At 2:00 AM on the morning of November 17, 2000 a neighbor was awakened by what he said was the screams of a woman coming from the direction of the apartment directly beneath his bedroom. The location the neighbor described as the origin of the screaming was the bedroom of Annmarie Kotowski (the victim). The neighbor said the screaming lasted approximately 20 seconds. He stated he then heard a banging sound, which he described as wood on wood, followed by a woman sobbing. He telephoned 911, Lee Police Dispatch, and reported what he had heard.
At 2:07 AM two Lee Police cruisers arrived in front of the neighbor’s residence. The neighbor flashed the lights in his apartment to alert the police to his apartment. He did not go outside to speak with the police, nor did he call them again when he heard the woman in the apartment below continue to moan and cry throughout the night. He thought the problem had been resolved and that the woman was having a “tantrum.”
Michael O’Laughlin (a caretaker for the Foxhollow apartment complex) heard the police cars pulling in and the officers’ radios and talking. He looked out his bedroom window and saw the police cars. He went over to his door and opened it and saw the two police officers, one who he recognized. Michael exited his apartment and approached the police officers asking them what was going on. The officers asked Michael if he had heard screaming. He said he heard the screaming sound, but wasn't certain that the noise was that of a woman or noises made by an animal. He explained to the officers that he had heard a raccoon and fox fighting in the garbage in recent nights (there were raccoons in the dumpster Thursday (11/16) afternoon which Michael got them out at 4:30 PM). The Lee Police Officers then exited from the Foxhollow property, without further investigation.
At approximately 6:10 AM the victim’s boyfriend came to her apartment, as he had been doing for weeks, to visit and have coffee prior to going to work. He explained that when he would come to visit the victim in the mornings, he would find the door unlocked, coffee brewing, lights on and the victim in the shower. This morning however lights were off in the apartment and the front door was locked, but the victim’s car was parked in front of her apartment. The boyfriend knocked on the apartment door, but there was no answer. He said he heard a faint sound of a voice, but thought it was emanating from an upstairs neighbor. He attempted to contact the victim with his cellular phone, but could not obtain a clear signal so he went to a pay phone at a nearby convenience store to telephone her. She did not answer but her answering machine came on. The boyfriend became concerned and returned to the victim’s apartment where he again knocked on the door without an answer. He said he heard the alarm clock sounding in the victim’s bedroom and became more alarmed so went to the rear entrance of the victim’s apartment. He forced his way into the victim’s apartment through the sliding glass door at the rear of the apartment. He entered the victim’s apartment, which was dark and proceeded to her bedroom located at the front of the apartment. As he approached the victim’s bedroom, he was calling out to her. He heard the victim say, “Who is it?” He gave his name and she asked “who?” He located the victim on the floor of her bedroom covered in blood (the victim’s head and hands had been badly beaten, causing extensive bleeding). He called 911. Emergency personal responded and transported the victim by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA where she was being treated for serious injuries.