Authorities recently confirmed that the remains found along a Tennessee interstate in 1985 are that of a New Hampshire girl who vanished a year earlier—but who wasn’t reported missing until last year.
Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald, Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations director David Rausch announced in a statement issued to The New Hampshire Union Leader that remains found on Interstate 81 in Green County in April 1985 belonged to Elizabeth Lamotte.
Lamotte, then 17, was reportedly living at the Youth Development Center (YDC) in Manchester when she went on furlough to Gill Stadium on November 22, 1984, but never returned. The newspaper reported that the center had discharged Lamotte’s case in July 1985, when she turned 18, without reporting her disappearance.
Law enforcement wasn’t aware of Lamotte’s disappearance until early last year, as they investigated four cold case murders in New Hampshire.
In January 2017, authorities released the name of Bob Evans, an alias of Terry Peder Rasmussen, to the public. Rasmussen was a suspect in the murders of a woman and three girls—one of whom was his daughter. According to the Boston Globe, the press conference was held to identify remains of four female victims who were found in Allentown, New Hampshire, decades earlier.
In 1985, hunters reportedly found the bodies of a woman, in her mid-20s, and a tween girl in a barrel in the woods of Allentown. Fifteen years later, a police sergeant working the case reportedly discovered a second barrel containing the remains of two more girls, ages 3 and 4, the newspaper reported.
DNA confirmed the woman and two of the girls were related. Despite this, all four victims’ identities remain unknown to this day.
Rasmussen died in 2010 while serving a prison sentence for killing his wife, Eunsoon Jun, in California in 2002. The prime suspect, he was never charged in connection with the four murders, which are widely known as the “Bear Brook Murders.”
It was also during last year’s news conference when authorities released the name of someone thought to be Rasmussen’s wife, Elizabeth Evans, who they believed lived together in Manchester in the early 80s. Authorities asked the public for information regarding Elizabeth’s identity.
Shortly thereafter, a tipster contacted authorities and said the “Elizabeth Evans” they’re seeking information about could be Lamotte, noting her disappearance in 1984.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell told the Union Leader that their investigation “determined that Elizabeth Lamotte had no connection to Bob and Elizabeth Evans.” However, Lamotte’s case was turned over to Manchester police, who interviewed persons of interest and ultimately entered her data into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a missing person.
The Citizen Tribune reported that authorities entered Lamotte’s genetic data into the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) in 2006. Lamotte’s two brothers recently submitted their DNA into the database. On Tuesday, officials notified Manchester police that Lamotte’s brothers’ DNA matched the woman found near the Tennessee interstate in 1985.
An autopsy determined Lamotte’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and deemed her death a homicide. The teen is believed to have been dead for two to three weeks before she was discovered.
With no indication that Lamotte’s case is related to the Bear Brook Murders, the Tennesee Bureau of Investigation said there’s also no evidence she’s a victim of the “Redhead Murders,” a string of unsolved slayings carried out in Tennessee and multiple adjoining states from the late 1970s to early 90s.
Special Agent Brandon Elkins told Citizen Tribune on Wednesday, “There’s been a lot of speculation (of a connection) to other crimes. We’re not saying they’re connected. We have to work each one independently.”
[Featured Image: Elizabeth Lamotte/New Hampshire Attorney General]