(Introduction to show begins)
TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): Welcome to Missing Pieces. I’m your host Todd Matthews. Tonight we have Nancy Marto. Welcome Nancy.
NANCY MARTO (Guest): Hello Todd, how are you tonight?
TODD: I’m really good. I hope you’re doing well.
NANCY: As good as can be expected.
TODD: Nancy is the stepmother of Lisa Guadenzi and Lisa has been missing since, what year has she been missing?
NANCY: January of 1995.
TODD: January 27th 1995 and she was actually in the military.
NANCY: Yes, she had come home; she graduated Fort Jackson, South Carolina boot camp on the 26th of January 1995. She was supposed to report to Fort Lee, Virginia, the following day, that Friday, January 27th and she never showed up.
TODD: So, she was 31 at the time of her disappearance.
TODD: Well, she’s a pretty girl and you’re her stepmother.
NANCY: Yes, Lisa and I were very, very close.
TODD: Okay, I’m looking at a lot of information; she’s been married and there’s foul play suspected in her disappearance.
NANCY: Yeah, the last person to see her alive was the babysitter where she had the baby at; she had asked the babysitter to watch the baby that night because she wanted to talk to her husband about a divorce.
TODD: Ahhh. Okay, I want to read a little about the case; Lisa was last seen Thursday, January 26, 1995 in the vicinity of Ruther Glen, Caroline County, Virginia, right?
TODD: With her husband, Lawrence Gaudenzi?
TODD: Lisa was on active duty with the US Army at the time of her disappearance. She was to report to Fort Lee, Virginia, Friday, January 27th, 1995 for officer’s training but she never arrived.
TODD: Previous name was Lisa K. Burdette; her maiden name was Lisa K. Marto, and you’re still married to her father now, correct?
TODD: Lisa was married to Lawrence Gaudenzi on May 20, 1994, and graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University, Saturday, May 21st, and she actually did really well in college, right?
NANCY: Yes, Lisa graduated with a 4.0 average, top 10 of her class of 2,400. She was studying to be a lawyer. The Army recruited her, and you know how that goes, “We’ll pay for some of your college education” and I understand, in Virginia, you’re voted in as a judge, she wanted to be a judge, so you need extra time in school for judgemanship down there.
TODD: Wow, and she was doing so really well and I think somebody might have mentioned in some in time, she might have ran away.
NANCY: No. She had everything planned. She left 2 children behind; an infant daughter that was 14 months old, and another daughter, Leah was 9. Leah has cystic fibrosis; she was born with it.
TODD: So there’s no way she would have left?
TODD: So how long have you been her stepmother? Most of her life?
NANCY: No, I married her father in ’94. Lisa and I, I had known Lisa for a long time, Lisa and I were very, very close. As a matter of fact, when we went down to Caroline County for the custody hearing for the children, way back when, I had brought a phone bill in and the sheriff was quite surprised that we could be on the phone every day for an hour or 2 hours at a time.
NANCY: Let’s face it most stepchildren and stepparents don’t get along.
TODD: No, not really.
NANCY: No, but Lisa and I were very, very tight. We used to call each other all the time.
TODD: So, and I’m reading on, and it says that it has been reported that police have been called to the Guadenzi residence before for domestic violence, so before that night, right?
NANCY: Yes. We didn’t know this until the day we were in court, but the sheriff had told us that he was out there on numerous occasions on domestic violence. I guess she was afraid to tell us.
TODD: So, were there any marks or anything that would have led you to believe?
NANCY: The only marks that I’d seen, I’d never seen anything on her until the night she got married, and I’d seen some marks on her legs and when I asked her about it, she told me she fell down a flight of steps. I said, “Uhh, they don’t look like falling down steps, but…” and Lawrence’s mother was knocking at the door and she covered quickly and said, “If Lawrence’s mother sees these she’ll be very upset.” So I took it for granted then that they were bruises from being beaten.
TODD: But you really had no reason to press forward at that point in time.
NANCY: I told her she didn’t have to get married; she could come home. It was the night of her wedding and I was doing her makeup and her hair for her wedding and that’s how I had seen them and I told her she didn’t have to marry this man. I said that she could come home with her father and me and bring the kids right now. There was no problem with that. And I think she was afraid of him because she had said to me that he would never let her leave with the baby.
TODD: So these children belong to him?
NANCY: The youngest one does.
NANCY: The oldest one was from a previous marriage with the Burdette name.
TODD: Now, there’s a reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Lisa.
TODD: How much is that reward now?
NANCY: Right now it sits at $10,000.
TODD: $10,000, and that’s for…can it be anonymous?
NANCY: It could be anonymous. It doesn’t matter. I will hand the money over to the state police; I have no problem with that. We put pictures in the ‘Caroline Progress’ down there in Ruther Glen. We tried putting a picture in the ‘Record’ over in Rockingham County but they refused to take it.
TODD: Why do you think that is?
NANCY: They told us that people have a tendency of running things when the people aren’t really dead and because it was a missing person poster that we wanted to put in and we had told them, “State police has the case in Caroline County’ and she said, “Well I would need a letter from them.” Well the state police inspector that was investigating the case wrote her a letter, talked to her, no problem and then they refused to do it.
TODD: That’s really unusual.
NANCY: Yeah, well Lawrence has a way of getting himself in with the people.
NANCY: When we went to court for custody of the children, in that June, he had someone get up on the stand and testify how good of a father he was to his 2 daughters that “I should have aspire to be such a good father as he is to his” the person got up and said, and we were a little surprise. Well, when Lawrence took off and nobody knew where he was, they called us. He disappeared, we don’t know what happened to him and now everybody is afraid.
TODD: So you still don’t know where he’s at now?
NANCY: Oh, now we know where he’s because he’s over in Rockingham County.
NANCY: Yeah, but at the time he had taken off, he fell off the face of the earth for about 7 years.
TODD: Wow. Well, that’s a long time. Her hair was dirty blonde, light brown; eyes were brown; 5 foot tall; 105 pounds; and she had scars on her forehead and sides of her mouth and she had intense dental work from a car accident.
TODD: Okay, now so I know you’ve…by this length of time…it’s been 12 years now?
TODD: You’ve entertained the possibility that she might not be alive?
TODD: And there’s a possibility that she could be a Jane Doe.
NANCY: Yes. The state police in Virginia have contacted all the MEs on the Eastern Seaboard. Any female remains that come in to please contact them.
TODD: Just along that certain area?
NANCY: Well, from like Florida all the way up to the Maine area because we’re right on the waterway. We’re in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and she was over in Virginia at the time.
TODD: What about the surrounding states from Virginia, the states that actually touch Virginia?
NANCY: Oh, well Virginia, I’m not sure about the other states. We feel that he’s moved the body. We believe that foul play came.
TODD: Now, intense dental work, we’re talking…did she have just mostly replaced teeth, false teeth or a partial plate?
NANCY: She had a special plate in the front of her mouth on the bottom of her mouth that somehow connected to her…I guess they would be called her eye teeth?
NANCY: Okay, that was connected to them because I remember one time she said she had to get them cleaned and she had to go to the dentist and have them take it out and cleaned, and then she had to go back and have them replaced, put back in, the dentist has to do that, so it was a permanent-type thing.
TODD: A semi-permanent replacement.
NANCY: Yeah, that’s it, semi.
NANCY: So it would be quite easy if remains came up with intense dental work like that.
TODD: Okay now who’s responsible for her website? Her website is www.findinglisa.com. You’ve got a really good…you know a lot of people don’t think about the domain names, they have these really long domain names, I mean they don’t actually buy a domain name like findinglisa.com, they’ll have a really long one and it’s hard to remember.
NANCY: Yeah, the shorter the better.
TODD: Absolutely. How long has this been in operation, the website?
NANCY: Probably, right after I guess I got her posted into the Doe Network. So I guess it’s been about 6 or 7 years, yeah about 7 years.
TODD: So are you working on the website yourself?
NANCY: No, I have a friend that designed it for me. I gave him all the information and told him what I wanted for the name for the website because I’m not that good on the computer, so he did it all for me. And anytime I need anything changed, I just email him and he changes it.
TODD: Looks like you’ve got all the right things there.
NANCY: Yes. We’ve contacted…other than that website, we’ve contacted 33 different agencies and people, everybody from the governor of New Jersey to the governor of Virginia.
TODD: Now, how was that like? Did you get a response from either governor?
NANCY: Yes. Governor Gilmore was the governor at the time and he was extremely nice and very responsive, but it was an ongoing case because what we did was we wrote under the Freedom of Information Act, and being an ongoing case, they couldn’t release anything but they had to keep better contact with us because they just kind of put it on the back burner and wouldn’t call us and just ignored our calls. And he came down on them and wrote us a nice letter and was very responsive; I was very surprised, more responsive that our governor Whitman at the time.
TODD: Now, a lot of times when family members create website like this, you have actually presented…and I’m seeing Special Agent James R. Lyons with the Virginia State Police and there’s a phone number there and the number is 804-553-3476, and obviously that would be a good person to call with any information on this. But you also have an email address on your website and that’s to Nancy@findinglisa.com.
TODD: Now, a lot of people do that now, you know the family member actually becomes the liaison working with law enforcement to try to help gather data. Have you ever gotten any tips?
NANCY: No. No, I’ve had a few people write in saying you know that they’ll pray for me and that they’re sorry and everything, but I’ve never gotten any tips. I thought it would generate something.
TODD: It takes time sometimes, but it looks like you’ve got everything here that you possibly could think. Now, she’s got the NCIC number, which is good; now was that difficult or was that sort of an automatic process or did…?
NANCY: No, that was difficult because she was in the Army and the sheriff really didn’t want to do that because her husband didn’t file a missing persons report, my husband had to issue one and we demanded that she be put on the NCIC list.
TODD: How long did that take?
NANCY: Oh, that took a couple years before she finally got a number.
TODD: I hate to hear that too because I know a lot of law enforcement don’t have a lot of faith in the NCIC, but if you don’t use it, you know that’s a resource there. I say use everything you can use but, unfortunately, the families sometimes have to press that.
NANCY: Yeah, well you know what happened originally they believed him. They believed that she was a disgruntled housewife and she ran away so every time he would open his mouth, you know, “Yeah, okay, you know everything is fine. She called me from here.” The beginning was you know, “She called my house and” it was Superbowl Sunday that weekend that she had disappeared, “she called the house on Sunday, she talked to my mother for, I don’t know, 15 – 20 minutes” Lawrence said, “and when she realized she was talking to her mother-in-law, she hung up the phone.”
NANCY: I said, “You know that would be a good trick because the phone bill shows that there’s a phone block on the phone.” There was never any call.
TODD: It never happened.
NANCY: Nope. Never happened.
TODD: Well, what about now? Are you in any contact with him now?
NANCY: No. I talk to the woman that they gave custody of our granddaughter to. Lawrence remarried; when he disappeared those 7 years, he took the infant with him. He changed her name; gave her a fake social security number, and he remarried under a facetious name, an alias. And the person that he remarried, the name that he used, he is missing, presumed dead.
NANCY: And she didn’t believe it at all when we went to court; then it was all over the TV in Richmond, they did like, you know excerpts, you know CrimeStopper-type things?
TODD: uh huh
NANCY: And I had it all taped and sent to her, and then she believed it, but in the meantime while he was sitting in jail and this had went to court, she annulled the marriage but they gave her the child because they felt that it was better that she get child because the child thought it was her mother all these years so it would be better that she raised…she was raising her so she could have her.
TODD: Has she ever mentioned any, like abusive…?
NANCY: What was that?
TODD: Did she ever mention any abusive scenarios in their relationship?
NANCY: No. No, because she had said that she wouldn’t tolerate that. She had been in a couple of abusive relationships before that and she wasn’t going to tolerate getting beaten by no man again.
TODD: Now, what about the military, have they been of any help at all?
NANCY: Well, she was stationed…she was supposed to go to Fort Lee, instead of them going to Fort Lee and asking her platoon, some of the people that went there, they didn’t, they waited 2 years and they went to Bosnia and a couple of places over in Europe, and they asked the people that she was in the Army with, “What do you think happened?” because we wrote to the Army under the FOIA also.
TODD: uh huh
NANCY: They sent paperwork back saying, “Sorry, we can’t release this information.” So we wrote back, you know back and forth, back and forth, and finally they released some and then it took 2 years before we got it. It was supposed to be, I think 90 days, so finally they gave us some paperwork and in between that we have read that they went over there and questioned some of her platoon. It’s in the report and their prognosis is that he’s under suspicion for the mysterious disappearance or possible death of Lisa.
TODD: So what do you think has to happen next? Before anything can happen, somebody’s going to have to find some possible match with a body.
NANCY: Yeah because, Virginia, they told me, they will not take it to trial without a body.
TODD: You know it’s happened though. There are cases that, you know, they do go to trial without a body.
NANCY: True, and you know what, there were 2 big cases in Virginia that went to trial without bodies and both of them were found guilty.
TODD: What’s the difference?
NANCY: The difference is it happened, from what I understand, it happened in Caroline County. They told me if it happened in any other county, there’d be no problem, but because it was that county, that particular prosecutor refuses to take it to court without a body.
TODD: Is there anybody you can go above that person? How do you do that? How do you go above, you know, there’s got to be a process in place?
NANCY: Yeah, probably the governor again.
TODD: uh huh
NANCY: Or the attorney general.
TODD: Well, everything takes a long time, but you know you’ve got to get something that, realistically that you can do before you live out your own natural life.
TODD: You know you want to have some type of closure and I know it’s always chasing down these loose ends sometimes you’re on a wild goose chase, or it seems you’re on a wild goose chase and it takes forever to get anything done, especially when you’re in a lot of pain.
NANCY: Oh yeah, the wheels of justice move very slowly sometimes.
TODD: Well, what about her Dad?
NANCY: He’s very upset over it.
TODD: Now how does he feel? Because you seem like you’ve moved into the forefront and actually become her spokesperson.
NANCY: Uh, it gave my husband a heart attack.
TODD: You’re kidding me. So he actually…so that was like immediately after?
NANCY: No, what happened was, we were fighting for custody and we couldn’t even see the granddaughter unless we went to the psychiatrist’s office and paid him to see our granddaughter for an hour at a time, and you’re talking an 8-hour drive from here to where they were in Virginia, and between the lawyers, the doctors, the lawyers there, the lawyers here, everything was building up and building up and the pressure just really got to him Lawyers out there wouldn’t return the calls and then when she did, it was “I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that” and “I’ll get back to you” and then in the end she wasn’t returning any calls at all. And they just didn’t like us.
TODD: So now, what about your…I know you got the NCIC, obviously that was a big step and it took a while, but what about the National DNA Database?
NANCY: That was already done also.
TODD: So that is completely done, you know there’s a new initiative into that now?
NANCY: Yeah, I’ve seen that, yeah. They did my husband’s DNA a year ago and they did her mother’s DNA at the same time. She lives in Florida.
TODD: Now, what about her Mom? Is she involved in the search other than donating the DNA?
NANCY: She donated the DNA with no problem. She’s kind of stepped back also; she’s…her health isn’t well, so she kind of stepped back and I kind of came forward and there’s another daughter, Gina, and she’s tied up with a lot of things, a job, her son and taking care of her house and taking care of her mother, so I said to her, “I’ll take care of this.”
TODD: So, it’s just a right time and place for you to do this, I guess.
NANCY: Yes, I guess it is.
TODD: Well, do you think this gives your husband comfort that you are doing it?
NANCY: Yeah. At least it’s being worked on. I might not talk to the state police every week but we keep in touch; they call me or I call them at least once a month, you know even to say that nothing is happening.
TODD: Well, how do those calls take place? What happens now when you call for an update, what happens?
NANCY: I’ll call and if he’s not in, I’ll leave a message on his machine and he usually gets back to me within an hour, or if he’s not in the office, he’ll get back to me in a couple days. He’ll tell me, “Nothing’s happening” or “We’re investigating this” or “Yeah, Lawrence is still working here” and that’s about it.
TODD: So, that’s a typical report that you would get?
NANCY: Excuse me?
TODD: That’s like the typical report that you would get; just a status and knowing that they’re still aware of it and, hopefully, something’s still going on.
NANCY: Yeah, well at least its better than sitting in a box in a closet somewhere; at least I know they’re working on it and I’m happy with that, you know.
TODD: You know it seems like they’re interested in your case. Do you feel like they’re working on it intensely or just reactionary? Pretty much if they see something change and then they kind of respond to it, and not that they’re not interested but I know that they’ve got a lot of things going on and it’s kind of hard to chase a loose end where there’s no direction to go.
NANCY: True. It’s not, I’ll put it this way, it’s not like they’re out there every day working on it but he does work on it. I know he was going to…they have contacted him with a few bodies over the past couple of states that they have found and that led to a dead end, but at least they contacted him, different MEs. I know he was going to the Army base to talk to them to see what information they had that he didn’t have. I know he was going to talk to the FBI to see if they wanted to get involved again.
TODD: Well, you know, she was on duty, I mean she was part of the military at that time, and this might sound like a strange question…what’s the difference between going missing here than if you actually went missing in a foreign country?
NANCY: They told us that she wasn’t Army issued. We even called the Pentagon and talked to them because they paid her for a year after she went missing because now they automatically deposit the checks; he (Lawrence) was going to the bank and getting the checks, getting the money out of the account. But they told us…they even went and got the film because they said, “Your daughter’s taking the money out of the bank” so they went and got the film from the ATM machine and when they ran it, they found out that it was Lawrence taking the money out of the account and that it wasn’t Lisa.
TODD: Well what happens to you when you do something like that?
NANCY: Well, guess what? He’s still walking around. They never pressed charges. I’d think that the Army would do something.
TODD: Well you would think, you know, I mean, how do you explain not?
NANCY: I don’t know. I have no idea. I just can’t believe that they did that; they just let it go by.
TODD: So there are no stupid questions tonight so I’m going to ask you something…it might be the really obvious things at times, but I just can’t imagine that something like that would just go unaccounted for.
NANCY: Well, when the Army said she not Army issued, I said, “What do you mean she not Army issued? She did her boot camp in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, how much Army to you want her to be?” And then they were sending her to officer’s training school and you tell me she’s not Army issued?
TODD: Well, I mean, she was actually involved in the military.
NANCY: Yeah, and they’re telling us that she wasn’t Army issued. I said, “Something’s wrong here. I don’t understand this.”
TODD: Well you would think that with somebody involved in the military that you sort of belong to that segment of society and it would look like they would try to do something.
NANCY: Yeah, well see because she was in the Army and he wasn’t. If he was in the Army, they could have done something. I said, “I don’t care; do something. She was the one that was in the Army. She became missing.”
TODD: You know, one of your own, you look for that type of camaraderie, like if she had gone missing in a foreign country whether it was actually war-related or not, there would be a little stronger pursuit.
NANCY: Yes! But not here, I guess if that happened over there, it would be no problem they’d be out there looking, but because it happened in the United States and there was, you know, problems with the husband, you know they just never really…they dropped the ball.
TODD: Now, as far as looking, when this first happened, what did you guys do? Did you ever actually do a physical search? Did you drive around…?
NANCY: We had…we hired a private investigator, he went down and he talked to the sheriff in the sheriff’s department and he put posters up in that area, he talked to Lawrence, he talked to different people, he even went to Florida to talk to some of the friends down in Florida. The thing was, he lived…Lawrence and Lisa lived on a Mormon compound in Ruther Glen, Virginia, that was well over 600 acres.
TODD: So, the obvious thing comes to mind again…any type of search in that area?
NANCY: Yeah, they took the airplane, heat sensors…they found the remains of a puppy that was Leah’s dog that Lawrence killed. They found an army jacket but that’s all they found. They had the dogs out but the dogs didn’t find anything
TODD: Now what about her brothers and sisters, does Lisa have brothers and sisters?
NANCY: Lisa has a sister, Gina.
TODD: And that’s the only one she has?
TODD: Okay and you said she kind of had the normal things going on with life?
TODD: How has she reacted to this, then and now? How old was she at the time that Lisa went missing?
NANCY: Gina’s 2 years older than Lisa. Lisa was 31, so Gina had to be like 33 or 34.
NANCY: Yeah. Uhh…really upset. Really upset, because she never liked Lawrence.
TODD: uh huh
NANCY: Didn’t get along with Lawrence in the slightest. At Christmastime that year that Lisa was away at boot camp, she flew in to Florida for the holidays because her daughter, her oldest daughter was in Florida because she had cystic fibrosis and she did a lot better down there with Lisa’s mother because Lisa’s mother used to be an RN.
TODD: uh huh
NANCY: So, Leah needed a lot of medication so it would be better that she was down there and her mother could give it to her, and there was a big problem at the airport, Lawrence started, you know…because they were a little late picking him up and he was kicking trash cans and screaming and hollering and carrying on like there was no tomorrow, and he got mad, he only stayed a day or two, and then he flew back home, excuse me, drove back home. Yeah, they didn’t get along with him, and the few times that we met him, we didn’t get along with him either, just didn’t like him.
TODD: Well did she ever say anything to her sister? Did her sister ever remember anything later that was like a red flag?
NANCY: No. The only thing that happened was when she was pregnant with the second baby and there was a hurricane in Richmond that year, and it was about an hour north of Richmond, I had called down there to see if everything was okay because there was a shopping mall that got pretty well damaged, and Lawrence kept answering the phone and kept saying, “She’s out, she’s out, she’s out.” So my husband told him, “Either we get to talk to her in the next 15 minutes or we’re calling the police,” well we got a hold of her right away; she was at her mother’s in Florida. We didn’t know why she went down there, she never told us. We found out, after she disappeared, that she was about 6 months pregnant, 7 months pregnant, and Lawrence beat her up.
TODD: Wow. That’s a lot to find out after the fact. Was that shocking, I mean afterwards, and I know it’s shocking, but I mean you found out a lot of things after the fact?
NANCY: I was horrified.
TODD: Is that something like, “I should have seen that. I should have realized that.” or “I was just totally deceived?”
NANCY: Well you know what, when a woman’s battered they always you know…if you’ve ever been around anybody or talked to women that have been battered, you know it was either their fault or they say, “I fell down steps” or “I bumped into this.” They always make excuses and never realizing, then after a while we thought back about it and I said, “You know I remember her asking us…” she didn’t ask us, she was supposed to come up one weekend and she couldn’t make it because, supposedly, the transmission on her car whacked. Well, we found out later on, I don’t think it was the transmission, he was there, Lawrence was there and the cops came because he took a baseball bat to the car.
TODD: Wow. That’s interesting right there.
NANCY: Yeah, so I think the money…we wound up sending them the money to have the transmission fixed, but I think the money went for fixing the car.
TODD: Well, do you think…do you ever, I mean, I guess…I don’t know how to put this…do you ever beat yourself up about it like, “I should have…I should have known better?”
NANCY: Yes. Yes.
TODD: Which, obviously, you’re doing everything you can do and you know hindsight’s 20/20.
NANCY: Well, you know she must have known something was going to happen because the baby she gave our last name to.
TODD: uh huh
NANCY: That baby was named Shelby Marie Marto. She didn’t have his last name and she…because she had asked me if she could do that, and I said, “Yeah go ahead” you know and so she asked her father and she said, “I know Daddy, if something happens to me, you won’t have any problems getting the baby.” So, she must have known in the back of her head and at the time we didn’t think too much about it.
TODD: But then you think later on…
TODD: …maybe that was a sign, but you know nobody really expects it because…what did you know about missing persons before this? I mean, was it just something you’d see on the news or “it can’t happen to me” you know, I have so many people that tell me that, “I had no idea that this really went on in the world to this level.”
NANCY: Oh yeah, I’m not, you know we watch TV, we see all of this, you know we’re downtown where the casinos are, so we a lot of things going on, but yeah, this just um…I don’t know, it just doesn’t get any better it seems. Like I said, she had that baby and she gave that baby that name; he changed it. We grant you that he didn’t change it legally, but he changed it and he didn’t put Gaudenzi as the last name, he gave a facetious name. That child’s in school with no birth certificate, no shot records, under a name of Logan Michelle Evans.
TODD: Now where is that at?
NANCY: Rockingham County, (Virginia).
TODD: Now is there any explanation as to why that can’t be touched, because the child has no identity, no real identity?
NANCY: Nope. We’re told to mind our business.
TODD: By who? Him?
NANCY: Oh no, not him, the officials in the county over there.
TODD: Well, how do you have an illegally changed name and it be okay?
NANCY: It’s fine with them that she goes to school under a facetious name. They see no problem with that. They have absolutely…I don’t understand this, anywhere else you’ve got to have a birth certificate but because he changed his…he actually had everybody believing that his real name was Randy Lee Evans. You see, Randy Lee Evans is missing.
TODD: Well, didn’t that raise any flags with the Evans, the people that are over the Evans case?
NANCY: The state police did, but over there it didn’t; they just thought we were picking on him.
TODD: It seems like these people need to get together in one room and have a conversation because this is just unusual. What about grandparents’ rights as far as visitation and that type of thing? How do you get around that?
NANCY: Oh, we don’t. The only visitation we can have is if we see the child in a psychiatrist’s office.
TODD: Is that still available to you?
NANCY: Probably, but at this particular time we don’t because Lawrence is now out of jail. When Shelby…Logan, we used to talk to Logan on the phone and he was out of jail, he just made it very miserable for her, so we want nothing to happen to the kid.
TODD: Sometimes just staying away…now so, obviously, he has not taken any place in any type of search for her.
TODD: Now how do you explain that? Has he ever even tried?
NANCY: No. He always told the state police that…not the state police, the Caroline County police that he’d be in for a lie detector test because they kept setting up lie detector tests, “Oh, I’ll be in; I’ll be in; I’ll be in,” well guess what? He set it up and he never showed. I said, “Did you really expect him to show?” “Well we had a good relationship going.” They didn’t have good of a relationship and that’s when he disappeared because he was on probation, from the state of New Jersey, no less.
TODD: Well, what about now? Why can’t we do it now?
NANCY: They won’t do it. They said they need probable cause to bring him in for a lie detector test.
TODD: How about not acting like you care when your wife goes missing? Illegal name changes? That’s some curious things, enough that I would say at least for a lie detector test.
NANCY: Yeah well, you know Virginia happens to be a commonwealth state, so their laws are a little bit different down there than like New Jersey, and I guess Tennessee is a regular state, it’s not a commonwealth state.
TODD: Kentucky is a commonwealth, and I’m in Tennessee.
NANCY: Oh, okay.
TODD: And there are differences, I see a lot of better things in Kentucky than I have here in Tennessee, and then vice versa, it just depends on the situation. It’s different. There’s just a different way of doing things and…
NANCY: They’ve definitely got a different way of doing things in Rockingham County let me tell you.
TODD: Well, what about relocating? What have you thought about…what do you think it would change if you moved there?
NANCY: Oh, they don’t like us.
TODD: I mean, as a citizen, would you have any more rights?
NANCY: No. No offense but they told us in court, “You Northerners.” Okay? I mean, you know, that’s how bad they don’t like us.
TODD: They called you Yankees, didn’t they?
NANCY: No offense, but you know what I’m saying?
TODD: Well, and that’s a common excuse, you know it’s easy to just throw that out there like “Well, they’re just causing problems” you know, and usually in the Southern communities, the smaller communities, people have been here for so long, anybody that comes in from the outside is, obviously, immediately an outsider, and they shouldn’t be here.
TODD: And you know, so that’s how you gather everybody around like, “That person’s coming in and causing problems.”
TODD: And sometimes it’s true, and sometimes it’s not.
NANCY: Well, see what happened was, this is the way it went in Lawrence’s life, Lawrence was born Italian-Catholic. He went down South and became a Southern Baptist for a while; then he moved to Virginia and became a Mormon, that’s when he lived on the Mormon compound; then he went to the other side into the Shenandoah Valley and became a Mennonite.
TODD: Well, that’s a red flag right there already, because a lot of times people go into those communities because of the privateness of the community. They’re able to shelter a lot of things from the public in those communities, under the cloak of the church.
NANCY: Right. Okay.
TODD: There are a lot of criminals that hide there. You know we had another guest (Episode #17), that actually took his children into the Mennonite community, he wasn’t born in a Mennonite community, he chose to become one. What he was concealing was, he was sexually abusing all of his children…
TODD: …and one finally told, and you know everything…it wasn’t really good for the children because they got split up and sent to different homes, so they spent a great deal of time trying to find each other again. So, even though they were taken out of harm’s way, the thing that meant the most to them, which was each other, was taken away.
TODD: So I heard from one of the boys, the oldest boy, and worked with him and some of the cold cases members, and we actually found some of the family members and then we had one that responded to a website, and it was a brother that was now in Texas and that’s kind of all got back together now, but it’s going to take a long time. They’ve got so much and so much water’s been under the bridge, years.
TODD: Years of it, you know but the fact is that people go into those communities to shelter themselves.
NANCY: Well, he met her in the Richmond area and then when she went back, because she’s from that area originally, and her parents were there, so she was originally a Mennonite, so when she brought him in, everybody loved him. You know, he let his hair grow long, he picked up a Southern accent and he became one of them, and they thought nothing about it. And when we went, we were the bad ones. “You’re trying to break up a family. You’re trying to take one of ours, one of OUR children” meaning our granddaughter. So, I don’t understand this.
TODD: Well, what about her ex-husband, which obviously, has probably got a new family now, right?
NANCY: We just found him after all these years. He disappeared off the face of the earth too.
TODD: So, now he knows?
TODD: Is he going to be instrumental in any way?
NANCY: No, none whatsoever.
TODD: Not at all?
NANCY: Not at all. He couldn’t care less. As a matter of fact, the weekend Lisa disappeared, that Monday when the MPs went to the house looking for her, husband #1 and husband #2 were living together.
TODD: So her first two husbands?
NANCY: Husbands Jim Burdette and Lawrence Guadenzi, Jim moved in the house with Lawrence, uh hmm.
TODD: In the same home?
NANCY: In the same home, yes. They became very good friends.
TODD: Wow. That is…uh…
NANCY: A little mind-boggling?
TODD: What kind of relationship was that?
NANCY: Oh, they had a good relationship. They sold drugs. They used to be in Richmond all the time. They were just good friends. I was like, “I just don’t believe this.”
TODD: I mean, what they had in common was a wife; and ex-wife and a wife and children.
NANCY: Other than that, the drugs that they sold, because both of them dealt drugs.
TODD: Did she realize during the relationship that there were drugs involved?
TODD: With Lawrence?
NANCY: She realized at the end because Leah was on a medicine for ADD…
TODD: uh hum
NANCY: …and the last couple months that Lisa was getting it, it was disappearing; Lawrence was stealing it and selling it. So, she had to stop giving Leah her medicine; she couldn’t get it anymore because he would just steal it. That I knew because, that, she told me, which I was shocked.
TODD: So, she herself told you that?
NANCY: Yes, she told me that. I was shocked when she told me that. Then I started asking her different questions and everything, you know, “Well he needed money, you know” “Well I don’t know, this isn’t right, I don’t understand.” But, yeah, that’s what they had in common, Lawrence and Burdette.
TODD: So now we’re leading back up to the time where she actually was interested in getting a divorce from Lawrence.
TODD: Okay, so now, how did that start taking place? Was that a long process?
NANCY: No. What happened was, she married…the Army said, you have to do something with these children; either give them custody to somebody or marry the father of one of the children, the youngest one.
TODD: Now, what business would that be? Why would they have that particular say-so over her?
NANCY: Because, even though she was only going to boot camp, God forbid, but in case she accidentally got shot and killed in boot camp, that somebody would have those kids, you know, be guardian over the children in case something happened to her.
TODD: But now that something did happen to her?
NANCY: Well, Leah grew up in Florida with Gina and Lisa’s mother and, like I said, he took the baby when she was 14 months old and she’s growing up in Rockingham County right now.
TODD: But they had that concern then that they were going to force her to do this or that but now they don’t…it looks to me like they would try to find her.
NANCY: Right. And the other thing is, there was an insurance policy for the children, and both the children, you know, get the money, and the Army don’t declare ‘legally dead’ that easily.
TODD: So is she now legally dead?
NANCY: No, we refuse to declare her legally dead.
TODD: Because it’s been 7 years.
NANCY: Twelve. But…because when we talked to the Pentagon they told us, “We’re not like civilians, if someone disappears for 7 years, we just don’t declare them legally dead.” Lawrence lives…even though the woman he married and got an annulment from, he lives in that apartment with her and the granddaughter, and as long as he’s with that granddaughter, that means he’ll get some of that money; and it’s for both the children, not him.
TODD: So when she wanted to file for divorce, what did she do? How did you know that she wanted to get a divorce from him?
NANCY: She told the babysitter.
NANCY: And we talked to the babysitter, and I think what happened was, while she was in the service, she realized that certain things weren’t adding up. It seemed like he was coming up here to visit his mother, but in reality, he had court hearings to go to. And I think she caught him in a few little lies, and one thing led to another and, remember, wanting to be a judge in Virginia you had to get voted in, you have a husband with a criminal record of 25 arrests with 23 convictions, I don’t think you’re going to be elected a judge.
TODD: Now that’s what I was thinking, you know I was going to get back to that because she was into this career to be a judge and into law enforcement, you know.
TODD: Which kind of doesn’t go with what he was doing.
NANCY: Right. When she married him, she had no idea, because if she had had an inkling, and I know Lisa, Lisa would never have married him.
TODD: Wow. This has just been a crazy case. I’m still looking over the website. I get quiet from time to time; I’m not lost, I’ve not drifted off, I like to look at it to see if I can find something else. Now, the reward money, where did this come from?
NANCY: From us.
TODD: So, you yourself?
NANCY: Yes, we posted it.
TODD: You and your husband?
NANCY: Yes. Yeah, she realized that Lawrence wasn’t a good guy and the night she’d come home from boot camp, she had told the babysitter, “Will you keep the baby overnight? I’m going to ask Lawrence for a divorce.”
TODD: And that’s when…?
NANCY: And she disappeared that night. Now the next day, he goes over to the babysitter, because we talked to her because she had the baby at the time. After Lisa disappeared, he kept the kid there and he was paying her to watch the baby. So we told her, “If he don’t pay, no problem, we’ll pay, just make sure that baby is safe.” So, she called us, that’s the day that Lawrence came over and was all upset, and she said, “I didn’t think he drank but I offered him brandy and he had a little cup of brandy” she said “he was quite upset.” She said, “I don’t know why” but I guess now we know why.
TODD: Something happened.
NANCY: Oh, yeah.
TODD: I mean, isn’t that…she was going to go ask him for a divorce and then suddenly she’s just gone. To me, that looks like enough of a good reason to have a chat with somebody.
TODD: It just…I just can’t take all this in…it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
NANCY: I know it’s a little hard to fathom, isn’t it?
TODD: Oh yeah, absolutely.
NANCY: And when you pull someone’s…you’ve got a police department with a sheriff and you pull someone’s report and you got the guy with 13 aliases and 6 different social security numbers, and you’ve been out to the house on numerous occasions for domestic violence, don’t you think that’s it a little bit ironic that the wife just disappears off the face of the earth? Then he had the audacity to tell the sheriff’s department that “Oh, she’s calling me from Cuba. She’s sending me letters from Cuba. She’s in Cuba with her Cuban boyfriend.” My husband asked, “Well did you get any of the letters. Have you seen any of them?” “Oh no, he’s destroyed them.” And you know it would be a good trick to call because, guess what? The phone bill I got that shows the phone block, also shows that there was a new number put in place that Monday. He changed the phone number.
TODD: I mean, sometimes just your actions, you know you would think would be enough.
NANCY: Yeah. He put a phone block on that phone from Thursday to Monday, and then changed the phone number on Monday, and put it in a new name.
TODD: Do you have any idea of the type of clothing that she wore the last time anybody saw her?
NANCY: No…I don’t remember. I know she always wore like combat boots, jeans and a flower shirt, that was her favorite thing to wear. I’m not sure if she came home in fatigues or not, to be honest with you, because she came right from the base because that were her graduation day. She probably had her Army uniform on because of graduation that day. And he drove from Virginia out to South Carolina, picked her up and came back, which was in violation of his probation but didn’t seem to bother anybody. Just like they told us after she disappeared, they called and told us to be careful because Lawrence was on his way up and he’s looking to kill us and call your ex-wife in Florida and tell her don’t let him in if they see him down there. Because he had said that he was coming up to kill us and then go down to Florida and kill them. I said, “Oh, just tell everybody this but don’t arrest him. Its threats; terroristic threats, but don’t arrest anybody.”
TODD: Wow. This has been some crazy case.
NANCY: Yes. It seems like he slipped through the cracks.
TODD: Wow, well, hopefully somebody will hear this tonight that might have some something to help you out with, and at least know a little bit more about the case and, again, the Detective Special Agent James R. Lyon with the Virginia State Police at 804-553-3476 and you can read more about the case at www.findinglisa.com. You’ve got a really good link on that, I’m really proud of you for getting that. Is there anything else that we need to talk about in this case?
NANCY: No, I think we…
TODD: Have you gone through all your notes?
NANCY: Oh yes, quite well.
TODD: I know you took some notes. We had a phone conversation before we actually recorded and I asked if you had anything that you wanted to talk about or didn’t want to talk about. We try to do that so we won’t say anything that we shouldn’t say but it seems like everything is pretty wide open with your case. In fact, you talked to law enforcement before we did the show.
NANCY: Yeah, as a matter of fact, what I didn’t say was we had contacted, way back when, when he had disappeared, we contacted the parole board of the state of New Jersey, he was still on probation, and we told them what had happened because the governor didn’t do too much, and they were quite upset, and the day that I talked to them, because they called me here at my place of business, and that afternoon they issued a warrant for his arrest, the governor’s warrant for his arrest. That’s how bad they wanted him.
TODD: Now what became of that?
NANCY: Well when they got him in Virginia, I made sure; I got a hold of his probation officer up in New Jersey, and told him that he’s down in Virginia. He deserves to come back to New Jersey. He was supposed to be doing time here. He skipped out. He has to do his time. It’s as simple as that. So, they made him come back, he only did a year, but a year was better than nothing.
TODD: Now what are you going to do? One day, you’ve got this website out and you’re waiting for this tip, you’ve got the reward, how do you handle it when somebody makes this call and they say, “I think I know where she’s at.” How do you deal with that?
TODD: I mean, you look forward to it but you can’t look forward to it.
NANCY: I don’t know. I don’t know. If they ever called and said they found her remains, I’d probably break down and cry.
TODD: But that’s what you’re looking for.
TODD: And that’s a funny thing, I think, I’ve heard so many people say, “I’d rather find them dead than to not find them at all.”
NANCY: Yes. Yes. There’s some closure then.
TODD: Yeah, you’ve got to have some point to stop and move forward. Now what about your husband, you told me he already had a heart attack once.
TODD: Will he be able to survive something like that?
NANCY: Yes, and we shall have closure. At least he’ll be able to bury her.
TODD: You think that would be easier than what he went through before?
TODD: Because you got past, I mean it never stops hurting but you do get used to it. You do sort of start getting use to the pain. You do have to start going about daily life again. You have to eat. You have to work. You have to mow the yard. Everything still has to happen.
NANCY: Oh yeah.
TODD: It doesn’t hurt any less but you do have to get back to normal, as much as possible, in a situation like this, but I know it’s hard. And I know she’d be proud of you for what you’re doing, you’ve done a lot of work for her, and I have a feeling you’re going to do a lot more.
NANCY: I hope so.
TODD: I do too. I wish you so much. Now, dirty blonde hair, light brown hair, I’m looking at the picture in her Army suit and it almost looks like she has highlights in her hair. Is that her natural color? What is her natural color?
NANCY: Like a dirty blonde.
TODD: Okay. Curly? Straight?
NANCY: It was shoulder length, it’s not really curly but it’s not straight, it’s in between. I don’t know what you call it, like a wave, wavy.
TODD: Wow. Well we’ve got a lot of information from you and I appreciate you being here tonight and hopefully we’ll have you back with a good update at some point in time where you’ve actually come to some resolution. We do keep your case in the archives, your show will be there forever or for as long as we’re alive to do it, so that you’ll be able to pass it on to media or whoever so that you can get out the information and not have to go through this whole conversation again. Usually people, when they’re dealing with the news media, you know I say this on many episodes, you’ve got like 15 seconds and you’ve got to hurry up and spill you guts right away, and I like to take the time and talk to people and just see what’s on the minds and just pretty much run out of things to talk about. I think it helps you talk about everything you wanted to say at some point in time.
NANCY: Yeah, I think I put it all out there.
TODD: Short of slandering people, I think we’ve done a good job tonight. I think we’ve covered a lot of things. Well, we’re going to say goodnight to our guests tonight and I’m going to hang onto the phone and I’m going to talk to you a little bit longer because I have a couple of suggestions that I want to talk to you off the air. But we’ll say goodnight to everybody.
NANCY: Okay. I thank you for having me on the show.
TODD: Thank you for being here and I hope to have you back again really soon.
NANCY: Oh yes, so do I, with some good news.
TODD: I hope so. Well, goodnight everybody and we’ll see you again next week. Bye-bye.
Missing from Ruther Glen (Caroline County) Virginia
Name: Lisa K. Gaudenzi
Age: 31 At the time of Disappearance
Hair: Dirty Blonde / Light Brown
Weight: 105 lb
Scars of forehead, sides of mouth, next to left eye,
intense dental work from car accident.
Last Known Address: 556 Redground Drive, Ruther Glen, VA
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