By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Authorities on Friday said they have confirmed the identity of a man suspected of killing six women and children while using numerous names in multiple states.
The announcement came seven months after law enforcement officials said a man who died in a California prison in 2010 after killing and dismembering his girlfriend also likely had five earlier victims, including his toddler daughter and the mother of another girl he raised for several years and then abandoned. The man went by at least five names, including Bob Evans in New Hampshire and Lawrence Vanner in California, but authorities said Friday that his real name was Terry Peder Rasmussen.
Sgt. Michael Kokoski of New Hampshire State Police’s cold case unit said he hopes the new information will lead to tips about Rasmussen — and possibly other victims — during the several years before he arrived in New Hampshire in the late 1970s.
“We’ve found his real identity, and more significantly, that he appears to have used this identity up until the time he comes to New Hampshire,” he said. “The hope is that … someone will recognize him and say, ‘Yeah, I knew Terry,’ and be able to potentially identify any females or children that were accompanying him in his travels for those critical years.”
According to investigators, Rasmussen was born in 1943 in Denver, grew up in both Colorado and Arizona, and attended high school in Phoenix before joining the Navy. After being discharged in 1967, Rasmussen got married in Hawaii and then moved to Arizona, where he and his wife had three daughters and one son.
Around 1973, Rasmussen’s wife left him, authorities said, and the last time she and the children saw him was when he showed up unexpectedly for a visit around Christmas 1974. A DNA sample from one of those children helped confirm Rasmussen’s identity, Kokoski said. One of the daughters declined to comment Friday.
“They all obviously want their privacy, but I think it’s fair to say they were all very troubled by what we were telling them about what Terry had gone on to do with his life,” he said.
Authorities know little about Rasmussen’s whereabouts from 1974 to 1978 but say it’s likely he spent time in Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire.
By 1981, Rasmussen was living with girlfriend Denise Beaudin and her 6-month-old daughter, Dawn, in Manchester, New Hampshire. All three disappeared that year, but Beaudin’s family never reported her missing because they believed the couple left town because of money troubles. Although her body has not been found, authorities believe Rasmussen killed Beaudin somewhere between New Hampshire and California, where, by 1985, he was living at an RV park with Beaudin’s daughter and using the name Gordon Jenson.
In June 1986, Rasmussen abandoned the girl, whom he called Lisa, and fled. He later served about 18 months in jail for child abandonment but took off after being paroled in 1990, authorities said. In 2003, he was convicted of killing Eunsoon Jun, whom he had married two years earlier in an unofficial ceremony in Richmond, California. Her partially dismembered body was found in their basement, buried under cat litter.
In addition to Beaudin and Jun, authorities believe Rasmussen killed a woman and three girls whose bodies were found in barrels near a New Hampshire state park in 1985 and 2000. Based on DNA evidence, authorities believe Rasmussen was the father of one of the girls.
Authorities from around the country have been investigating more than 50 tips about the identities of those victims, the location of Beaudin’s body and Rasmussen’s early life.
“This has been a cooperative venture with a lot of agencies involved,” said Jeffery Strelzin, senior assistant attorney general. “Because he left victims from one end of the country to the other, a lot of people have been working together on this and continue to work together, and we very much appreciate that.”
Associated Press researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed to this report from New York.