The 1980 Disappearance of Nancy Marleine Snow

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About Nancy Marleine Snow

Nancy Snow. Photo credit: The Charley Project

Nancy Marleine Snow was born on 7/13/1936. She had three daughters and was divorced from their father.  Her daughters resided on the West Coast with their father and Nancy lived in Annapolis, Maryland. She was a former talk show host in Monterey, California and spoke seven languages. Nancy traveled extensively around the world and had previously lived in Brazil and West Germany.

In 1980, Nancy worked for the Republican National Committee presidential election campaign. This required a lot of traveling around the United States. While she was on the road, she wrote letters, sent postcards and chatted on the phone with her then-teenage daughters every day. She last saw her girls in August at a sleepover with their godmother. Nancy planned to see them again at Christmastime.

The Disappearance of Nancy Marleine Snow

On November 5, 1980, one day after Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States, Nancy Marleine Snow flew from St. Louis to Baltimore to attend a private party. She spent the night at the hotel, and the next morning had breakfast with the host of the party, who she had dated during the campaign. She told her companion that she planned to drive to Connecticut.

Nancy’s house sitter, Paul T. Collins III arrived at the hotel on November 6 to pick her up and take her back to Annapolis. Witnesses did not know what kind of car he was driving, but it was not Nancy’s turquoise Volkswagen convertible.

Not too long after, Nancy’s constant daily communication with her daughters ceased. When she missed one of her daughter’s 16th birthday that month,  her daughters immediately knew something was wrong.

“I sat by the phone all day just waiting for her to call. And she didn’t,” her daughter Justine recalled to Andrea F. Siegel of the Baltimore Sun in 2005. “She never would have let a birthday go past without a phone call. …It was tough enough to be away from her, but that is when the realization hit.”

According to Collins, after he picked Nancy up, he drove her to her home in Annapolis. Then, Nancy went to McGarvey’s, a local bar, for a drink. When she returned home, she told Collins that she met a boat captain named ‘Captain Jay’ or ‘Captain J’, who told her he was driving to Fort Lauderdale that night to pick up a yacht and then deliver it to either the Bahamas or U.S. Virgin Islands.

Annapolis Maryland wide by D Ramey Logan with Grant Jensen

Annapolis, Maryland. Photograph by D Ramey Logan [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Captain Jay hired Nancy to help crew the boat, and she told Collins she would be back by Christmas. According to Collins, Nancy allowed him to use her checkbook to pay bills while she was gone. He said he last saw her getting in to a white van but he could not remember the boat’s name, any contact information Nancy may have given him, or what the captain looked like.

Collins wrote checks to himself and for bills using Nancy’s checkbook for six months, forging her signature each time. The total amount he spent was $10,000. He also drove Nancy’s Volkswagen and gave away her private papers and belongings.

Weeks later, Stacy, the eldest daughter, came to Annapolis to look for her mother, Justine said. In January 1981, she and Collins went to Fort Lauderdale, where, for the first time, Snow was reported as a missing person, even though there was no indication that she had ever arrived there. In the month’s after she disappeared, acquaintances speculated that Snow sought to escape from the rat race and that she longed to learn about yachting so she could start a charter business. There were unconfirmed sightings of her from Baltimore to the Virgin Islands (Siegel 2005).

Nancy’s daughters did not believe she went to Florida or the Virgin Islands because she would have told them where she was going and she certainly would not have left her checkbook in the care of someone she barely knew. Additionally, she left most of her belongings behind, including her boat shoes.

Collins said she only packed one bag and took $1,000 in cash. Nancy was exhausted from being on the road and was looking forward to resting.

After being questioned by the Annapolis police about Snow’s disappearance in October 1981, Collins fled to the Bahamas after reportedly stealing $200 in cash, a set of chimney-sweeping equipment, and some magnetic sings from his employer. Warrants were issued for his arrest in connection the the thefts (Good 2008).

There has been no activity on Nancy Snow’s Social Security number or credit cards. Prior to her disappearance, Nancy received a small inheritance, but her bank account remains untouched.

Aftermath

Nancy Marleine Snow was legally declared dead in 1985. Annapolis police reopened the case in 1989 at the urging of her daughters. There was an anonymous top in the 90s, but it did not pan out.

In 2005, Nancy’s daughters offered a $1,000 reward for any information regarding their mother’s disappearance.

As of 2005, anytime investigators wanted to speak with Collins, he redirected them to his lawyer, Eugene M. Zoglio.

One report said that in 2010, police were looking for a boat called Cotton Blossom that was docked in Petrini Shipyard around the time Nancy disappeared. This same report also said Nancy wrote her daughters about the boat. However, I could not find this in any other source. In the 2005 article, her daughters said she never contacted them about working on a boat.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

This is one of those cases where it appears so obvious who is responsible – Paul T. Collins III. I do not think Nancy would have taken off to Florida or the U.S. Virgin Islands without letting her daughters know of her plans. I think Collins murdered her for the sole purpose of stealing her money. We know he stole $200 from one employer after Nancy’s disappearance.

How did Nancy meet Collins? How well did she know him?

If Collins had nothing to hide, he would have cooperated with authorities.

I think I found him on Facebook. If it’s him, he now goes by his middle name, Tom. This person resides in Laurel, MD and had once lived in Annapolis.

As far as I can tell, police were never able to identify Captain Jay and that’s probably because Collins made the whole thing up.

What I do find interesting is that Nancy told her breakfast companion/party host that she was going to Connecticut. However, this didn’t make sense to her daughters because she was exhausted from traveling. So, if she was going to CT, what was the reason? Why would she tell him she was going if she wasn’t?

Sources:

Good, Meaghan. 2008. “Nancy Marleine Snow – The Charley Project”.

Siegel, Andrea F. 2005. “After 25 Years, Wound Of Heart Still Unhealed”. The Baltimore Sun.

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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