Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Dartmouth Murders

Slaughter!

State Seal of New Hampshire
State Seal of New Hampshire

Roxana Verona, professor of French and Italian at Dartmouth College, drove down Trestcott Road in the quiet, rustic village of Etna, New Hampshire, on Saturday, January 27, 2001. She planned to have dinner at the home of Dartmouth colleagues Half (pronounced "hahlf") and Susanne Zantop. Verona entered the Zantop driveway at about 6:30 p. m.  Freshly-fallen snow crunched under her shoes as she walked to the house.

Lights were on in the main rooms of the house. Susanne had told Verona that the front door would be left unlocked, but when Verona turned the knob of that door, she had an eerie sensation that something was wrong.  Her nose picked up no smell of Susanne's gourmet cooking and her ears heard no sounds.

Venturing into the red-tiled foyer, Roxana beheld a house that was, as usual, neat and clean.

"Susanne," Verona called, "I'm here.  Where are you?"

No one answered.

The Zantop House
The Zantop House

She walked through the living room to the kitchen.  Food was on the counter but nothing had been cooked.  "Susanne?" Verona called.  "Half?"

Chaos and gore confronted her when she stepped into the small study and found Half and Susanne lying silent and covered in blood.

Verona fled the house, dashed to her car and drove to the nearest neighbors' home. According to a Union Leader article by Kathryn Marchocki, "Audrey McCollum said a birthday celebration for her husband, Dr. Robert McCollum, who is retired dean of Dartmouth Medical School, was interrupted Saturday night by a sudden pounding on their front door."

Robert McCollum
Robert McCollum

The McCollums allowed the distraught Verona inside and she poured out the story of what she had seen at the Zantop house. Marchocki continued, "Robert McCollum and his daughter, Cindy, drove to the Zantop's home [with Verona] where they found Susanne and her husband both lying on the study floor." The article says that Dr. McCollum realized immediately that both Zantops were dead. Authorities were soon contacted.

 

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