A break in a case from New Hampshire might bring it close to home. KUSA
It is a mystery straight out of a scriptwriter's imagination – four bodies found in 55-gallon drums in New Hampshire, a woman missing for decades, a child abandoned in California who didn’t know her real name for more than 30 years.
And at the center of it all: A man suspected of as many as six murders who used multiple aliases, moved through numerous states and died in a California prison in 2010 while serving time for the killing of his common-law wife. He used a host of names – Bob Evans, Gordon Jenson, Curtis Kimball, Gerald Mockerman, Lawrence Vanner – but investigators suspected for years he wasn’t really any of them.
The Man With Many Names
New information released Friday points to a man with many false monikers to have actually been from Denver
New Hampshire authorities on Friday announced that DNA test results and other newly uncovered information had revealed the man’s actual name: He is Terry Peder Rasmussen, born in Denver on Dec. 23, 1943.
He grew up in Colorado and Arizona. He also may have spent time in Colorado over the years – and investigators hope that someone can help them fill in the blanks in his background.
Rasmussen is suspected in multiple crimes, each of them shrouded in its own mystery:
- He is suspected in the slayings of a woman and three children whose bodies were found in steel barrels outside New Hampshire’s Bear Brook State Park. They were probably killed in the late 1970s or early 1980s. None of them have ever been identified, but through DNA investigators now know that Rasmussen was the father of one of the dead children.
- The possible disappearance of that child’s mother – a woman that authorities know nothing about.
- The disappearance of another young mother in 1981 whose daughter was later abandoned in California.
“We’re hoping that his true identity will help jog some people’s memories,” Jeffery A. Strelzin, New Hampshire’s senior assistant attorney general and head of the office’s homicide unit, told 9NEWS on Friday.
Investigators are particularly keen to know more about Rasmussen’s life between 1974, when he abandoned his first family in Arizona, and the late 1970s, when he arrived in New Hampshire using the name Bob Evans.
“We’ve got a gap there,” Strelzin said.
Courtesy the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children KUSA
Filling In the Gaps
Authorities are working to uncover the identities of the murder victims
Filling in that gap could finally help authorities figure out the identities of the four New Hampshire murder victims – and whether Rasmussen was involved in other crimes.
To that end, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, New Hampshire State Police and Manchester Police Department all released extensive information about the case on Friday – the second major release of details this year in an effort to spark tips from the public.
After being born in Denver, Rasmussen lived in both Colorado and Arizona during his childhood.
He attended North High School in Phoenix – dropping out after his sophomore year – and later claimed to have lived on the streets of Denver for a time. He enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1961, where he became an electrician. He was stationed at several bases in the western United States and, also spent time on Okinawa.
He was discharged from the Navy in 1967.
Rasmussen moved to Hawaii, where he married a woman. They moved to Arizona in 1969. That year the couple had twin daughters. A son was born in 1970 and another daughter came along in 1972.
The couple moved multiple times, living in both the Phoenix area and in Redwood City, Calif., before they separated, reconciled, and then split for good.
Rasmussen’s family last saw him around Christmas 1974 when he arrived in Arizona unexpectedly and asked to visit his children. He had a woman with him and said he was living in Ingleside, Texas.
After that visit, his first wife and their four kids – all of whom are still alive and accounted for – never saw him again.
Investigators believe Rasmussen was working as an electrician in Texas – and still using his proper name – as late as June 1978.
Shortly thereafter, he arrived in New Hampshire, calling himself Bob Evans.
Eventually, he began living with a woman named Denise Beaudin and her young daughter, Dawn, in Manchester. The three of them visited Beaudin’s family over the Thanksgiving holiday in 1981 – then disappeared. At the time, members of Beaudin’s family assumed they left the area because they were experiencing financial problems and did not report them missing.
In 1985, a hunter discovered a steel barrel on a wooded lot where a camp store had previously stood. Inside, he made the macabre discovery – the bodies of a woman in her 20s or early 30s and a girl thought to be between 5 and 11 years old.
By 1985, investigators now know, Beaudin’s daughter was living in a trailer park in Santa Cruz County, Calif., with Rasmussen, who was using the name Gordon Jenson. He told people he was the girl’s father and that her name was Lisa Jenson.
That same year, police in Cypress, Calif., arrested Rasmussen for drunken driving, hit-and-run and – because the girl was with him – child endangerment. During that arrest, Rasmussen identified himself as Curtis Kimball.
Then, in the summer of 1986, Rasmussen fled, abandoning “Lisa” in Southern California. Authorities obtained an arrest warrant, but he remained at large for several years.
In 1988, while using the name Gerald Mockerman, he was arrested driving a stolen car in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Later, he was arrested on the warrant issued after he abandoned Beaudin’s daughter, but after he was released on parole in 1990 he absconded and was on the lam for more than a decade.
By 2002, he had taken the name Lawrence Vanner and was living in a Korean community near Richmond, Calif., with his girlfriend, Eunsoon Jun. She vanished in June 2002, and friends reported her missing three months later. Investigators searching the home she shared with Rasmussen found her body buried in the basement under a large amount of cat litter. She’d been beaten to death.
Rasmussen – under the name Bob Evans – was convicted of her murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
On Dec. 28, 2010, he died behind bars.
After His Death
Rasmussen's death far from brings closure
In the interim, authorities in New Hampshire had reopened the case of the woman and child found in the barrel. In 2000, a state trooper had visited the forested lot where the barrel was discovered 15 years earlier. While walking through the woods, the trooper came upon another 55-gallon drum – and, inside, the bodies of two girls, one thought to be between 1 and 3 years old and one estimated to be between 2 and 4 years old.
Over the past couple of years, DNA testing confirmed Rasmussen’s identity and helped tie together all the cases – the bodies in the barrels and the disappearance of Beaudin and her daughter – and led authorities to believe there’s at least one other missing woman who hasn’t been accounted for.
First, a DNA sample given by Rasmussen’s grown son proved his identity and helped prove that he was the man known as Bob Evans, Gordon Jenson, Curtis Kimball, Gerald Mockerman, and Lawrence Vanner.
Next, DNA testing on the remains found in the barrels showed that the woman, the oldest girl and the youngest girl are all “maternally related.” The girl thought to be between 2 and 4 years old doesn’t appear to be genetically related to the other three bodies from the barrels – but DNA testing confirmed Rasmussen was her father.
Other evidence ties Rasmussen to those deaths. While living in Manchester, he worked at Waumbec Mills as an electrician. Part of his job there was to clean up the mill – and his supervisor owned the property where the barrels were found. In addition, the supervisor hired Rasmussen to do electrical work at the camp store that stood on the property at the time.
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DNA testing also showed that “Lisa Jenson” is Beaudin’s daughter – but is not Rasmussen’s child. Beaudin’s family members, however, have identified Rasmussen as the man they knew as Bob Evans.
Beaudin remains missing – DNA testing has confirmed she was not one of those whose body was stuffed into those barrels – and Rasmussen is suspected of killing her sometime after she was last seen in New Hampshire in 1981.
The girl found in the barrel who was Rasmussen’s daughter led authorities to a new mystery. No one knows who her mother was – or where she is.
Despite the progress in recent months, numerous questions remain unanswered.
What's Happening Now
There are still many, many questions
Investigators now believe Rasmussen may have been in New Hampshire as early as 1977 and that he may have lived with a woman named Elizabeth before Beaudin and her daughter moved in with him. They know little about Elizabeth.
They also don’t know who the woman was that was with Rasmussen when he visited his ex-wife and their four kids in Arizona in 1974.
Also, they wonder what other contact he had with women during his adult life in states that also include Virginia and Oregon.
“He’s somebody who definitely bounced around the country,” Strelzin said. “He’s, unfortunately, a fairly prolific serial killer.”
Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-871-1862.
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Anyone with information about the man we now know as Terry Peder Rasmussen is asked to contact any of the following authorities:
- New Hampshire State Police-Cold Case Unit
- Manchester Police Department
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children