'The Middle Child,' a documentary about the unidentified victim in Bear Brook murders
This is *** W. M. U. R. Special presentation the middle child. In 1985 *** hunter near Bear brook State Park unearthed the first clue in *** deadly mystery which eventually identified *** serial killer with victims across the country. This is *** story that W. M. U. R. Has covered since the very beginning that hunter found the bodies of *** woman and *** girl buried inside this barrel. 15 years later *** detective found *** second barrel with the bodies of two more girls likely killed at the same time in 2017. D. N. ***. Revealed that *** convicted killer in California was the father of the middle child. Finally giving investigators *** suspect in 2019. Genealogical research revealed the names of the other victims and that they were not related to the middle child. But now there are clues emerging about her family roots, devoted investigators have spent decades searching for her identity. They say they will not rest until she is laid to rest in this W. M. U. R. Special presentation, We bring you their stories and the clues that they hope will finally identify the middle child. Yeah, unlike every other homicide case, we did not start out like we normally do which is having the identity of our victim or victims. And then drawing *** circle around that person and looking at the people who are close to them to potentially find the killer. That's not something that we had here. *** lot of people aren't familiar with new Hampshire and they're certainly not familiar with this case. Mhm November 1985. *** hunter finds *** tipped over 55 gallon drum near Bear brook state park, not far from *** burned down convenience store could see basically packaging of some type. And he's examined closer. He noticed there was *** skull there. It was an adult woman and *** little girl somewhere between five and 10 years old. Both beaten about the head But with badly decomposed remains and no missing persons report that matched the case stalled until 2000 when it was reassigned to another trooper goes out to the scene starts looking around, locates another barrel, another metal 55 gallon barrel. At that point we find the remains of 22 female Children in that barrel. Also They were killed at the same time and this time period has now been narrowed down to somewhere between 1980 and 1984, mm. In the late 1970s or early 1980s, *** man moved to new Hampshire from California, that means real name was terry Rasmussen. He would end up using many different names over the years and in New Hampshire, he called himself bob Evans. In the summer of 2016. *** multi agency collaborative investigation was launched. one of the most significant breaks during that period of investigation was the D. N. *** confirmation that terry Rasmussen bob Evans was in fact the father of the middle Alan's town child bob Evans died of natural causes in *** California prison sentenced for the murder of this woman. This is use on june June was reported missing in 2002 and later that year her body was found buried in the basement of their home. He's your atypical serial killer. This is somebody who forms relationships and clearly is having social attachments. So there could be *** variety of women out there who are potential victims based on information from the woman's family and the work of *** researcher as well as DNA testing and genealogical research. We've identified three of the allen style murder victims. The mother has been identified as Marley's Elizabeth Honeychurch. This is Marley's oldest daughter, Marie, Elizabeth Vaughn Marie also had *** younger sister who was also Marley's daughter. That sister has been identified as the youngest Allison child murder victim. This is Sarah Lynn Mick Waters. There's 1/4 victim we still haven't been able to identify yet. The victim we refer to as the middle child. Yeah, yeah. When I look at it in terms of day to day police work, the little things matter. We've read hundreds of different police reports from different officers from all over the country. Whether it's, you know, an officer in Manchester filling out an arrest report of Rasmussen or an officer out in Arizona that fingerprints him. Um, the little things, you know, filling out the forms correctly documenting things correctly, making sure they're filed correctly. That was instrumental. Those are the little things that can be critical to *** cold case investigator. 2030 years down the road. I started with state police in 1989 had been in the military previous to that and *** national police officer obviously in my training year, you you jump around the state um back then. So um I jumped around the state and work different cases around it when you go into the major crime unit and state police, you're given *** cold case to work on at that time um or *** couple of cold cases. Um And this was one of the cases that I happened to read about and I looked into it *** little bit more and it just piqued my interest when you open the case file, it's like, you know, one of those books that grab *** hold of you really quickly. Mhm. Running through the, the information that was in the case file itself, um the different aspects to this and then just coming to the very quick realization like this is this is not new Hampshire, like this is not what we normally see up here and then just the multitude of question marks as you went through like you know, what does this mean? What does that mean? And then go trying to work through the crime scene itself and then trying to work through the people that are already being interviewed. Um So it just was like, you know like *** novel that just grabs you. This grabbed me and I ran with it, not just homicides, but homicides in Alan's town were rare. Um where you would have, you know, two victims or three victims or four, you know, the multiple victim homicides were extremely rare, having at that time to victims and just *** manner in which they were um killed *** blunt blunt trauma side of it. Um It just, yeah, it was it was very abnormal for new Hampshire. I was reading through the case file and I couldn't, I'm *** very visual type person and you come out and you try to see what's printed on paper and you're trying to match the things up from out here and it gives you *** better grasp on on the entire case when you're going through it. I wanted to really match what the case file was telling me in the exact area. Yeah. Mhm. The most frustrating part of this entire case was, it seemed like every road that we walked down or every path we would walk down in this case, you know, talking to someone or thinking, well this is *** possibility. It just always came to *** dead end. Yeah. Okay. Mhm. There is *** mystery that has gone unsolved in Alan's town since the mid-80s, that was *** different time. You know, we didn't have cell phones back then. You didn't have the Internet back then, people weren't as connected and so it's possible that four people went missing and maybe you know, local police department was notified about it, but it didn't go any further. I said I'd come out walk the area, try to get *** better grasp, write some notes about it and then I was going to go home for the rest of the day. Mhm. It's *** beautiful state park here but there's things out here that um you know it is *** state park, it's open to the public so any possibilities. Um It's *** safe place to go. It's *** great place for recreation. You know it's kind of one of the gems in new Hampshire but you know there's flaws in every gym. I actually was in the canine unit for many years. So we do *** lot of canine training out here in Bear brook. You start doing laying tracks for dogs and you're out in the middle of the woods and and having the dogs trained to come out and find you. You actually start to understand um how dense these woods are and how big bear book is itself, but this is further out than we would normally go for canine training. I remember it was it was *** sunny day. Um It was warm when I first came out that day. I was trying to figure out exactly where this wasn't Bear bear brook. I had to, you know try to figure out exactly where it was before I even pulled into the area. This is where the store used to be, this was the foundation of the camp store that was here before it closed. Um And one thing, they used to have tractor trailers that used to back in here at night, so that the drivers of the tractor trailer would sleep here and then they'd leave in the morning. So that was another factor. When we first started investigating the case, wondering if that was an aspect to it or not, we couldn't really close any possibilities. Um So you really had to think about, you know, this is *** state park and people go through it all the time. Mhm. I had done most of the walk through that, I wanted to and looked at some different things and got *** grasp of the area um and and wrote some notes about it, and then I was starting to walk out back towards my car and then I started to walk off the path *** little bit into the wooded area over in this area, and that's when I came across, you know, finding *** barrel out in the middle of the woods really isn't, you know, it could be just something, especially with the store that had been here um really wasn't surprising, but when I walked up and I saw the plastic that was inside the barrel, then it made me think, you know, and you're trying to talk yourself out of it because you don't think it's gonna be what you think it is, because what are the odds, right? You're, you are engulfed in this case about *** barrel and you find another barrel. I mean, it's, it wasn't even in the realm of possibility in my mind at the time, *** lot of hunting out here could have easily been an animal at the time. Um, or animal remains, but you know, we all know it didn't turn out that way. On May nine, New Hampshire State Police Detective John Cody found *** second barrel on the same property in islands town. That barrel contained the remains of two more of Rasmussen's victims. This time, two female Children based on their apparent ages and their age with respect to the first child victim, we've referred to these two victims as the middle child and the youngest child. But when you find the second barrel, how soon after did you start thinking we might have *** serial killer? You know, I think that was in the realm of possibilities. I'm sure it was originally discussed again, this is new Hampshire, you wouldn't even think, I mean, it's abnormal to find two bodies wrapped up in *** barrel that, you know, had broken open and was found by *** hunter. But yeah, it's not even gonna be in the realm do you think, okay, there could be another barrel out there when I peel back the plastic and I saw the white, um, you know, I think I still was second guessing myself. I had to go back out to my car, get my flashlight come back in and shine it. And then when I saw the bones, everybody came out, we actually had to contact the medical examiner and they confirmed that they did appear to be human remains. I think the thing that was really resonating was with us that day is the size of the bones. So you knew that these were younger victims, Most likely Children. New Hampshire is *** wooded area, There's *** lot of secrets buried out in woods everywhere in New Hampshire. All options were open, you know, was the barrel there since the beginning is just another. You know, two other victims are they anyway, related. The second barrel was actually found over in this area. And, you know, obviously quite *** distance from the other barrel because there's so much of *** distance between the two. The chances of this barrel even being found at that first investigation were probably slim to none. No, there was not *** lot of publicity around the second barrel when it was found, um, you know, obviously the local police department knew about it. We worked very closely with Alice Town Police Department at the time. It was kept pretty quiet because we were trying to figure out, you know, what we had here. The one path that we hadn't walked down because it wasn't there at the time, was technology. It wasn't technology that led you to that barrel. It was some old fashioned investigative work, you know, old fashioned investigative work, but *** lot of luck too. It's, you know, it's following up on the case and going out and doing what we, you know, every investigator in the major crime unit and every detective in New Hampshire would do Knowing that there is one unidentified child. Do you have closure in this case? I don't think you do. I know. For me, it's still that big question mark out there. It's still that one piece of the puzzle that needs to be put together. You know, it may not happen in my lifetime. It's out of our control. The descriptions of the bodies have been put into *** national computer in Washington. And today, 900 inquiries have been made from all over the country about the victims. I would say if we don't identify them and our chances of solving the case are close to zero. When the barrel, the first barrel was found in 1985 D. N. ***. Wasn't commonly used in new Hampshire. Um, you know, it wasn't until after the second barrel that it really started being utilized. What really changed was there were new techniques for quantifying and identifying very degraded DNA samples because there were, these were very degraded DNA samples that helped establish genetic profiles, which was important than to use in the genealogical research. The genetic genealogy had never been used in new Hampshire before. This was one of the cases kind of on the forefront of that and then to apply it not only to Rasmussen, um but also to the victims. It really was kind of *** silver bullet across the board. Right? The bodies were found not far from this sandpit, just behind the bear brook gardens mobile home park tonight, *** year later. No one has been able to identify the bodies. But authorities have come up with composite sketches. They are nameless victims, *** woman and three murdered Children discarded and forgotten in the Allens Town Woods. We now know the names of three of the four bodies found in barrels in Alan's town. Good evening. I'm jean Mackin and I'm mike Cherry. They are *** mother and her two young Children. The third child remains unidentified. State investigators say this sketch is their best shot at figuring out who this little girl was. I couldn't believe as I was unpacking the skulls that these are, how could these people just disappear. He's *** mother and two of her Children. Another unidentified little girl. I just was blown away by this case. My name is joe Mullins. I am *** senior forensic images specialist in the forensic services unit at the National Center for missing and exploited Children. The main reason why we got started. The main task that we have here in forensic services is h progressing long term missing Children. Since that time. we've just become the hub for any images dealing with *** missing child. The entire process to do *** facial approximation skeletal remains. Um It's it's it's *** long drawn out type of process. Um starts starts with the forensic anthropologist. The forensic anthropologist is the one supplying the science behind. That's how the individual looked in life. They give an assessment for male female age range characteristics that they can see in the skull. Technology is constantly improving. We have D. N. ***. Test you know the consider nowadays so it gives us more insight for your hair color, skin tone that those stuff to be able to factor in. See no how to fine tune these images with more of *** scientific backing slippery slope sometimes using that creative license to guide us to how to create these images and make sure it's the right image. We wanna get all the input from the investigative agency, the medical examiner's everything photographs. So it takes time images that we're creating are not going to be portraits. Never going to be *** portrait. There's *** huge misconception that we've created images that are very photographic in nature. It doesn't work that way. These are very ambiguous images we want you to look at. But the widest biggest lens possible to say this is could be what this victim looked like. Mhm. I can vividly remember holding the skulls and seeing you know the blunt force trauma having kids and the same same age range at the time. Just it's just terrifying. I think the first sets of images we after they were created then we found out that we were missing some information for artifacts that were found with the remains. So we go constantly going through with updating them. The most recent update for the little girl who is still unidentified. We had some information. It was *** D. N. ***. Test that it broke. It breaks down the everything that makes makes up *** person. These are tests that weren't available back when these remains were first found, *** forensic artist updated the old sketch to better show the victim's ancestry background. The spectrum that was put in and kicked back. There was an admixture of different ancestry groups but but most likely appear mostly caucasian. So based on that information that's why the you know the updated image was created. Even the fact that we have now we know who the father is and she has *** living half sister. So now we have now we have features the pool right from the family tree. We still don't know definitively about skin tone hair text. Those things are still still lost. The hope is that this would trigger *** memory on someone's part. Maybe not only of the child but also of her mother. The sole purpose of everything we create here is trying to spark that recognition. What will the emotion be like if and when they identify this girl for you. It'll hopefully make those images go away. Um I don't want to see those blunt force trauma wounds to the skulls anymore. I'd like to see, you know, photographs of of who she was and celebrate her life, not how she died or who killed her. If you see one little aspect that you can focus or apply that to somebody, pick up the phone, it could maybe it's not the person. But now that's one less person that Of the 7.6 billion people on the planet that we're looking for. That's the way we can cross off the list. So just look at these images with *** lot of with your eyes wide open. Okay, right now we're working on *** new profile for the unidentified child. We're continuing to see how she could be related to different ancestral line in the sense of *** different branch of the tree. There's potential new evidence today in the decades old bear brook murders. This time pointing investigators to Mississippi Genealogy research shows the last unidentified victim had relatives in Pearl River County that's near New Orleans. We believe the great grandfather, if you will. The patriarch of the family as *** gentleman named thomas Mitchell, commonly referred to as thomas dead horse Mitchell. We believe he was one of the main patriarchs of the, of the family. The genetic genealogist who's worked on this case has got what I would call some hits down in Mississippi. That's an indication that some of this child's mother's relatives could be from that area investigators. They're posting it online. The idea is people will start talking about maybe missing relatives or relatives they know in this case, *** woman with *** young child. During that approximate time frame. We got *** lot of tips and leads from people in that area. Um and it was very helpful. The work is ongoing in that regard, trying and trying to identify this middle child. I mean, it's *** it's *** combination. It's not just the D. N. ***. Work, it's also the hope that investigatively we get leads when people see this type of information as well so that I can tell you is that process is ongoing. Professional investigators have devoted decades to this case toiling for years to reach the next big break, but some key clues were unearthed by ordinary citizens who simply felt compelled to help the victims reclaim their identity. We'll hear from one of those amateur detectives when we come back. Plus the investigation in new Hampshire expanded when an abandoned girl in California turned out to have *** critical connection. It has been almost 40 years since *** woman and three young girls were murdered and hidden in barrels in *** New Hampshire forest. The name of one girl remains *** mystery. But three of the victims have been identified. Thanks in part to ordinary citizens who heard about the story and began their own investigations. We've spent, uh, I won't even, I couldn't even guess maybe 10,000 hours researching this case. It became, you know, every evening we'd work on it every weekend. We're talking on the phone constantly about it. Very important. Part of this is the interest of the community and the tips that that interest brings in um are invaluable. And the efforts between the press and the public are volunteer genealogists and individuals who are simply just interested in cold case investigations. Their efforts are to be applauded Scott Maxwell. You and your sister have taken this on what kind of first started being interested in this case. It was Rhonda. She's been ***, she's worked on adoptions for the last, you know, since the early 80s helping adoptees find their find their parents her kids got *** little older and we're starting to move out of the house and she wanted to do something little bit different. And somehow she came across the new Hampshire's Cold case, you know, website and saw this case and just became fascinated with it. I have *** background in carpentry and you know, I never had any interest in anything like this. She read up on it. She called me and said, hey, I want to go down there, do you want to go with me? And I said, you know, I figured I'd just go along for the ride That was memorial day of 2011. She drove down from Maine picked me up. I live in Manchester and on the way out here, she filled me in, We knew *** barrel had been found by *** hunter in 1985. Um, and we, we knew that another one had been found in 2000 and, but we didn't know much more than that at the time. There was only *** handful of articles we could find about the case and we came out here and and walked the property, you know, not knowing really where we were going or anything. We spent *** long time on looking up births in Alan's town because we figured, you know, why not start there. We tracked down every female that lived there that fit the profile for the oldest victim and you know, none of them, none of them were missing. But that, that's where we started. And then it just grew from there. She said, okay, now we're gonna go knock on doors. And I was like, What do you mean knock on doors? That's, that's not my thing. You know? Um she's like, no, we gotta go talk to people and, and I'd say probably for the 1st 20 or 30 visits. I didn't say *** word. I let her do all the talking. We went to the trailer park and just started started knocking on doors. This is also 1988. Um, the trailer park, We estimate about 400 families lived in here. What we want to do is we wanted to talk to everyone that lived there from 1977 to 1985. And we were able to pretty much do that either in person or on the phone email facebook okay. Um We contacted retired law enforcement because active law enforcement wasn't gonna you know they were gonna talk to us because who are we and we talked to everybody that we could that was mentioned in articles or again just everybody that we could talk to about it. We went up and down this road just knocking on every single door for probably *** mile that way and *** half mile this way There was 10 families that had been there since the late 70s and only one of those families had heard about the second set being found. And so right away we were like okay you know why is that Early on Rhonda flew down to Florida to visit the police chief chief Norman Connors. He was the chief here in 1985. And uh he had *** suspect that he always thought um you know that that he liked for it. And we had also looked at him pretty heavily and since I found out that that was that was *** rabbit hole we shouldn't have gone down. But we spent about two years researching that guy in that family got to know everything about him. Yeah you have to be *** little bit O. C. D. I think to to work on something like this? Because after you know after *** year or two it's uh gets very frustrating when you're not finding anything new. But but whenever we did turn over anything new uh there was always more questions than than answers. And it just you know we just kept going and kept going. And it sounds almost like it was personal though explain that piece because there because they were unknown there wasn't any victims family that was advocating for him advocating for him. So that's what kind of what we did and you know we tried to draw media attention to it and you know kind of took him on as I guess as our family which I didn't even realize it happened until we've been on it for three or four years. We found out who the owner of the property was and went to his house and visited him. Uh he wasn't there the first time we showed up but we've been back many times since one time we're talking to the property owner in I think it was July of 2014 after we've been talking with him for three years after him telling us he had no idea. You know who might have done this one day he just said you know I think uh I think you ought to look at bob Evans he called him bobby bobby Evans and you know immediately we're like, well why should we look at him? And he said, well because he was *** strange, he was *** strange guy and he dumped, he dumped trash on my property. And I think as soon as we got off the phone, we just, you know, we went to the library and looked up city directories and and looked everywhere for any bob robert Evans. The bob Evans name actually had popped up for the very first time and some of the research that Rhonda Randall, the civilian researcher, had done. So you did some bob Evans sleuthing. It didn't really Pan out at the time. Unfortunately, there was three Bob Evans, there were electricians that lived in Manchester. There was many weekends spent at the Manchester Library and at the concord library we contacted *** Um company, topographic company and conquered. I think it was to see if they had any aerial photos from that time frame. And they had some from 1988. They printed us some apps. We are standing right in this area right here right now. The first barrel In 1985 was found in this area right in here, maybe 30 ft off this trail. Second barrel was found right in here. You could see all the trash and everything that was on the property. And then there was one area that I think they noticed first and they said this looks like *** barrel right here. And sure enough, they zoomed in on it. And you could clearly see it was *** barrel down in the woods, maybe about 500 ft down from the road. Okay. And they said, you know, we can tell that the area around it has recently been disturbed. Of course, that really got us interested. And so we we came back out here soon after that and using their GPS coordinates were able to find the spot. And sure enough, you could see where it was. There was *** kind of an indent in the ground and it just looked different than the area around it. We turned that over to state police. And after several years of not hear anything about that, we finally contacted him and said, we have permission to dig, you know, is that okay? And they said, yeah, as long long as if you find something, just give us *** call. We rented *** small excavator and uh, dug up that area. We didn't find anything. Um, just *** lot of trash. We didn't, there wasn't *** barrel there anymore, but there was *** lot of trash in that area. We provided them with *** lot of information. And uh, you know, obviously got nothing in return because we're just civilians and they're not gonna share anything with us. Any civilian researcher wants to help. Um, it's often *** bit of *** one way street where we take in information and try to make use of it as best we can, but there's often not *** whole lot that we can share back. Um, certainly Rhonda and I had that discussion many times the burden that we have is beyond *** reasonable doubt in the courtroom and then ethical standards and the safety concerns of, you know, making sure that go to someone's house to speak with someone, you know, we don't know what that person's reaction is going to be to having someone there about the case. I think what the last decade has shown is that there is *** place for that kind of work if it's done correctly. One time when she was out here, she just gathered up four rocks and, and uh, you know, for one for each of the victims. And, and uh, she said, you know, she carried around *** magic marker and she said, when we learned the names, you know, we're gonna have somebody write them on them. And there was *** few years where you know, I was pretty discouraged the first time that you heard those identities were made. How did you guys feel after that Rhonda, I think felt pretty relieved. And she kind of stopped researching it. Um, I didn't even go to that press conference. Um, and I didn't, I didn't put it together till till months later that I kind of shut down on that. And I think it was because for so long they were kind of like our family and then all of *** sudden find out that they had names and they had people that you know that cared about them and loved them. That was that was hard to uh that was hard to accept you know it was it was hard to release them to the family and uh I just backed off the case and stopped probably for three or four months. I didn't do anything at all on it. I need to apologize to the family because you know I said the same thing *** lot of other people said and that was how can they go missing? How come no one's missing them? You know where where's their family? You know and that was upsetting for Marley's siblings to hear that you know because they were looking they were loved and they were people looking for him. But there's still 1/4 there is there's still and we are still working on that, no idea who the mom is or that side of the family but I think that's going to come from you know the right person giving, taking *** D. N. ***. Test and being *** close match and I think that's how they'll identify who she is. *** DNA test on the other side of the country helped investigators connect the balance down victims to their killer next how another missing girl tied everything together. Yeah. Yeah People in Alan's town, New Hampshire first discovered in 1985 that they had crossed paths with *** killer. But his crimes in New Hampshire started even earlier than that when he met *** woman in nearby Manchester. The person who linked the pieces of this deadly puzzle was another unidentified girl. This one in California. Do you remember getting the call from California? About *** link between the lisa project and those Allen's town murders? I certainly remember that time frame where this was all coming down. This is Denise Bowden. She went missing in the fall of 1981 from Manchester. New Hampshire at the time she went missing. She had *** six month old daughter When Denise and Lisa went missing in 1981. They were with this man Denise was never seen or heard from again. However, we know that Evans kept that little girl with him for several years and around the time she was five or six he gave her away to some people in California. He was wanted for 12 years for deserting that girl. But he eventually was convicted of murdering someone in California and died in prison using D. N. ***. Authorities learned the abandoned girl adopted and now grown was not Evans daughter. They essentially had an adult jane doe who didn't know what her true identity was and they were working with her via genetic genealogy to try to locate relatives and locate who her true family members were. That was the initiation of the so called lisa project. I'm deputy Hadley worked for san Bernardino County Sheriff's department with lisa. Um I'd actually taken *** look at ancestry in the past and the databases were still pretty small back then and then and discussing it with her, she brought it up herself and I got some distant cousin matches and I thought wow this might just work usually with an adoptee, you have some geographic information and and we had nothing, we had no idea where he took her from working with genetic genealogy. You have to build *** tree up from your matches to your subject. And then once you get an ancestor in common for several generations back or more, then you have to build that tree back down and your subject is going to be in that family tree, The family trees get huge. Eventually they're all gonna cross at an ancestor in common. And then you have to follow those trees back down. Then once you start getting further down in the trees to the living folk, that's when I would call them up, contact them and just tell them what's going on and say you're related to our victim. We don't know how closer, how distant will you test ended up getting *** match of *** first cousin of Denise Bowden, call it *** hunch. But how many missing people do you have out of one family When they suddenly moved away sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1981. The family believed that they were just on the run from bad debts. So they never made *** missing person report. And I know people have been thrown out criticism. Why didn't they report him missing? But you got to remember the time, There were no cell phones, there was no social media and if someone moved away, the only contact was by *** letter or *** phone call landline, that was it. So do you have any evidence of whatever happened to her Denise based on his history? I'm sure she's, he killed her um as far as when and where we don't know. Obviously sometime between he left when they left New Hampshire The end of 1981 and when he showed up in California in 1984, neck neck contacted me and said, hey, there's *** case down the road, the Allens town murders and you need to talk to new Hampshire state Police. Mhm. That's when I got in touch with Mike Bukovsky and I just sent him *** copy of the whole case file and we started comparing and connecting dots between browse Mohsen *** K *** bob Evans and the Allentown case, we would have many, many long phone calls of course coast to coast discussing, you know, these events and details as they unfolded and sharing our thoughts on, on where we thought this was heading California was looking at this case trying to identify their adult who had been *** child back at the time of all these events and Essentially telling the Manchester Police Department. It looks like there's *** missing woman here who disappeared in 1981 from the city and our connection was that given the Allentown case was so close in proximity and time to those events, we now had, you know, somebody who was at least *** person of interest in terms of possibly being connected to these these murders that were so close. I think our initial impression wasn't necessarily aha, this is the guy, it was more boy, this is interesting and this is the kind of guy who this case might come back to. Somebody who was transient, somebody who had clearly had *** checkered past, somebody who was potentially involved in another disappearance. Um the time frame made sense at that point. Um I wrote *** report up on it and contacted Manchester Police Department and had them contact uh lisa's grandfather and asked for DNA from him when they showed *** picture of Rasmussen to lisa's grandfather. He identified him as bob Evans and that further locked it up that yes, this is who lisa is. Don bowden. So he let lisa know who she is, bonin's daughter known as lisa lives in California with her husband and Children. In *** statement. She says that she's thankful to be reunited with her relatives and hopes that other families of the victims can find closure. As this investigation continues family recognized the convicted killer as Evans and provided *** crucial link. Authorities then were able to tie Evans to working at the wam beck mill in Manchester in the capacity of that employment. Mr Evans worked directly under the gentleman who owns the Allentown property where these victims were found and still owns it. Those victims, *** woman and three young girls were found dead stuffed in barrels, some found in 1985 the others in 2000 through DNA testing, we determined that this man, this killer, bob Evans is the father of the middle child victim in Alan's town, this young girl. If Rasmussen had killed lisa, do you think we would ever have learned about his connection to the bear brook murders? No, we would have nothing. As we've been backtracking Rasmus and we're looking for more victims. And as we keep digging into his past, it opens up more possibilities and more victims. He would single out some single moms um, and start *** relationship with them and once he had total control over him, he'd murdered them, they'd have young Children, he'd take the kids with them and use the kids as *** come on to the next victim, pour me single dad. In the meantime, he's abusing the kids and it looks like as the kids got old enough to talk about being abused, then he'd murder them too. So lisa got real lucky. I'm sure he was about to kill these. Yeah, when lisa was recovered, she stated that she was asked if she had other siblings and she said yes, but they had died from eating quote unquote grass mushrooms when they were out camping When he was in the Anaheim Area Orange County area in 1984 and 85. We had eyewitnesses that he was seen with *** woman that he was dating and there were several kids in the car with her. We also have *** woman who babysat for lisa in another six month old when he was in Orange County and we don't know what happened to the six month old her mother. Um the woman who was dating, we know that he would have more than one woman on the string at *** time. He would be grooming the next victim while he was still with the previous, how many other victims might they be and how far why are we talking? It's hard to say. I'm sure there's *** lot more. Again, if he took 2-3 years to groom each victim and you start adding the years up. There's, there's definitely more out there. If we find that this man is linked to *** case somewhere else, I don't think it would surprise anybody. What troubles me is that we've got so many periods of time where he's not accounted for. It troubles me that you still have his daughter who's unidentified and her mother somewhere who is also an unknown essentially. If I had to say I learned something from this case is with the Ambassadors of hope back here with the images that were creating. That there's always hope that we can provide answers for these families and these families that are frozen in uncertainty. There's there's there's somebody out there that sees these images. And if you see something, you'll pick up that phone. I think this has really made me think outside the box and all the cases that I do. Um, even the abuse, neglect and, and fraud investigations that I do. Now this is the type of case where small little pieces can be brought together and we can finish, you know, putting this puzzle together anybody who sees this and says, oh, maybe that's so, and so remember this woman or anything that they can remember, Like go to their local police department, go to the state police, give them the information, let them run it down. Rhonda would say, you know, I don't think we're ever going to solve this. And I would just say, well, they have to be somebody, you know, these these people are somebody, Are you surprised at how hard you guys ended up working? We get asked that question all the time. You know, why, why after all these years, why do you care why, you know, why you're working on it? And uh, that's, that's hard to answer. I just couldn't let it go the interest nationally from the public and from everybody who just wanted to identify these victims and still does with the remaining victim um, is really, you know, something special and just speaks to how deeply these cases, you know, strike people on ***, on ***, on *** human level this case has pretty much traveled, was touched pretty much everywhere in the country. Anyone's worked on this case for *** few months, years or decades. This case carries weight with everyone. I think there's also *** positive note here, which is that in the end, the killer was not successful in erasing the identity and the whereabouts of these victims. This case is still open. It's not resolved until we get that that little girl identified. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. If you have information that could help investigators in this or any other cold case, you can call new Hampshire state police at 6032712663 or email cold case unit at D O S dot NH dot gov. You can also contact the National Center for Missing and exploited Children By calling 1 800 the lost. Thank you for joining us for this special presentation
'The Middle Child,' a documentary about the unidentified victim in Bear Brook murders
In 1985, a hunter near Bear Brook State Park unearthed the first clue in a deadly mystery that eventually identified a serial killer with victims across the country.That hunter found the bodies of a woman and a girl buried inside this barrel. Fifteen years later, a detective found a second barrel with the bodies of two more girls who were likely killed at the same time.>> View a case timelineIn 2017, DNA analysis revealed that a convicted killer in California was the father of the middle child, finally giving investigators a suspect. He was Terry Rasmussen, a man who changed identities over the years as he moved from place to place. In New Hampshire, he went by Bob Evans.The woman and two of the girls have been identified: Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch, her oldest daughter, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn; and a younger daughter, Sarah Lynn McWaters.The identity of the middle child remains unknown. Investigators have spent decades searching for her identity, saying they won't rest until she can be properly laid to rest.See the full documentary in the video player above or in broken-out segments displayed below.'I saw the bones': State trooper recalls discovering barrel in Allenstown containing remains of 2 children The Terry Rasmussen mystery has captured headlines worldwide, but he likely would never have been tied to most of his crimes without a New Hampshire trooper’s significant discovery 22 years ago.In 2000, New Hampshire State Trooper John Cody came upon a barrel in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.“I peel back the plastic and I saw the white, you know, I think, I still was second-guessing myself. I had to go back out to my car, get my flashlight, come back in and shine it, and then when I saw the bones,” Cody said.It was clear the bones belonged to children.“I think the thing that was really resonating with us that day is the size of the bones,” Cody said.Testing later confirmed the remains belonged to two female children between 1 and 4 years old.The discovery came 15 years after another barrel containing the remains of a woman and an older child was found.“All options were open. You know, was the barrel there since the beginning? Was this another, you know, two other victims? Are they any way related?” Cody said. “Because there's so much of a distance between the two, the chances of this barrel even being found at that first investigation were probably slim to none.”See the full story here.Over years, forensic artist has refined image of unidentified remains in Bear Brook caseThe names of three of the four bodies found in barrels in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown in 1985 and 2000 are known, a mother and her two young children.The third child, the middle child, remains unidentified. Investigators have her remains, her DNA and a sketch of what she might have looked like created by Joe Mullins, of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children."I couldn't believe as I was unpacking the skulls, that these are — how could these people just disappear?" Mullins said. "These are a mother and two of her children, another unidentified little girl. I just was blown away by this case."Mullins is a senior forensic imaging specialist in the forensic services unit at the NCMEC. He said the main task for him and his colleagues is age-progressing images of children who have been missing for a long time."Since that time, we've just become the hub for any images dealing with a missing child," he said.To make an image of what a person might have looked like, experts start with what they have — that person's remains.See the full story here.New England siblings investigating Bear Brook murders learned of 'Bob Evans' name before policeSince the first Bear Brook victims were discovered in a barrel in 1985, law enforcement agencies across the country have collaborated on this case, but amateur investigators — ordinary citizens — also felt compelled to look for answers, and that work led to critical breakthroughs.“A very important part of this is the interest of the community,” senior assistant attorney general Susan Morrell said during a past news conference about updates in the case. “The tips that this interest brings in are invaluable. And the efforts between the press and the public, our volunteer genealogists and individuals who are simply just interested in cold case investigations, their efforts are to be applauded.”Today, it’s known that Terry Rasmussen killed the victims, including three identified as his former girlfriend Marlyse Honeychurch and her daughters, Sarah McWaters and Marie Vaughn. The fourth victim, his biological daughter, has not been identified. But before recent years, details in the case were scarce.Scott Maxwell estimates that he and his sister, Ronda Randall, of Oak Hill Research, have spent 10,000 hours investigating the case.“It became every evening we'd work on it, every weekend. We were talking on the phone constantly about it,” Maxwell said.See the full story.Abandoned girl's search for parents triggered breakthrough in Allenstown murder caseTerry Rasmussen's crimes in New Hampshire began years before the bodies of a woman and three children were discovered stashed in barrels in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown. But those earlier crimes wouldn't be discovered until a woman in California, abandoned as a child, tried to learn who her parents were.As New Hampshire investigators tried to track down Rasmussen's movements in the 1980s, they focused on Denise Beaudin and her 6-month-old daughter.Beaudin went missing from Manchester, New Hampshire, in the fall of 1981 when she left her apartment with her boyfriend, Bob Evans, who was later identified as Rasmussen.Investigators discovered that Rasmussen kept the girl with him for several years, and around the time she was 5 or 6, he gave her away to people in California.Police sought him for abandoning the girl, and he served time in prison on those charges. He was eventually convicted of murdering a California woman and died in prison.But Rasmussen wasn't connected to the bodies found in Bear Brook State Park until the girl he abandoned, known as Lisa, learned that the man who left her behind was not her father.See the full story.Unidentified Bear Brook victim likely was born in mid-to-late 1970s, has relatives from MississippiInvestigators have made significant strides in the Allenstown murders case, which baffled law enforcement officers for decades, but there are still some major unanswered questions.In 2019, officials finally identified three of the victims found in barrels in the woods of Bear Brook State Park as Marlyse Honeychurch and her children Sarah McWaters and Marie Vaughn. But the identity of the fourth child, the daughter of her killer, remains a mystery.The girl, known to investigators as "the middle child," is the biological daughter of Terry Rasmussen, the man officials say is responsible for the Allenstown killings and at least one other killing decades later in California. Rasmussen is also suspected in the disappearance of Denise Beaudin and possibly could have killed the girl's biological mother, whose identity is also not known.Learn more about the girl's description and her ancestral ties.Terry Rasmussen case timeline The following is an approximate timeline for the case involving Terry Peder Rasmussen, who police say killed at least six people and perhaps more before dying of natural causes in prison in 2010.Read the full timeline.
ALLENSTOWN, N.H. —
In 1985, a hunter near Bear Brook State Park unearthed the first clue in a deadly mystery that eventually identified a serial killer with victims across the country.
That hunter found the bodies of a woman and a girl buried inside this barrel. Fifteen years later, a detective found a second barrel with the bodies of two more girls who were likely killed at the same time.
>> View a case timeline
In 2017, DNA analysis revealed that a convicted killer in California was the father of the middle child, finally giving investigators a suspect. He was Terry Rasmussen, a man who changed identities over the years as he moved from place to place. In New Hampshire, he went by Bob Evans.
The woman and two of the girls have been identified: Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch, her oldest daughter, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn; and a younger daughter, Sarah Lynn McWaters.
The identity of the middle child remains unknown. Investigators have spent decades searching for her identity, saying they won't rest until she can be properly laid to rest.
See the full documentary in the video player above or in broken-out segments displayed below.
'I saw the bones': State trooper recalls discovering barrel in Allenstown containing remains of 2 children
The Terry Rasmussen mystery has captured headlines worldwide, but he likely would never have been tied to most of his crimes without a New Hampshire trooper’s significant discovery 22 years ago.
In 2000, New Hampshire State Trooper John Cody came upon a barrel in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.
“I peel back the plastic and I saw the white, you know, I think, I still was second-guessing myself. I had to go back out to my car, get my flashlight, come back in and shine it, and then when I saw the bones,” Cody said.
It was clear the bones belonged to children.
“I think the thing that was really resonating with us that day is the size of the bones,” Cody said.
Testing later confirmed the remains belonged to two female children between 1 and 4 years old.
The discovery came 15 years after another barrel containing the remains of a woman and an older child was found.
“All options were open. You know, was the barrel there since the beginning? Was this another, you know, two other victims? Are they any way related?” Cody said. “Because there's so much of a distance between the two, the chances of this barrel even being found at that first investigation were probably slim to none.”
See the full story here.
Over years, forensic artist has refined image of unidentified remains in Bear Brook case
The names of three of the four bodies found in barrels in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown in 1985 and 2000 are known, a mother and her two young children.
The third child, the middle child, remains unidentified. Investigators have her remains, her DNA and a sketch of what she might have looked like created by Joe Mullins, of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"I couldn't believe as I was unpacking the skulls, that these are — how could these people just disappear?" Mullins said. "These are a mother and two of her children, another unidentified little girl. I just was blown away by this case."
Mullins is a senior forensic imaging specialist in the forensic services unit at the NCMEC. He said the main task for him and his colleagues is age-progressing images of children who have been missing for a long time.
"Since that time, we've just become the hub for any images dealing with a missing child," he said.
To make an image of what a person might have looked like, experts start with what they have — that person's remains.
See the full story here.
New England siblings investigating Bear Brook murders learned of 'Bob Evans' name before police
Since the first Bear Brook victims were discovered in a barrel in 1985, law enforcement agencies across the country have collaborated on this case, but amateur investigators — ordinary citizens — also felt compelled to look for answers, and that work led to critical breakthroughs.
“A very important part of this is the interest of the community,” senior assistant attorney general Susan Morrell said during a past news conference about updates in the case. “The tips that this interest brings in are invaluable. And the efforts between the press and the public, our volunteer genealogists and individuals who are simply just interested in cold case investigations, their efforts are to be applauded.”
Today, it’s known that Terry Rasmussen killed the victims, including three identified as his former girlfriend Marlyse Honeychurch and her daughters, Sarah McWaters and Marie Vaughn. The fourth victim, his biological daughter, has not been identified. But before recent years, details in the case were scarce.
Scott Maxwell estimates that he and his sister, Ronda Randall, of Oak Hill Research, have spent 10,000 hours investigating the case.
“It became every evening we'd work on it, every weekend. We were talking on the phone constantly about it,” Maxwell said.
See the full story.
Abandoned girl's search for parents triggered breakthrough in Allenstown murder case
Terry Rasmussen's crimes in New Hampshire began years before the bodies of a woman and three children were discovered stashed in barrels in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown. But those earlier crimes wouldn't be discovered until a woman in California, abandoned as a child, tried to learn who her parents were.
As New Hampshire investigators tried to track down Rasmussen's movements in the 1980s, they focused on Denise Beaudin and her 6-month-old daughter.
Beaudin went missing from Manchester, New Hampshire, in the fall of 1981 when she left her apartment with her boyfriend, Bob Evans, who was later identified as Rasmussen.
Investigators discovered that Rasmussen kept the girl with him for several years, and around the time she was 5 or 6, he gave her away to people in California.
Police sought him for abandoning the girl, and he served time in prison on those charges. He was eventually convicted of murdering a California woman and died in prison.
But Rasmussen wasn't connected to the bodies found in Bear Brook State Park until the girl he abandoned, known as Lisa, learned that the man who left her behind was not her father.
See the full story.
Unidentified Bear Brook victim likely was born in mid-to-late 1970s, has relatives from Mississippi
NH State Police and NCMEC
Investigators have made significant strides in the Allenstown murders case, which baffled law enforcement officers for decades, but there are still some major unanswered questions.
In 2019, officials finally identified three of the victims found in barrels in the woods of Bear Brook State Park as Marlyse Honeychurch and her children Sarah McWaters and Marie Vaughn. But the identity of the fourth child, the daughter of her killer, remains a mystery.
The girl, known to investigators as "the middle child," is the biological daughter of Terry Rasmussen, the man officials say is responsible for the Allenstown killings and at least one other killing decades later in California. Rasmussen is also suspected in the disappearance of Denise Beaudin and possibly could have killed the girl's biological mother, whose identity is also not known.
Learn more about the girl's description and her ancestral ties.
Terry Rasmussen case timeline
The following is an approximate timeline for the case involving Terry Peder Rasmussen, who police say killed at least six people and perhaps more before dying of natural causes in prison in 2010.
Read the full timeline.