By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader
November 11. 2017 5:53PM
The New Hampshire State Police was conducting a search Saturday in the woods behind the Kimball Street housing projects in Manchester. The FBI and Manchester police also were involved in the search. (Jeffrey Hastings)
MANCHESTER — A cadaver dog recovery team led Manchester police with FBI and state police partners into woods behind the Kimball Street housing projects Saturday, all hoping to find evidence of a Manchester woman who has been missing for 37 years.
Manchester police and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald’s office confirmed they were searching for evidence of Denise Daneault, a divorced mother of two who disappeared just days before her 26th birthday in June 1980.
An anonymous tip earlier this year brought about this extensive search behind 541 Kimball St. — part of a sprawling, federal low-income housing project on Manchester’s West Side known as the Rock Rimmon.
Daneault had been out the Saturday night of June 7, 1980, at a social club on the corner of Merrimack and Union streets and was last seen at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Daneault left behind sons — ages 4 and 6.
Denise Daneault is seen with her two sons in a clipping from a 1980 Manchester Union Leader article. The photo was published days after her disappearance on June 8, 1980.
While officials stressed this search was only about finding Daneault’s remains, there is a neighborhood link to the four unidentified homicide victims found in the woods of Allenstown that state authorities now link to a single serial killer.
At the time of her disappearance, Daneault lived at 343 Hayward St. on the same street where Terry Peder Rasmussen was living under the alias Bob Evans. Rasmussen, now deceased, is the suspect in the murder of four unidentified homicide victims (one adult female and three children) found in Allenstown in 1985 and 2000, and he is also tied to the disappearance of another Manchester woman in 1981, Denise Beaudin.
The 23-year-old Beaudin and Rasmussen had lived together at 975 Hayward St.
Rasmussen was incarcerated under the alias Curtis Kimball, convicted for the 2002 murder and dismemberment of his wife, Eunsoon Jun, in California.Rasmussen died in a California prison in 2010.
Authorities believe Rasmussen was a serial killer.
In addition to the four Allenstown victims, they believe he likely killed Beaudin, who left Manchester in 1981 with her infant daughter and the boyfriend she knew as Robert Evans, now identified as Rasmussen.
Beaudin’s daughter was abandoned by Rasmussen five years later in California and was later adopted. It was her 2016 search for her true identity that led authorities to link Evans/Rasmussen with the Allenstown victims and with Beaudin’s disappearance.
Daneault’s disappearance also had been sometimes linked to the case of Laureen Rahn, a 14-year-old who disappeared from her Merrimack Street apartment six weeks before Daneault went missing. Rahn lived just two blocks from where Daneault was last seen and Rahn’s mother told the New Hampshire Sunday News in 2005 that Daneault and Rahn looked alike.
But those involved in the search said the tip only was about the 1980 missing person case and not these other crimes.
“This information that Manchester police is acting upon was strictly about Denise Daneault,” said Deputy Attorney General Jane Young.
The site of Saturday’s search was 3½ miles away from where Daneault last lived and about 2½ miles from the social club where Daneault was last seen.
The Connecticut-based Bay Area Recovery Canines supplied two of the dogs that specialize in finding human remains. A state police K-9 unit also assisted.
Within an hour of the onset of the search Saturday, witnesses said all three canines focused on a specific site a few hundred yards down an incline into the woods below.
The search party then brought to that spot flags and later some tools, and they remained working there for several hours.
Late Saturday, Young confirmed the plan was for the search team to return for more work today. The group doing the search numbered about a dozen with two from state police, two with the cadaver recovery company, three from Manchester police and the remainder with the FBI.
As to why the search was done Saturday, Young said it was a matter of scheduling.
“You’re talking about bringing all different assets and agencies to one location, and this was the day it could all come together,” Young said.
Residents in the Kimball Street building watched the survey outside their windows but declined to comment on the search.
Anyone with information about Daneault is asked to call Detective Lucas Hobbs at the Manchester Police Department at 792-5519.