In light of the new information released by authorities in January 2017, most of the theories on this page have been discarded.
During the almost six years of researching this case prior to December of 2016, we were asked frequently what our theory was about what happened that left four girls in barrels in Allenstown. We had no idea. We thought perhaps a woman with a couple children got together with a man with a child and in a drunken rage, he ended up killing them all. Or perhaps a sexual predator offered sanctuary to a family on the fringes. Or that a woman already on the run ran into something far worse than what she was running from. Or the person she was running from caught up with her and the girls. We mulled over so many theories.
Whatever the case, it seemed likely that over the years, someone who knew the woman at least had searched for her, perhaps looking in online forums for a sister who took off to the New England area with a new boyfriend or for some nieces who were thought to be removed by the state, etc. We combed through these forums looking for anyone looking for them. We contacted people all over the country asking if they ever found that missing friend or relative. So many queries out there, so many families still hoping. See Queries for some of the queries we came across that still might point to identities for the Allenstown victims.
One of the queries we found was from a relative of Cynthia Louise Putnam missing out of VT since 1974. In researching her case, we came across what we believe to be the answer to her disappearance. We notified family members and authorities of our findings and hope that conclusive evidence can be found that confirms our research.
Another name we came across while perusing old NH newspapers was that of Denise Daneault, a woman missing out of Manchester NH in 1980. Never having heard of her and not seeing her name on any lists of the missing, we began contacting her friends and relatives, state authorities, national authorities, etc. Five years of raising a ruckus all over the state and we still haven't been able to get her listed as missing. Odd.
We also wondered about whether the 'unrelated child' came from Canada and the lack of cross-border communication hindered identification efforts. We looked at whether she could be Yohanna Cyr or Lorraine Legault, both missing from Montreal. Interestingly, we learned that a person of interest in the Cyr case lives in a neighboring town to Allenstown and we notified NH authorities about him.
We wondered whether the killer in Allenstown was a family annihilator who took his own life after killing his family. A man like Michael Dean, suffering with PTSD from his time in Vietnam, who was never able to lay his inner demons to rest. The woman who died with Dean and her children had lived in Bear Brook Gardens in 1981 and we had learned about their tragic story when we tracked down former residents and reached out to her relatives. When we learned about Bob Evans' involvement, we circled back around to Dean. Was there any possibility that Evans was actually Dean and he staged his own death in that fire, allowing him to move on with no fear of being sought? Evans (while using this name) and Dean shared a June 22nd birthday, could they have shared more?
We wondered if the case involved a man like Robert Honsch who killed his family, assumed a new name, and started a new family. We explored Honsch's history to see if he could have lived as Bob Evans before assuming the new alias of Robert Tyree.
We tried to learn more about that peculiar suicide on New Rye Road in 1983. Some folks in the area were never sure that the man stabbed himself to death and we wondered why he chose such a difficult manner of suicide. We explored the story of a person who committed suicide on Laurel Ave in Bear Brook Gardens but were unable to learn the person's name.
Because one of the children in the barrel was unrelated to the other victims, we searched for women who could be that child's mother, particularly among the unidentified dead and among women who had a child abducted by a non-custodial parent.
People mentioned "Woodlawn, Maryland Jane Doe" to us as a possibility. She was thought to have been from the Boston area and was found in 1976. We wondered if it was possible she'd had a child with Evans, a child who outlived her mother by four years or so.
It seemed likely that the unrelated child's mother never reported her daughter missing because she had been killed as well. There were two possibilities we thought were rather compelling. First, this unidentified woman who died or was killed in 1985 and whose isotope testing shows likely New England residence.
And second, this young woman killed in 1985 by a blow to the head and found beside an exit ramp in Tennessee: nude, slight overbite, light brown or dark blonde hair with a reddish tint.
The fact that the two barrels in Allenstown were found a hundred yards apart and the barrel that investigators had to walk past every day as they investigated the 1985 discovery (within clear sight of the path) was not found until 2000 has been a nagging detail to us from the start. One theory that we considered was that the two younger children were actually killed later than the others or were deposited at a later date in a barrel that had already been searched in the 1985 investigation.
We considered two women missing out of Massachusetts in the 1970s- Rory Kesinger and Doris Tetreault. Both a little on the old end of the age estimates but geography and lack of information about their lives suggest they would be wise to rule out.
We also looked at the theory that the whole family in Allenstown was never the target - that one of the girls was targeted by a pedophile and perhaps her mother tried to intervene. Older people in Allenstown still remember the winter of 1969 when 11 yr old Debra Lee Horn disappeared from her home and was found the following summer in the trunk of a car in Sandown, nude and with probable head trauma, just like the girl found in the barrel fifteen years later.
Or was there someone connected to Allenstown who was the worst kind of predator? There were more than a few around.
Robert Breest was living in Allenstown in the late 60s when he got this mortgage for a place in Hooksett.
We were told by one of his relatives that Robert Callahan "took in a woman who had nowhere to go." As Callahan lived on the property where the barrels were found during the years in question, we found this information disturbing but were never able to verify it. Callahan was incarcerated at the NH State Prison from 1991 to 1996 after being convicted for sexual assault of a minor. His court transcripts reveal that he admitted molesting both boys and girls over a period of many years. Callahan died in NH in 2011.
We also researched Robert Steffen who lived on Edgewood Drive in Bear Brook Gardens and went to prison in 1985 for molesting children. He used multiple aliases (Richard Holmes, Bob Stone, Bob Holmes, and Joe Howard) and died in prison in 1988. He was raised in Malden MA and also lived in Lawrence, Stoneham, and Haverhill as well as on the west side of Manchester NH.
Another man who came to our attention during this research project was Pembroke NH child-pornographer Brian Schultz.
"In an affidavit summarizing the results of a four-month investigation, FBI agents alleged that the defendants produced and distributed films depicting young women engaged in sexual activity with animals, children urinating on each other, children ingesting human feces and various bizarre sex acts involving children apparently as young as 6 years old ...Howard said he is "hoping against hope" that the investigation does not reveal that many local children were used in making these films. But the affidavit quotes Schultz saying he filmed "several 13-year-old girls from Lowell, Massachusetts." Howard also said some of the children "were abducted from other parts of the country." We wondered if all of the children in Schultz's films were identified or whether some could have wound up discarded in barrels in the neighboring town.
And speaking of predators, this child sex trafficker came from or has lived in NH apparently. Anyone know where?
Nicknamed "The Beast," Joshua David Brown has been accused of facilitating a child sex trafficking ring in Peru and some articles about him state that he has also been accused of killing two of his victims.
This New Hampshire man has some disturbing convictions on his record and his native american roots caught our eye in light of information that has been discussed about the victims having shovel shape dentition (a trait sometimes found in those with first nation heritage, among others).
Edward C. Paul
Aliases: Paul Big Eagle, Charles Edward, Big Eagle Paul, etc.
AND then there were the theories about a situation like the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping, a captor fathering children with a girl he abducted years earlier. Implausible but the strange story of Suzanne Marie Sevakis comes to mind. We wondered about missing New England children such as Lisa Joy White and Debra Lee Spickler, both out of Tolland County, CT.
We looked at the New England runaways such as Maria Florence Anjiras who was last known to be hanging with CT's Charter Oaks Motorcycle Club.
We wondered if Anjiras could have become involved with one of the biker clubs to the north such as the Die Hards, a group who held their annual barbecues in Allenstown. Freddie Comtois, one of their most notorious members, supposedly lived with a girlfriend in Bear Brook Gardens at one time but we never learned who she was. Jan 1982 Telegraph article:
Apparently NH Dept of Corrections has a short memory because Comtois made it back to the NH State Prison and was reunited with his partner in crime, Raymond Glidden, before his death in the prison.
AND then there was that suicide of an unidentified man in 1982 in Newton MA, an hour and a half from Allenstown. A man who also has not been identified to this day and whose case does not appear in NAMUS. We had wondered if he killed his family and then himself.
And we wondered if we should be looking for a man who fell off the face of the earth- someone like James Thomas Stanley aka "Tom" who went missing out of Ohio in 1974. We only mention this missing man because a Thomas Stanley lived in Bear Brook Gardens and no one remembers him and we never found him. Probably not this guy but .... And speaking of Stanleys, we wondered if the Thomas from BBG was from one of the Stanley paving families in the area that travel around the country doing asphalt and roofing jobs as an anonymous poster to this blog wrote that the victims were a "gypsy" family who had traveled to the area for work projects, maybe camping in the state park. We wondered if this scenario explained the unrelated child and the silence around the disappearances as the travelers tend to handle crime and consequences within their own community.
And we wondered about a NH couple who went on a grisly killing spree in the 1980s. They killed at least three people, including the woman's child and dismembered her husband, so we wondered what other atrocities they might have committed.