A few days after breaking up with his girlfriend, a hard-working man named Billy Smolinski vanished, without informing anybody. However, his family believed it was out of character for him to just up and leave without any prior notice, which is why they feared that something graver had happened to Billy. The ‘Disappeared’ episode dedicated to the disappearance of the 31-year-old man covers the intricate details surrounding the mysterious case and even the search and investigation that followed. It also features interviews with Billy’s family and friends, and other individuals directly or indirectly involved in the case.
Billy Smolinski Disappeared a Few Days After His Break-Up
Janice and William Smolinski Sr. welcomed William Paul “Billy” Smolinski Jr. into the world on January 14, 1973. Born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut, Billy was under the loving and caring umbrella of his parents which he shared with his younger sister, Paula. A hard worker from the get-go, he used to enjoy life to the fullest and even bought a house of his own at the age of 26. At the time of his disappearance, he had been working three jobs simultaneously, one of them being a school bus driver for B & B Transportation. During his tenure there, he crossed paths with Madeline Gleason and sparks flew between them.
While Madeline had been dealing with his daughter’s demise, Billy had recently gotten out of a long relationship. Being each other’s shoulder for support, the two began dating eventually in 2003. A year later, in August 2004, they traveled to West Palm Beach, Florida, where Madeline’s son, Thomas Karpiuk Jr. handled security. But things started to deteriorate between them when Billy learned that she had been talking to the owner of the school bus company, Chris Sorensen. Upon returning to their day-to-day lives, the couple decided to call it quits and go their separate ways as Billy thought that she was cheating on him.
However, Billy decided to go to Madeline’s house in the early hours of August 24, 2003 and climbed up to her window on the second floor. Upon getting inside her room, he told her that he wanted to give their relationship another try. But much to his disappointment, she did not share the same opinion even after arguing over it for some time. Dejected, he left her house and in the afternoon of the same day, he made several calls to Chris, and left him a threatening voicemail telling him “to watch his back.” Then, around 3:30 pm, Billy asked his neighbor Laroi Henley to watch over his dog for a few days as he was headed “up north for three days.” This was the last time anyone ever saw him again.
After waiting for three days, Billy’s family decided to get in touch with the police as they started getting worried sick over his sudden vanishing. However, they didn’t get much support from the authorities at first. As they looked into the case, the detectives found his car parked at the edge of the driveway, and it had his keys and wallet inside. In an attempt to help the authorities find Billy, the campaign did their part by posting flyers, doing TV interviews, featuring on TV shows, and erecting multiple billboards across the state. Meanwhile, Madeline sued the Smolinskis, claiming that they were harassing her by posting more flyers in her vicinity. Some months after Billy’s disappearance, Shawn Karpiuk, Madeline’s son, died of a heroin overdose.
A few years down the line, a witness named Chad Hansen reached out to the police and claimed that he was with Madeline’s son, Shawn Karpiuk, and Chad watched him murder Billy with a hammer. As per his claims, the two then buried the victim in an unknown location after wrapping him in a carpet. He even ended up giving them the exact location where they buried him — Little Bit Farm in Seymour, Connecticut. When the police made a trip to the alleged burial site and did not find his body after one week of extensive search, Chad provided them with a few more possible burial sites.
When all of them proved to be false information and cost them about $100,000 worth of resources, the police arrested him for making false claims and tips about the location of Billy’s body. Later, Chad ended up pleading guilty to making a false statement concerning injury or death. However, for providing faulty information, he still received 4 and a half years in prison. Meanwhile, in August 2012, Madeline was awarded $52,000 in damages after the harassment claims she made. However, in November 2015, the Smolinskis managed to get the rulings overturned.
Billy Smolinski Remains Missing Even After Two Decades
It has been more than two decades since Billy Smolinski was last seen outside his Waterbury residence. Still, his parents and other loved ones continue to search for him. In fact, his mother, Janice Kenney Smolinski, made a Facebook group “Justice for Billy” dedicated to finding her son and getting the justice he deserves. Billy’s disappearance case was so impactful that it changed legislative history.
On December 27, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the “Help Find the Missing” Act, which is meant to streamline the reporting process involving missing persons by keeping law enforcement databases up to date and readily available at all times. Since there are still no updates regarding Billy’s whereabouts, there is a $60,000 reward for providing a substantial lead.