When a person is discovered and remains unidentified for years, it’s baffling. We are inclined to believe that “no man is an island” and that someone, somewhere is missing that person. Occasionally, two or more people are discovered together and the puzzle becomes more troubling. With every piece of a puzzle that’s found, the picture should become clearer and the mystery easier to solve. Unfortunately, for members of a family found in Allenstown, New Hampshire, the puzzle remains unsolved.
In 1985, a deer hunter found a steel drum near the rugged Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire. Inside the steel drum were the remains of a woman and a young girl, aged 5-11. They had been killed by blunt-force trauma. At the time they were discovered, it was theorized that they were mother and daughter. Other cases diverted the limited time, resources, and attention of law enforcement.
Fifteen long years passed.
In 2000, a NH state trooper went back to check on the location of barrels at Bear Brook in relation to a nearby mobile home park and road. A trailer and the remains of a burned camp store were nearby. In one of the barrels, two more bodies were found. Both were little girls, one aged 1 to 3 and the other aged 2 to 4.
Latest DNA testing has shown that there is some maternal relation between the woman and the child she was found with in 1985, but a mother-daughter relation can’t be proven or disproven as of yet. Testing also showed that the youngest girl, aged 1 to 3 was also maternally related. A familial connection to the girl aged 2 to 4 can’t be proven at this time. DNA testing that’s been completed so far could only detect maternal lineage. New DNA tests are currently being conducted in hopes of clarifying exactly what the relationships were between the four. The estimated ages of the girls has changed over time as well as testing continues.
The woman and children may have been killed as early as 1977 or 1978. Police theorize that they may have come from anywhere and not necessarily been local to the area. It’s an extremely intriguing case. There’s an excellent blog devoted exclusively to this particular case if you’d like to learn more: http://oakhillresearch.blogspot.com/
I’ve wondered if the possible reason a “family” wasn’t reported missing is because only the adult female was ever reported missing, perhaps a teenager who ran away while pregnant. A search of missing persons from the era turned up at least one possibility who lines up in terms of timeframe. Jan Andre Cotta was 5-7 months pregnant when she disappeared from New Jersey in the summer of 1973. It would put her in the same approximate age range as the adult female and the baby she was carrying in the same age range as the oldest child. Because of the condition of the bodies, law enforcement cautions that the composites should not be expected to look exactly like the woman and girls did while alive. Here’s a photo and some information about Jan Andre Cotta: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/c/cotta_jan.html