Suspect at large after retired Vermont university dean is found shot to death


A suspect remained at large following the still-unsolved murder of a retired dean near the school last week. Officials said that 77-year-old former dean and professor Honoree Fleming was fatally shot on the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail last week, killed from a gunshot wound to the head.

Detectives said they have been interviewing numerous witnesses and residents in the area, and are looking at surveillance footage from the area in order to try and identify the suspected killer. Witnesses described a white male with short red hair, approximately 5’10”, last seen wearing a dark grey t-shirt and carrying a black backpack. State police have called the suspect “armed and dangerous” and asked homes and businesses near the trail to go over their security cameras in case they have footage of this man.  Authorities believe that the killing of Fleming appears to be random.

Fleming lived in Castleton with her husband, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Powers. Powers said that the rail trail was one of Ms. Fleming’s favorite walks, and that she started on the hike at around 4pm from the pavilion area at the college campus and was walking south towards Poultney, just a few miles from the New York state border. Mr Powers posted online: “Those of you who knew her know that she was beautifully named. I have never known a more sterling heart and soul than hers. She has taken far more than half my own heart and soul with her … There is an area-wide dragnet out for her killer. Police believe that it was random, but all possibilities remain open.” 

Students returned to Vermont State University on Sunday and Monday ahead of the re-start of classes on Tuesday, after classes were not held at the Castleton campus on Thursday due to fall break. Vermont State University said in a statement on social media: “Honoree was a part of the Castleton family and was beloved by faculty, staff, and students. Scores of students benefited from Dr. Fleming’s teachings and research. … This is an unbelievable tragedy for the Castleton campus and for all of Vermont State University. Honoree will be deeply missed.”

Editorial credit: Katherine Welles /