Following a double murder, hiking in Concord has taken on a different feel 

  • Theresa Wolf of Concord with her Golden Doodle, Willow, in the parking lot of the Marjory Swope Trails off of Long Pond Road in Concord on Thursday, April 28, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Theresa Wolf of Concord with her Golden Doodle, Willow, in the parking lot of the Marjory Swope Trails off of Long Pond Road in Concord on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • The Marsh Loop of the Broken Ground Trails in East Concord on Thursday, April 28, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • BELOW: The Marsh Loop of the Broken Ground Trails in East Concord on Thursday.

  • The Marsh Loop of the Broken Ground Trails in East Concord on Thursday, April 28, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Marsh Loop of the Broken Ground Trails in East Concord on Thursday, April 28, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Russell Lilley and Jana Flynn-Padick were at the Winant Park Trail off of Fisk Road during Lilley’€™s lunch break on Thursday, Apirl 28, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Russell Lilley and Jana Flynn-Padick were at the Winant Park Trail off of Fisk Road during Lilley’™s lunch break on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor columnist
Published: 4/28/2022 6:14:45 PM

Willow the Golden Doodle, normally trusting and affectionate, didn’t like the man in the white car.

The encounter occurred Thursday, just before Willow and Theresa Wolf of Concord, a retired medical professional, were about to disappear into the trees, past the entrance to the Swope Park Trail off Long Pond Road. Willow’s reaction put Wolf on edge.

“Willow didn’t seem to like him,” Wolf said. “She turned around at the start and came back (to the parking lot), close to the car. She senses things. She was just barking.”

Perhaps Willow was having a bad day, misjudging the character of the stranger in the car. But there’s little doubt that Wolf’s worry about Willow’s barking was a byproduct of the double murder last week near Broken Ground’s Marsh Loop Trail.

The mysterious shooting deaths of Wendy and Steve Reid has city residents fearful and asking questions. Police have yet to make an arrest in the shooting deaths of a couple who had a good reputation.

So people like Wolf, who routinely enjoy the city’s network of trails, now worry when their dog approaches a stranger and barks, rather than wags its tail.

Asked if she’ll visit the Marsh Loop Trail anytime soon, Wolf said “Not for a while. Not until we learn what’s going on. What was the motive? That’s the big question, and they were good people.”

This case has a worrisome feel. The Reids were last seen on April 18, heading for their hike on the 1.5-mile loop on Marsh Trail.

They were reported missing on the 20th and discovered on the 21st.

Concord police continue to investigate the crime with the help of state police and the FBI. The lack of an arrest, plus the location in which the murders took place, and the strange circumstances surrounding the case – middle-aged couple shot to death on a hike – has people wondering: Was it random? Perhaps a serial killer? Were they targeted?

As the community waits for those answers, another question emerged – as Wolf wondered – is it safe to hike again?

“We have no specific information that would lead us to believe the public in general is at any risk, but with that being said, be vigilant, take your normal daily precautions,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward said on April 22. “Concord Police will continue to be vigilant with patrols in those areas and in areas where there are public outdoor recreational spaces.”

The case has caused hikers to consider safety measures beyond a twisted ankle or carrying extra food and water.

Said Wolf, “I’ve seen some shady characters where we didn’t get a good vibe, so we just turned around. There are times at this trail where I have not felt comfortable. No matter the trail you go on, you just have to beware.”

Russell Lilley of Concord views things more confidently. He sat in the parking lot at the Winant Trails, eating his lunch with his partner, Jana Flynn-Padick, during a break working as a landscaper at nearby St. Paul’s School.

Lilley is confident he can go anywhere he wants. At any time.

“I carry a gun pretty much everywhere I go,” said Lilley, who’s isn’t armed while working at St. Paul’s. “I’m an avid Second Amendment supporter, so I don’t worry about myself too much because I can protect myself. It’s other people I worry about.”

Flynn-Padick said she and Lilley hike together all the time. They hike at the quarry behind Blossom Cemetery.

In fact, they’ve hiked all over Concord, including the Marsh Loop Trail at Broken Ground, where the Reids were shot.

Flynn-Padick doesn’t carry. She’s not sure when they’ll return to the Broken Ground trails.

“With so little information around, it’s frustrating and scary,” she said. “I would feel more comfortable going with him carrying a gun. I’ve shot a few times, but it’s never been a regular thing for me. That may be changing.”


Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.



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