Details of Disappearance
Laureen resided with her mother, Judith Rahn, in a third-floor apartment on Merrimack Street in Manchester, New Hampshire. She was a student at Parkside Junior High School and made good grades.
Judith's then-boyfriend was a professional tennis player, and he and Judith were out of town at a tennis tournament when Laureen disappeared on April 26, 1980. She normally accompanied them, but that day she had asked to be allowed to stay home and her mother agreed. This was during spring break at Laureen's school.
That evening, Laureen, a male friend and a female friend spent some time drinking beer and wine in Laureen's apartment. The boy later stated he heard voices in the hallway and left through the back door because he thought Judith was coming home and he was afraid he would get in trouble. He heard Laureen lock the door behind him.
When Judith arrived home at midnight, she noticed that the light bulbs in hallways on all three floors of the apartment building had been unscrewed and everything was dark. Her own apartment's front door was unlocked. Judith checked Laureen's room and thought she saw her in bed.
In the morning, however, Judith discovered that it was not Laureen but her girlfriend asleep in her room. Laureen was gone, her clothes and brand new sneakers were in the living room, and the back door was open. Her friend stated she'd last seen her sleeping on the couch.
Although the police initially suspected Laureen was a runaway, Judith didn't believe her daughter had left on her own because Laureen had left behind her clothes and purse. Within a few weeks investigators reconsidered the runaway theory. They stated it appeared as if Laureen had left the apartment willingly and intended to return within a short time.
Judith discovered that she had been charged for three California phone calls on October 1, 1980, three months after Laureen disappeared. Judith did not have any friends or relatives in California at the time, and Laureen had never lived there and had no ties to the area.
Two of the calls had been placed from a motel in Santa Monica to another motel in Santa Ana. The third call was placed to a teen sexual assistance hotline. The physician who maintained the hotline at first denied knowing anything about it, but in 1985 he changed his story.
The doctor said that numerous runaway girls occasionally visited his wife at their home and one of the young women may have been from New Hampshire. The individual claimed that Annie Sprinkle, a woman who allegedly worked with his wife in the fashion industry, may have had information concerning several runaways. Authorities learned that Sprinkle was involved in the pornography industry, and they scanned several of her films in an attempt to locate Laureen. No evidence linking Sprinkle to Laureen's disappearance was discovered and she has never been implicated in her case.
An investigator visited California on Judith's behalf in 1986 and located the two motels involved in the October 1980 phone calls. Authorities said that one of the establishments may have been used by a child pornographer named "Dr. Z." Investigators were unable to link "Dr. Z" to the teen hotline and it is not known if child sexual abuse images were involved in Laureen's disappearance.
Roger Maurais, Laureen's childhood friend in Manchester, received a call from a woman identifying herself as "Laurie" or "Laureen" in 1986. Maurais's mother answered the call and said that the person claimed to be her son's former girlfriend. The caller's identity remains unknown.
One of Laureen's family members reported seeing a girl matching her description in a Boston, Massachusetts bus terminal in 1981. For about a year after Laureen disappeared, her mother frequently got mysterious phone calls. They always came at approximately 3:45 a.m. and the caller would never say anything.
Judith continued to receive phone calls around the Christmas holidays for several years from an unknown individual. She said that the person listened silently when Laureen's sister answered the phone, then terminated the call shortly afterwards. The calls stopped after Judith changed her phone number several years after Laureen vanished.
A witness reported that a prostitute in Anchorage, Alaska matched Laureen's description. The unconfirmed sighting occurred in 1988 and authorities said that the witness based his recollections on her 1980 photo. The woman was not believed to have been Laureen as a result of the time lapse.
The boy who was drinking alcohol with Laureen on the night of her disappearance committed suicide in 1985. He was never considered a suspect in her case.
Judith moved to Florida during the years after Laureen's disappearance and remarried. She believes that her daughter placed the three California phone calls in October 1980.
Laureen enjoyed singing and dancing at the time of her disappearance and dreamed of becoming an actress. Judith believes she is still alive and some of Laureen's acquaintances may know more about her disappearance than they disclosed in 1980. Investigators continue to suspect that foul play was involved in her case, which remains unsolved.
Denise Daneault, a 25-year-old woman who lived just two blocks from Laureen, disappeared six weeks after Laureen did and was never found. She and Laureen reportedly closely resembled each other in spite of the difference in their ages, but it has never been shown that their disappearances were linked.
Some agencies may list April 27, 1980 as the date of Laureen's disappearance.