boston attorney Michael Altman agreed to talk with Busby about a possible lawsuit, but he found no clear case to pursue after reviewing it with O'Keefe and his predecessor, the late Philip Rollins. He wanted $50,000 from Busby to take the case.

''It was too old, too difficult and (Busby's) too far away,'' Altman said. ''As tragic as it is, there are just too many problems with it.''

(Published: May 7, 2006)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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May 7, 2006

More delays in dump site cleanup
EAST FALMOUTH - The cleanup of an illegal dump off Old Barnstable Road is in limbo following the 2005 murder of Shirley Reine.

The 8-acre parcel was used by the now-defunct Five Star Enterprises trash hauling company to dump construction debris, automobile parts, antifreeze, oil and oil drums, according to state Department of Environmental Protection records.

State and Falmouth environmental regulators want to run tests to determine whether pollution from buried debris could be leaching into groundwater flowing under the land.

Under state law, the company must pay for a study to determine the level of pollution and, if warranted, pay for the cleanup.

But Five Star, formerly owned by Reine and her husband Melvin Reine Sr., was sold and the assets from the sale are quickly dwindling, according to the court-appointed receiver overseeing those assets.

It is also unclear who actually owns the land, making it that much harder to determine who will have to pay if state officials order it cleaned up.

Falmouth officials are frustrated that no tests have been done on the site, despite nearly six years of investigation by local and DEP officials.

''I'm greatly disappointed in the way the system works,'' said Mark Patton, Falmouth director of natural resources.

In 2004, the Department of Environmental Protection and Shirley Reine, who owned and operated the business at the time, signed a consent agreement that required the company to close the illegal dump and determine the pollution's impact on the environment.

Local and state investigators uncovered several kinds of solid waste buried up to 40 feet below ground. They think Melvin Reine used the land for a dump over several decades.

Chemicals from Melvin Reine's truck maintenance activities, such as antifreeze, hydraulic fluids and waste oil, were also dumped at the site, according to the consent agreement.

An environmental consultant estimated the cleanup between $272,000 and $2.9 million to either cap the land or dig up the debris and remove it.

Shirley Reine, who took over management of the business when her husband was admitted to Taunton State Hospital, agreed to hire a professional to evaluate the area and plan environmental monitoring.

State environmental officials were working with Reine on those issues last May when she was shot to death.

After Shirley Reine's murder, Cotuit attorney Lewis Whitman was appointed to run the company. He sold the business in August for $225,000, and used the money to pay outstanding bills.

A judge will have to approve spending money on the environmental work, said Whitman, whose involvement on behalf of the company will end when the money runs out.

About $100,000 will go to pay Whitman and other legal fees, said William Enright, who represented Shirley Reine and is now representing Five Star Enterprises on behalf of the receiver.

Considering the high costs of hiring environmental experts, drilling test wells and taking soil samples, Whitman said what is left of the company's assets won't go far.

DEP spokeswoman Theresa Baroa said the state agency has no formal indication that the business does not have the money to do the cleanup work.

If the money does run out, cleanup costs could fall to the owners of the land, Whitman said, though ownership is in dispute.

Melvin Reine's sons, Todd, 39, and Melvin Jr., 41, were in the process of suing their stepmother for control of the business and the land at the time of her death.

The land was put in a trust for the sons in the mid-1990s, but Melvin Reine's siblings - John Reine Sr., Manuel Reine Jr., Marion Mintz and Nancy Andrade - also have some stake in the land, because it was originally given to all the siblings by their mother.

DEP officials will proceed with the schedule set forth in the consent agreement until they are formally notified of the outcome of the land dispute, Barao said.

(Published: May 7, 2006)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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September 25, 2005

'Officer Down': A two-part series
John Busby had taken two shots to his face. What was left of his jaw lay resting on his chest and he had lost a lot of blood. But the Falmouth police officer still managed to scrawl a note to his wife and the officers surrounding his Falmouth Hospital bed.

Former Falmouth police officer John Busby, background, was shot in the face while driving to work in August 1979. Although all evidence points to Melvin Reine Sr. ,inset, no arrests were ever made in the case. Before the shooting, Busby had two altercations with Reine relatives, which stirred Melvin Reine's fury.
(Files photos/Cape Cod Times)

''Melvin Reine is responsible,'' he wrote Aug. 31, 1979. ''This is not an accident. Where are the children?''

Although Busby did not see the face of his shotgun-wielding attacker, his suspicions were fueled by run-ins he had with the Reine family prior to the shooting. Other police officers were equally suspicious - including two who heard Reine threaten Busby.

In the minutes after Busby was shot, Falmouth police officers went to the crime scene to guard Busby's home, to scour the town for possible suspects and to check on the safety of other officers. But in those crucial first hours - what investigators

say are the most fertile for collecting evidence - not one investigator questioned Melvin Reine.

In fact, at about 1 a.m., some three hours after the shooting, then-Police Chief John Ferreira and other brass called it a night and left the hospital for home, according to an officer who was there that night.

No arrests were ever made in the case, a fact that haunts Busby, his family and some fellow police officers to this day.

Interest in the cold case was revived in May when Melvin Reine's wife, Shirley, was found murdered in her garage, and after the contents of a 2003 Falmouth police report surfaced in which John Reine confessed to his and his brother Melvin's involvement in the Busby shooting.

Shotgun blasts pierced the windshield and driver's door of John Busby's Volkswagen on Aug. 31, 1979.

During a three-month investigation, the Cape Cod Times spoke with more than 100 sources, two dozen of them former Falmouth or state police officers connected in some way to the Busby shooting and other criminal investigations involving Melvin Reine. By 1979, Reine was a convicted arsonist and a suspect in a murder and two disappearances.

Their stories create a picture of ineptitude, cronyism and, in at least one case, an accusation of corruption within the Falmouth Police Department that stymied the Busby shooting investigation at every turn.

The 2003 police report in which John Reine confessed that he drove the car while his brother Melvin shot Busby, includes an allegation that Falmouth police officer Arthur Monteiro, since deceased, aided Melvin Reine before and after the shooting.

And another Falmouth officer, former patrolman Michael Leighton, quickly came under suspicion of helping Reine. He was even given a polygraph test, which he failed. And he continued to socialize with Reine after the shooting. But to this day, he denies any prior knowledge of the attack.

Other sources pointed at longtime connections between Falmouth police officers and the Reine family as another reason law-enforcement investigators failed to solve the crime before the statute of limitations expired in 1989.

An aerial shot of the Reine family compound on East Falmouth Highway in East Falmouth. On the night John Busby was shot, officers talked about going to Melvin Reine's house, but decided to leave that to detectives. By the next day, no investigator had knocked on Reine's door.
(Staff photo by KEVIN MINGORA)

Finally, officers and investigators said a lack of leadership and inaction on the part of the Falmouth police in the crucial first hours after the shooting was another reason no one was ever charged.

It was a fact not missed by Busby, who kept a journal back then. Just five months after his shooting, Busby predicted he would never see justice.

''The investigation into the shooting has gone from a good-natured bumbling attempt to a flat-out fiasco to pushing it away like it smelled bad,'' Busby wrote on Jan. 20, 1980.

An unsolved murder
Melvin Reine, 66, an East Falmouth native, was committed to Taunton State Hospital in 2001 with a form of dementia called Pick's disease.

But in 1979, he had already served a stretch in the state prison at Walpole and was the prime suspect in the 1971 disappearance of his first wife, Wanda, 25, and the 1977 disappearance of one of his employees, Paul Alwardt, 17. Both are presumed dead.

He is also a suspect in the 1972 execution-style murder of Charles ''Jeff'' Flanagan, 17, who was romantically linked to Reine's then-baby sitter, Shirley Souza, whom Reine later married.

No one was ever charged in any of these cold cases and they were all but forgotten by the public until a few months ago.

In May, Mrs. Reine, 51, was found shot in the head and chest next to her car in her garage at 657 East Falmouth Highway, East Falmouth. No arrests have been made in that case, either. Investigators continue to be tight-lipped about the case. But one of the people that police did talk to in connection with the murder is Busby.

Mrs. Reine's murder not only revived interest in Melvin Reine and the cold cases from the 1970s, but also the Falmouth Police Department that failed to solve those cases.

A chaotic night
On the night he was shot, Busby was driving along Sandwich Road to the police station to work the midnight shift. It was Friday of Labor Day weekend and the numerous loud parties around town captured most patrolmen's attention.

When news hit the station that an officer was down, bedlam ensued.

Officer Terry Hinds replaced the on-duty dispatcher, who had dissolved into tears. ''She was pale as a ghost,'' retired police officer John Ayoub said.

James Fagan, a summer officer, said he knew instantly something was wrong when he came into the station. ''It was total chaos,'' he said.

There was little direction coming from top department officials, so the response was scattered and disorganized, said Fagan and several officers who worked that night. Officers grabbed shotguns. Ayoub and Sgt. Kenneth Smith headed for Sandwich Road.

Patrolman Richard Smith and Sgt. Smith were sent to tell Polly Busby, John's wife.

Former Falmouth patrolman Rufino ''Chuck'' Gonsalves, who was heading toward Falmouth Heights, stopped his cruiser, popped his trunk and his temporary partner, summer officer Paul Ryan, grabbed the shotgun from it. ''When you hear an officer is down, you go, no question,'' Gonsalves said.

He was sent to pick up Chief John Ferreira and Capt. Leonard Martin at their homes. He took them to the crime scene and then to the hospital.

Ayoub and another patrolman talked about going to Reine's house, but decided that should be left to detectives. ''We didn't want to do something that would interfere with the investigation,'' Ayoub said.

Fagan spent the night stopping cars with out-of-state license plates. ''We didn't know what we were looking for.''

At daybreak, Falmouth police officer Paul Carreiro, now retired, went to the crime scene on his own initiative. He found three yellow shotgun casings along Sandwich Road where Busby was shot.

A short time later, Sgt. Donald Price organized a group of men to guard Busby and his family around the clock. By then, Busby was at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

And as the sun rose on another day, no investigator had knocked on the one door some say they should have knocked on first - Melvin Reine's.

Investigation off to slow start
Progress in the investigation was also compromised by the holiday weekend, because then-Cape and Islands District Attorney Philip Rollins, who later joined the probe, was away on vacation. So the investigation didn't begin in earnest until Tuesday when he returned, Rollins said in a recent interview.

Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, who served under Rollins as a state trooper, said he was amazed at the Falmouth police investigation in the initial days after the shooting.

''Someone should have gone to Melvin's house and waited for him. That's one of the first things we asked. It was a little shocking. The first 24 hours are so important.''

''It's imperative not to let time get wasted,'' said Dean A. Wideman, a forensic scientist for Nucleo Genix LLC, based in Texas, who testifies in criminal cases as an expert in police procedure. ''You need to quickly go to the person or persons suspected in the crime.''

By following proper procedure - processing the crime scene, talking to potential witnesses and tracking possible suspects - Wideman said it's more likely an arrest could have been made.

A tough, no-nonsense cop
Busby was no shrinking violet when it came to arrests. Tensions between him and Reine can be traced to the arrest of one of Reine's sons.

Busby, now 62, was a tough, no-nonsense cop. He was the one they called when they needed muscle to break up a fight. His helmet with face shield and black leather gloves lined with lead in the knuckles inspired people to straighten out, officers said.

He wouldn't hesitate to be physical with uncooperative suspects when it was warranted, said Price, who was a sergeant and Busby's supervisor at the time. But Busby was a fair cop, Price said.

And while many in the town were either fearful of or intimidated by Reine, newcomer Busby didn't cut Reine or his relatives any slack.

''A lot of people were terrified by (Reine),'' retired Falmouth Det. Richard Corey said. ''People were afraid. They were petrified.''

Officers and other townspeople recall Reine, who by then owned the trash hauling company Five Star Enterprises, making thinly veiled threats about burning down houses to manipulate and intimidate.

''He was a bully,'' said W. James O'Neill, a former prosecutor who investigated the Busby shooting and is now a district court judge. ''He had that image and he exploited that image as much as he could.''

Reine's run-ins with police
In the months leading up to the shooting, Busby had two altercations with Reine relatives, which stirred Melvin Reine's fury, his son, Melvin Jr., told police in 2002, according to a 2003 police report.

One of those run-ins came on May 10, 1979, when Busby arrested Melvin Reine's son, Clyde Pina, after a car chase that ended in Reine's front yard at 11:50 p.m., said retired patrolman Ayoub. Busby was waiting to go on duty when he heard officers pursuing Pina in a low-speed chase through Teaticket.

When Pina stopped on a dirt road off Brick Kiln Road, Busby arrived to find officers surrounding Pina's locked car. Pina refused to get out.

Busby broke the window and attempted to pull Pina from the car, said former Falmouth police officer Michael D'Alto. Pina started to drive away, dragging Busby with him.

''He was going about 30 mph when I let go of him,'' Busby said.

The cruisers followed Pina to Reine's front yard. Busby dusted himself off and also gave chase.

At least half a dozen officers - including Falmouth police, a state trooper and then Falmouth Conservation Officer David Cusolito, now Falmouth's police chief - heard the chase over the radio and showed up at Reine's house to provide backup for police.

Reine came out of the house and yelled that he was going to get a shotgun, Ayoub said. Reine went into the house and Cusolito walked toward it with his nightstick out as other officers took cover behind their cruisers, guns drawn.

''It was a charged scene,'' Cusolito said.

When Reine came out, he had a baseball bat. Ayoub was ready to shoot, but Reine dropped the bat.

''Melvin Reine yelled out, 'Busby your head's going to be in your lap. I know what kind of cop you are,' '' Ayoub said.

Cusolito also heard the threat, Ayoub said. Busby doesn't recall the specific threat, but he remembers Reine kept repeating, ''That's my boy, you better not hurt him.''

In his 2002 interview with police, Melvin Reine Jr., said Pina was beaten by police that night. That made Melvin Sr. angry and was one reason his father shot Busby, he said.

The 1979 arrest log for that night states that ''subject passed out at station/superficial injuries.'' It does not say how the suspect was injured.

Busby said Pina probably was hurt when he was pulled out of the car. Pina had tied his belt around a stick shift so police could not get him out, he said. ''When I got into the car with him, I was not too gentle. I probably stepped on him a few times,'' Busby said.

John Reine accused of assault
Two months later, Busby had a run-in with John Reine that ended with an assault charge against Reine. That further fueled Melvin Reine's anger, Melvin Reine Jr. told police.

Busby was directing traffic around a fatal car accident on Route 28 in East Falmouth on July 4. John Reine was driving a Stop & Shop truck that night and when he tried to get by the accident scene, Busby directed him to an alternate route.

John Reine became agitated, Busby said. He moved the truck forward, knocking Busby's clipboard and spinning the officer around. Busby said he went to Reine's house later that night and issued a summons for assault.

John Reine, who refused nine interview requests by telephone and through intermediaries, told investigators in 2003 that he was waved along by another officer. He said Busby was yelling at him and threw his clipboard at the truck.

A few days before John Reine was to appear in court on the assault charge, Busby was shot.

''All I have to do is drop a dime''
There were other reasons to suspect Melvin Reine, Ayoub said. A few days before the Busby shooting, he said Cusolito told him a story about an encounter he had with Reine at Kenyon's Market in East Falmouth.

Cusolito confronted Reine about the May 10 confrontation with Busby, Ayoub said. Cusolito challenged what he saw as Reine's false bravado used to intimidate people and in the heat of the argument noted that Reine hadn't followed through on his threats aimed at Busby.

''All I have to do is drop a dime and it's done,'' Reine allegedly told Cusolito, according to Ayoub.

Cusolito, a longtime friend of Busby's, felt bad about the encounter, even before the shooting, Ayoub said.

Cusolito did not deny the exchange took place, but he wouldn't talk about it during a recent interview. ''I'm not going to comment on that. It's an ongoing investigation,'' he said.

''Officer down''
On the night Busby was shot, patrolman Leighton called in sick. He said in a recent interview that he had been to a cookout and was too intoxicated to go to work.

Leighton was partners with patrolman Gonsalves on the weekend midnight shifts. The pair usually rode through Falmouth Heights, Maravista and Pinecrest busting up loud parties that were a mainstay of the town's summer months.

With Leighton out, Gonsalves and his temporary partner, Ryan, patrolled the Heights. Just after 10 p.m., the pair stopped by Gonsalves' Sandwich Road home for apple pie and coffee.

It was a routine Gonsalves repeated every time he worked a weekend overtime shift. Leighton was one of the few people who knew it.

Reine, who was friendly with Leighton, knew it, too. In the week before the shooting, Gonsalves said Leighton arranged a meeting between him and Reine at Dunkin' Donuts. Reine told Gonsalves not to go home during his shift because the selectmen were watching him and taking pictures of the police cruiser parked in his driveway.

Former Falmouth Selectmen Heather McMurtrie Paine and Eric Turkington, who were on the board at the time, said no such action against Gonsalves was ever considered.

Just the same, Gonsalves ignored the warning that August night. After a 20-minute coffee break, he and Ryan headed back to the Heights. By the time they got to the intersection of Route 28 and Falmouth Heights Road, they heard the call.

''Officer down.''

It wasn't until after the shooting that it occurred to Gonsalves that Reine may not have wanted him on Sandwich Road that night. Gonsalves' house is just a quarter mile from the scene of the shooting.

''It was to get me out of this area. I know it was. It bothered me. It still bothers me,'' Gonsalves said.

He told then-state police Det. Lt. Bernie Flynn about the incident after Flynn joined the investigation, but Gonsalves said he never was asked to testify at the 1980 grand jury that investigated the shooting. Flynn has since died.

There were other things that made investigators suspicious of Leighton, now retired and living in Bourne. On the morning after the shooting, as officers met to plan their strategy, several of them witnessed Leighton climb into Melvin Reine's trash truck when he came to pick up the department's garbage.

In recent interviews, Leighton said he didn't know Busby had been shot when he chatted with Reine. And he vehemently denies he gave Reine information about Busby. ''One would be stupid to do that,'' he said.

But he was quickly labeled a rat within the department and was harassed by fellow officers. Investigators frequently questioned him about his relationship with Reine. He took and failed a polygraph test and testified before the 1980 grand jury that heard evidence in the shooting. And he continued to visit Reine's East Falmouth home.

''We'd get a report that he was over at Melvin's again and we'd call him in and ask, 'Why are you going over there?' '' Cummings said.

Leighton said he was under a lot of pressure when he failed the lie detector test. At the time, he was recently divorced and had custody of his three children. He said the failed test proved nothing.

''They can do all the fishing they want, they aren't going to find nothing in this pond.''

''You shot Busby''
As investigators focused on Leighton, patrolman Arthur Monteiro, who died in 1990, apparently avoided notice until John Reine's confession in 2003.

Monteiro, known as ''Monty,'' was the brother-in-law of Paulino Rodriques, who would serve as chief from 1984-1993.

Melvin Reine Jr. told police in 2002 it was Monteiro who gave his father Busby's work schedule, according to the 2003 report that contains John Reine's confession.

In that same report, John Reine recalled a scene where Monteiro showed up at the family's East Falmouth Highway compound after the shooting.

''Monteiro had come down to the Reine property right after the shooting and was laughing with Melvin, 'You shot Busby,' '' John Reine told investigators, according to the report.

''Reine stated that Monteiro was giving Melvin information regarding who was working on the case and what they were doing,'' the report stated.

Monteiro was a bear of a man, many former colleagues describe his hands as being twice the size of the average man's. He was also one of the last in a breed of cops who was willing to use physical violence to stop a suspect, fellow officers said.

But there was no love lost between Busby and Monteiro.

''Monty's friends and relatives were untouchable. Most of the locals were untouchable. You were supposed to bother the bums from South Boston,'' Busby said.

Chief Ferreira quickly resigns
That attitude apparently carried the day early in the shooting probe. Some investigators thought the assailant was from off Cape.

But that theory did not inspire Ferreira to vastly expand the number of investigators on the case. State police Det. Lt. Jack O'Donovan offered Chief Ferreira 50 to 100 state police troopers and detectives to assist in the case, Cummings said. But the chief refused all offers of outside help, except that offered by Rollins, he said.

State Police Det. Flynn, one of a handful of detectives and troopers working under Rollins, was put in charge of the case. He worked closely with Falmouth police detectives.

Ferreira's reasons for rejecting offers of help are not clear. The retired chief, in failing health that includes partial blindness, declined to be interviewed. Reporters visited his home twice and sent him written questions in the mail.

Last spring, the Times filed a request with Falmouth police to inspect records from the investigation. That request was denied at the direction of Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe using the investigative exemption of the state public records law.

Officials in Secretary of State William Galvin's office upheld the denial, after consulting with Chief Cusolito, despite the fact that the statute of limitations expired in the Busby shooting in 1989 so no arrests can be made, even though John Reine confessed to his involvement in the shooting.

Back in 1979, pressure from officials outside the department led Ferreira, who had been police chief for nearly two decades, to resign six weeks after the shooting.

A short time after that, Ferreira filed for a disability pension citing heart problems. The town's retirement board granted the pension, according to news accounts at the time.

Some officers say Ferreira was the problem behind the ineffective investigation. They say he ignored what was happening within the walls of the station before the shooting - from ticket fixing to allowing Reine to sit in the station with his feet up on a desk, according to former officer R. Michael Mangum.

Turkington, now a state representative, said Ferreira wasn't fired but he left the job under pressure. Selectmen welcomed the change, he said. They wanted Busby's shooting solved.

So did many of Busby's fellow officers who were still protecting the fallen colleague. But while Sgt. Price and others were busy making sure Busby was safe, they didn't know until later how slowly the probe was moving. ''I assumed the investigation was going along,'' Price said.

Tension slowed investigation
It's unclear if Melvin Reine was ever questioned by Falmouth or state police before he testified before the 1980 grand jury that investigated the shooting. None of the sources for this story, including Cusolito, Cummings, Rollins and Judge O'Neill could remember.

The fact that Reine may not have been questioned comes as no surprise to Busby and several former officers who worked in the department in the late 1970s.

They contend that certain Falmouth police officers surpressed charges or slowed investigations against their friends or associates outside the department. There was a pervasive culture of ticket fixing, squelching drunk driving charges, and deciding who to arrest when the law was broken, according to Mangum and other officers from that era.

A fault line within the Falmouth Police Department at the time separated those who grew up in Falmouth from the newcomers, many of whom had served in the military at Otis Air Base and decided to stay when their stint was over. Busby was one of the newcomers.

There was tension between the two groups, said Price and other officers. And some of the officers on the force when Busby was shot said those tensions slowed the investigation.

Falmouth had been a much smaller place when retired Falmouth Det. Daniel Cunha grew up in East Falmouth, just a few doors from the Reine household. Det. Corey, also another Falmouth native, said he was a friend of Reine's older brother Manuel. But both were adamant that their relationships with Reine family members never influenced their police work.

Both detectives worked on the Busby investigation. But they admit that the investigation dropped down the list of priorities not long after the shooting. Cunha said the detectives chased leads in the Busby case, but had other cases to solve, including a high volume of break-ins.

No one interviewed for this story remembered whether John Reine was called in for questioning or if he was ever considered a suspect.

In 2003, he told police that shortly after the shooting he went into the police station to tell then-Det. Paul Gonsalves that he and his brother had nothing to do with it.

But after further questioning during the 2003 meeting, John Reine changed his story. In addition to confessing his culpability, Reine revealed that a key piece of evidence in the shooting - the shotgun used to shoot Busby - remained in East Falmouth with Melvin Reine for two weeks after the crime.

John Reine said he borrowed the shotgun from an off-Cape co-worker. Reine told the man he planned to use the gun to go hunting with his brother Melvin.

Reine charges dismissed
While Busby recovered in Boston from his wounds and surgery, neither Ferreira nor any other top administrators from the department came to visit. Ferreira did visit Polly Busby when she returned from Boston 10 days after the shooting, but he provided little comfort.

''The chief came over to talk to me and said, 'I know how this is for you. Somebody burned a car in my yard and I'm pretty sure it was Melvin,' '' Polly Busby recalled recently. ''And I said, 'Stop right there. If you're comparing you having a car burned in your yard to my husband having the lower part of his face shot off, get out of my house.' ''

About two weeks later, John Busby returned home. Doctors had rebuilt his jaw with bone fragments from his hip in the first of a series of reconstructive surgeries.

In December, the town stopped paying fellow officers to watch his home 24 hours a day, walk his children to the bus stop, and take Busby on quiet strolls in the woods. It had cost the town $80,000 in overtime. The town built a security fence and bought the family an attack dog.

Busby's three children were harassed at school.

The final insult came, Busby said, when the assault case against John Reine involving the Stop & Shop truck was dismissed because of lack of evidence in the case. Much of that evidence would have come from Busby's testimony, but he said nobody asked him to testify.

And nobody told Busby the charges were dismissed. He said he read about that in the newspaper. The news was jarring, especially in light of the seemingly impotent shooting investigation.

Feeling their safety was in jeopardy, the Busbys left town the following July 1980 after Polly Busby received her nursing certificate. They were careful to cover their tracks so they couldn't be found.

With John Busby out of town, the case lingered. The 1980 investigative grand jury interviewed several people about the case, including Melvin Reine and Leighton. Busby was not called to testify.

No indictments were issued.

Amanda Lehmert can be reached at
alehmert@capecodonline.com. George Brennan can be reached at gbrennan@
(Published: September 25, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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September 26, 2005

Selective enforcement
Melvin Reine was above the law
Convicted arsonist Melvin Reine was a prime suspect in the shooting of Falmouth police officer John Busby in 1979. He was also a suspect in two disappearances and a murder in the years before Busby was shot.

But despite his criminal record, several members of the Falmouth Police Department - some of them high-ranking officials - continued to protect Reine when he broke the law. They fixed tickets, negated an arrest and made sure his driving record stayed clean after he rear-ended a Falmouth police cruiser. And there's evidence a law-enforcement official gave Reine a heads-up when Falmouth environmental officials investigated his illegal dump on Old Barnstable Road in the 1990s.

But Reine wasn't the only one to get favors from pals or relatives in the police department.

During a three-month investigation, the Cape Cod Times spoke to more than 100 people, 23 of whom are former Falmouth officers who worked in the 1970s and 1980s. They describe a department plagued by selective enforcement and favoritism. People with connections in the department could break the law and get away with it.

Former police officer R. Michael Mangum, a member of the department in the 1970s, said that when a town secretary was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence of alcohol, she was released after then-Selectman Richard Paine intervened on her behalf.

Mangum and other officers told stories about relatives of police officers who, when arrested, were allowed to walk out of the station before charges were formalized.

While the officers said they realize selective enforcement among police is not unusual even today, they are still bothered by several incidents in which some Falmouth police officers gave Reine breaks, or were asked to look the other way, when Reine broke the law - even after Busby was shot twice in the jaw while driving to work.

Interest in Melvin Reine, the John Busby shooting and the Falmouth Police Department that failed to solve the cold cases in which Reine was a suspect, was rekindled in May after Reine's wife, Shirley Reine, 51, was found shot to death in the garage of her home at 657 East Falmouth Highway, East Falmouth. The contents of a 2003 Falmouth police report also surfaced in which John Reine confessed to his and his brother Melvin's involvement in the Busby shooting.

Reine, 66, who owned Five Star Enterprises, an East Falmouth trash-hauling business, is considered a suspect in the 1971 disappearance of his first wife, Wanda, then 25; the 1977 disappearance of one of his employees, Paul Alwardt, then 17; and the 1972 murder of then 17-year-old Charles ''Jeff'' Flanagan, who was romantically linked to Reine's then-baby sitter Shirley Souza, whom he later married.

Whistle-blower rebuffed
Reine was committed to Taunton State Hospital by District Court Judge Don Carpenter in 2001 after he was found incompetent to stand trial on assault charges. He suffers from a form of dementia called Pick's disease.

Paulino Rodriques, right, is sworn in as acting Chief of Police in Falmouth in 1983. Rodriques, who lives less than a half mile from Reine's home on East Falmouth Highway, was injured in a 1962 gas explosion in his auto body shop. Melvin Reine was the first to respond, and Rodriques' wife and others credit Reine for saving Rodriques' life. But the retired police chief downplayed the incident after Shirley Reine was murdered in May.

Today, there is no evidence that this culture continues to pervade the Falmouth Police Department. State Trooper Brian Dunn, a former Falmouth police officer, said he believes the Falmouth police force has changed for the better.

''I'd hate to see the department today painted with the same tarnished brush. The department is still paying for their sins. They're great guys down there.''

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the Falmouth Police Department was starting to change. Old school officers - who first joined the force as summer cops with little or no training - were retiring or moving on to other jobs. The new recruits, many of whom were out-of-towners with no local ties, attended the police academy or studied law enforcement in college.

That was the track followed by former officer Mangum, who taught criminal justice classes at Cape Cod Community College after working for the department. He was outraged by what he said was a lack of leadership under then-chief John Ferreira and the widespread culture of selective enforcement within the department. He put his complaints in a report and gave it to the board of selectmen in 1977. But the board labeled Mangum a disgruntled employee, and dismissed his report.

The Times requested a copy of the report from the town, but Falmouth Town Administrator Robert Whritenour said he could not locate it in the town's archives. Mangum no longer has a copy of it.

Ferreira, who is in declining health and still lives in Falmouth, declined three requests for an interview.

Favors from Rodriques
By the time Busby was shot in 1979, close to a decade had passed since Melvin Reine served hard time for a 1968 arson spree that had kept Falmouth residents on edge. More than a dozen arson fires destroyed buildings around town. Reine, who invoked fear among many in town for decades, was convicted in connection with seven of the blazes.

New members of the department quickly learned about Reine's criminal past and did not want to give him any breaks.

But someone in the department always seemed to help him out.

Reine's livelihood depended on maintaining a clean driving record so he could continue to operate Five Star Enterprises, which at one point had trash-hauling contracts with several Cape towns, including Falmouth.

In April 1983, Melvin Reine rear-ended a police cruiser driven by Roman ''Skip'' Medeiros, now the detective captain and brother of Melvin Reine's long-missing wife, Wanda, according to retired Falmouth police officer Rufino ''Chuck'' Gonsalves.

Reine was driving his then-girlfriend, Shirley's 1973 Volvo when the accident occurred. Gonsalves said he was sent to Melvin Reine's house on East Falmouth Highway to issue Reine a citation for the accident. But before he could give Reine the citation, which he had already filled out, a police sergeant called him off.

According to Gonsalves' written report of the incident, he was later told by then police Capt. Paulino Rodriques, who would serve as chief from 1984 to 1993, not to issue a citation. Gonsalves made a copy of the report, which he still has today.

''I called Capt. Rodriques at home and he advised me that the chief (then Henry Breen) wanted something heavy on Melvin Reine and not something so minor. I asked Capt. Rodriques what I should do with the citation, he said go ahead and void it,'' Gonsalves wrote in his report.

Breen, who lives in Cambridge, did not respond to a telephone request for an interview. Medeiros also refused to comment. He and other members of the department are under a gag order from police chief David Cusolito and are not allowed to comment on cases involving the Reines or Busby.

On the advice of his lawyer, Rodriques also would not answer questions sent to him by letter about the accident.

Police records recently unearthed by department officials reveal that Reine paid $356 in restitution for the accident. The department has no record of Gonsalves' report, but Cusolito said Gonsalves' copy of the report appears to be authentic. He said he could not be certain whether Melvin Reine was issued a citation.

Arrest fails to halt favors
Reine continued to get breaks from the Falmouth police - even after a Barnstable County grand jury indicted him in 1984 on bid-rigging charges. That case was handled by the state police, even though the bid rigging involved Reine's trash-hauling contract with the Town of Falmouth.

State police investigating the case hoped that if Reine was arrested and convicted, they could persuade witnesses to come forward and testify against Reine in the disappearances, murder and Busby shooting cases.

Their plan failed, however. Reine was later acquitted of the charges, although his partner, Charlie Cacciola, was convicted.

While state police worked to put Reine behind bars, some Falmouth police officials continued to shower him with favors.

In the early 1980s, former patrolman Kris Bohnenberger, now a state trooper, stopped Melvin Reine several times and gave him tickets for defective equipment on his trash-hauling trucks and for failing to pay fuel stamps - a tax on diesel trucks. Each of the half-dozen fuel stamp violations carried a then-hefty fine of $250, Bohnenberger said.

On his way to work after issuing one of the citations, Bohnenberger saw Mrs. Reine's car parked outside then-Chief Rodriques' house on Route 28.

Later that day, Rodriques asked Bohnenberger to give Melvin Reine a 30-day grace period to pay up.

Bohnenberger said he refused. He couldn't believe the chief would even let Melvin Reine in his home.

''I said, 'You let him in your house?' I was thinking at the time, 'He was convicted of arson and he was a strong suspect in two shootings.' ''

Bohnenberger was charged with police brutality a few years later and was convicted in 1989. His conviction was overturned a year later and he was allowed to return to duty at the Falmouth Police Department. He joined the state police in 1992.

But while he remained on the Falmouth force, he continued to cite Reine when he violated the law.

A death threat
Just five years after Busby was shot, Bohnenberger heard that Reine had hired a known criminal to shoot him.

Former Falmouth police officer Dunn, now a state trooper, said recently he was taking a prisoner to court when the man said that Melvin Reine had hired him to shoot Bohnenberger. The prisoner offered details about Bohnenberger's routine that made Dunn take the threat seriously, Dunn said.

Dunn wrote a report and submitted it to Falmouth detectives, his duty sergeant and Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, who was then a state police detective.

Like so many people before him, the prisoner refused to testify against Reine. He told police he was too afraid to do so, and the investigation never went any further, Bohnenberger said.

''But there's no doubt in my mind Melvin asked him to do it,'' Bohnenberger said.

Attempts to interview Reine have been unsuccessful. A letter requesting an interview was never answered. His long-time attorney Frederick Mycock declined two requests for interviews.

Rodriques, on the advice of his attorney, also declined to answer questions about Bohnenberger's claims.

He also did not want to comment on the allegations of favoritism enjoyed by Reine within the department.

Influential neighbors
But Bohnenberger and other officers said Rodriques has a reason to be nice to Melvin Reine. Rodriques lives at 411 East Falmouth Highway, less than a half mile from Reine's home. Rodriques also owned an auto body shop that was located right across the street from the Reine family compound.

In 1962, Rodriques, who was also a police officer, was using an acetylene torch in his shop when a gas tank exploded, burning Rodriques.

Reine was the first to respond. He rushed Rodriques to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

Rodriques' wife and others credit Melvin Reine for saving Rodriques' life.

But Rodriques downplayed the incident in an interview shortly after Shirley Reine was murdered.

The retired police chief said he got along well with the Reine family.

But he also said his friendship with Reine never interfered with investigations involving Reine family members.

''I had no problems with Melvin Reine,'' he said. ''I don't see where my friendship had anything to do with it.''

Rodriques was the brother-in-law of officer Arthur Monteiro, who gave Melvin Reine information about Busby's work schedule and kept him abreast of the Busby investigation, Melvin Reine Jr. and John Reine told police in 2002 and 2003, according to the 2003 police report.

While investigators long suspected former police officer Michael Leighton with providing information to Reine prior to the Busby shooting, the report never mentions him. Leighton, who failed a polygraph shortly after the shooting, was never charged in the case. In recent interviews, he denied he was involved with providing Reine information to help in the attack.

Busby may have angered Monteiro by issuing his friends tickets and not backing off when asked.

''You'd ask for license and registration and they'd say, 'Do you know Monty?' '' Busby said. ''And that was supposed to mean I'm somehow connected to Arthur Monteiro and you don't give me a ticket.''

That did not work with Busby.

A cop's ties to Reine
The revelation that Monteiro gave information to Reine about Busby's schedule and the investigation into his shooting comes as a surprise to some. But former police officer and current Falmouth Selectman Ahmed Mustafa and others said Monteiro was known to have ties to the Reine family.

Monteiro, who worked construction on the side, helped build Melvin Reine's garage used by Fire Star Enterprises, according to Mustafa, Leighton and other sources.

Monteiro was also known for giving breaks to family and friends.

Former police officer Johnny Seay, who left the force with a disability in 1978, said Monteiro probably retired with the same ticket book he was issued as a rookie cop.

But Monteiro wasn't the only one letting people off the hook. Several of the former officers said the selective enforcement problem was so bad that for a long time there was a system in the late 1960s of writing potential traffic citations on a piece of paper. When the patrolmen came back to the station, a captain would look at the list and decide who would be issued citations.

Donald Price, who joined the force in the 1970s and retired as a captain in 1996, said even though he and other officers knew some of the tickets they wrote were squashed by others in the department, they continued to ticket those who broke the law.

''We would continue to (write tickets) and see who got tired first,'' he said.

Two years before Busby was shot, Mangum, who was later elected sheriff in West Virginia, was frustrated by the widespread selective enforcement. He wanted selectmen to force some changes in the department.

Eric Turkington, now a state representative who was elected to the board of selectmen in 1979 two years after Mangum's report was rebuffed, said in the late 1970s the public was critical of selectmen for being too involved in police department business. In fact, Selectman George Pinto, whom Turkington defeated in 1979, was heavily criticized for riding in then-Sgt. Paulino Rodriques' cruiser.

Selectmen may not have supported Mangum's report, but officers thought it had merit - although few came out publicly at the time.

But the anger and frustration among the former officers who talked to the Times is still raw when it comes to the favoritism Melvin Reine received - and the news that officer Monteiro, who has since died, was involved in the Busby shooting.

Rift leads to confession
The allegations that Melvin Reine shot Busby and got inside information from Monteiro only came to light in 2002 and 2003 after Reine was out of the picture and a simmering rift in his family worsened.

When Reine was committed to Taunton State Hospital, his sons, Todd, 38, and Melvin Reine Jr., 40, talked to police about information regarding the Busby shooting.

The sons were upset that their stepmother, Shirley Reine, had transferred property from a trust to which they were the beneficiaries, essentially disinheriting them.

They later sued Mrs. Reine. The trial was scheduled to start in Barnstable Superior Court a few days after the May 10 murder.

Melvin Reine Jr. told police that his father shot Busby to punish him for his treatment of Reine family members, according to a 2003 Falmouth police report.

And, in his 2003 interview with police, John Reine said his brother Melvin was behind the Flanagan murder, according to the report.

A former Falmouth police officer, who asked that his name not be used because he still works in law enforcement, said he once arrested Melvin Reine after a chase from the Village Green to Woods Hole.

He busted Reine because he failed to produce a license.

Another officer took Reine in while the arresting officer stayed with his garbage truck. By the time the arresting officer returned to the station, Reine had been released by a sergeant.

Probe thwarted
There is also evidence beyond the 2003 report that Reine had connections in law enforcement that helped him avoid prosecution.

During a 2002 investigation of an illegal dump operated by Five Star Enterprises, Reine's trash hauling business, at 336 Old Barnstable Road, town counsel Frank Duffy Jr. urged the town administrator and building commissioner to keep the probe quiet on the advice of the state's assistant attorney general.

''He voiced concern that, in the past, Mr. Reine has learned of the intentions of law enforcement and that he has been able to thwart similar efforts with such advance knowledge,'' Duffy wrote in the Jan. 1, 2002 memo.

Today the Busbys, who fled Falmouth in July 1980 because they no longer felt safe, still live far away from Massachusetts. They keep ties with some of their Falmouth friends, but they try not to dwell on what happened here.

On a trip this summer to the Cape to visit friends, Busby considered a tray of crackers, grapes and cheese offered by his hostess.

He was trying to figure out what was soft enough on the tray for him to eat.

He spent years eating meals through a straw; half his tongue is missing.

With several jaw-reconstruction surgeries under his belt, he still has difficulty talking.

He and his wife, Polly, have both become experts in using the Heimlich maneuver because of his propensity for choking.

Busby remains frustrated by the lack of justice and with the culture within the police department - the lack of leadership and selective enforcement - that allowed Melvin Reine to get away with attempted murder.

He gets visibly upset when he talks about officers from that era quoted recently as saying they had no problem with Melvin Reine.

''A cop on the job at that time should have had a problem with Reine,'' Busby said.

''He built a little crime empire in East Falmouth and supposedly your job is to enforce the law and there's some guy out there breaking the law - could be a problem.''

Amanda Lehmert

can be reached at alehmert@capecodonline.com. George Brennan be reached at gbrennan@capecodonline.com.

(Published: September 26, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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October 29, 2005

Man with Reine connections sent to prison
BROCKTON - A Wareham man under investigation in connection with the Shirley Reine murder was sentenced to one year in prison yesterday for probation violations.

While John Rams, 32, received his sentence in Plymouth County Superior Court in Brockton, a Barnstable County grand jury heard from two more witnesses in the Reine murder case. Rams became the target of investigators several weeks ago because of statements he allegedly made to friends about the Reine murder.

Reine, 51, was found shot dead in her 657 East Falmouth Highway garage on May 10. Rams' friends told investigators that Rams said a diamond ring he was trying to sell was connected to Reine's murder. Rams was at a party late last summer when he made the statements, according to John Ditalia, who was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury.

At least two witnesses testified to the grand jury yesterday, including Rams' girlfriend. She surrendered the diamond ring to investigators, Ditalia said. She declined to comment when she left the court after testifying yesterday.

The grand jury, which meets in secret, was adjourned for the day shortly after noon yesterday.

As yet, no indictments have been returned.

Rams has served two prison sentences for violent crimes, including the 1992 death of a Pocasset man. Rams stabbed Ronald Green, 23, 12 times during an altercation, according to court records. He served about seven years in prison on that conviction.

Later, Rams spent two years in prison for beating up his girlfriend in 2003. After his release in February, he was placed on three years probation.

He violated that probation several months ago when he tested positive for marijuana and cocaine and then failed to show up at a probation meeting and a treatment facility, according to court documents. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but he was not apprehended until after police began investigating him in connection with the Reine murder.

Superior Court Judge Linda Giles accepted a deal between the probation officer and Rams' court-appointed attorney and sentenced Rams to one year at Massachusetts Correctional Institution Cedar Junction in Walpole for the violations.

Rams has not been charged with any crime in connection with the Reine murder, but the Barnstable grand jury began investigating him earlier this month.

Investigators have subpoenaed about a half dozen of Rams' friends and acquaintances.

Witnesses told investigators Rams was trying to sell a Tiffany diamond ring earlier this year. When friends questioned him, Rams ''shot off his mouth'' about the ring, saying it was connected to the Reine murder, said Nicholas Ditalia, another witness who received a grand jury subpoena.

It is not clear if Rams knew Reine. However, Rams' father, also named John, said Reine's stepson, Todd Reine, came to the Rams' Wareham home two times prior to 2003.

Todd Reine, 38, and his brother Melvin Reine Jr., 40, both of East Falmouth, sued their stepmother in 2003 to gain control of their father's estate. They claimed that their stepmother improperly influenced their father, Melvin Reine Sr., who has a form of dementia, to sign his property over to her. The lawsuit was set to go to trial within days of Mrs. Reine's murder. Melvin Reine Sr. is committed to Taunton State Hospital.

Amanda Lehmert can be reached at alehmert@capecodonline.com. George Brennan can be reached at gbrennan@capecodonline.com.

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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August 5, 2005

DA rejects new plea
FALMOUTH - A police officer who has waited 26 years to find out who pulled the trigger on a shotgun that shattered his jaw - and his life - will leave Cape Cod today without an official answer to that haunting question.

Former Falmouth police officer John Busby will leave the Cape without police records explaining who shot him 26 years ago.
(Staff photo by VINCENT DeWITT)
Former Falmouth police officer John Busby, 62, with his wife, Polly, at his side, met with Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe for a half-hour yesterday afternoon to discuss O'Keefe's unwillingness to release the report that includes a confession to the Busby shooting.

In that 2003 report, John Reine of East Falmouth confessed to police that he drove the car while his brother Melvin shot Busby twice in the face with a borrowed shotgun. Busby was driving down Sandwich Road to work the night shift on Aug. 31, 1979, when the shooting occurred.

In the report, John Reine says a Falmouth police officer who has since died was involved and he also tells investigators that Melvin's wife, Shirley Reine, was in the passenger seat the night of the shooting. Mrs. Reine, 51, was found shot to death in her East Falmouth garage on May 10.

Despite John Reine's confession and implication of his brother and sister-in-law, local and state police and federal authorities were unable to prosecute anyone for the shooting because the statute of limitations for the crime expired in 1989.

O'Keefe maintains that the report will hinder the investigation into Mrs. Reine's murder if it is released and has thus denied requests for the report from Busby and several media outlets.

Busby, who lives outside Massachusetts, was a person of interest in Mrs. Reine's shooting and was interviewed over the telephone by a state police detective shortly after the murder. Busby said he also met with the state police who apparently checked out and confirmed his alibi.

''The state police said it appeared I probably didn't do it,'' he said.

Under the state's public records law, most government records are public except if they fall under exemptions in the law. One of those exemptions allows law enforcement officials to deny the public access to records if the case to which they are connected is still under investigation.

The Cape Cod Times requested the 2003 report as well as all police records from the Busby shooting starting back in 1979. The requests were denied by Falmouth Police Chief David Cusolito. An appeal to Secretary of State William Galvin's office was also denied.

The Times has since obtained a copy of the 2003 report from another source.

Yesterday, shortly after meeting with O'Keefe, Busby appeared frustrated that the district attorney repeated the same reasons he's heard before about why the report could not be released.

Polly Busby seemed more understanding.

''Things have not changed, but I think I have more clarity,'' she said. ''They have to be able to do their jobs.''

The night Busby was shot, he implicated Melvin Reine as the shooter although he did not see who shot him. At the time, Reine was a suspect in the disappearance of his first wife, Wanda Reine, in 1971.

Reine was also a suspect in the 1972 shotgun murder of Charles ''Jeff'' Flanagan, who was romantically linked to Shirley Souza, Reine's longtime girlfriend whom he married in 1999, and in the 1977 disappearance of Paul Alwardt. Both men worked for Reine.

On the run
As the police investigation into the Busby shooting dragged on and selectmen voted to stop the round-the-clock police guard of their home, the Busbys left the Cape.

Over the last 26 years they have remained on the run, living in five different states and different locales within those states. To this day only a few people know where they live. They were on the Cape this week visiting friends and family.

Yesterday, O'Keefe said Mrs. Reine's murder remains under investigation and the 2003 report is part of that probe. He would not comment further on the investigation.

Mrs. Reine died of shotgun blasts to the head and chest and was found in her garage at 657 East Falmouth Highway. O'Keefe refused to comment on what he called a ''private meeting'' with the Busbys.

The meeting came as a result of Busby's surprise appearance before the Falmouth Board of Selectmen Monday night with seven of his former police colleagues by his side. The previous week the selectmen confronted Falmouth Police Chief Cusolito about not releasing the report, but they deferred to Cusolito and O'Keefe's judgment that it should not be public.

Selectmen suggested this week that Busby discuss the matter with Cusolito or O'Keefe.

Cusolito has said that he's following the orders of the district attorney by not releasing the report. He did not return a call seeking further comment yesterday.

Yesterday, O'Keefe was unwilling to change his stance on the document, which includes interviews with Melvin Reine's sons and names the now-deceased police officer who may have played a role in the shooting.

But Polly Busby was encouraged by their discussion with the district attorney.

''He said he felt a day was coming - and he thought it would be soon - when the report could be released and he would want to have John by his side when he released it,'' Polly Busby said.

A question of timing
John Busby first requested the report in July of 2004, 10 months before Shirley Reine was killed. He was denied the report by a Falmouth District Court clerk who said the statute of limitations on the case had expired in 1989.

Busby said O'Keefe told him yesterday that had he made his request directly to the district attorney's office, O'Keefe would have released it to him.

But O'Keefe told reporters after the meeting yesterday he wouldn't have had the report because it didn't involve a homicide. Two of the police officials present when John Reine gave his confession are state police detectives attached to the district attorney's office.

Pressed on whether the report should have been given to Busby in 2004, O'Keefe said, ''I'm not going to comment on what other people may or may not have done.''

The district attorney said it's possible that an attorney would be given access to the report. The Busbys have never requested the report through an attorney although they once considered their legal options, including a lawsuit, in the wake of John Reine's confession.

''Peace of mind is more important than money,'' Polly Busby said.

Amanda Lehmert can be reached at alehmert@

capecodonline.com. George Brennan can be reached at gbrennan@capecodonline.com.

(Published: August 5, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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July 10, 2005

Town's 'chronic problem' still haunts Falmouth
FALMOUTH - On a winter night in 1968, Melvin Reine and a teenage friend cruised across town toward Nobska Light to the palatial waterfront estate of Pomeroy Day.

State Trooper James Cummings, now Barnstable County sheriff, escorts Melvin Reine from the Falmouth police station on Oct. 17, 1984, after state police charged him in a bid-rigging scheme. Reine was acquitted in 1985.
(File photo by RON SCHLOERB)

Reine, then 27, got out of the car as the teen looked on. He poured kerosene on the breezeway walls of the empty Fay Road mansion. He struck a match and lit the gas.

Flames crawled up the shingled summer home as Reine jumped into his car and the pair drove away. He warned the teen to keep his mouth shut because he was just as guilty for being there.

Sirens and fire whistles blared as regular and call firefighters rushed to the scene. And as firefighters scrambled to extinguish the blaze, a crowd gathered to watch. Among them was Reine.

The Fay Road fire was one of a dozen to hit Falmouth that year, igniting nervous tension through Falmouth's 15,000 residents. Conversations were full of speculation about the firebug and who it might be. Reine often started such conversations, chatting with friends, townspeople and even police officers.

But in the months that followed, Reine was arrested and convicted in connection with seven of the fires. It was those convictions and hard time in state prison at Walpole that seared his image as a local bad guy in the hearts and minds of all who knew or knew of him, said police and town officials who were around back then. He was influential and was feared by many around him - including town officials and some police officers - in what was then a small town, they said.

That fear was heightened in the 1970s when Reine was suspected in the disappearance of his first wife and later a teenager who worked for him, the murder of another teenager and the attempted murder of a Falmouth police officer. No one was ever charged with any of the crimes.

Despite this, his construction and trash-hauling business held garbage-removal contracts with Falmouth and other Cape towns. But as Falmouth's population doubled, his influence and visibility waned. Among those who knew him, however, the fear he instilled never faded.

In early May, Reine's name once again grabbed headlines after his second wife, Shirley Souza Reine, 51, was found shot to death in the garage of their 657 East Falmouth Highway home. The murder rekindled interest in the four unsolved cases. Police have released few details about their investigation of Mrs. Reine's murder and are unwilling to talk about the cold cases that still haunt the families of the dead and missing.

And Melvin Reine? He resides as a patient at Taunton State Hospital.

Reine's Corner
Reine was born in 1939, the son of Manuel and Adeline Reine. His father died in 1959, his mother in 1984. Reine and his four brothers and sisters grew up across the street from a cranberry bog just north of Bourne's Pond at a bend in Route 28 known as Reine's Corner.

The Reine family compound on East Falmouth Highway in East Falmouth. Melvin Reine's construction and trash-hauling business held garbage-removal contracts with Falmouth and other Cape towns.
(File photo by KEVIN MINGORA)

Cynthia A. Botelho, a retired librarian and a lifelong resident of East Falmouth, said it was a tightknit village in the late 1960s and 1970s, a working-class neighborhood dominated by Portuguese and Cape Verdean families - the sons and daughters of strawberry growers and cranberry pickers - and centered around St. Anthony's Church.

''It was a marvelous place to raise a family,'' said Botelho, who met her husband, Daniel, growing up there. They decided to raise their family there, too. It was comfortable. Families watched out for each other.

The running joke, Botelho said, is that everyone is related to each other in East Falmouth.

Daniel Cunha, who would one day become a Falmouth police detective and investigate Reine in the firebug cases, lived three doors down from the Reines.

Shirley Souza, Melvin Reine's longtime girlfriend, whom he married in 1999, moved into a house across the street from Reine's home when she was a teenager.

The Medeiros family lived up the hill, across from the old fire station on Route 28. One of the eight siblings, Roman Medeiros, became a Falmouth police detective, and his sister Wanda married Melvin Reine in November 1964 when he was 25 and she 18. Their first child, Melvin Jr., was born the next spring.

Reine worked for a trash hauler and later opened his own business, Five Star Enterprises, a trash hauling and construction company, which he ran at the East Falmouth Highway compound where his family and the family of his brother John still live. Reine was known as a hard worker who kept his cars and trucks impeccably clean.

His accomplice in the Fay Road fire, who agreed to be interviewed if his name was withheld, said it was Reine's car, money and ability to buy beer that attracted a loyal following among teens in town.

Former Falmouth police juvenile officer Paul Carreiro said Reine was a ''pied piper'' for kids who lacked support at home and craved attention.

The arson accomplice met Reine in 1967 and moved in with Reine's young family after the teen had a fight with his parents. Reine got the teen a job hauling trash for $100 per week. The teenager thought he was rich.

Despite having a wife and child at home, Reine hung out with teens and cruised Main Street near the plaza, where Christmas Tree Shops and Staples are today. ''The guy never slept,'' the accomplice said. ''He could live on two hours sleep.''

And he had a dark side.

His brother, John Reine, told police in 2003 that Melvin Sr. was always malicious and that he came out of prison a changed man, and not for the better.

Watching blazes
Back in 1968, Falmouth was a town centered more on its villages - East Falmouth, Teaticket, Woods Hole, the center, West Falmouth and North Falmouth. With no public transportation, each village had its own post office, stores, schools, churches, libraries and identity.

Adrian Dufresne, a former selectman and owner of a barbershop, recalls a much different town back then. The area from Dillingham Avenue to Teaticket, which today has a high concentration of businesses, including Stop & Shop and the mall, was dominated by residential houses.

The nighttime fires that would shape Reine's reputation began in February 1968, with a three-week spree that claimed 12 buildings and a car.

One blaze destroyed part of the empty Shorehaven Motor Lodge on Shore Street. The police chief's car burned in his Raymond Street driveway. A vacant building across from Reine's house owned by Paul Rodriques, a Falmouth police officer who would later become police chief, was torched.

A massive fire at Wood Lumber on Locust Street could be seen across Buzzards Bay in New Bedford. Bud Miskell, owner of the lumber yard, said the suspicious blaze could have been worse.

''If the wind was blowing the other way, it could have taken out the whole town,'' Miskell said.

No one was injured in any of the fires, but public anxiety was high.

''You knew something was going to happen almost on a nightly basis,'' said Frederick ''Chip'' Crocker, a retired firefighter and arson investigator. ''People were very, very fearful.''

The town was buzzing about the fires, and Reine hinted he knew the firebug.

''He used to tell people, 'I'll be talking to the bug and I'll let you know when the next fire is,''' said the teenage accomplice, who was convicted of the 1968 fires with Reine. He was with Reine the night he set fire to the Pomeroy Day home. ''I think he just enjoyed taunting people or the police.''

And when the crowds gathered to watch the fires, Reine was always there.

Richard Corey, who was a Falmouth patrolman at the time, directed traffic at the Fay Road fire scene. He remembers seeing Reine that night.

''He was coming by me and saying, 'Dickie, you've got to catch this guy, he's crazy,''' said Corey, who retired from the police force in 1986.

In court, Reine had an excuse for showing up at the fires.

''There was a fire back of our house, about a quarter mile,'' he testified, according to Cape Cod Standard Times stories. ''The trucks were on their way to fight the fire. I got so mad about it I went to help find the firebug.''

When Reine set a fire, he liked to watch it burn. It ultimately gave him away.

''He found a place to watch them or went right back to the scene to watch them,'' the accomplice said.

The accomplice's confession to police sent Reine to prison in connection with seven fires of unoccupied summer homes, the Pomeroy Day home and the Shorehaven Motor Lodge.

The teen, then 17, was the only one brave enough to testify against Reine and live to do it.

''A fearful time''
When police questioned Reine about the fires, he pointed the finger at his teenage accomplice.

''I knew he was going to throw me under the bus, and I wanted to go into the Army, go into the Guard and get out of Falmouth,'' the accomplice said.

No one was ever charged for the Wood Lumber fire, although Reine's brother John told police in 2003 Melvin Reine set it.

Reine served 18 months of his 5-to-8-year sentence in Walpole starting in April 1968.

Police suspected Reine's hand in the other blazes, said retired state trooper Robert Enos, who led the arson investigation.

''He was charged with what we could prove,'' said retired police Officer Cunha, who pulled Reine off a snowplow the night he was arrested for arson.

The accomplice served six months in county jail.

About two years after he got out of jail, his new Pontiac convertible went up in flames in his driveway.

No one was ever arrested. The accomplice had his suspicions about who did it, but doesn't know for sure.

''Melvin used to go by and wave, and that was a wave of, like, is he going to shoot me the next time he sees me?'' he said. ''All those years I was just afraid of what could happen.''

Reine waved to a lot of folks in town - policemen, firefighters, town officials. Whether that gesture was friendly was up for interpretation.

Reine used the slightest suggestion of his criminal history to make people nervous.

''If Melvin told you he smelled smoke, it meant he was going to burn your house down,'' said John Busby, a former Falmouth Police officer who was shot in the face while on his way to work in August 1979.

People knew to stay out of Reine's way. They warned their children to be polite to him.

''Nobody would ever say anything about him,'' fire investigator Crocker said. ''Would you say anything? It was, honest to God, a fearful time.''

Jack Levin, director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University, said based on the descriptions of Reine those fears were real.

''People who knew Melvin, even his family, knew he could, at any moment, become explosive,'' Levin said. ''The best predictor we have of violent behavior is past violent behavior.''

Acts of violence
Reine was out of prison for about two years when strange things started happening in East Falmouth.

In March 1971, Wanda Reine, who by then had two sons, disappeared.

Reine told police he dropped her off at the bus station in Falmouth so she could catch a bus to Wareham to go visit her cousin. He went to police and filed a report after she had been missing for five days. She was never seen again. Those close to the case suspect she never got on any bus.

In 1972, 17-year-old Charles ''Jeff'' Flanagan was found executed in a bog near Reine's home. The teenager was a romantic interest of Reine's then-teenage girlfriend, Shirley Souza, and had been to a movie with her the night before his body was found.

In 1977, another person close to Reine disappeared - one of his employees, 17-year-old Paul Alwardt. He was in the care of the Department of Youth Services and was put on a ferry by Falmouth police Officer Carreiro to Martha's Vineyard, where he had relatives. Alwardt was scheduled to testify before a grand jury in an arson case and was going to finger Reine.

Alwardt was never seen again.

Two years later, police officer Busby was driving along Sandwich Road to work the midnight shift when he was shot in the face by someone in a passing car. Busby told police that night that Reine was the trigger man.

Reine was angered by several run-ins Busby had with Reine family members. Busby was a tough cop. Months later, when local police still hadn't made an arrest in the case, Busby, fearing for their safety, moved his family out of town and covered his tracks so no one could follow them. They have been in hiding, moving to several states, and different locales within them, ever since.

In all of these cases, no one seemed to get close enough to arrest the person highest on the suspect list: Melvin Reine.

Police had a hard time finding anyone willing to talk the way his teenage accomplice had in the firebug case.

''We never got a good witness to go against him,'' Enos said. ''A lot of people were afraid of him.''

In fact, anything that happened in Falmouth was blamed on Melvin,'' said Philip Rollins, Cape and islands district attorney from 1970 to 2002.

But while people loved to point a finger at him, nobody was willing to provide any solid evidence against Reine, he said.

Reine thrived on and fueled his bad guy image, using it to intimidate people and thwart investigators, police sources said. It was nearly impossible for investigators to find willing witnesses to speak against Reine.

''Nobody would talk to you,'' said Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, who investigated Reine when he was a state trooper. ''He had a reputation. The word on the street was, you talk about Melvin and your house will burn. You will go missing,''

After Busby was shot, the district attorney's office convened an investigative grand jury to look into all four cases. But they never brought charges.

Police knew of a witness who saw Reine leaving the bog area the night Flanagan was found murdered, Cummings said. But they needed a way to compel the person to come forward.

Where Reine differs from most impulsive, violent criminals, Levin said, is that they usually leave evidence behind. ''Most repeat offenders who commit violent acts are caught,'' he said. ''They don't get away with murder.''

''Chronic problem''
Despite the suspicions, Reine's business was booming. He had municipal trash contracts from Falmouth to Wellfleet and many commercial hauling jobs.

But even in business, where he thrived, Reine used his reputation to manipulate the system. As the town's trash contractor in the 1980s, Reine was suspected by town officials of using the dump after hours to get rid of out-of-town trash without paying the appropriate fees. But he continued to work for the town for years before officials confronted him about the problem.

Virginia Valieila, a public works commissioner in the early 1980s and currently a selectwoman, suspected Reine had obtained a copy of the key to the landfill gate.

Valieila and fellow Commissioner Manuel Rapoza staked out the landfill one night and watched a Five Star truck enter the gate and leave a load of trash. They rifled through the debris and found mail addressed to other Cape towns - proof that Reine's company was dumping trash from towns other than Falmouth.

Valieila was a relative newcomer to Falmouth. She didn't know Reine. She just wanted someone to retrieve the key from him. Nobody wanted to do that - they were too afraid to ask.

''The fact that he would burn things down would really scare people. Nobody wanted to cross him,'' Valieila said.

Instead, town officials changed the locks and built a special fence to stop the after-hours dumping in 1982.

Melvin was the town's ''chronic problem,'' Valieila said. ''I'd call it a chronic problem (the) town had that they didn't know how to deal with, even though they knew it wasn't right,'' she said.

But as the mid-1980s approached, law enforcement investigators thought they could turn his chronic problems into an arrest.

Bid-rigging scheme
State police brought charges against Reine and his partner, Charles Cacciola, in 1984 for an alleged bid-rigging scheme to get the Falmouth trash-hauling contract in 1980. Investigators said the pair worked in collusion with another company to secure the bid.

An official from B&M Disposal agreed to wear a wire to help prosecutors uncover the scheme. The day after the bids were opened B&M withdrew its bid and the contract was awarded to Five Star.

Cacciola took a plea agreement in exchange for testifying against Reine. The plan backfired; Cacciola was convicted and Reine was acquitted in 1985.

''We wanted to get Melvin behind bars long enough to get people to testify against him,'' said W. James O'Neill, a former first assistant Cape and Islands district attorney who is now a district court judge.

Police interviewed recently were reluctant to name other potential witnesses, but hinted that family members might hold the answers.

Second wife's murder
As the years passed, Reine continued to operate Five Star and, by the 1990s, East Falmouth was a different place. The town doubled in population - and fewer folks left town after Labor Day. The town's commercial base expanded. Stop & Shop built a new superstore and a mall opened across the street.

As the town grew, fewer people knew Melvin Reine.

Wanda and Melvin Reine's sons, Melvin Jr. and Todd, grew up and joined their father's business, and had children of their own.

In 1997, Reine was granted a divorce from missing Wanda and married Shirley Souza two years later. She helped him run Five Star for years, especially as he began showing signs of mental deterioration. Todd Reine and Melvin Reine Jr. left the business as young men after a dispute with their stepmother, who raised them since they were little boys.

They would later file a lawsuit against her, alleging that she took advantage of their father's diminished mental capacity to take over the business and property, which they claim rightly belongs to them.

The trial had been scheduled to go forward in Barnstable Probate Court the week after she was murdered.

Sent to Taunton State
In 2001, Melvin Reine was back in court, answering to charges that he threatened to blow a woman's head off.

He became agitated when her car blocked his way to a Five Star Dumpster behind Kenyon's Market and she didn't work fast enough to move it. He rammed a nearby rental truck with the fork lift, police said.

The episode was considered a sign of his deteriorating health. Six weeks later, he showed up in court on a day when he wasn't on the docket and confronted District Court Judge Don L. Carpenter in a rage.

Carpenter, a former first assistant district attorney from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, had Reine taken into custody for evaluation. At age 62, he was committed to Taunton State Hospital with Pick's disease, a form of frontal lobe dementia. The charges related to the assault were later dropped because he was unfit to stand trial.

Brother against brother
After their father was put away, Melvin Reine Jr., now 40, and his younger brother, Todd, now 38, started talking to police in June 2002 .

They told investigators that their father and uncle John Reine were involved in the shooting of Officer Busby. Melvin Reine Jr. told police that his father asked him to listen to the police scanner the night Busby was shot and record everything he heard. Just 13 years old at the time, he overheard his father and uncle discussing how a new paint job on Busby's car almost thwarted their plans to shoot the officer.

In an interview with police in March 2003, John Reine confessed that he drove the station wagon while Melvin Reine shot Busby out of the back window, according to a police report. Shirley was in the passenger seat, he said. No charges were ever filed because the statute of limitations on the crime expired.

John Reine also pointed the finger at his brother in Flanagan's killing. He said Melvin Reine did it ''to send a message,'' the police report says. Police have declined to comment on the case, and turned down a freedom of information request by the Times to inspect the case records because they said the cases are part of an ongoing investigation.

But even John Reine was intimidated by Melvin Reine. He told police he believes his brother sabotaged his truck after the Busby shooting, removing the steering bolt in an attempt to keep him quiet.

He described a dispute over a building on the family's compound in East Falmouth, saying he feared his brother would ''burn my house down with my wife in it and not even care about it,'' according to a police report.

Repeated attempts to reach John Reine for comment were unsuccessful. A woman who answered the door at his 649 East Falmouth Highway home said, ''We have nothing to say.''

Still waiting
It's the shooting of Shirley Reine that has people looking back at the cold cases. With her, investigators said, went many of Melvin Reine's secrets.

The fear that once ruled the town has become frustration for the families of those murdered, shot and missing as they continue to seek justice.

William Arthur Flanagan, Jeff's father, said it was his ex-wife's dying wish that her son's killer be punished.

Recent news reports have brought back a flood of emotions for the family. They want closure.

''There are families out there - one police officer is running for his life and another (man) is missing - and I'm sure those families want closure on the whole thing, too,'' Flanagan said.

Donna Mendes, Jeff's sister, said, ''I think my mother talks to (Reine) every day in his sleep. She's always, always wanted her son's murderer to go to trial and have some justice done.''

The families of Alwardt and Wanda Medeiros also want answers.

But even though Reine can no longer use fear to silence people, the questions remain. And Busby isn't hopeful answers will ever come.

''It's almost 26 years since I've been shot. How the h**l much longer do we have to wait?''

Amanda Lehmert can be reached at alehmert@capecodonline.com and George Brennan can be reached gbrennan@capecodonline.com.

(Published: July 10, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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The Old Heifer! An oxymoron, of course.
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May 19, 2005

Elder Reine tied to crimes
Staff Writer
FALMOUTH - Melvin Reine Sr. didn't kill his wife Shirley last week. That much is clear. But locked up with him in Taunton State Hospital, where he is being treated for a form of dementia, may be the key to other murder mysteries.

Police found Shirley Reine, 51, in her car shot twice - once in the head and once in the chest - in the garage of her 657 East Falmouth Road home May 10. Police are releasing few details about the ongoing investigation.

But Mrs. Reine's slaying reignited interest in the mysterious disappearances of Melvin's first wife, Wanda Medeiros, 25, and Paul R. Alwardt in the 1970s. It's also rekindled memories of the brutal murder of 17-year-old Charles Jeffrey Flanagan.

Melvin Reine, now 66, was a suspect in the murder of Flanagan and was investigated in the disappearance of his first wife, District Court Judge W. James O'Neill, a former Barnstable prosecutor, said yesterday

The cases have frustrated law enforcement officials because they could never pin any of these crimes on Melvin Reine Sr., he said. He characterized Reine and as a ''punk'' and a ''bully.''

Sources familiar with police investigations into Melvin Reine Sr. over the years say he was a suspect in the disappearance of Alwardt, who was scheduled to testify before a grand jury against Reine in an arson case. Prior to that, Reine had been convicted in a different arson case and served time in state prison.

Alwardt was an employee of Five Star Enterprises, Reine's East Falmouth trash-hauling business, at the time of his disappearance. The Alwardt case has gotten little public attention through the years.

Alwardt was last seen getting on a ferry for Martha's Vineyard in the mid-1970s where he was going to visit one of his two uncles.

Alwardt's father, Paul J., who was estranged from his son at the time he disappeared, said yesterday he knows little about what happened to his son. He said police told him they believed it was Melvin Reine Sr. who ''did him in,'' but with no body there was nothing they could do.

''I feel bad because if the kid's dead, which I assume he is, he's like a dog. It's like, so what?'' his father said from his Nevada home. ''I don't know where his body is. I feel bad that he's never gotten any justice.

The family of Charles Jeffrey Flanagan has never gotten any justice either, despite the best efforts of his mother, Verna Collins. She worked tirelessly pushing police to gather evidence against Melvin Reine Sr.

Case never solved
Theresa Lawrence, Flanagan's sister, said police never got that evidence and the case went unsolved. It was devastating for the family and Mrs. Collins, who has since died.

''She knew Melvin Reine was behind his death,'' Lawrence said. ''But she couldn't prove it and neither could (police).''

A source says Flanagan was seen with Shirley Reine, the night before he was killed. Melvin Reine Jr., a youngster at the time, saw the pair together and told his father, a source said. Melvin Reine Sr. had a romantic relationship at the time with Shirley, whose maiden name was Souza. She moved into the Reine home in 1972. A second source, with intimate knowledge of police investigations into the killing, confirmed Shirley Souza and Flanagan had a relationship and there were rumors at the time that it had turned ''amorous.'' Lawrence said her brother was romantically interested in Shirley.

Flanagan's murder came just months after Reine's first wife, Wanda, disappeared. Reine's sons Melvin Jr. and Todd were 7 and 4 years old at the time. Shirley Souza was the family babysitter. she would eventually marry Melvin Reine Sr. in 1999.

Flanagan's body was found in a bog across from the Reine compound in East Falmouth in October of 1972. He was killed by a single shotgun blast in the face.

Flanagan went to the movies with friends the night before his body was found. He was dropped off at the Palmer Avenue traffic lights about a mile from his house after the movies, but never arrived home.

No arrests were ever made in connection with the 17-year-old's murder.

''Everything's coming back again and I know my mother is up there saying, `Something may happen out of this,''' Lawrence said. ''I'd like to see justice finally done.''

Ongoing investigation
Police and the Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe have refused to release any details of previous criminal investigations into Melvin Reine Sr., citing the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of his wife. Even the shooting of police Officer John Busby, which Melvin was implicated in but can no longer be prosecuted for because the statute of limitations run out in 1989, has prompted firm ''no comments'' from law enforcement officials.

All evidence seemed to point to Reine at the time of the Busby shooting in 1979, but O'Neill, an assistant district attorney at the time, said a grand jury failed to piece together a case against Melvin Reine Sr.

The disappearance of Reine's first wife, Wanda, in 1971 is well documented. Police investigated her husband's story that he took her to the bus station to visit her cousin in Wareham. O'Neill said Reine's story didn't check out, but he was not specific about why is didn't.

In an effort to find out what happened to Wanda, police investigated various leads. They dug up foundations that Melvin Reine Sr. had worked on as a contractor, according to O'Neill, but no body was ever found. ''All we had was a disappeared woman and inconsistent stories,'' he said.

The family of Wanda Reine, including Falmouth police Capt. Roman Medeiros, has declined to talk publicly about her disappearance and presumed murder.

Melvin Reine Sr. had a reputation as being untouchable. For example, even though evidence pointed toward him being responsible for Flanagan's murder, he showed up at Verna Collins' house after the funeral to express his condolences.

He also had a reputation as a tough guy, but O'Neill insists police and prosecutors were not intimidated by him. Still, he said it was clear that Reine used his reputation to bully others. ''He exploited that image as much as he could.''

Reine was charged with rigging bids to get the trash hauling contract for the Town of Falmouth but was acquitted. He also faced charges after he threatened to ''blow a woman's head off'' in a convenience store parking lot in October 2001. The charges from that case were dismissed in 2002 when Reine was found to be mentally incompetent.

George Brennan can be reached at gbrennan


(Published: May 19, 2005)
Unsolved mysteries
Police have considered Melvin Reine a suspect in at least one suspicious death and two disappearances:
Wanda Medeiros: Reine's first wife disappeared in 1971; he was the last person to see her.

Charles Flanagan: His body was found in a bog on property owned by Reine in 1972.

Paul Alwardt: Disappeared before he could testify against Reine in an arson case.

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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May 18, 2005

2002 court files detail Reines' feud
FALMOUTH - Court records reveal the stepsons of Shirley Reine pointed police to evidence of illegal weapons and a stolen truck that led to charges against her three years ago.

Those charges would later be dropped because of problems with the police investigation.

Mrs. Reine, 51, was found shot dead in her garage at 657 East Falmouth Highway last week. She was involved in a bitter lawsuit with her two stepsons - Melvin Reine Jr. and Todd Reine. The two men had given police information in June 2002 that ultimately led to Mrs. Reine's arrest Aug. 29, 2002, on charges of possession of an unlicensed .357 Magnum revolver, unlicensed possession of ammunition and receiving a stolen motor vehicle.

The charges were ultimately dropped against Mrs. Reine after a judge ruled the search warrant was flawed.

It's more evidence of the bitter feud between Melvin Reine Sr.'s children and his second wife, Shirley. Melvin Reine Sr., who was facing charges of his own at the time of Shirley's arrest, was committed to Taunton State Hospital. He remains in that hospital, suffering from Pick's Disease, a form of dementia.

Attorney investigates
Police and the district attorney's office are being tight-lipped about their investigation into the killing. Drew Segadelli, an attorney representing Todd and Melvin Reine Jr., has said police want to question his clients, but he won't make them available until he completes his own investigation. He maintains they are innocent.

Court records point to a growing family divide. In an affidavit for a search warrant, Falmouth police Detective Kent Clarkson details an interview he had with Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. on June 14, 2002, about the stolen pickup and a duffel bag filled with guns and ammunition, including an assault rifle Melvin Reine Jr. claimed was modified for his father by a notorious criminal.

Ultimately, that weapon was never found, but police did find a .357 Magnum and several boxes of ammunition. They also removed a stolen car radio and stolen backhoe.

Police didn't find the pickup at the home address, so Clarkson refiled the affidavit with a handwritten request to search 336 Old Barnstable Road, property owned by Melvin and Shirley Reine. It was later determined the Reines used it as an illegal dumping site.

The pickup was found and confiscated from a garage at that location, according to court records.

Melvin Reine Jr. gave a detailed description of being with his father and Shirley in 1979 when they drove to Westport to pick up the stolen truck. According to the records, a Ford pickup that fit the description was reported stolen in January of 1979.

Pickup painted
''Melvin Reine Sr. painted the pickup and put the Five Star logo on it,'' Clarkson wrote. Five Star refers to Melvin Reine Sr.'s trash hauling and demolition business.

In his motion to suppress the evidence, Barnstable attorney Frederick C. Mycock said it was ''illegally obtained and ought to be suppressed.'' He said the evidence should be tossed out because Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. had no firsthand knowledge of what they were telling police - at least not at the time they spoke to police. The two boys had been estranged from their father and stepmother since the father signed over his assets to Mrs. Reine in 2001.

Mycock, who did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story, questioned in his motion why it took police two months from the time of their interview with Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. to get the search warrant..

Clarkson referred all calls about this case to the Cape and Islands district attorney's office. Falmouth Police Chief David Cusolito would not talk on the phone, but instead referred phone calls to the district attorney's office.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe declined comment on the 2002 case, citing the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of Shirley Reine.

George Brennan can be reached at gbrennan@


(Published: May 18, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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May 16, 2005

Attack leaves lifetime of fear
Staff Writer
FALMOUTH - John and Polly Busby were busy parents raising a family and trying to get ahead in 1979 when their world fell apart.

She was studying to be a nurse. He was a no-nonsense, tough-guy cop working the midnight shift for the Falmouth Police Department. They and their three children, two sons 13 and 11 at the time and a daughter 9, loved to have fun together. And John Busby, says his wife, was the biggest kid of the bunch.

John Busby
They were settled. Their lives were routine and predictable. They felt safe.

That changed the night of Aug. 31, 1979, when John Busby, then 37, found himself on the business end of a shotgun. He was on his way to work when a drive-by shooter sprayed his Volkswagen Beetle with three shotgun blasts. Busby took a shot in the face that in one moment blew away his lower jaw and his family's equanimity.

That night marked the beginning of what has been a futile search for a normal life and the feeling of safety such a life can bring. They've crisscrossed the U.S., settling in five different states and then bounced around different communities within each state.

They bought and sold houses. Mrs. Busby, the family breadwinner, worked as a nurse but dodged the limelight when she achieved success in her career. The children went to school and to therapy sessions and worried about protecting their dad.

But because the Busbys were in hiding, they were never really part of any community in which they lived. They trusted nobody. Even today, almost 26 years after the near-fatal attack and miles from Falmouth, the family doesn't feel completely secure.

The late-night ambush that changed Busby's life was brought back into the spotlight after Shirley Reine, 51, was found shot to death in her Falmouth garage Tuesday morning. She apparently had pulled her into her garage and was shot in the head and chest, police sources said. Investigators are trying to determine whether someone had fixed the outside lights so they would not come on.

In the splash of information that surfaced after Reine's murder, was the fact that two years ago, local investigators uncovered information that implicated her, her husband Melvin Reine and her brother-in-law John Reine in the Busby shooting, according to Busby and sources close to the investigation.

In 2003, police got a tip from Melvin Reine's sons, Melvin Jr. and Todd, that his father was involved in the Busby shooting. John Reine subsequently told police that Melvin Reine shot Busby from the back seat of a car while John sped down Sandwich Road. Shirley Reine was in the front seat, according to Busby, who read John Reine's confession to police.

The car John Reine drove was Melvin's. It once belonged to Ahmed Mustafa, then a Falmouth patrolman, who since retired and is now chairman of the Falmouth Board of Selectmen.

Mustafa said Friday that he had sold the car to Melvin Reine several months before the shooting and that Reine had painted it blue. But, he said, he never knew at the time that Busby's description of the car matched the vehicle Mustafa had sold to Reine.

The night Busby was shot, despite a gaping wound and breathing on a respirator, he gave a note to his wife on which he had written: ''This was not an accident. This was intentional. Protect the kids.'' On another note, he wrote that Melvin Reine was the shooter, even though he was unable to identify the occupants of the car from which the shots came.

Reine was a local tough guy who spent time in jail on an arson charge and held a contract with the town of Falmouth to haul its trash.

''Melvin was sort of the bad man in town, if you will, the local gunslinger,'' Busby said in a telephone interview last week. ''He didn't necessarily have to threaten you. He could imply the threat.''

Until John Reine's confession, police had been unable to pin the shooting to Melvin. Because the statue of limitations on the shooting expired in 1989, investigators were unable to charge the Reines with the crime.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe would not comment on the Busby case and has instructed state and Falmouth police officials not to talk about it.

Busby did not grow up dreaming about becoming a cop; it was an occupation he stumbled into. He grew up in Dedham and discovered the Cape while in the Air Force, stationed at Otis Air Force Base. He met his wife at a party, and the pair later married.

Upon his discharge from the service he attended and graduated from Cape Cod Community College. The couple moved to Connecticut where he worked in an aerospace plant. When the plant closed, they moved back to the Cape. He applied for several jobs, and when he didn't land one of them he took the civil service exam at his mother's urging. He passed and was hired by the Falmouth Police Department.

Busby was no pushover. He could protect himself if it was necessary. By his own admission, he was a tough guy cop who didn't let people mess with him. He had been in physical altercations before.

Shortly before Busby was shot, John Reine had been charged with attempted murder for allegedly hitting Busby with his truck. Busby was directing traffic around a serious car accident when Reine hit him. Busby was knocked to the ground but was not seriously injured.

Melvin Reine was feared by locals who either knew him or knew of him, Busby said. But Busby wasn't afraid of Reine, even after he had a run-in with Reine over the way Busby treated one of Reine's relatives.

Melvin Reine, now suffering from Pick's Disease, a neurological disorder, has been committed to Taunton State Hospital for the last few years. He and his sons had a falling out in the 1990s after property he had promised to them was transferred to a real estate trust to which they were not beneficiaries.

More recently, they sued their stepmother, in an attempt to get the property back. The trial had been scheduled to start today .

Over the years, Melvin Reine was investigated for a number of unsolved mysteries, including the 1971 disappearance of his first wife, Wanda Reine, 25. Reine said he dropped her off at the bus station so she could go visit a cousin in Wareham. Her babysitter at the time said Wanda told her that she was going to visit her mother who lived nearby.

Mevlin Reine wielded a lot of power that was fueled by fear. He expected his close friends and relatives to be left alone by local police, said several Falmouth residents, who asked that their names not be used because they still fear him.

If a kid in trouble needed protection, one local man said, they would go to Melvin Reine's house. The cops would not follow anybody into Reine's house, the man said.

But Busby wasn't intimidated by anybody. At 6-foot-2 and about 200 pounds, he was an officer who meant business. Name dropping to get out of a traffic ticket didn't work with Busby. And if there was a party to bust up or people who needed to be handled, Busby would be called. Other cops would tell people, if John Busby was coming, someone was going to jail.

''And if they didn't go to jail peacefully, they were going to jail with lumps on them,'' Busby said.

It was Busby's physical strength that helped him survive the shot to his face. But his recovery has been grueling both physically and emotionally. His many facial reconstruction surgeries - the latest in 1995 - have not helped him heal completely. He lost a dozen teeth and an inch of his tongue to the 12-gauge shotgun. He sometimes has a hard time communicating and it's difficult to be intimate with his wife, Busby said this week.

For months after the attacks, the Busbys lived in Falmouth, waiting for an arrest that never came.

Frustrated by the lack of an arrest and fearful that the gunman would return to finish the job, the Busbys left town, carefully covering their tracks to make it difficult for people to find them. But no matter where they moved, they could never relax, Busby said.

The family withdrew from their life and John Busby withdrew from his family. He was angry, self-centered and stoic in the first few years, Mrs. Busby said in a telephone interview. Before he was shot, he was the fun person in the family, she said.

''That was one of the things the shooting took away from us,'' she said. ''He would isolate himself. We would say that 'today is the day Daddy is in his cave, leave him alone.'''

John Busby says he had a hard time not letting his anger get the better of him and resisting the urge to seek revenge. Even today his depressions come in waves.

''I fight to keep my husband, Mrs. Busby said. ''I lose him within himself.''

An avid chess player, he works when he feels like it and has taken jobs raising cattle and driving trucks. He also gets a disability pension.

The family never stayed any place for long. Once they started to feel comfortable, they got the urge to leave.

It wasn't any specific event that told them they may be in danger. It was just an antsy feeling they got.

''It's almost like being afraid to be in love again,'' Mrs. Busby said.

''The area starts to feel too comfortable, too complacent.''

They don't want to let their guard down.

They never told anybody about their history, unless it was absolutely necessary. Just this week, they asked the staff of their housing complex to keep their house and phone number a secret if anyone came looking for them.

Over the years, their sons went through therapy. One son suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder that they link to the stress from the shooting.

Now adults living their own lives in other states, the children still try to keep a low profile to protect him, Busby said. One son got married far from his home state to avoid getting his name in the local newspaper.

Their daughter, who wrote a book about her father in college, recalled a bank teller once having a difficult time understanding her dad.

Complications from damage to his mouth sometimes make it hard for him to talk clearly. The teller asked if he was from Russia. He told her he was. She welcomed him to America.

''When we got outside we laughed about it, but it was the funny nervous laugh, the kind you use to cover a lie or to hide a secret,'' their daughter wrote.

It's the same nervous tone Mrs. Busby heard from her children last week when their parents broke their silence and spoke to a reporter. The same voice they use when they think the past is alive again.

But now that their story is again in the papers, John and Polly Busby say they are starting to get that itch to move. They have lived in their current location for nearly five years. But they might not be there much longer.

''If we start feeling insecure, we hit the road for somewhere else,'' Busby said. .

(Published: May 16, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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May 12, 2005

Slaying spotlights rocky family history
FALMOUTH - Shirley Souza was barely an adult in 1972 when she moved in with Melvin Reine and became a stepmother to his two young sons.

She was a neighborhood girl who had entered the Reine family circle as a baby sitter just a few years earlier - before Melvin's wife Wanda mysteriously disappeared in 1971.

At 18, she took on the role of mother to Reine's sons, ages 4 and 7. She married Melvin in 1999, and he remained devoted to her, even as he struggled with a mental illness.

Meanwhile, her relationship soured with the two stepsons, Melvin Jr. and Todd. She was prepared to face them in Barnstable Superior Court next week, where they planned to argue that she had cut them out of the family fortune.

But what happened early Tuesday morning stunned friends and family. Shirley Reine, 51, was found dead inside the garage of her East Falmouth home. She had been shot in the head.

No arrests have been made in what police are investigating as a homicide.

Shirley Reine had taken over the family business, Five Star Enterprises, after Melvin was committed to Taunton State Hospital three years ago.

According to affidavits filed in Barnstable Superior Court, Melvin Reine is suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder. Unresponsive to staff and other patients, he will bathe or eat only with his wife's encouragement, according to the documents.

Shirley Reine often made the 100-mile round-trip to Taunton two or three times a week.

A neighbor, Charlie Cardoza, said she was hoping to renovate the basement and bring her husband home.

''It's a sad thing,'' said Cardoza. ''It's a darn shame.''

Friends and associates yesterday described Shirley Reine as a person who worked hard to keep her husband's business going.

However, Melvin Jr. and Todd Reine contend that their stepmother took advantage of their father's mental difficulties and persuaded him to turn over his business and property to her.

''She was a mother to those kids and brought them up and took over when things got sour,'' said Doug Hazelton, a former school chum. ''It's not right for her to have gone that way.''

Shirley Reine feared her stepsons, said William Enright, the Barnstable-based attorney who was representing her in the civil case scheduled for trial Monday.

''She knew the sons. They take things into their own hands, like their father,'' Enright said.

Melvin Reine had brushes with the law for many years, including charges of rigging bids for the town of Falmouth's rubbish collection (he was acquitted) and threatening to ''blow a woman's head off'' during a dispute in a convenience store parking lot.

Enright said Shirley Reine had contacted police at least once over the past few years but the investigation went nowhere.

''They didn't have to make specific threats. All they had to do was imply. That would get the message across,'' Enright said.

An attorney representing Melvin Jr. and Todd Reine said Enright's comments are ''preposterous.''

''They wanted this case to go to trial,'' said Drew Segadelli, a Falmouth-based attorney.

Segadelli advised the brothers to cancel an interview with police that had been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, saying he had concerns for his clients' reputations.

''We've all seen what happens once people are identified and interviewed by police. Fingers start pointing, and reputations are damaged,'' he said.

While proclaiming his clients' innocence, Segadelli noted that he anticipated police taking a hard look at his clients because of the ongoing civil suit.

Segadelli said the brothers were ''going about their normal lives, their normal course of business,'' both the night before and on the morning their stepmother's body was discovered inside the garage at her East Falmouth home.

Segadelli has hired a private investigator, convinced that there is evidence pointing away from his clients.

He said he is also considering hiring a private consultant to conduct polygraph tests of the Reine brothers.

Segadelli said he would be willing to share the results of his investigation with police, ''if they are willing to share their notes with me.'' He said he is skeptical that will happen.

Describing his client as ''a lovely woman,'' Enright said, ''There are only two people in the world that Shirley didn't get along with, and that was Melvin Jr. and Todd.''

Enright said he was ''very shaken'' by Shirley Reine's death.

''I've had clients die before a case was concluded but never had one murdered,'' he said.

Her neighbor, Cardoza, is also disturbed by the death. Having lived next to the Reines for years, Cardoza said he remembered Shirley as a young, vivacious teenager when she first moved to the neighborhood, but described her as a bit of a loner in adulthood.

''She was a very nice girl,'' he said. ''She didn't mingle with too many people.''

As of yesterday Enright was unsure what will happen to the civil suit filed by the Reine brothers.

According to Enright, the brothers worked with their father until the 1990s when Melvin Reine became disillusioned with his sons' work ethic and decided to begin selling off trash routes.

''Melvin had divided the Cape into three routes. He did one, the boys each did one,'' Enright said. ''Eventually Melvin sold all three routes.''

In their suit the brothers claim their father began showing signs of mental deterioration in the 1990s.

They further contend their stepmother took advantage of this to gain control over their fathers' business.

In 1997 Melvin Reine took real estate belonging to a trust he established in 1991, and conveyed it into a newly established trust. As a result, Shirley Reine took title to four pieces of real estate that once were part of the 1991 trust. Melvin Reine turned over all his shares in Five Star Enterprises - the business he started in the 1970s - to his wife in 2001.

In their lawsuit the brothers argue their father was prohibited from doing this under the terms of the 1991 trust that named them as sole beneficiaries of the trust.

Amanda Lehmert can be reached at alehmert@capecodonline.com.

(Published: May 12, 2005)

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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Does anyone have a picture of this woman?
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I keep looking for one, but the archived articles don't contain any pics. I shall look at the library next time I am in town.

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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Posted Image

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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Okay I'll see about posting her on the Charley Project in the near future. This case is so complicated it might take awhile to write up.

(One of my professors asked me last week why I didn't have Natalee Holloway on my site. I explained that I'd decided not to profile her since she was getting so much publicity already and since the casefile would probably like all day to write. She begged me to profile Natalee and I said, "If I do will you exempt me from all responsibilities regarding papers and exams for your class?" She said no.)
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Believe it or not, there are even more articles on the Reine family but I thought I might put people to sleep if I posted more, lol! It is indeed a long and complicated tale...with political ramifications even today in LE, in the local county govt. etc. Weird and wild story. Both women are tragic stories...

and lol @ the professor. She doesn't think enough people have seen Natalee's face/story?

"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

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Okay, have picture, have write-up, what about an LE contact? I assume the East Falmouth police are handling the investigation.

I doubt my prof cares one way or the other about Natalee but she is impressed by my site and would like to see it get more attention. She said if I profiled Natalee she would write to Nancy Grace about me.
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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 1971 from East Falmouth, Massachusetts
Classification: Endangered Missing
Age: 25 years old
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Wanda may wear eyeglasses.

Details of Disappearance
Wanda was last seen in East Falmouth, Massachusetts sometime during March of 1971. Her husband, Melvin J. Reine Sr., claimed he dropped her off at the bus station so she could go visit a cousin in Wareham, Massachusetts. Wanda has never been heard from again and Melvin did not report her missing for five days. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance.
A photograph of Melvin is posted below this case summary. He ran a successful trash hauling business, Five Star Enterprises, and has had a history of contacts with local law enforcement over the years. In 1968, he was convicted of arson and sentenced to five years in prison, but he was released after serving only one-third of his sentence. After Wanda's disappearance, in 1972, Shirley M. Souza moved in with the family. A photograph of her is posted below this case summary. She was 18 years old at the time and had been the babysitter for Melvin and Wanda's children prior to Wanda's disappearance. That same year, one of Shirley's other boyfriends, Charles "Jeffrey" Flanagan, was found shot to death in a bog across the street from the Reine home. Shirley was one of the last people known to have seen Flanagan alive, and Melvin is a suspect in his murder. No one has been charged in connection with Flanagan's death, however. In 1979, Paul R. Alwardt, a 17-year-old employee of Melvin, disappeared shortly before he was to testify against Melvin in an arson case. He is still missing; photographs and vital statistics for him are unavailable. That same year, John Busby, a police officer who had had run-ins with the Reine family, was shot twice in the face while on his way to work. He survived. Melvin was a suspect in Busby's shooting, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him at the time. Melvin was later charged with rigging bids to get the city contract for Five Star Enterprises. His business partner testified against him, but Melvin was acquitted in 1985.

In 2001, Melvin was committed to Taunton State Hospital after threatening to shoot a woman. He is still there. He has been diagnosed with Pick's Disease, a form of dementia characterized by personality changes, poor judgement, forgetfulness, social ineptitude. Shirley took over the running of Five Star Enterprises after her husband's committal. In 2002, Melvin's two children, Todd and Melvin Jr., told police their father and their uncle, John Reine, had shot Busby. When interviewed in 2003, John admitted that he drove the car while Melvin shot at Busby out the open window. John stated that Shirley was also present in the vehicle at the time. No charges were filed in the shooting, as the statute of limitations had expired. John also implicated Melvin in Flanagan's murder, but no charges have been filed in that case either, as Melvin is legally incompetent and may not live much longer; Pick's Disease is a terminal illness.

Shirley was found murdered in May 2005; she was shot to death in her garage. At the time of her death, she was involved in a legal battle with her stepsons over Melvin's estate. Melvin was granted a divorce from Wanda in 1997 and married Shirley in 1999, after over two decades of cohabitation. In 2001, he wrote a will disinheriting his sons and turning over his business and all his property to his wife. Melvin Jr. and Todd alleged that their father was mentally incompetent when he wrote his will and Shirley had taken advantage of him, and that Melvin's business and property should rightly belong to them. Shirley was reportedly afraid for her life because of the lawsuit and told others that if anything happened to her, her stepsons were probably responsible. The case was expected to go up for trial the week after Shirley's murder. Authorities are still investigating her murder and no one has been arrested. They stated that it appeared Shirley had been ambushed and murdered by someone who knew her daily routine.

Wanda remains missing and is presumed deceased; Melvin is the prime suspect in her case, as well as Alwardt's. Investigators stated Melvin's account of Wanda's disappearance "didn't check out" and they do not believe Wanda ever got on the bus the day she went missing. Looking for her remains, authorities dug up several locations, including the Reine home, but no evidence was located. Her disappearance remains unsolved.

Shirley, circa 2005;
Melvin, circa 2001

Investigating Agency
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Falmouth Police Department 508-457-2527
Source Information
The Cape Cod Times
Porchlight for the Missing and Unidentified
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.
Last updated May 10, 2006; casefile added.
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Human remains found in Mass. cranberry bog
March 29, 2009

EAST FALMOUTH, Mass.—Skeletal remains found over the weekend in a Cape Cod cranberry bog may have been there for several years, according to authorities.

An autopsy will be conducted on the remains, which were discovered Saturday in a dry bog off Old Meeting House Road in East Falmouth, police said. Workers installing an irrigation system in discovered the remains, telling property owner Brian Handy that they found bones and a skull.

The remains were sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office and the discovery remained under investigation Sunday. Determining the person's identity could take at least a week and possibly much longer, Falmouth police said.

Officers also are looking into open missing persons cases, although there is no reason right now to link the remains to those cases, Falmouth Police Det. Kent Clarkson said.

The open cases include the 1971 disappearance of Wanda Medeiros Reine, whose husband said he last saw her when he dropped her off at the Falmouth bus station.

Another unresolved case is the 1998 disappearance of West Hyannisport resident Stephen Queen, who went missing after he brought a suitcase of cash to the Cape. Another man was later found guilty of laundering Queen's money, but Queen's body has never been found and authorities presume he is dead.
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Skeletal discovery alarms neighbors
By Mary Ann Bragg
March 30, 2009

EAST FALMOUTH — Police still know very little about the human bones and skull found in a cranberry bog Saturday afternoon. And the mystery stirred the fears and cynicism of Cape residents and visitors yesterday at a shopping district a mile away from the discovery site.

"I don't know what to think," said East Falmouth resident Maureen Dykens.

On Saturday at around 2 p.m. cranberry bog workers with Backus River Bogs told their boss, Brian Handy, they'd found a skull and bones. The bogs are on 75 acres off Old Meeting House Road, about a mile from Route 28.

Handy had directed the workers to install an irrigation system when they made the discovery. The bones showed signs of having been in the bog for some time, the police said.

Yesterday Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said police have a theory about whether the bones belong to a man or a woman. But he said he would wait for the state medical examiner office's finding before saying anything further. The age of the bones and other details are still unknown, O'Keefe said.

At the same time, Falmouth police have reopened files on missing people in the area.

If the state medical examiner determines that the bones are less than 100 years old, law enforcement may order a criminal investigation. With older bones, state archaeologists will investigate the site to determine the age and cultural association of the bones and burial.

Identifying remains can be a challenge for police. In a Hyannis case from May 2003, the burned remains of a Bosnian man were identified only after four months of analysis. That analysis involved a state medical examiner, a forensic dentist, a forensic anthropologist, a world-renowned Smithsonian anthropologist and an employee of Cape Cod Hospital's billing department.

Quick answers
Yesterday in East Falmouth, some residents and visitors called for a quick resolution and declined to speculate about who the bones might belong to.

Dykens worried about the many wooded and secluded spots in the region where criminal acts could occur without anyone seeing it happen.

She said there is little respect for human life left. "It's pretty sad."

East Falmouth resident Steve McDermott felt uncomfortable that the bones were discovered so close to his neighborhood. He expressed confidence that state officials would get to the bottom of the mystery and warned against guessing about the identify of the bones.

"It's scary, though," McDermott said.

History feeds suspicion
Others went with their suspicions, calling up one name from Falmouth's criminal past: Reine.

"It has something to do with Melvin," said one man who declined to give him name.

Police suspect convicted arsonist and former East Falmouth trash hauler Melvin Reine in the disappearance of his first wife, Wanda, in 1971.

Police also suspect Reine in the murder of Falmouth teen Jeffrey Flanagan, the disappearance of another Falmouth teen and the shooting of former Falmouth police Officer John Busby.

Melvin Reine suffers from dementia and has been in a state hospital since 2001.
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Cape police: Remains not linked to Reine
By George Brennan / Cape Cod Times
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - Added 17h ago

EAST FALMOUTH — Investigators still can’t say whose remains were found at a cranberry bog off Old Meeting House Road Saturday, but they can say who it isn’t, reports the Cape Cod Times.

Police have ruled out Wanda Medeiros Reine and Paul Alwardt, two people connected to Melvin Reine, a notorious East Falmouth trash hauler. Reine, who is in Taunton State Hospital since being diagnosed with dementia in 2001, was suspected, but never charged, in their mysterious disappearances.

Wanda Medeiros Reine, Melvin’s first wife, vanished in 1971, and Alwardt, a 17-year-old who worked for Reine, hasn’t been seen since 1978.

"We are able to rule them out," Falmouth Police Detective Kent Clarkson said yesterday. "(The bones) were found on the surface. (They) wouldn’t have just appeared. It’s a highly traveled area."

That has investigators leaning toward more recent missing person cases, he said. Read full story here.
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The Never-ending Reine Saga
04/10/09 · 6:01 pm
The dark and unsolved deeds in Falmouth's not so distant past
"Reine's Corner" on Route 28. The entrance to the Reine Compound is just before the bend in the road. The reddish dumpsters from Reine's rubbish removal business can be seen towards the back of the compound. The compound is roughly a mile from the Backus River Rog where human remains were discovered last month.

By Samantha Pearsall

Almost two weeks ago human bones were found by workers installing irrigation in the Backus River Bog off of Old Meetinghouse Rd. in East Falmouth. Though these remains have since been identified as the body of 29-year-old Sean Minahan, an East Falmouth man who went missing June 8, 2008, initial speculation from community members surfaced of whether these skeletal remains could open up one of the three cold cases in the Melvin Reine Saga during the 1970s.

Boulder marking the entrance to the Reine Compound.
Minahan had been living with his family at 12 Viber Lane in East Falmouth, just several hundred yards from where his bones were discovered and minutes from Reine’s compound off of East Falmouth Highway. No correlation was deduced and results issued by the medical examiner’s office did not indicate any foul play, but Minahan’s death is still being investigated. Nevertheless, it got Falmouth residents and other Cape Codders familiar with the Reine mysteries wondering again about those missing persons of the 1970s.

Mind his "bad side"
The only charge on Reine, during his lifetime of suspected but hardly investigated crime in Falmouth, came in 1968 when he was convicted in connection with several arsons in Falmouth. Dozens of fires demolished buildings across town, as well as some vehicles, including police chief John Ferreira’s in 1968. Residents were fearful of Reine and some claim he would threaten people who got on his “bad side” by holding up a match or a lighter to suggest that maybe their home or car might be next.

Mystery after mystery
In 1971 when Reine’s first wife, Wanda Medeiros Reine, was just 25-years-old she went missing. He claimed to see her last as he dropped her off at a bus stop. Reine’s home at 657 East Falmouth Highway, known today as Reine’s Corner, was investigated and searched, but her body never turned up in almost 40 years. She is presumed to be dead so many resident’s suspected the remains found in the bog near Reine’s home two weeks ago were Wanda’s.

Unsolved Cases
1971: Wanda Medeiros Reine goes missing, presumed dead 1972: Charles Flanagan murdered
1977: Paul Alwardt goes missing, presumed dead
1979: Shot repeatedly in the face, shooter never found/tried
Another Reine mystery dates back to 1972 and involved 17-year-old Charles “Jeff” Flanagan who was employed by Reine. Flanagan was involved in a romantic relationship with Shirley Souza, Reine’s babysitter at the time who he later married. Flanagan’s murdered body was discovered in a cranberry bog, yet, Reine was never convicted although he was the last person to see the boy.

Then five years later, another 17-year-old employee, Paul R. Alwardt, went missing the night before he was supposed to testify against his boss, Reine. His body was never found and Reine, again, was never linked to the missing person who is also presumed dead.

Crooked Cape Codders?
Reine owned a rubbish removal business called Five Star Enterprises which operated out of East Falmouth (dumpsters can be seen on the Google Map illustrating the present day Reine’s Corner). He worked with many Cape towns, including Falmouth, where he seemed to have many cooperatively corrupt relationships with certain officers in the department. Some of those officers at the Falmouth Police Department included Police Chief John Ferreira (1962 – 1979); Police Chief Paulino Rodriques (1984 – 1993); a former officers, Michael Leighton and Richard Corey; a former detective Daniel Cunha; and others who were also suspected of having behind the seen dealings and relationships with the Reine family. Many on the force lived nearby or were actually Reine’s neighbors.

The Reine Compound on Route 28.
Busby, the hard-nosed cop
Perhaps the most haunting piece to the Reine puzzle during the 1970s was his involvement in the shooting of Falmouth police officer, John Busby. Unlike many officers during Reine’s reign in the 60s and 70s, Busby was hard-nosed and worked tirelessly to get Reine and his accomplices convicted. He was not a townie like many on the force, he was from Dedham. Just two weeks before Busby was to testify against Reine’s brother, John, for a prior case where he tried to run down Busby on Brick Kiln Rd., Busby was on his way to work at approximately 10:40 pm on August 31, 1979.

He was working the midnight shift 11 pm to 8 am. He was headed down Sandwich Rd. leaving his home when a light blue station wagon raced up behind him, crossed the solid line into the other side of the road, drove alongside Busby, and from the back of the car three shots were fired. Busby said he could make out two males in the car and possibly a woman. The first two bullets blasted Busby in the left side of his face, knocking out part of his jaw and most teeth. After the first shot penetrated his jaw, Busby saw pieces of his own teeth and jaw bone collected in a pool of blood on the passenger seat. The second shot blew off more of his face. Busby then jammed on the breaks, somehow still conscious, and a third and final shot blew through the front of his windshield. Busby screeched into the yard of a nearby house on Sandwich Rd. and ran to the front door where the resident then called for police and EMTs.

Made for TV drama on Cape Cod
Emergency personnel came and quickly began working on Busby. While he still had his wits about him, he asked for pen and paper since he obviously could not speak. He wrote: “Not an accident. Who’s with the kids?” He then wrote Melvin Reine’s name down in the notebook. An excerpt from his book, The Year We Disappeared, that was published last year reads: “I shoved the notebook at him [an EMT] so he could see what I had written…This is the only person I could think of that would want me dead. And I knew why. I also knew what this guy was capable of and how much he hated me. He was a convicted arsonist, and a suspect in several murders and ‘disappearances,’ and if I was right he was going to try to burn down my house and kill my family tonight, while the police department was distracted taking care of me. The last thing I wrote was ‘Polly and the kids not safe.’”

Busby was in the hospital for months, undergoing various reconstructive surgeries. And reportedly, Reine somewhat disappeared for a while after the shooting. Evidence was misplaced and the investigation into the attempted murder was not thoroughly carried out by Falmouth officials. He was never connected to the shooting. Busby’s family was then under constant watch 24/7, which was funded by the town. Busby’s wife, Polly and three children lived in fear in Falmouth for almost a year until July of 1980 when they went into hiding. In 2001, District Court Judge Don Carpenter declared Reine was unable to stand trial for assault charges that were being brought against him and committed him to Taunton State Hospital.

In 2003, after the expiration of the statute of limitations on the Busby case, Reine’s brother, John, admitted he and Shirley Souza Reine (his present wife) rode in the vehicle as his brother shot Busby. He also told police that his brother was responsible for the death of Flanagan. Two years later, Shirley was murdered in her garage at the Reine Compound on East Falmouth Highway. No one was ever convicted of her murder either.

Unsolvable cold case?
In 2005 the Busby family reappeared for the first time and disclosed that they had been living in Cookeville, Tennessee. Busby was hoping to get access to John Reine’s confession, but police officials denied his request. He went on to write a book with his daughter, Cylin, about the shooting and how it transformed their lives. Busby, now 66, is retired and lives with his wife. He is working to extend the statute of limitations of assault on a police officer. Reine, now almost 70, has still never been charged in any of these cases and suffers from a rare type of dementia called Pick’s Disease in the Taunton State Hospital.


"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." The late, great Roberto Clemente.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
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Reine killing remains mysterious
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By George Brennan
May 09, 2010

EAST FALMOUTH — Five years ago today, Shirley Reine was ambushed in her garage as she returned home after having dinner with her sister, her mother and her nephew.

The next morning, her employee, Michael Domingues, discovered her lifeless body as he arrived to work at the family trash-hauling business in East Falmouth. Shirley Reine, 51, was in a pool of blood on the floor next to her Nissan Maxima. She was still wearing the same outfit she had on when she left her sister's East Falmouth house the night before.

Case watch
Five years after she was found dead, the police have not charged anyone with the murder of Shirley Reine, above.
A lawyer appointed by a Barnstable County Probate Court judge describes Melvin Reine's health.
The lawsuit brought by Todd Reine and Melvin Reine Jr. was dismissed in August and a settlement was reached that turns three family properties over to them and a fourth to Todd Reine's two children.

One shot from a handgun was fired into her chest at point-blank range, according to Shirley's sister, Loretta Gilfoy, who has been briefed by investigators. That shot exited her body and slammed into the windshield of the car. A second shot was fired at her head and lodged in her neck.

Though Gilfoy and others had immediate suspicions about who might be responsible, police have not made an arrest in the slaying.

Before she died, Shirley Reine was embroiled in a bitter lawsuit filed by the stepsons of her husband, Melvin Reine Sr. Her lawyer at the time said she feared she would not live to see the case go to trial.

That suit, brought by Todd and Melvin Reine Jr., was scheduled to go to trial nine days after her body was discovered. Instead, Shirley Reine was buried that day.

Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. sued their father and Shirley Reine, alleging they had violated a 1991 irrevocable trust, which named them as sole beneficiaries to the Reine Family Trust. In 2001, after a falling out with his sons, Melvin Reine Sr. transferred the property into M & S Family Trust, which named Shirley and Melvin Reine Sr. as the beneficiaries.

Within that trust were four properties, including the house and garage at 657 East Falmouth Highway, where Shirley Reine was killed.

"It's been five years, five long years," Gilfoy said last week. "Within those years mixed emotions have flooded my heart. Tears, anger and a sense of helplessness are part of my everyday life now."

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe's office insists that the Reine murder remains an active probe, but won't comment on what progress has been made. "I can tell you it's an open investigation," Michael Trudeau, the first assistant district attorney, said this week.

Gilfoy said she's in contact with investigators, but they don't tell her much. "I'm hoping they're close to something," she said.

In 2007, Todd Reine and two accomplices — John Rams and Nadia Smuliac — were convicted in the 2002 theft of a safe and wills from the Reine homestead. Those criminal charges emerged from a Barnstable County grand jury, which heard evidence in the murder probe. Todd Reine was sentenced to four to five years, which he is serving at a state prison in Shirley.

Melvin Reine's past and failing health

The May 10, 2005, discovery of Shirley Reine's body opened old wounds in the Falmouth Police Department where Melvin Reine Sr., a convicted arsonist, listed some of the town's police officers among his friends. New questions were raised about why the department never solved four cases believed to involve the ex-con.

The elder Reine was suspected but never charged in the disappearance of his first wife, Wanda Medeiros, in 1971; the execution-style killing of 16-year-old Charles "Jeffrey" Flanagan in 1972; the 1978 disappearance of 17-year-old Paul Alwardt and the 1979 shooting of Falmouth Police Officer John Busby.

In 2003, John Reine, Melvin's brother, told police that he drove the car while Melvin Reine shot Busby from a moving car on Sandwich Road in August of 1979, according to the police report. Law enforcement officials could not prosecute the Reines in the shooting because the statute of limitations expired in the attempted murder in 1989.

In 2001, Melvin Reine Sr. was institutionalized in Taunton State Hospital after a court outburst in an unrelated case. Now 71, he suffers from fronto-temporal dementia syndrome, also known as Pick's disease, according to court records. The condition makes his behavior "unpredictable" and he is a "high risk for injury to himself and others," the documents indicate.

The description is the first insight into Reine's failing health. Family members have repeatedly refused requests for interviews. Last month, Todd Reine, Melvin's son, rejected a request from the Times for a prison interview.

In June, Russell Wilkins was appointed as a guardian ad litem to protect Melvin's interests by Barnstable County Probate Court in an effort to reach a settlement of Shirley Reine's estate and the lawsuit. He visited Melvin Reine Sr. in June and paints the picture of a man much different from the one who used to intimidate local officials with his signature wave.

"Mr. Reine's condition has constantly deteriorated since his admission and at the time I saw him, he was completely non-communitive (sic) and confined to a wheelchair with restraints or in bed," Wilkins wrote. "He is unable to feed himself or take whole food. His cognitive awareness is limited and he reacts primarily to physical stimulus only."

The detailed description of Melvin Reine's health is the first public disclosure of his condition since his wife was murdered. Before she died, Shirley Reine would make frequent trips from the Cape to Taunton bringing him his favorite foods.

"Mr. Reine's doctors and charge nurse both told me that he is unaware of his surroundings and unable to provide for himself for the slightest of needs," Wilkins wrote. They further represented that Mr. Reine has reached an end result regarding his psychiatric care with no hope of improvement."

Ultimately, Wilkins, an attorney with Wilkins and DeYoung in Hyannis, concluded that Melvin Reine should not have transferred real estate out of Reine Family Trust and into a trust where he and Shirley Reine were the sole beneficiaries. Wilkins said it was a breach of his fiduciary responsibility.

Wilkins went on to conclude that Melvin Reine Sr. would be unlikely to prevail in the lawsuits brought by his sons and recommended the probate court approve the proposed settlement to avoid further legal costs.

Properties divided

The lawsuit, which lingered in the courts for four years beyond Shirley Reine's death, was officially dismissed in August.

That settlement calls for splitting up four properties included in the trust. The property at 633 East Falmouth Highway is granted to Brittany and Todd Reine Jr., the children of Todd Reine and Jo-Ann Souza, who was appointed as Melvin's guardian after Shirley Reine was killed.

Meanwhile, the remaining three properties, including the home at 657 East Falmouth Highway where Shirley was killed, were granted to Melvin Reine Jr. and Todd Reine. The other properties are 336 Old Barnstable Road and 15 Old Menauhant Road, which is the property behind 657 East Falmouth Highway where the Reines operated their business.

It is unclear who will be responsible for cleaning up Old Barnstable Road where Melvin Reine Sr. dumped construction debris over a 20-year period, according to records. The settlement appears to absolve Reine's sons.

"Nothing contained in this settlement releases M & S Realty Trust from the Massachusetts DEP consent decree or otherwise assigns to or obligates Todd M. Reine or Melvin J. Reine Jr. for any liability or obligations arising out of the illegal dumping alleged in the complaints and the Massachusetts DEP consent decree," Wilkins wrote.

In 2007, Jo-Ann Souza, acting as Melvin Reine's guardian, signed over property to herself and allowed Todd Reine, the father of her two children, to sign over his interest in the 10-acre property on Old Barnstable Road to his uncle, John Reine.

In March, Melvin Reine Jr. filed a new Reine Family Trust at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds that outlines the distribution of property the probate court settlement dictated. Melvin Reine Jr. is listed as the sole trustee, according to records.

Melvin Reine Jr. is living in the house at 657 East Falmouth Highway.

Gilfoy, one of two surviving sisters of Shirley Reine, said she watches these real estate transactions and is upset that Todd and Melvin Reine Jr. essentially ended up with what they were seeking all along. Meanwhile, her sister's killer has not been brought to justice.

"They got what they wanted and (my sister) lost the battle — her life," Gilfoy said.
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Charges Pending In Murder Of Shirley Reine

By: Laura M. Reckford
Published: 12/20/11

John Rams Jr., the Wareham man who was convicted of robbing Shirley M. Reine’s East Falmouth home in 2003, was to be arraigned today for her murder. The arraignment follows an announcement from Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael D. O’Keefe Friday afternoon that a Barnstable County grand jury handed up an indictment of Mr. Rams, 39, the day before.

Police served Mr. Rams the indictment Thursday evening at the North Central Correctional Institute at Gardner, a minimum security prison where he is four years into a seven-year sentence for the robbery.

After being served the indictment, he was moved to the maximum security prison, Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

The indictment comes six and a half years after Ms. Reine, the 52-year-old wife of Melvin J. Reine Sr., was shot in the garage of her home at 657 East Falmouth Highway on May 10, 2005.

Shirley Reine’s sister, Loretta Gilfoy of East Falmouth, said she has mixed feelings about the indictment. “It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s something I’ve been waiting for,” she said, noting that a grand jury has been meeting for years on the case.

Ms. Gilfoy has said that the evening Shirley Reine was murdered, she was returning home from dinner with Ms. Gilfoy and other family members. When she was found the next morning, she was wearing the same slacks and yellow blouse that she wore to the dinner.

During the course of the murder investigation, police uncovered evidence of a previous robbery of Shirley Reine’s home in which a safe was stolen.

In addition to Mr. Rams, Todd M. Reine, Shirley Reine’s stepson, was convicted for the break-in. He was released from prison at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley on November 18 after serving four years of a four- to five-year sentence as a co-conspirator for the crime of stealing the safe.

Mr. Rams had pleaded guilty to the theft of the safe in 2007. During the subsequent trial of Mr. Reine as a co-conspirator,

Mr. Rams, in a surprise twist in the case, decided to testify against Mr. Reine. That testimony was considered key to Mr. Reine’s conviction.

The theft of the safe is linked to a civil suit.

In 2002, Todd Reine and his brother, Melvin J. Reine Jr., filed a lawsuit against Shirley Reine, claiming she influenced their father, Melvin Reine Sr., to deprive them of their inheritance. Because of the lawsuit, the two brothers were deemed “persons of interest” in the murder from the beginning.

A crucial element of the brothers’ lawsuit against Ms. Reine was the paperwork stolen from the safe, which Todd Reine claimed had appeared on his doorstep one day. Police later learned Todd Reine orchestrated the theft, which was carried out by Mr. Rams and another man.

Melvin Jr. and Todd Reine are the sons of Melvin Reine Sr. and his first wife, Wanda, who disappeared in 1971.
Melvin Reine Sr. is a convicted arsonist who has long been suspected in several unsolved cases, including a murder, two disappearances including that of his first wife, and the shooting of a Falmouth police officer. Now 72, Mr. Reine has been held since 2001 at Taunton State Hospital with a diagnosis of Pick’s disease, a form of dementia.

His sons now live in the house where Shirley Reine was killed, which is also the home they grew up in.
Shirley Reine began living with Melvin Reine Sr. in 1972, according to court documents she supplied in the months prior to her death, and she became a de facto mother to the boys. She and Mr. Reine were married 27 years later, in 1999.

Neighbors say that Todd Reine, since being released from prison, has kept a low profile, though he has been seen at Rocky’s Gym & Fitness across the street from the Reine compound on East Falmouth Highway.

Paul J. (Rocky) Rodriques, the owner of the gym, said people have asked him whether Todd Reine is an employee. Mr. Rodriques said he is merely letting Mr. Reine work off the price of membership by doing some cleaning at the property.

“He’s not on the payroll. He wanted to work out, so he’s working off a membership,” Mr. Rodriques said.

Mr. Rodriques said that he considers himself someone who has turned his life around and so he believes in giving people the same opportunity. “He did his stint,” he said of Mr. Reine’s time served in prison.

The investigation into Shirley Reine’s murder remains active, according to Mr. O’Keefe, and is being jointly conducted by members of the Falmouth police and detectives of the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the district attorney’s office.
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John Rams Jr. will stand trial for murder in November

By Heather Wysocki
March 28, 2012

BARNSTABLE – It took six years for an indictment to be returned but only three months for a trial date to be set.

After a long discussion Wednesday in Barnstable Superior Court, a trial for John Rams Jr., 39, who is charged with the 2006 slaying of Shirley Reine, was scheduled for Nov. 5.

“I'm very happy that it is moving along,” Reine's sister, Loretta Gilfoy, said after the pretrial hearing.

Rams traveled the two hours from Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley to Barnstable, where several future court dates were set and his Boston-based attorney, Timothy Flaherty, hinted he plans to file several motions to suppress evidence.

The suppression motions could include an interview Rams gave to police, conversations between Rams and a girlfriend recorded on a prison telephone and possible recordings collected from a wiretap that a prison informant wore during conversations with Rams, Flaherty said.

Judge Gary Nickerson scheduled July 24 for Flaherty's motions to be heard.

A pretrial hearing also was scheduled for May 22.

Rams is accused of shooting Reine, wife of notorious Falmouth trash hauler Melvin Reine, twice at point-blank range.

He is serving a six- to seven-year sentence at the Shirley prison after pleading guilty in 2007 to charges that he stole a safe and its contents from the woman's home in 2002. His testimony helped prosecutors convict Todd Reine, Shirley's stepson, in that case.

Todd Reine had been released on parole just one month before Rams was indicted. Sources have told the Times that before getting the murder indictment, prosecutors tried to get Rams to tell them that Reine hired him to kill Shirley Reine.

Todd Reine and his brother, Melvin Reine Jr., were involved in a lawsuit with their stepmother at the time of her killing, trying to regain control of the family trash-hauling business their father had signed over to her.

The brothers argued that their father, who suffers from a form of dementia and is in Taunton State Hospital, was not competent when he signed his property and business over to his wife.
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Hopefully something will come out in the trial about Wanda.
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