AG: NH cold cases linked to California murder

  • Above are computer-generated images of the victims.

  • Above are computer-generated images of the victims.

Monitor staff
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

More than 31 years ago, hunters stumbled upon the naked, partially dismembered and decomposing bodies of a woman and young girl in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown. They’d been beaten, stuffed into a 55-gallon steel drum and left in the woods.

Fifteen years later, in 2000, the remains of two other young girls were found in the same area. Investigators believe the woman and three children were together in their final days.

Today, we still don’t know their names or where they were from.

That could all change depending on what authorities release during a news conference planned for this morning on the Allenstown cold case, and the disappearance of Denise Beaudin from Manchester in 1981. The state attorney general’s office said Wednesday there is a link between those unsolved New Hampshire cases and a California murder.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin declined Wednesday afternoon to comment on any of the cases until the presentation, where prosecutors will be joined by New Hampshire State Police and Manchester police. The briefing will begin at 10:30 a.m.

There are other unsolved murders in New Hampshire, but the four Allenstown victims are the only unidentified ones known to the attorney general’s homicide unit, Strelzin said.

Their murders occurred sometime between 1980 and 1984, according to 2015 reports.

Retired Allenstown police chief Shaun Mulholland recalled Wednesday working the Allenstown case during his years on the department, and said he’s hopeful investigators will find answers to decades-old questions.

“It would bring to closure something that’s been an open wound in the town for all these years,” said Mulholland, who is now the town administrator. “A homicide involving anyone is tragic, but when it involves young, innocent kids, it’s even more tragic. It’s hard to understand why a person or persons would do this.”

In recent years, authorities have been able to piece together some details about the victims’ physical features, background and relationships to one another, thanks to improved DNA testing. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also released new computer-generated images of the victims in late 2015, in hopes that the public might help break the case.

Authorities believe the woman was likely in her mid-20s, had several dental fillings and untreated cavities, and had three teeth removed before her death. The oldest child was about 9 or 10 with light brown hair and double-pierced ears; the middle child was about 3 or 4 with wavy brown hair and a potentially noticeable overbite; the youngest was about 2 or 3 with golden hair and a gap between her two front upper teeth.

Investigators have known for some time that all but the middle child were maternally related. In 2015, they said the woman was most likely the mother of the related children.

Testing of the victims’ hair, bones and teeth show they were born in the United States and spent most of their lives in just a few areas of the country, including the Northeast.

The victims could have lived in a remote community, which would explain why their disappearance was not reported. If it was reported, the information may not have been picked up nationally, since the national missing persons database wasn’t created until years after their deaths.

No one ever reported Beaudin missing until recently, so authorities never opened an investigation into her disappearance until 2016. Beaudin, a graduate of Goffstown High School, was 23 when she was last seen on Thanksgiving in 1981.

Beaudin’s family went to visit her at her Hayward Street apartment in Manchester a few days later, but learned that she had left unexpectedly with her then-boyfriend Robert Evans and her infant daughter. It’s unclear why she was not reported missing at that time.

According to the state attorney general’s office, Beaudin’s daughter is alive and well, although she wishes to keep her identity concealed.

The unusualness of the Allenstown case has resulted in numerous theories over the years about how four people could have disappeared so long ago, yet remain unidentified.

In 2009, Kim Fallon, a forensic investigator at the state medical examiners office told the Monitor the woman could have been a teenager who left home and had children without her family knowing. Strelzin theorized that the woman and the children may have been from the West Coast and brought here by a long-haul trucker.

Whatever happened, Mulholland said the victims deserve justice.

“It would be in everyone’s best interests to bring this case to a conclusion.”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)