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Officials quiet on details as FBI searches building in 35-year-old missing person case

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 18. 2017 1:34AM
An agent hauls plywood to the site where investigators were excavating near Denise Beaudin's former home on Hayward Street Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Hayward Street neighbors talked quietly among themselves Tuesday morning as FBI agents began searching an apartment building that 35 years ago was the home of a woman who hasn’t been seen since Thanksgiving 1981.

Denise Beaudin, who was 23 when she was last seen, was not reported missing until recently so authorities never opened an investigation into her disappearance until late last year.

Investigators were on the scene until about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday but planned to be back this morning to continue.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery A. Strelzin would not comment on what, if any, evidence was collected. “We just learned of an official missing person last month,” Strelzin said. Investigators have to search the premises, he said.

On Tuesday, the state Attorney General’s Office announced that law enforcement officers, headed by the FBI, would be conducting a search of 925 Hayward St., the last place where Beaudin lived, with her infant daughter and boyfriend Robert “Bob” Evans, who was 37 at the time she disappeared. Strelzin has said investigators know where Evans, now 72, is, but can’t provide that information until a news conference.

Strelzin said on Tuesday that he expects a news conference will be slated for late next week or early the week after, depending on how the investigation goes.

The FBI’s search of the Hayward Street apartment building could take several days. The street was closed off from Foster Avenue to Cypress Street with yellow crime-scene tape, as was about half of Prout Park, which abuts the property.

Late Tuesday morning, a Manchester police officer allowed an unmarked white truck with Massachusetts plates into the cordoned-off section of Hayward Street. Two men, wearing black jackets with yellow “FBI” on the back, got out, opened the truck and started handing stacks of orange buckets to other agents who brought them inside the apartment building.

In the rear, agents had set up a green tent, presumably to view evidence away from the prying eyes of curious onlookers, including a news helicopter that hovered overhead.

A couple of neighbors, who have lived in the area for close to 30 years, didn’t know what to make of the situation.

Pat Kress and Betty Lafond both worked at General Cable on McGregor Street at the same time that Beaudin did, but neither knew her. Kress lives on Cypress Street, a few houses away from the building being searched. She said she does not recall Beaudin living in the neighborhood.

“It came as a surprise, a shock,” said Kress.

Both asked police officers what was going on.

“They told us nothing,” Lafond said. “They said there was nothing to worry about.”

The women, however, were concerned because last Oct. 12 the body of Richard Carlson, 61, of 1020 Clay St., was found on the bleachers at Prout Park. The Attorney General has yet to say how he died.

Linda Quinn has lived on Ainsworth Avenue, which abuts Prout Park, since 1988. On Tuesday, she looked out her kitchen window about 8 a.m. and noticed the yellow crime scene tape and wondered what had happened. Then, she said, she saw officers setting up a green tent in the rear of the Hayward Street apartment building.

She said the area was generally quiet until recently. There was a recent drug bust on Hayward Street about four to five houses up from the one being searched by the FBI, she said. Then last October, there was Carlson’s murder, and earlier, someone committed suicide in the park.

Beaudin graduated from Goffstown High School in 1976 and worked various jobs in the Manchester-Goffstown area, including at General Cable and Demers Nursing Home, also in Manchester.

At the time Beaudin disappeared, she and Evans were having financial problems, according to a statement issued late last year by Manchester and state police and Attorney General Joseph Foster.

Beaudin’s family last saw them on Thanksgiving 1981, but when the family went to the Hayward Street apartment to visit them on Dec. 1, Beaudin and Evans were gone.

Beaudin’s family assumed they’d left to avoid those financial issues, according to the police statement. No explanation was given as to why no missing person report was filed in the next three and a half decades.

Strelzin said Beaudin’s daughter is alive and well, but, at this time, does not want her name released.

Crime Manchester