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No arrest two years after murder of Wolfeboro woman

Paula Tracy
New Hampshire Union Leader

May 10. 2011 11:01PM
STACEY BURNS...murder victim 
WOLFEBORO -Two years after Stacey Burns was found stabbed to death in her bed, discovered by one of her five children, no one has been charged with her killing.

State police and investigators from the Department of Justice said they consider the case still active and under investigation but have remained tight-lipped.

'It's still an open case,' said Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin, who is in charge of the homicide unit.

In the past year, the case has had national publicity, including a Jan. 21 piece by ABC 20/20. Some had hoped that the attention to the case this past winter would be helpful in the case.

The nationally televised interviews included her former husband, Ed Burns, her former lover, Jim Vittum, and a collection of close female friends in Wolfeboro devastated by the loss, who believe that someone who loved her was motivated by jealousy and killed her on Mother's Day morning.

Burns was the elementary school nurse in town and a well-known figure in the community with five school-age children.

Though the family no longer lives in Wolfeboro, the community said it still wants closure for the 41-year-old mother's murder.

Vittum was Burns' boyfriend for about a year from April 2008 to 2009. Although they had broken up, he said they kept a very close friendship, particularly through the tumultuous days dealing with her ex-husband, whom a court had found to be abusive.

Vittum, 50, a lifelong resident of the area, said police sat him down for 14 hours after the body was found, pulled the drains out of his house, seized his car, clothes and other objects and he was subjected to a lie detector test, which he said he failed.

'That's when I got an attorney,' he said.

But he said he is innocent.

Ed Burns told ABC that he was out of state that weekend and did not kill his ex-wife.

State Police Major Crimes have recorded thousands of investigative hours on the Stacey Burns case including forensic analysis.

'We continue to closely look at everyone and anyone who knew the victim,' Strelzin said.

On the night before her death, May 10, 2009, her twin girls, age 7 and daughter, age 9 were with their father.

Burns' 13-year-old daughter and a friend were having an overnight at the Burns house. They went up to sleep in that daughter's third-floor bedroom at the front of the house while Burns' son, 15, and his three friends were playing X-Box and music in the center of the house. They went to bed about 2 a.m. None of the children in the house reported hearing anything.

Vittum said he came by the house at 7 a.m. for coffee, but no one stirring and he left.

Stacey Keane grew up in Natick, Mass., the daughter of the late Francis Keane, who was a police chief and a judge. She graduated from Natick High School and went on to study at North Adams State.

After her graduation, she met Ed Burns, who also went to Natick High School but was about six years her senior.

In 2007 she filed for divorce and later obtained a restraining order. In addition to physical altercations she claimed that he had told her 'death before divorce,' she wrote in court papers.

A restraining order between Burns and her husband had been lifted .

The two were sharing the children without further court intervention. A court hearing, however, was to be held the following day on a child support issue.


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