BRATTLEBORO—Almost 10 years ago, Marble Ace Arvidson, 17, left a note on his bedroom door saying he’d return in approximately 30 minutes.
No one has seen him since.
At least, no one who has shared information with Marble’s family or the Brattleboro Police Department.
“We won’t stop looking,” said Trish Kittredge, Marble’s aunt.
Detectives with the Brattleboro Police Department are reviewing Marble’s case with fresh eyes and requesting anew that the community share any information — even if it seems insignificant.
Detective Lt. Jeremy Evans said that an absolute lack of strong leads makes Marble’s case unique.
According to Evans, in most missing persons cases, detectives have at least some leads. Not so with Marble.
“Just boom, and he was gone,” he said.
‘The biggest priority is finding Marble’
Nobody knows what happened after Marble Arvidson left his foster home at 503 Marlboro Rd. (Route 9) on Aug. 27, 2011 with a man who had come to the door of the red house next to the Chelsea Royal Diner.
Evans confirmed that the man remains unidentified.
According to a roommate, Marble greeted the man at the door, a person whom he seemed friendly with. Shortly after that, Marble wrote his note, posted it to his door, and left.
Marble’s family and those working his case all hope that with a decade’s worth of distance, people’s lives may have changed enough that they now feel comfortable coming forward, even if that wasn’t the case at the time of his disappearance, Evans said.
He said that people don’t come forward during an investigation for “hundreds of reasons.”
His mother, Sigrid Arvidson, said that in 2011, detectives didn’t have enough information to narrow down a location to start looking for her son. In 2011, searches were organized, but she knows areas were surely missed.
“Our position as a family is that the biggest priority is finding Marble,” she said. “It would be a very slim reason to me that anything is placed in front of that. So justice is very much a distant second from finding Marble.”
Kittredge and Arvidson said that no one should assume that the police have all the facts.
“If they haven’t physically spoken to the police before or since, they should not assume that the information that they [personally] have is already known by the police,” Kittredge said. “So if they [think], ‘Hey, I have this thought and it’s been running around in my head for 10 years, but I’m just sure it’s nothing,’ call the police.”
“It’s all of those little pieces that can be brought together that might bring a picture into focus,” she noted.
Kittredge would most like to speak to the man who came to the door.
“I feel like if we could talk to that person, it would begin to figure out where [he went] on that day,” she said.
The same details — and many assumptions
According to the federal National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS), Marble’s hair was strawberry blond and shoulder length. He has blue eyes. He also has several scars on his arms.
Marble, at 6 feet tall and 165 pounds, was last seen wearing a black fedora hat, a black button-down shirt, and black pants.
His family and police assume he was wearing shoes, but though the NamUS listing says he was wearing black hiking boots, they can’t be sure.
Marble was a student at Brattleboro Union High School, looking forward to beginning his senior year. According to reports in multiple news articles at the time, he was dating and making plans for life after high school.
On the afternoon of Aug. 27, a roommate said they heard Marble answer the door. After a friendly exchange with the unknown male, Marble stuck a note on his bedroom door saying he was with “the Gremlin Hoard” (his friends at a party) and that he would be back soon.
He then left with the person to an unknown destination and “unknown means of travel,” according to a profile of the case from Vermont State Police.
“Marble left the house right before it started raining and then was away that night and didn’t return for his — what everybody assumed was his plan to get together with his then-girlfriend,” Kittredge said. “And when he didn’t return, and it was assumed maybe he stayed somewhere else.”
And soon thereafter, the rain started falling as Tropical Storm Irene came careening up the East Coast and into Vermont.
Despite — and amid — the chaos caused by the winds and rain, which washed out roads and flooded homes across Windham County and the state, several searches were conducted.
According to the VSP, several unconfirmed sightings of Marble have been reported, the last of which was in Brattleboro in April 2012.
But beyond those fleeting tips, no substantial leads have surfaced.
Detectives are starting from scratch in an effort to find new information or leads. The team reviewing the case is completely new and sometimes fresh eyes can yield fresh insights, Evans said.
“As a parent, I can’t imagine this,” he said.
Marble’s disappearance wasn’t acknowledged until the next day and, by then, the whole community was in crisis because of the storm — a situation that Kittredge, who organized the ground search for her nephew in 2011, said overshadowed those efforts.
It is difficult for the community of people who knew him to look back at the days that followed and recall at how so much more attention went to the natural disaster.
“It wasn’t really acknowledged until the next day that he was truly missing,” Kittredge said. “By then, the river had breached at that point, and roads were being washed out, power lines were down, and the whole community was in crisis — not just this family.”
Grateful to the community
Kittredge said she still feels appreciation for the hundreds of people who searched for Marble and distributed flyers.
“Weekend after weekend and day after day, we had families and parents with their kids and all kinds of people coming in from out of town to help us search for Marble,” Kittredge said. “We would, one, want to thank them for that and, two, want to remind them to go back and think about that time — and then maybe look at it from a new light.”
Kittredge retired in 2016 after 25 years in the Army. She is now the director of operations for a youth sports camp in Pennsylvania during the summers.
Arvidson now lives in New Mexico and said that she has heard rumors that Marble left the house wearing hiking boots. She’s not sure that’s accurate. She does believe, however, that he didn’t expect any trouble.
Kittredge’s organizational efforts made the physical search for Marble possible, Arvidson said. Everyone who showed up at the search headquarters located in the parking lot of the Chelsea Royal was assigned to groups and received a map, a whistle, and a camera. They were briefed on search procedure, she said.
Community searchers would walk river banks and trails, and a canine search also got off the ground, she added.
“God bless everybody,” Arvidson said.
She added that most of the searchers were adults, and adults are often not privy to the “kid world.”
As a result, she urges anyone who was a part of Marble’s social network to share information they have either from Aug. 27, 2011 or from the weeks leading up to it.
Memories of Marble
In 2021, most hear the name Marble Arvidson and immediately conjure a missing 17-year-old.
Yet, according to his aunt and mother, Marble was a complex young man who was creative and empathetic and who carried his own struggles some days with more grace than others.
Arvidson remembers Marble as a “presence in Brattleboro.” She described him as playful, a creative thinker, an incredible storyteller with a deep capacity for empathy, and the profound ability to recognize another’s struggle and know how to cheer them up.
She recalled how her son would interact with strangers who looked like they needed a lift.
Marble had a “flamboyant streak” and fostered his own style, she said. She remembers that he used to carry a baby spoon in his coat pocket just because he thought the tiny utensil was “cool.”
“He understood suffering, and he understood that laughing helps,” Arvidson said.
Kittredge smiled while she listened to her sister’s recollections.
According to his NamUS profile, Marble left the house that afternoon wearing a black fedora. Marble always wore the distinctive hat from Guatemala, Kittredge said. “He always wanted to make a statement.”
She described him as “goofy,” as “jovial,” and as someone who could connect with anyone, recognizing what it would take in that moment to make a person feel better.
“So he was somebody who wasn’t afraid to embrace the day or embrace life,” Kittredge said. “Even though on many levels, he struggled figuring out where that was going for him and where maybe he felt comfortable or not in those struggles.”
Arvidson said that sometimes Marble’s kindness and his struggles led him into “unknown situations,” acknowledging that there are people in this world who would want to take advantage of helpful and empathetic people like him.
She acknowledged that some of her own struggles were why he was “receiving help out of the home” and living with a foster family.
But her son’s status “as a foster kid” and his disappearance during a catastrophic flood both bother Arvidson, who feels that people have made too many assumptions.
It has never sat well that people described as “unfortunate” the fact that Marble disappeared so close to Tropical Storm Irene.
Arvidson that she’s still angry that at the time, the flooding and recovery efforts received more press than Marble’s disappearance. She also believes that if Marble had been a blonde, blue-eyed girl, people would have worked harder to solve the mystery.
She said people probably still react to Marble’s story with bias.
“There’s been a lot of assumptions made that have not helped the situation or the investigation at all,” Arvidson said.
Anonymous information welcome
Marble Arvidson would now be 26 years old.
Talking about his disappearance was difficult enough for Kittredge and Arvidson, but talking about where he could be now is heart-wrenching for them. Both stifle tears when mentioning the scenario that he might still be alive and unable to return to them.
“We don’t believe he left willingly,” Kittredge said. “And I don’t like to imagine the scenario that would allow him to still be alive [and held] against his will out there and not have come back to us.”
She added a direct message to Marble, with a fierceness in her voice: “If you read this — know that we love you and that we’re looking for you.”
There are still some who believe that Marble left of his own free will, that his complicated relationship with family left scars both physically and emotionally.
One of Marble’s high school friends offered The Commons this theory, characterizing him as “scary smart when it came to personal relationships.”
“Marble had the intelligence to run and not get caught,” his friend said, adding that he “knew how to get what resources he needed from various people.”
If Marble Arvidson is alive and happy and left his old life behind a decade ago voluntarily, his mom says she would be happy for him regardless.
“I mean, if you’ve got something cool going on — high five, man,” Arvidson said.
She suggested that he could potentially turn himself in and receive the reward — now $10,000 — that has been raised for information leading to his location.
“You can get the f—ing reward money for finding yourself, man,” Arvidson said. “How cool would that be?”
That might sound ridiculous, Arvidson conceded.
But she said that whatever the situation, she just wants Marble to know he’s is loved — no matter what.
‘I want to find my boy’
Arvidson said that in August, if the pandemic situation allows and Marble’s whereabouts remain unknown, the family plans to hold a memorial for Marble.
They still hope that won’t be the case as they push boldly for progress on Marble’s disappearance.
Arvidson begged — “from the bottom of my heart” — for anyone with information to come forward without fear of being presumed guilty in any way.
“I’m his mom, I want to find my boy and miss him. I love him,” she said. “He deserves to be found.”