PINKHAM’S GRANT — When locals and visitors head into the White Mountains this Memorial Day weekend, New Hampshire law enforcement officials are asking them to keep their eyes and ears open for any clues that may help solve the almost 13-year-old murder of a hiker from Canada.
According to authorities, Louise Chaput, a 52-year-old self-employed psychologist and experienced solo hiker, drove from her home in Sherbrooke, Quebec, to go hiking in the White Mountains on Nov. 15, 2001.
Chaput arrived that afternoon at the Joe Dodge Lodge at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, where she made a reservation to spend the night.
Around 3 p.m., she had a conversation with an AMC employee about taking a short hike.
The employee directed Chaput across the street to the Lost Pond Trail. Chaput left the lodge, but did not return. Her family reported her missing on Nov. 19.
On Nov. 20, Chaput’s car, a silver Ford Focus, was found parked at the Diretissima Trailhead, which is accessed from a parking lot that is part of the AMC visitor center. Two days later, searchers found her body off the nearby Glen Boulder Trail.
An autopsy determined that Chaput had died of multiple stab and incised wounds.
Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said investigators hope with the passing of time, “allegiances may have changed” and someone may come forward with information about who killed Chaput and why.
Investigators have previously said they believe several items owned by Chaput — including a dark blue “Kanuk” brand sleeping bag; a blue backpack with a Canadian insignia on it; her car keys; a pendant with an “S” design; and some clothing and personal things — are missing.
“Memorial Day is coming up and a lot of people will be vacationing and enjoying the mountains,” Agati said, repeating a call for the public’s help made on the 10-year anniversary of Chaput’s murder.
Chaput’s car crossed into the United States in Norton, Vt., at 11:45 a.m., Nov. 15, 2001; police said she stopped at the Pik Quick III convenience store in Colebrook an hour and five minutes later to make a purchase.
“This is an ongoing cold case investigation,” Agati said. “Officers in the area will be made more aware of it.”
Agati directed anyone with information about the murder of Chaput to call the NH Cold Case Unit at (603) 271-2663 or to e-mail the Cold Case Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.