In 1980, Laureen Ann Rahn was a 14-year-old girl living with her mother in a third floor apartment at 239 Merrimack St. in Manchester, New Hampshire. She was described by the people close to her as a happy and outgoing, she also made As at Parkside Junior High. However, Laureen’s aunt had concerns about a new group of friends she met that had introduced her to alcohol and cannabis.
On April 26, 1980 Laureen’s mother went out of town to watch her boyfriend, a professional tennis player, play in a tennis tournament. Laureen asked to stay home as she was on spring break from school. Laureen’s mother agreed but had a few family members stop by their apartment throughout the day to check on her. That night at the Rahn’s apartment, Laureen had a male and female friend over and the trio drank a 6-pack of beer and a bottle of wine. Laureen’s female friend was her age and the male friend was a 21-year-old. The female friend says she became inebriated and doesn’t remember much of the night.
At 12:30am, Laureen and her male guest heard voices coming from the hallway and assumed Laureen’s mother and her boyfriend were arriving home. The male friend exited through the apartment’s backdoor and heard Laureen lock the door behind him.
At 1:15am, Laureen’s mother and her boyfriend returned to the apartment. They noticed that all three floors of the apartment building were dark because all of the lightbulbs in the hallways had been unscrewed. They also found the front door unlocked and the back door was open. At first, Laureen appeared to be asleep in bed but her mother realized it was Laureen’s female friend, not Laureen. The friend said that they had both gone to sleep in the bed but Laureen had gotten up and taken a pillow and blanket to the couch to sleep there.
There was no one on the couch.
Laureen wasn’t in the apartment at all. Her purse, money and brand new shoes were near the front door. Nothing was missing and there were no signs of struggle other than the darkened hallways and opened doors.
When Laureen’s mother reported her missing, police assumed Laureen was a runaway.
- Police now believe foul play is involved and Laureen is not a runaway.
- Tony Fowler, who worked on the case as a a Manchester detective lieutenant has said his belief is that Laureen left the apartment to quickly meet someone (which is why she did not put on shoes, lock the door, or take her purse) and that person instead abducted her.
- Six weeks after Laureen disappeared another woman, Denise Daneault, disappeared two blocks away.
- Police believe that suspected serial killer Terry Peder Rasmussen may be involved in this case as he lived two doors down from Denault and two blocks from Rahn. Rasmussen died in 2010.
- The male friend who was with Laureen the night she disappeared was never considered a suspect. He died by suicide in 1985.
- On October 1, 1980, Laureen’s mother realized she’d been charged for three phone calls made from motels in southern California, one to a teen sexual assault hotline. A physician who was operating the hotline has said he “may” have talked to Rahn or even invited her into his home as his wife often did with runaways. This was never confirmed. A child pornography ring was also connected to one of the hotels where a call originated from. Laureen’s mother believes that these calls were made by Laureen.
- Laureen’s mother also received creepy phone calls on her personal line in the middle of the night from a silent caller.
- Several of Laureen’s friends and family claim to have seen her by chance in public or received mysterious phone calls from someone who might be Laureen. This is pretty common for missing persons cases, however, and is usually not connected to the case.
Unfortunately unless someone comes forward, it seems unlikely that we will ever know what happened to Laureen Rahn.