Mysterious Facts About The Allenstown Four

It is estimated that there are well over 200,000 unsolved murder cases in the United States alone, with some dating back as far as the 1960s. And even if a killer is eventually discovered by the police, some of these cold cases remain a mystery as lack of evidence and even death can halt a conviction.

The mystery of the Allenstown Four, also known as the Bear Brook murders, first unraveled in 1985 when two bodies were found hidden in a metal drum in a New Hampshire park. Over the course of the investigation, police narrowed down the possible suspects in the murders to a man who went by the name Bob Evans, a drifter who likely lived in dozens of states under dozens of pseudonyms. The suspected killer was ultimately brought to justice for other heinous crimes and died in prison in 2010. In 2017, it was confirmed through genealogy matches that his real name was Terry Rasmussen, and that he was indeed the Allenstown killer. In 2019, three of the four bodies were identified; however, the fourth victim remains unknown. This is the story of the Allenstown Four.

Photo: flickr / CC0

  • There Were Two Barrels And Four Bodies

    In 1985, a hunter came across a steel drum containing the bodies of a woman between the ages of 23 and 33 and a girl between the ages of 5 and 11. The hunter had been stalking deer on a property adjacent to New Hampshire's Bear Brook State Park. Near the property is a trailer park, but police couldn't locate anyone who could provide any information about the barrels.

    Then, in 2000, a New Hampshire State Police trooper followed up on the investigation and found another barrel containing the bodies of two more girls - one between the ages of 1 and 3, and the other between the ages of 2 and 4.

  • The Exact Year The Murders Occurred Is Unknown

    The decomposed state of the bodies that were found within the two 55-gallon metal drums has caused problems for investigators. Though the remains of the first two victims were discovered in 1985 (with the second two victims found in a similar metal drum in 2000), the exact year that they died is unknown. However, investigators believe the crimes took place sometime between 1977 and 1985.

  • The Victims Died A Brutal Death

    The initial discovery of the bodies disturbed the community of Allenstown, but finding the bodies was only the beginning. Once investigators recovered the bodies, they began the process of trying to identify the cause of death. Though they were badly decomposed, it was determined that the woman and child found in 1985 were beaten to death. However, the two girls who were found in 2000 were unfortunately too extensively decomposed to determine the cause of death.

  • The Bodies Were Found 15 Years Apart

    One of the strangest parts of this case is the length of time that elapsed between finding the first pair of bodies and the second. While a hunter in 1985 was the first person to report the bodies to police, it was actually a group of children from a nearby trailer park who first found the barrel. The kids, who were playing in the park, rolled the barrel about 100 yards from where they first found it. When it opened, they left it where it was.

    The second barrel wasn't found until 15 years later - police reported that it was likely outside the perimeter of the original crime scene, which explained why it took so long for it to be found.

  • Evidence Points To The Victims Being Locals

    New evidence surrounding the identities of the four victims has come to light in recent years, thanks to technological advancements in forensics. Authorities were able to take samples from remaining body tissue and match it to water samples from the area. The bodies contained the same chemicals found in the environment around Allenstown, NH, where they were found, leading authorities to believe that they had been living in the area for at least three months before they were murdered.

  • Artistic Renderings Of The Victims Paint A Picture Of Who They Were

    With the investigation stalled and no new leads, investigators continued to update the sketches of the victims using evidence uncovered with the help of new technology. While sketches in the past showed only basic features, the new sketches provide far more detail. These new depictions even show important details about the victims' teeth and how their hair may have looked.