In 2011, in the wake of his stepdaughter’s disappearance, Wendell Noyes spoke with a New Hampshire newspaper.
He told the Union Leader that the missing girl — 11-year-old Celina Cass — “never goes out of the house.” According to the report, Noyes said he didn’t have any idea whom Celina would have left her home with, or who would have taken her against her will.
According to the newspaper, he delivered this message to his stepdaughter: “Get your butt home.”
Days later, Celina’s body was found in the Connecticut River.
And years later, Noyes was taken into custody for his suspected role in her death.
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster and State Police Col. Robert Quinn announced Monday that the 52-year-old Noyes had been arrested on a second-degree murder charge in the death of his stepdaughter. Authorities think Noyes submerged her body in the river, according to a news release.
Noyes, who had previously denied having anything to do with Celina’s death, was expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
“I want him to rot,” Celina’s mother, Louisia, told WMUR. “So bad.”
(Different spellings of Celina’s mother’s name have appeared in various reports. The Post used this spelling because it was used in recent Union Leader and WMUR reports.)
Celina was reported missing July 26, 2011. She was last seen at a computer in her home, according to a 2011 Associated Press report, and her disappearance left members of her small New Hampshire community shaken.
“She’s a very good friend, and she never lets anybody down,” one of Celina’s friends told AP at the time.
“Celina, we want you to know that your friends and family are doing everything they can to bring you home,” Stewartstown Community School nurse Kirsten Lyons told the media, speaking on behalf of the local community and the family.
“Whenever you are ready to come home, Celina, daddy will be here waiting for you,” her father, Adam Laro, told reporters, according to the Union Leader.
Celina’s body was found about a half-mile from her family’s New Hampshire home.
After sharing memories at a vigil held in 2012 on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance, several of Celina’s friends asked for a moment of silence and then released balloons with heartfelt messages written on them, with a prayer that they would reach Celina.
The Union Leader reports that Noyes wasn’t at that vigil.
After Celina’s body was recovered, Laro, her father, told the newspaper that he wasn’t worried about his daughters living with Noyes. He told the Union Leader that he met Noyes a few times, and that he “seemed indifferent.”
Celina’s grandmother told the Boston Globe she wasn’t surprised by the arrest.
“It was just the feeling we had,” Marcia Laro told the Globe. “A comment here or there. He didn’t have a very good reputation.”