A Dark Hallway: The Disappearance of Laureen Rahn

I have yet to hear about a legit teen runaway case where the missing teen doesn’t take any of their personal belongings. So goes the bewildering case of New Hampshire teen Laureen Rahn, 14, who disappeared from her third-floor family apartment in the middle of the night of April 26, 1980.

This is one of those cases where I can’t help but feel some giant clues were missed due to police initially believing she was a runaway. Something just feels not right about this case, as you will see, and something just doesn’t add up.

The night Laureen went missing, Laureen’s mother, Judith, was out with her boyfriend, and Laureen had a pair of friends over – one male, one female- to drink some Boone’s Farm or whatever middle schoolers drank in the 80s.  Neither of the friends have been publicly identified.

They apparently drank, hung out, and Laureen’s female friend went to sleep in Laureen’s room.

The male friend said he left through the back door when he heard a noise in the hallway, thinking it was Laureen’s mom, and that Laureen locked the door behind him.

When Judith arrived home that night, she entered the building and found that the lightbulbs had been unscrewed on each of the three floors of the apartment building. The front door of her apartment was unlocked, and there was a pillow and blanket on the couch.

Judith then discovered that Laureen’s unnamed female friend was sleeping in Laureen’s bed, and Laureen was nowhere to be found.

rahn_laureen

CREEPY PHONE MADNESS

What makes this case extra bizarre is the amount of odd phone-related clues that arose. Three months after Laureen disappeared, three charges appeared on Judith’s phone bill: two calls were made from a California hotel and one was made to some sort of “teen sexual assistance hotline” (I have NO clue what that means).

Apparently, in the 80s, if you had a pin number, you could charge calls to your own phone number. I had never heard of this before reading her case.

Then, about six years later, the mother of Roger Marais (Laureen’s childhood friend) claims a woman called and said she was Roger’s ex-girlfriend and that her name was Laurie or Laureen.

THEN, to top all this madness off, for about a year after Laureen went missing, Judith Rahn received mysterious phone calls. The caller would call around 3:45 a.m., and say nothing. She continued to receive the calls around the Christmas holidays. The calls continued until Judith changed her phone number.

SOME DOCTOR MADE UP A WACK STORY

There is also the nutty story of doctor who managed the “teen sexual hot line” – still don’t know what that is- which I think is complete bullshit but who knows. The Doctor originally said he didn’t remember Laureen calling the hotline, but FIVE years later he changed his story.

He said he suddenly remembered Laureen, and that runaway girls visited his wife, and he remembered a girl from New Hampshire. He then mentioned Annie Sprinkle, a porn star, who somehow knew his wife and he said she had information about Laureen.

Well, nothing came of that lead, and I’m not surprised, as it doesn’t really make sense. A doctor using a teen sexual hotline to recruit girls for his wife who knew Annie Sprinkle? Yeah, I think not.

CLUES AND A MILLION QUESTIONS

I am not sure that I have ever had more questions about a case than this one. There are so many strange details yet few details about Laureen’s life and any persons of interest.

I think there are a few clues that stand out. I need to break this down point by point:

  1. The girl in Laureen’s bed. It seems to me that Laureen and the male friend planned to sneak out, and Laureen’s friend stayed in her bed so when Judith peeked in, it would look like Laureen. Why else would Laureen’s friend stay in her room, vs sleep on the couch?
  2.  Laureen wasn’t old enough to drive or have a vehicle. We don’t know the age of Male Friend and we don’t know if he had a car. Who was he? Who did he associate with?
  3. Male Friend committed suicide in 1985, after the mysterious calls to Judith stopped.

Then there is the whole issue of the three unscrewed light bulbs, one on each floor of the building.

Why were all three of the light bulbs in the hallways unscrewed? This makes it seem like someone tried to lure her out of her apartment.

Why though? It doesn’t make sense to make the hallways completely dark unless you were planning to hide and approach someone. Why would you need to do that? Wouldn’t that draw more suspicion from neighbors?

I am curious about a few things- how high were the ceilings? How tall would you have to be to unscrew them? Why didn’t anyone in the building notice someone unscrewing light bulbs?

WHEN were they unscrewed? That would also be a crucial clue. Was someone hanging around in the morning? Afternoon? Night? Did neighbors see a handyman working in the building that day?

THE PHONE CALLS

Anyone can call and prank someone, so the hang-up calls and the call to the childhood friend don’t necessarily have any link to Laureen.

However, the California calls are a bit harder to explain. In order to charge calls to someone’s phone number, back then, you needed a PIN. Whoever charged the calls to Judith’s phone needed the pin. I haven’t seen any information that says Judith or Laureen gave the PIN out to anyone (or any evidence that Laureen knew the PIN for that matter).

THEORIES

Okay, this is a tough one. There is a lack of information, for one, since it is an older case. Not much is online about the two friends Laureen was hanging out with that night

First Theory:  Abduction and Murder

If you disregard the phone calls, it is easy to theorize that Laureen was met with foul play either by the Male Friend, someone the Male Friend associated with, or someone with familiarity with the building. Someone who planned enough to unscrew the light bulbs and wait for Laureen in the hallway.

Second Theory: Runaway

I actually think this theory has some validity. Perhaps Laureen’s friends knew, and helped her by sleeping in her bed (to look like Laureen was home to give her extra time to get out of there), unscrewing lightbulbs, and making it look like an abduction. This would also explain the phone calls.

Third Theory:  Abducted into Sex Trafficking

This is another possibility. Perhaps Laureen was unwittingly lured either by someone associated with Male Friend or someone else known to her, and taken to California.

Without knowing many details about Laureen’s life,  it’s hard for me to lean towards one of these theories. I hope that someone can find the answers.

3 Comments

  1. You didn’t need a calling card or a pin to make a 3rd party call, though I see people keep saying that and assume they’re too young to remember.

    You could make a third party call by dialing 0+phone number, same way you’d make a collect call. When the operator came on the line, you’d tell them what number you wanted the call billed to.

    If you weren’t calling from a pay phone, they’d just put the call through. If you were calling from a pay phone, they would call the number you wanted to bill it to, and someone would have to answer and approve the charges.

    Calling cards weren’t around until probably 1985-ish.

    Like

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