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The identification of three decomposing corpses discovered in barrels in a New Hampshire state park have led police to believe they've solved a decades-old crime.
Police officials announced on May 6 that three bodies — two discovered in 1985 and a third discovered in 2000 — were identified as Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch, 24, and her two daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn, 6, and Sarah Lynn McWaters, 1. The conclusion was made after family members of the victims helped with the process of DNA testing and genetic genealogy. With the confirmation, police believe they can officially implicate serial killer Terry Peder Rasmussen, who had passed away while in prison in 2010, in their deaths.
Investigative reporter Billy Jensen, who wrote about Rasmussen in his upcoming book “Chase Darkness With Me," told Oxygen Digital Correspondent Stephanie Gomulka at CrimeCon 2019 he thinks Rasmussen is responsible for killing other people, too.
“We have a few unidentified remains that we are trying to identify in different parts of the country that we think have all of his earmarks,” Jensen told Gomulka.
He finds Rasmussen to be a particularly repulsive serial killer — in fact, the worst, in his opinion.
“He was just a really, really bad man, one of the worst,” Jensen said. “When people ask me who was the worst serial killer out there I point to him and the reason is this: he not only would kill a woman but he would take their children, molest their children, and not only that but use their children as a lure to get his next victim and I can’t think of anything more horrible than that.”
Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin explained the discovery at a press conference on June 6.
“Together we have been able to uncover the identity of the Allenstown killer, a murderer who tried to erase his victims and hide in the process, tried to hide who he was and what he did, but ultimately he wasn’t successful,” Strelzin said, according to The Washington Post. “We know what he was, we know what he did and now we know who his victims were.”
Honeychurch's body and one of the girl's bodies were found in November 1985 in a barrel tipped on its side in Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire. The bodies could not be identified at the time, leading the case to go cold. But 15 years later, a similar barrel was discovered in the same area, this time containing the remains of two girls. The second child found in the second barrel has not yet been identified — although DNA evidence has confirmed that Rasmussen was the parent of this unknown victim and that she was not biologically related to Honeychurch or her daughters.
Rasmussen, who had used several other aliases throughout his life, was named as a suspect in 2017. Rasmussen had been convicted of the murder of a romantic partner in 2003. He was 62 years old when he passed away in prison.
The last time Honeychurch was seen by her family was on Thanksgiving 1978, according to a timeline released by the attorney general's office. She had brought her two daughters and a man she identified as Rasmussen to her mother’s house in La Puente, California. She left the home after a trivial argument with her mother and was never seen alive again.
Police believe Honeychurch fled to New Hampshire with Rasmussen, who at that point had begun using the name "Bob Evans." Evans was listed as married to a woman named Elizabeth, according to documents from 1980. By 1981, Evans was romantically linked to a woman named Denise Beaudin — who also went missing with her daughter shortly thereafter. Beaudin's body has never been found and she is currently presumed dead, according to The Concord Monitor.
Rasmussen fell off the radar after that but resurfaced in California under a different name in 2002 when police found a dismembered body in his basement. He pleaded guilty to the death of his partner Eunsoon Jun, landing him a 15 year prison sentence, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Jensen told Gomulka at CrimeCon that Rasmussen put Jun's body in a 75-pound pile of kitty litter before he was able to dispose of her.
Rebekah Heath, a librarian and true crime enthusiast from Connecticut, was ultimately the one who made the link between "Bob Evans," Rasmussen, and the missing women, leading to a round of DNA tests which ultimately confirmed the identity of the victims — thus solving the crime.
Police have not been able to link Rasmussen to other cases, according to Strelzin.
“He’s your atypical serial killer,” Strelzin said. “This is somebody who forms relationships and clearly is having social attachments. There could be a variety of women out there who could be potential victims.”
Anyone with any information thought to be related to this case is encouraged to contact New Hampshire State Police.
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