21 Aug 2014
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20/20 Will Feature Gripping Peabody Domestic Violence Case

The victim in the case "symbolizes hope to all those living with domestic violence," said Peabody Police.

20/20 Will Feature Gripping Peabody Domestic Violence Case

Submitted by Peabody Police Department

On Friday March 14, 2014 at 10 p.m., 20/20 on ABC will feature a story about undercover operations concerning Murder-For-Hire investigations that have been conducted by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Bureau.

One of those highlighted in this hour-long show will be the story of former Peabody resident Guillermo Vasco. In 2004, Vasco, estranged from his wife, went to her residence and was going to burn the house down with her, himself and their infant child. However, his wife was able to convince him that she still loved him and wanted to start over again.

With a plan to go to Canada, they needed to stop at Lynn City Hall for her birth certificate. It was there she was able to escape. She had saved her baby’s and her own life that day.

Guillermo Vasco was arrested by Officer Glenn Dunnigan and assisted by Det. Joe Chadbourne of Lynn Police Department. Lynn Police Department notified Peabody Police Department of their arrest. 

Sgt. Sheila McDaid, then head of the Peabody Police Domestic Violence Unit, was contacted by Det. Chadbourne to respond to Salem Hospital to interview the victim. 

Officer David Murphy was dispatched to the scene to secure the house. Lt. Scott Wlasuk, Lt Richard Callahan, Lt. Thomas O’Keefe, (ret) Sgt. Charles Randall and Det Stephanie Lane also responded.

The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Unit was called to the scene and a search warrant was obtained after MSP cleared the scene. A five-gallon can of gasoline was seized, with suicide notes and other evidence. 

In addition to other charges, Guillermo Vasco was originally charged with two counts of assault to murder and kidnapping. In 2005, while he awaited trial and was housed in Essex County Correctional Facility, he attempted to hire a hit man to kill his wife and baby.

He did not know that the hit man was actually ATF undercover Special Agent Kenneth Croke, who along with Special Agent Matthew O’Shaughnessy, devised a plan with the assistance of the victim that was successful in putting Guillermo Vasco in prison for 28 years.

The ATF hired a movie make-up artist to make the victim appear to have been shot in the head. Photos were taken and shown to Vasco in jail and his response was caught on video and used successfully in his trial in the Federal Court.

This is one of the highlighted true-to-life stories that will be shown this Friday night. David Muir from 20/20 was in Peabody two weeks ago to conduct his interview with Sgt. Sheila McDaid, who informed David Muir, that had it not been for the courage of that victim, who under life-threatening circumstances came up with a plan to survive, saved herself and her baby.

She symbolizes hope to all those living with domestic violence.

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