The Dartmouth Murders
On the Run
Both boys agreed to be fingerprinted. When interviewing Rob, investigators asked to examine his shoes and boots. Rob and his parents consented. The request had not been made of Jim because it had been suggested by a detective in the New Hampshire office when the officers in the field had phoned to relay the story Jim had told them.
Authorities saw no reason to arrest the cooperative teens. They were allowed to return home with their parents.
The next morning, both Rob and Jim were gone from their respective homes. John Parker notified police. He did not learn then that criminologists had matched one of Rob Tulloch's boots to a bloodstain in the Zantops' home. They would soon match fingerprints from both Rob and Jim to those on the sheaths of the knives used in the slayings and to a chair in the Zantop home. They would also find the knives in a cardboard box in Rob's room. One of them would be shown to have remnants of Susanne Zantop's blood on it, while the other had that of Half.
According to an article by Franci Richardson and Jose Martinez in the Boston Herald, New Hampshire state police "issued a warrant for Robert Tulloch of Chelsea, Vt., charging him with two counts of first-degree murder in the Jan. 27 stabbing deaths of the [Zantops]." Because of Parker's age, the article described him only as "a 16-year-old friend who is also being sought in connection with the homicides."
Rob and Jim thought it prudent to ditch Jim Parker's car and left it half-buried in the snow at a truck stop. Then they asked a trucker to let him use his CB to ask for a ride to California.
Writing for the Boston Globe, Beth Daley and Jonathan Wiggs reported that trucker James Hicks decided to pick up the pair despite his company's policy against giving rides because they reminded him "a bit of his own sons." Hicks had two teenage sons at home and a 14-year-old son who had recently been killed in a motorcycle accident. "I got three boys," he explained. "One's in heaven and two are still here and I just felt sorry for them."
Hicks told the reporters that the polite boys seemed "worn out."