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Cold case: Toddler may have had ties to Navajo Nation


Courtesy FBI
Sergeant Matthew Koehler with New Hampshire State Police says the unidentified young toddler may have ties to the Navajo Nation in the Black Mesa, Arizona area. Anyone with information can call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-223-8890, or 1-800-THE LOST (843-5678).

The New Hampshire State Police Cold Case Unit is hoping that someone can help identify a young murder victim who may have had ties to Black Mesa, Arizona.

Sgt. Matthew Koehler, with the Cold Case Unit, said on Friday the skeletal remains of a female toddler, between the ages of 2 and 4, were found on May 9, 2000.

The remains were in a 55-gallon barrel in Allenstown, New Hampshire, more than 2,300 miles away from Navajoland. Another child’s remains were found with the toddler, he added.

DNA tests showed the young toddler was the biological daughter of Terry Peder Rasmussen, Kohler said.

DNA also showed the child was the daughter of woman whose remains were found in 1985. She was found with another child in a 55-gallon barrel.

Koehler said the toddler’s DNA revealed she was primarily Caucasian and part Native American, African American and Asian. She was born between 1975 and 1977.

Based on tips, Koehler said the toddler’s father, the primary suspect in her death, had ties to the Navajo Reservation in the 1970s and 1980s.

“As a result of one of those tips, we were able to identify people that associated with Rasmussen,” Koehler said. “As a result of researching those people, we’ve been to identify Rasmussen as having ties to the Navajo Nation and the area surrounding Black Mesa.”

He said he was not able to comment anymore beyond that.

“The focus of our investigation is to try to identify Terry Rasmussen’s biological daughter,” Koehler said. “That is our focus.

Courtesy FBI
Convicted murderer Terry Peder Rasmussen, according to New Hampshire State Police Sergeant Matthew Koehler, through DNA testing, was the unidentified young toddler’s biological father. He was also the primary suspect in her death. He died in 2010 in a California State Prison while serving time for murder. Anyone with information can call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-223-8890, or 1-800-THE LOST (843-5678).

“Our thought is someone might remember a girl that went missing or someone might remember having contact with Rasmussen, or someone might remember a young child going missing around that time frame, late 70s, around 1980.”

According to Koehler, Rasmussen had many aliases – Robert “Bob” Evans, Curtis Mayo Kimball, Gordon Jensen, Lawrence “Larry” Vanner and Gerry Mockerman.

Rasmussen died in a California prison in 2010. Court records indicate he was serving time for the murder of his wife.

Koehler said anyone with information can call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-223-8890, or 1-800-THE LOST (843-5678).

About The Author

Donovan Quintero

"Dii, Diné bi Naaltsoos wolyéhíígíí, ninaaltsoos át'é. Nihi cheii dóó nihi másání ádaaní: Nihi Diné Bizaad bił ninhi't'eelyá áádóó t'áá háadida nihizaad nihił ch'aawóle'lágo. Nihi bee haz'áanii at'é, nihisin at'é, nihi hózhǫ́ǫ́jí at'é, nihi 'ach'ą́ą́h naagééh at'é. Dilkǫǫho saad bee yájíłti', k'ídahoneezláo saad bee yájíłti', ą́ą́ chánahgo saad bee yájíłti', diits'a'go saad bee yájíłti', nabik'íyájíłti' baa yájíłti', bich'į' yájíłti', hach'į' yándaałti', diné k'ehgo bik'izhdiitįįh. This is the belief I do my best to follow when I am writing Diné-related stories and photographing our events, games and news. Ahxéhee', shik'éí dóó shidine'é." - Donovan Quintero, an award-winning Diné journalist, served as a photographer, reporter and as assistant editor of the Navajo Times until March 17, 2023.


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