As family and friends of Rachel and Lillian Entwistle arrived for their funerals late this morning, there was one noticeable no-show: Neil Entwistle, husband and father of the victims.
Described by police as a "person of interest" in the investigation, Entwistle, 27, has been holed up for the past week at his parents' house in Worksop, England, a city north of London.
"That's the million-dollar question. Why isn't he back for his wife and daughter's funerals?" mused Boston Herald investigative reporter Dave Wedge. "Defense lawyers would tell you he'd be a fool to come back because once he's back, the authorities would probably keep him here."
Hundreds of people showed up at this small, white church to pay their respects to the former schoolteacher and her 9-month-old daughter. Pallbearers unloaded one wooden casket from a hearse parked in front of the church and carried it slowly up the stairs.
On Jan. 21, police found the bodies of Rachel, 27, and Lillian lying in bed in the master bedroom at the couple's Hopkinton, Mass., home. A single bullet from a small-caliber handgun had pierced the torsos of both mother and daughter; Rachel had a second bullet in her head.
Officers had come to search the rented, two-story colonial in the Boston suburb after receiving a call from worried family members who said the Entwistles had failed to show up for their own dinner party the night before. Investigators later discovered that Neil Entwistle had caught a flight from Boston's Logan Airport to London's Heathrow the day before, an unplanned trip.
Entwistle, an unemployed computer programmer, has been in touch with Massachusetts investigators by phone, but when they flew to London last week to meet with him at the U.S. Embassy, he backed out of the interview.
Rachel's family has refused to comment publicly about Neil Entwistle, and left his name out of the obituary submitted to their hometown newspaper. Joe Flaherty, a spokesman for the family, told reporters recently, "Rachel was a wonderful wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister and mother. She was always first to share her beliefs, her love and her support with others. She made her close friends a part of her family, and she always kept her family at the center of her life."
Neil Entwistle maintained a series of "get rich quick" Web sites, promising customers the chance to make millions with pornographic sites in return for a deposit of $1,700. He sold computer software on eBay and received primarily favorable reviews from customers.
On Jan. 6, however, everything changed. Starting that day, eBay received a flood of complaints from customers who said they had not received the merchandise they purchased from Entwistle. The online auctioneer shut down Entwistle's account.
In early January, Neil, Rachel and their baby moved out of the Carver home of Rachel's mother and stepfather, with whom they had been living since moving back from England the previous year. They moved into the $3,000-a-month home in nearby Hopkinton.
Entwistle is the only one to be labeled a "person of interest" in the case, though police will not describe him as a suspect. Investigators claim they are making progress in the investigation.
"The really unusual thing about this case," says Wedge, "is that [Neil's] family has not said a word. No friends, no uncle, no nephew, some pal of his from a soccer team -- no one's come out and said a single word about this guy, that hey, he's not the kind of guy who would do this, that he loved his wife and child and would never harm them."
The Middlesex district attorney's office released a statement Tuesday saying the Nottingham police and Scotland Yard in London were keeping tabs on Entwistle.