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For years the serial killer rambled across the country, working as an electrician and handyman and leaving a trail of victims while masking his true identity. He was Bob Evans in the late 1970s when he arrived in New Hampshire, where he killed a woman and three girls — including his own daughter — and dumped them in steel barrels in the woods of Allenstown.
In the 1980s, he claimed to be Gordon Jenson, a widowed father, when he abandoned a 5-year-old girl at a California trailer park after presumably killing her mother. And he was someone else in 2002 when he murdered his new wife and buried her body in the basement.
Now, seven years after the killer died in prison, still using an identity he stole in Texas, New Hampshire authorities announced Friday that they have positively identified the mystery man.
He’s Terry Peder Rasmussen who was born in Denver in 1943, grew up in Phoenix and served in the US Navy in the early 1960s until being discharged in 1967. During his time in the Navy, Rasmussen was assigned to bases in the western part of the country and in Okinawa, Japan.
He was married while in the Navy and eventually had four children with his wife, who separated from him in 1974, taking the children with her. The last time Rasmussen’s former wife saw him was around Christmas 1974.
Rasmussen’s former wife and children “are alive and accounted for,’’ New Hampshire authorities said Friday. They hope that identifying the killer will prove the boost they need to identify the four Allenstown victims, and locate other possible victims. They are urging anyone with information about Rasmussen to call police.
The stunning breakthrough announced Friday is the latest twist in a New Hampshire murder mystery that baffled authorities for decades, until a woman’s search for her parents helped unravel the case over the last year through DNA and the work of genealogists and police.
In 1985, hunters stumbled upon a barrel containing the decomposing bodies of a woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, and a girl, believed to be about 10 or 11 years old on property bordering Bear Brook State Park. Fifteen years later, a State Police sergeant newly assigned to the case discovered the second barrel, which contained the skeletal remains of two more girls, believed to be about 3 and 4. Authorities believed they were killed between the late 1970s and early 1980s. DNA tests revealed that the woman and two of the girls were related.
In January, New Hampshire authorities announced that they believed the killer of the four victims was a man who arrived in New Hampshire in 1977 using the name Bob Evans. They said DNA tests had revealed several months earlier that he was the father of one of the slain girls, the middle child not related to the others,
Investigators said Evans had been living in Manchester, NH, with his girlfriend, Denise Beaudin, and her six-month-old daughter, when all three vanished after Thanksgiving 1981.
Beaudin’s family never reported her missing because the couple was having financial difficulties and they believed she had left voluntarily, according to police.
Authorities said they believed Evans also killed Beaudin, and that he had a history of abusing women and children and they suspect that he killed others.
“He certainly fits the profile of a serial killer,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said during the January press conference.
The break in the case came after a woman who had been abducted as a child, and didn’t know who she was or where she was from, launched a search for her parents several years ago. She was 5, going by the name, Lisa Jenson, and living with a man who claimed to be her father, when he abandoned her at a Scotts Valley, Calif. trailer park in 1986.
It wasn’t until years later that she discovered he had kidnapped her. In 2002, he killed Eunsoon Jun, a woman he married a year earlier in an unofficial backyard ceremony, and buried her body under a pile of cat litter in the basement of their Richmond, Calif. home. At the time, he was using the name Larry Vanner, but when police ran his fingerprints they came back to Curtis Mayo Kimball — later determined to be an identity he stole from a man in Texas.
Still using the name Kimball, he pleaded guilty to the slaying and was serving a sentence of 15 years to life when police ordered a DNA test. It revealed that he was not the father of the girl he had abandoned years earlier.
When questioned by police, he insisted he had no memory of the girl or where she came from., according to police. He died in 2010 of natural causes at a California prison, seemingly taking his secrets to the grave.
The girl was adopted by a California couple after she was abandoned and went on to lead what appears to be a remarkably normal life, marrying and having three children of her own.
In 2014, she submitted her DNA to several genomic testing sites, hoping to find matches that would lead to her parents. Ultimately, with the help of genealogists and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, she discovered that she was Beaudin’s daughter.
New Hampshire State Police and Manchester Police launched an investigation and discovered that Beaudin’s boyfriend, then known as Evans, was the same man who had abandoned her daughter at the trailer park.
Investigators also discovered that Evans worked as an electrician at Waumbec Mills in Manchester, NH, from 1977 to 1981, and that his supervisor owned the Allenstown property where the bodies were found. Evans also did electrical work at a store on the property and had used the land to dispose of material from the mill.
When authorities announced the stunning break in the Allenstown murders, they released a statement from Beaudin’s daughter, Lisa, now in her 30s. She thanked everyone who had worked on her case and asked for privacy.
“I have three beautiful children and a loving husband, and would like our presently happy and secure life to remain intact and protected through the release of this story,” she said.