The Allentown 4 – aka The Bodies in the Barrels

In 1985, a grizzly discovery was made in a wooded area near Allentown, New Hampshire. A barrel containing the bodies of an adult female and a juvenile female that had been decomposing for a long time. With advances in DNA testing that happened in the 1990s, it was determined the two female bodies were related. Possibly mother and daughter. The woman was in her late 20s or early 30s and the juvenile was maybe 8 or so years old.

Despite the bad condition they were found in, police were able to figure out that they had both suffered from being badly beaten just before they died and were sealed into the barrel. The case went cold. The identities of the woman and child were never discovered. In my post on familial DNA, I actually mentioned using this method to discover the identities of the bodies in the barrels.

In 2000 with no new leads, a new detective was assigned to the case. He went out to check out the area where the barrel had been located and found a second barrel. This barrel contained the remains of two more female children and DNA confirmed they are related to the woman, although how exactly they are related is still a mystery for some reason.

This barrel was discovered 15 years after the first barrel, even though all four murders seemed to have taken place around the same time. The reason is because the first barrel was moved from its original location. The wooded section where the bodies were found backed up to a neighborhood. Some kids had run across the barrel and begun to play with it, rolling it around, until the lid popped off. At which point, the kids apparently ran away and didn’t tell anyone about it. It was refound a few days later by a hunter and when he realized there were dead bodies in the barrel, he reported it to the police.

In 2017, police finally found a possible suspect and tip on who the woman might be. A woman living in Denver called to report that her mother had abandoned her as an infant to run off with a boyfriend named Bob Evans. Evans was actually serving time for murder in a California prison and his DNA was on file as a result. He had died in 2010.

Evans had lived in New Hampshire at the time the bodies were thought to have been placed in the barrels (1977-1981). His DNA was run and he turned out to be the biological father of one of the female children. In 2002, Bob Evans had married a young woman named Eunsoon Jun. After four months of no one hearing from her, a friend reported her as missing. Her body was found in a crawl space under Bob Evans house, mummified using cat litter.

Police were able to put together some details from Bob Evans’ life and made the discovery that Evans hadn’t just killed Eunsoon Jun. He had a history of molesting young girls. And Eunsoon Jun wasn’t his first murder or even his second. He’d been able to avoid being noticed because Bob Evans was constantly changing his identity.

Familial DNA finally identified Bob Evans as Terry Rassmussen in 2018. Rassmussen had been in the US Navy and he’d had a wife and four children, that he divorced in 1974 before setting out to see the country. This DNA evidence linked Bob Evans (Terry Rassmussen) to the 4 bodies in the barrels. And it linked him to a third murder. With the help of familial DNA we now know that Rassmussen was a serial killer and pedophile and we are that much closer to identifying the 4 bodies in the barrels.

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