Photograph by Martha Deed
Renate Hanrahan knew Annette Montstream from church and met Michael Northrup while working at Gloria Jean's as Annette's employee. After John's murder, Renate realized that she had met several of Annette's boyfriends. Annette would frequently initiate discussion on morality with Renate.
Renate stayed with Annette overnight during the week that John disappeared and before his body was found at the Rainbow Center Parking Garage in Niagara Falls. She was a witness at Michael Northrup's first trial. Two years later, she is still upset that she could not tell her story on the stand.
Michael Northrup had come into the store the day after John Montstream disappeared. He had always worn long pants, but that day he was wearing shorts instead of his maintenance man's uniform. He asked how Annette was.
"I said, 'I've never seen your legs before,' and he said, 'My other pants are dirty."
Renate went to see Annette at the Niagara County Jail. "She hugged me and told me she didn't do it. She said, 'Mike ought to be here.'
"Annette told me cameras were watching. I saw she wasn't going to admit anything. But for me, it wasn't fruitless, because I saw where she was."
Renate is concerned about Annette's soul if she doesn't repent.
"Even if she repents, I believe she needs to be in jail."
Renate was taught to look at people and not expect the worst.
"Now I don't trust people."