Bodies in barrels and forensic breakthroughs: ‘Bear Brook’ reopened a complex cold case and found a serial killer

True Crime July 5, 2022
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Listen to ‘Bear Brook’

New Hampshire Public Radio’s podcast “Bear Brook” changed how murders are investigated, resulting in groundbreaking leads and forensic breakthroughs. In 1985, a barrel was discovered in an Allenstown, New Hampshire park by kids playing hide and seek. Later, a hunter peeked inside the 55-gallon drum and found the first 2 bodies. 30 years later, the case still ran cold, and police were unable to identify the victims or name any suspects. Two more bodies were found inside another barrel in 2000.

Reporter and podcast host Jason Moon first learned about the murders in 2015 when he covered a press conference about the case. The case’s details piqued his interest, and he began investigating independently outside his post. Moon wanted to learn more and was puzzled that no leads had been found despite new forensic testing technology, DNA databases, and science to help solve cases.

Start “Bear Brook” from the beginning to catch all 7 parts in order with bonus episodes. This podcast is highly bingeable, with all episodes running under 45 minutes each.

New research, science, and forensic techniques eventually identified Terry Rasmussen as the killer. 3 out of the 4 victims were identified as Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch and her daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn and Sarah Lynn McWaters. The 4th body was genetically identified as Rasmussen’s daughter.

Moon’s investigation brought him into the woods and across America to help break the case. Rebekah Heath, a librarian and researcher, first learned about the murders on “Bear Brook” and dove into the case, presented leads, and helped solve the case. Around this time, national law enforcement used forensics to try to connect Rasmussen to more killings across America.

Fans of investigative podcasts like “Serial,” “Up and Vanished,” “Solvable,” and “To Live and Die in LA” might also enjoy “Bear Brook.” Check out all episodes, now streaming wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to ‘Bear Brook’

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