'Bear Brook' Podcast: How Genetic Genealogy Is Transforming Murder Investigations

Dec 3, 2018

Four victims. Their bodies found in two barrels. No trace of their identities. No suspects in their murders.

That's how the investigation at the heart of New Hampshire Public Radio's recent true crime podcast Bear Brook begins. But over the course of six episodes, and several forthcoming updates, cutting-edge forensic testing and genetic genealogy provides answers to some of those questions—while raising new ones. 

The story begins with the discovery of the first barrel, containing two bodies, in November 1985. A second barrel containing two more bodies was found in 2000.

The barrels were found just outside the border of Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire, a roughly 10,000-acre park that’s among the largest in the state.

Reporter and podcast host Jason Moon tells Vermont Edition about how he followed the investigators, amateur detectives and others puzzling over one of New Hampshire's most notorious cold-case murders. And he explains the new forensic methods and "genetic genealogy" are being brought to bear on the case and how the story has "broken open" in recent years.

Broadcast live on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.