The 1980 Mystery Disappearance of 14-Year-Old Laureen Rahn

The 1980 Mystery Disappearance of 14-Year-Old Laureen Rahn

  • 14-year-old Laureen Rahn went missing in 1980 from her home.
  • When the mother arrived home at midnight, she discovered that every hallway lightbulb on all three floors of the building had been removed. The apartment was in darkness.

Laureen Ann Rahn lived with her mother Judith in an apartment building in Manchester, New Hampshire. A well-liked student, she made good grades at school. She was into singing and dancing. It was this passion that fuelled her dream of making it big as a star of the stage and the silver screen.

On April 26, 1980, Judith accompanied her pro tennis player boyfriend out of town for a tournament. Usually 14-year-old Laureen would have went along on this outing, but this time, she requested to stay behind and Judith agreed. It was spring break and Laureen intended to invite some pals over for a spot of alcohol experimentation while the folks were away as teenagers are wont to do.

Two friends, a male, and a female joined Laureen. The trio were drinking and having a good time when the sound of voices in the hallway abruptly broke the party up. Assuming that it was Judith and the boyfriend, the boy slipped out of a rear exit from the third-floor apartment. He later said he heard Laureen lock the door after him. As it turned out it was not Judith. That night the female friend stayed over. Laureen gave the friend the use of her bed. She slept on the living room couch.

Judith returned at midnight. She discovered that every hallway lightbulb on all three floors of the building had been removed. She found her apartment in the darkness. Her front door was unlocked. She checked on Laureen and upon seeing the occupied bed she naturally assumed it was her daughter and retired to her bed for the night.

Imagine Judith’s shock in the morning upon finding the friend in Laureen’s bed, with Laureen nowhere to be found. Her brand new sneakers and the clothing she had been wearing were still in the living room. The rear door stood open.

The case was initially treated as a runaway. Judith didn’t buy it. If Laureen had run she had done so without her shoes, clothing and purse. Weeks went by. Police now thought Laureen had left the apartment willingly with the intention of returning shortly thereafter but had been prevented from doing so.

Laureen Rahn

A clue turned up – three mystery charges to Judith’s credit card for phone calls made from California on October 1, 1980. The Rahns had no ties to California. Two of the calls were made from a Santa Monica motel to another motel in Santa Ana. The third call was made to a teen sexual assistance hotline. The plastic surgeon who ran the hotline denied any knowledge or involvement. The trail remained cold. This was just one of many seemingly promising leads that never came to anything. In one instance a Rahn family member thought they spotted Laureen at a Boston, Massachusetts bus terminal in 1981. Another was the phone calls – for a year after Laureen vanished, Judith would receive phone calls in the middle of the night. The caller always remained silent. The frequency of the calls slowed down over time, but would return every Christmas for several years after Laureen went missing until Judith changed her number.

In 1985, the plastic surgeon from the teen sexual assistance hotline changed his story, admitting that numerous runaway teen girls visited his home, including one from New Hampshire. In a bizarre twist, the dodgy doc implicated Annie Sprinkle (she has an active website by the way), a porn star of some notoriety who had worked with his wife, saying that she had information regarding some of the runaways. These dedicated police investigators watched Annie Sprinkle’s porno films to search for clues. Around this time, the male friend from the night Rahn disappeared committed suicide.

Annie Sprinkle
The Annie Sprinkle in question invites audiences to view her cervix, using a speculum and a flashlight.

The following year Judith hired a private investigator. He headed to California and checked out the two motels from the 1980 phone calls. One had been used by a child pornographer known as Dr Z. Later that year a woman identifying herself as Laureen telephoned Laureen’s childhood friend Roger Maurais’ house. Again, frustratingly, neither of these leads bore fruit. The last reported possible sighting of Laureen places her in Anchorage, Alaska, working as a prostitute in 1988.

Judith has relocated to Florida and remarried. She now believes her daughter ran away to California to chase her acting dreams and that it was she who placed the three phone calls from that state. As a footnote to the case, some believe that the disappearance of Laureen Rahn is linked to two other girls who vanished without a trace. Denise Denault lived two blocks from the Rahn apartment and vanished six weeks after Laureen. Rachel Garden vanished a month before Laureen and lived one town over. They were all petite brunettes who looked alike. Like the Rahn case, both of these cases remain unsolved to this day.

Rachel Garden and Laureen Rahn

Below are age progression photos of what Laureen Rahn might look like today.

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