Authorities: Mississippi county may hold clues to girl’s remains found in 55-gallon drum ten years ago in New Hampshire

Published 8:28 am Thursday, January 21, 2021

Authorities say residents of a south Mississippi county may be able to provide clues to the identity of the remains of a young girl found in a 55-gallon drum in a New Hampshire woods ten years ago.

The unidentified child homicide victim may still have relatives in Pearl River County and the surrounding region.

On May 9, 2000, the remains of two juvenile females were found inside a 55-gallon drum in a wooded area of New Hampshire. The remains were badly decomposed and are related to the case of another adult female and juvenile female, found within a similar 55-gallon drum in 1985. The cause of death for all four females was ruled a homicide.

Although three out of the four victims have been identified, one remaining juvenile victim has not.

The New Hampshire State Police have partnered with genetic genealogist Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, in an effort to identify the last victim. The child DNA and genealogy research suggest the mother of the child has relatives in Pearl River County, Mississippi.

The child, who was 2 to 4 years old at the time of her death, was born between 1975-1977. She had slightly wavy brown hair and stood approximately 3’3”-3’9″ tall. She had a slight overbite that may have been noticeable.

An analysis of her bones suggests that she may have had anemia. DNA testing has also revealed she is primarily Caucasian with a small amount of Asian, Black and American Indian ancestry.

No clothing or personal items were recovered with her. She is estimated to have been killed during the late 1970s to early 1980s; most likely between 1979-1981.

DNA testing has revealed the young girl’s biological father is Terrence “Terry” Peder Rasmussen, who went by many aliases, including Robert “Bob” Evans, Curtis Kimball, Jerry Gorman, Gordon Jenson and Larry Vanner. He is the primary suspect in the young girl’s death but died in 2010 before he could be questioned. The young girl’s biological mother is unknown and is feared to also be one of Rasmussen’s victims.

Rasmussen served in the U.S. Navy between 1961 and July 1967 and served a tour in Vietnam. Rasmussen frequented trailer parks, motels and campgrounds. He has worked as a laborer, electrician and handyman. During the 1970s Rasmussen had many ties to Texas. He worked under one of his aliases on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and possibly once resided in Galveston and Ingleside.

By December 1979, Rasmussen was living in Manchester, NH with the alias Robert T. Evans.

The identities of the remaining victims found in Allenstown, NH, are Marlyse Honeychurch, Marie Vaughn and Sarah McWaters. They were last seen in La Puente California in November 1978 with Terry Rasmussen. They have no known ties to Mississippi and had no relationship to New Hampshire prior to them going missing.

The two ways the public can help is by sharing across social media expanding the reach of the information, and as comfortable, uploading their DNA into GEDmatch or Family Tree DNA to increase the chances of identifying this little girl. Even if people don’t think they are related, anyone originally from the Mississippi region, who allows for the DNA to be examined, could potentially assist with genealogy efforts.

If you are aware of a missing child or a missing child and mother from this time frame, please contact Major Marc Ogden of the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office at 601-403-2542 or Sgt. Matthew Koehler of the NH State Police Major Crime Unit at (603) 223-3648 or matthew.koehler@dos.nh.gov.

A 20/20 broadcast featuring this case will be aired on ABC this Friday, at 8 p.m. Central.