Librarian Helps Solve Case of the Bear Brook Murders

Woman, children were found in metal drums in New Hampshire in 1985, 2000
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2019 8:07 AM CDT
Librarian Helps Solve Case of the Bear Brook Murders
This May 1985 booking photograph provided by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office shows Terry Peder Rasmussen, after an arrest for driving under the influence, in Cypress, California.   (Cypress, Calif. Police Dept. photo via AP)

Advances in DNA technology have helped identify serial killers—and, in this case, their victims. Police in New Hampshire say they have identified three of the four victims in a decades-old cold case, CNN reports. In what became known as the Bear Brook murders, the bodies of a woman and a girl around 10 years old were found in a metal drum by a hunter in Bear Brook State Park in Allentown, NH, in 1985. In 2000, a trooper investigating the case found the bodies of two girls between the ages of 2 and 4 in another drum 100 yards from the first site. Authorities have now identified three of the victims as Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch and her two daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn and Sarah Lynn McWaters. They don't have a name for the third child, but DNA testing confirmed in 2017 that she is the daughter of serial killer Terry Rasmussen.

Honeychurch was last seen abruptly leaving a family Thanksgiving party in California in 1978 with her new boyfriend Rasmussen and her two daughters, CBS Boston reports. Honeychurch's daughters were the oldest and youngest of the three murdered children. Police say cold case investigators helped identify the victims with the help of Rebekah Heath, a librarian with a "hobby for missing persons" who floated the possibility the woman found in New Hampshire could be Honeychurch. Investigators are still trying to identify the mother of Rasmussen's biological daughter. Rasmussen, who went by many names, lived in New Hampshire as "Bob Evans." He died in a California prison in 2010 while serving a sentence for murdering his wife. (Police say this serial killer in Texas killed 12 women in two years.)

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