ABC’s ’20/20: The Chameleon’ chronicles the harrowing tale of the Bear Brook murders, about the four different females who were discovered in barrels, either partially or completely skeletonized, at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire. From how the victims were slain to how a podcast helped authorities in solving the heinous crime, everything is analyzed in great detail in the episode. And, of course, a major focus was on the murders of Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch and her two daughters. So, if you’re here curious to know more about them and the details of their case, you’ve come to the right place.
How Did Marlyse Honeychurch and Her Daughters Die?
Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch was born in Connecticut in 1954. She married twice and had a daughter with each husband – Marie Elizabeth Vaughn, born in 1971, and Sarah Lynn McWaters, born in 1977. Everyone knew that Marlyse was excited to be a mother, but no one could have ever imagined that she wouldn’t even get the chance to see her kids grow up. Marlyse was last seen at her mother’s house in La Puente, California, around Thanksgiving in 1978, where she introduced her family to her new boyfriend.
Marlyse’s mother subsequently said that she thought her new lover was too old for her, which led to an argument that turned into Marlyse leaving, never to be seen or heard from again. The family went to great lengths to find Marlyse and her two daughters, but they never could. And sadly, they only received a concrete answer to what happened to them last year, in 2019. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Marlyse was 24 when she disappeared, and she died at the age of either 26 or 27.
In 1985, a barrel containing human remains were discovered at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, one of a woman and one of a child, who authorities believed to be 8 to 10-years-old when she died. Then, in 2000, another such barrel was dug up from the same place, this time containing the remains of two young girls, one estimated to be 3 or 4, and the other thought to be 2 or 3-years old. The youngest, the eldest, and the woman, DNA showed, were biologically related. And in 2019, they were identified as Marlyse and her daughters. They were beaten to death and then dismembered.
Who Killed Marlyse Honeychruch and Her Daughters?
The day the first of the bodies were recovered, investigations to find the perpetrator began in full force. But it wasn’t until 2017 that the authorities got a breakthrough. That year, they announced that Denise Beaudin, who had been missing since 1981, seemed to be connected to the murders. She had disappeared from Manchester, New Hampshire, along with her young daughter and then-boyfriend Robert “Bob” Evans, but wasn’t reported missing until 2016, when her daughter was found alive and well. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children subsequently announced that a man who went by the alias of “Robert Evans” was the father of the murdered still-unidentified middle child.
Authorities searched every record in their database to discover that “Robert Evans,” who kept his legal identity unknown, died in prison in December of 2010. He had been convicted and sentenced under the pseudonym for the 2002 murder and dismemberment of his then-wife, Eunsoon Jun. In June of 2017, the police released an archival interrogation video of him in the hopes of finding his real name. And two months later, via Y-DNA testing, he was identified to be Terrence “Terry” Peder Rasmussen, the same man who Marlyse had introduced to her family as her boyfriend in 1978. With further evidence testing, it was established that he had a hand in the 4 murders.
It is assumed that, after the family argument, Terry charmed Marlyse into breaking all contact with her family and persuaded her into leaving La Puente, California, with her two daughters indefinitely. The four of them settled together in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he killed the three females in 1980, leaving the state a year later with his then-girlfriend, Denise Beaudin, under the name Bob Evans. Terry is now known as the Chameleon killer as it is believed that he used “at least five different aliases in a decades-long run of crimes across the country, including at least five homicides, and likely more.”