Boston’s Last Unsolved Mystery: Lucy the Cat

The surprisingly intriguing story of a lost pet.



Via the ‘Bring Lucy Home’ page on Facebook

Whitey’s in court. Tsarnaev’s in court, next door. They’ve got a bead on the Gardner heist. And—because why not?—there’s new evidence in the Boston Strangler case. Are you serious? Throw in Aaron Hernandez and we are totally, hopelessly awash in crime news. It’s been remarked often lately that, thanks to this recent run, all of Boston’s mysteries have been solved.

But no! There’s one, final unsolved mystery still bedeviling our great city. That of Lucy the Cat. Take it away, Brookline Tab:

Virginia Smith’s missing cat, Lucy, might not have gotten the same attention as Dennis Lehane’s lost dog, Tessa, but Smith’s story is turning into one fit for Lehane’s sordid crime sagas.

Lucy has been missing now for 15 months, but a tireless search including police investigation and a hired private investigator, working only with grainy surveillance footage, finally led a few weeks ago to a home in Cambridge, where a woman suspected of taking Lucy resides.

A 15 month search! That’s longer than the FBI spent (actually) looking for Whitey. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version of the hunt for Lucy: About six weeks after Smith’s cat first went missing, it was picked up by another woman. That woman brought Lucy the Cat to an MSPCA Animal Shelter in Jamaica Plain. There, workers identified Lucy as belonging to Smith. Hearing the news, the woman grabbed the cat and made a break for the door! It was a cat-napping in broad daylight.

Now it was up to Smith to track down her cat-thief. All she had to go on was the grainy surveillance footage of the woman fleeing the animal shelter and of leaving the lot in her car. The Tab reports:

Months went by and Smith dedicated thousands of hours on searching for her lost cat, putting up more than 600 flyers in Brookline, Cambridge and Boston, and using social media sites such as Facebook to reach as broad of an audience as possible. The Facebook page she created is called “Bring Lucy Home,” and includes photos of the suspected cat thief and of Lucy.

“I just devoted myself to getting Lucy home,” said Smith.

She eventually hired private detective Kevin Flynn of Interstate Investigations in Natick to take on the case about five months ago.

Flynn’s partner was later able to narrow the year of the car down to 2000 to 2003, based on the taillight.

Finally, Smith tracked down the car to a home in Cambridge. When confronted, the mystery woman apparently said that she had Lucy, but got rid of her months ago. She now has a cat that looks just like Lucy, but, in yet another chilling twist, the Tab reports, “the microchip implanted in the cat did not return Smith’s address.” Apparently those things aren’t so hard to switch out, but still … intrigue!

So now Smith finds herself at a dead end, and is taking her case to the courts. Will the mystery of Lucy the Cat ever be resolved? We don’t know. But we do know that Boston is clearly not out of mysteries.