For Immediate Release
November 4, 2021
From the desk of Shannon Moss, DPS PIO
Feisty, quick-witted, with a deep love for her family. That’s how Tonia Ross remembers her mother Dorothy “Dottie” Milliken, a 27-year-old mother of three who was beaten to death outside a Lewiston Laundromat more than four decades ago. Tonia was just seven years old when her mother was killed. “The loss doesn’t go away. It’s something you think about every single day” said Ross.
On Saturday, November 6, 1976, at approximately 4:40 a.m. Dorothy’s body was found lying outside Beal’s Laundromat at 969 Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Dorothy usually did her laundry in the mornings along with her daughter Tonia but on Friday, November 5, 1976 she decided to do her laundry at night as she was preparing to return to work that Monday from maternity leave. Dorothy left her home around 11 p.m. Friday night after her husband went to bed. Dorothy’s body was discovered by a newspaper delivery person the following morning. An autopsy revealed she died from blunt force trauma to the head.
“Your first boyfriend, first school dance, you get married, have children, all those big life moments that come along and there’s a void because you wish you could talk to your mom and share those moments with her. Even the everyday things. It never goes away; it never goes away” said Ross.
Dorothy’s daughters say it’s time for the person responsible for their mother’s murder to come forward.
“It’s time. I deserve, my sister and my family deserve closure and it’s not fair that the person who did this has just gone on through life without a conscience like it’s ok, because it’s not ok. It’s not ok to take a life” said Ross. “They should come clean, they should get it off their chest and bring me, my sister and my family closure.”
“These kinds of cases are the most challenging to work on,” said Michael Chavez, the primary detective who has been investigating the case since 2012 after he was promoted into the State Police Major Crimes Unit. “Over the years, a number of other State Police Detectives have been working on this case and we have still yet to uncover both the motivation for the crime and the person responsible.”
Since taking on the case, Chavez said that the more he drills down into the depths of the case, the more he feels he’s closer to uncovering the truth. “It’s all there in these old reports,” Chavez said, referring to several
swollen blue binders that house the Milliken case files. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the person who did this was so consumed by anger that they made a conscious effort to brutally strike down an unarmed woman
without thinking twice about the consequences. To make things worse, this person had the audacity to just walk away, which left the family consumed by anger, regret and sorrow.”
Dorothy’s family is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.
“I don’t hate the person who did it. I forgive the person who did it. But it’s time for us to know what happened” Ross said.
Detective Chavez encourages anyone who may have additional information including any person who may have participated in this event to come forward to make things right.
If you have information on this case please contact the Maine State Police, Major Crimes South, One Gray Farm Rd. Gray, ME 04039 or call 207.228.0857.