New Hampshire State Police are hoping to identify a victim in a years-old cold case who may have ties to the Gulf Coast.
In May of 2000, the remains of two juvenile females were found in a 55-gallon drum in a wooded area of New Hampshire. The remains were badly decomposed and are related to the remains of an adult female and juvenile female, also found in a 55-gallon drum nearly 20 years earlier in a nearby wooded area. The cause of death for all four females was ruled a homicide.
Three out of the four victims have been identified, and now New Hampshire State Police are working with Genetic Genealogist Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter in hopes that more modern technological advances can help identify the final victim.
The investigation has suggested the Jane Doe is not originally from New Hampshire, and likely only spent a few weeks or months in the region before her death. Examination of the child's genetic composition and genealogical research suggests the mother of the child has relatives in Pearl River County, Mississippi, but no location is being ruled out at this point.
Jane Doe's biological father has been identified as Terrence "Terry" Peder Rasmussen. He is the primary suspect in the child's death, but died in 2010 before he could be questioned. The child's biological mother is unknown and is feared to also be a victim of Rasmussen.
According to authorities, the unknown child was 2-4 years old when she died, placing her year of birth between 1975 and 1977. She had wavy brown hair, stood 3'3"-3'9" tall, and had a slight overbite. DNA analysis confirms she was primarily Caucasian with a small amount of Asian, Black, and American Indian ancestry. Jane Doe is estimated to have been killed during the late 70s to early 80s, most likely between 1979-1981.
Rasmussen went by several aliases, including Curtis Kimball, Gordon Jenson, and Larry Vanner. He served in the Navy in the 60s, and during the 70s, authorities say Rasmussen had many ties to Texas as he worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He also possibly once resided in Galveston and Ingleside. By 1979, he was living in New Hampshire with the alias Robert T. Evans.
Dubbed "The Chameleon Killer" by police because of his lengthy list of aliases and method of infiltrating lives, Rasmussen has been linked to at least five homicides.
The other three victims found in New Hampshire were last seen in California in November 1978 with Rasmussen. According to authorities, they have no known ties to Mississippi and had no relationship to New Hampshire before they went missing.
New Hampshire State Police are now hoping social media will be able to help identify Jane Doe. The public is asked to share and expand the reach of the information and, as comfortable, upload their DNA into GEDmatch or Family Tree DNA to increase the chances of identifying the girl. Anyone originally from the Mississippi region, even if they don't think they are related, could potentially assist with genealogy efforts by allowing their DNA to be tested.
More information on the case and Jane Doe's genealogical background can be found here.
If you're aware of a missing child or a missing child and mother from this time frame, you're asked to contact NH State Police at 603-MCU-TIPS or Sgt. Matthew Koehler of the NH State Police Major Crime Unit at 603-223-3648.
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