By Polly Mikula
The investigation into the death of a Mount Holly woman last Wednesday night, Sept. 15, off Route 4 in Killington is ongoing, according to Adam Silverman, public information officer for the Vermont state police.
“Our investigation is still ongoing, so unfortunately we don’t have any updates beyond the information we released last week,” he responded to a Mountain Times request Monday. “We are also continuing to wait for the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to complete its work, including toxicology testing, which can take several weeks or more.”
The victim, Brittany Bouthiette, 28, of Mount Holly was killed by “a gunshot wound to the head,” police reported, Thursday, Sept. 16. But the manner of death is still pending, as it is yet to be determined who shot the gun and for what purpose — whether it was suicide or murder.
According to initial investigation and witness statements, Bouthiette was a passenger in a westbound vehicle driven by her boyfriend, Cody Ahonen, 28, also of Mount Holly.
According to Ahonen, Bouthiette indicated she was despondent and pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, police reported. After a struggle over the weapon, Bouthiette shot herself, Ahonen told police.
Ahonen stopped the vehicle and attempted to render first aid to Bouthiette, while a passerby called 911. Ahonen later also called 911.
Police received the initial call at about 7:10 p.m. Killington Police Chief Whit Montgomery was first on the scene.
“All I knew was that there was a possible death involving a firearm inside a vehicle along Route 4 near the intersection with West Hill Road,” Montgomery said.
When he arrived Ahonen was outside the car trying to help Bouthiette.
“He was very distraught and trying to administer CPR to help his girlfriend… he was doing all he could and was pleading for help, asking repeatedly when the medics would arrive. I checked her pulse and assured him they were coming. He continued CPR until they arrived,” Montgomery recounted. Ahonen was understandably shock from the incident, but “he was cooperative,” said Montgomery, who was able to speak with Ahonen briefly about what happened after the medics took over.
“He told me that they had had an argument and that she had shot herself,” Montgomery said. Based on Ahonen’s statements and observing evidence at the scene, police quickly determined that it was most likely an isolated incident, and there was no ongoing danger to the public.
The gun that was used was found in the grass a short distance from the vehicle.
The state police Major Crime Unit and Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Crime Scene Search Team and Field Force Division joined Montgomery in responding to the incident. Ahonen and Bouthiette were staying in the Greenbrier Inn at the time of the incident. They were reportedly staying there until an apartment opened up near the Killington-Pittsfield line. While detectives applied for appropriate search warrants, Montgomery waited at the local hotel. The warrant was granted at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning, according to Montgomery. Detectives took photos and collected evidence from the room — there were allegedly no major findings in the hotel, though the official report has yet to be released.
However, large sums of drugs and cash were allegedly found elsewhere.
“The forensic team is now doing their due diligence, they are experts in their field,” said Montgomery. “This is a traumatic and sensitive situation for all involved, particularly family and loved ones of the deceased.”
Silverman confirmed that Ahonen is now in federal custody, but referred the Mountain Times to the U.S. Attorney’s office any further information. A request for more information was subsequently sent to Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan Tuesday afternoon but was not answered before publication.
The death investigation is ongoing, and police continue to ask that anyone with information that might be relevant contact the state police barracks in Rutland at 802-773-9101.
History: gun violence and abuse
This was not the first time Ahonen or Bouthiette have had run-ins with the law.
This past June, state police asked for the public’s help locating Bouthiette, who was reported missing. At the time, police said Bouthiette did not have a vehicle, a cellphone or her medications.
She was found safe two days later and police reported that there did not seem to be anything suspicious about the incident but added “there are concerns for Bouthiette’s welfare.”
Those concerns have been echoed by friends and relatives of Bouthiette in testimony to police after her death last week and on social media. Some say that she had been regularly abused for years.
According to police reports, over the past decade Ahonen has allegedly been both the victim and perpetrator of gun violence.
In August 2020, Ahonen, was shot at his home on 978 Gates Road in Mt. Holly, state police reported after the incident. He was sent to Rutland Regional Medical Center, but was listed in stable condition immediately. Police did not follow up with more information about this incident.
In 2014, the Rutland Herald reported that Ahonen had been arrested and charged with two felony counts: aggravated domestic assault in the second degree and aggravated domestic assault in the first degree with a weapon. According to police reports of that incident, Ahonen had fired multiple shotgun rounds at his fleeing stepfather, David Durgin. Ahonen denied the assault charges pleading innocent in Rutland criminal court. Ahonen did, however, admit to firing shots in the air as a warning to Durgin not to return. He later told police he might have fired more than once and that the shots might not have been fired vertically but in an upward trajectory over the treeline, according to the Herald. Durgin told police that Ahonen fired at him as he fled into the woods behind the house. Durgin said that Ahonen attacked him while he was in bed and punched him in the head several times. Trooper Aron McNeil reported there were multiple injuries to Durgin’s face and head.