New Hampshire Union Leader
March 3, 2005
Cars, cabin now focus of search
By Stephen Seitz
Goshen -- Two cars seized by police may contain clues to the disappearance of Edith "Pen" Meyer, who vanished from her home in Goshen last week.
One car was found in Claremont, and the other car was taken from a Lempster resident, police said. No further information was released about the vehicles.
Investigators also spent much of the day searching a cabin in that town.
Despite this, investigators say that the 55-year-old woman's disappearance is still considered "unusual."
"We won't consider this to be suspicious unless we have evidence of foul play," said Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker. "On Monday, we seized a car based on following up a tip, and the car will be searched."
The car does not belong to Meyer, Delker said; her vehicle is still in its place in her garage.
"The house looks like somebody just left," Delker said. "What it looks like is that she either walked out or somebody picked her up."
Meyer was last seen on the evening of Feb. 22 when some friends were visiting. She was supposed to meet someone the next morning. An avid snowshoer who rarely left the house without her dog, that friend was surprised to find both snowshoes and spaniel, but not Meyer. He alerted police, who have been searching ever since. An extensive search has eliminated the woods around her home on Gunnison Lake.
Many of the usual investigative avenues turned up dry. "She didn't have a cell phone," Delker said. "I don't know if she had a computer. We looked at her financial records and her credit cards, and there's no activity after her disappearance."
More personal details are emerging about Meyer's background. According to court documents, her brief second marriage ended last September in Sullivan Superior Court.
Meyer married Newbury resident Richard G. Rankin, now 65, in Goshen on Dec. 29, 2001. Meyer moved to New Hampshire in 1978, Rankin in 1994. The pair separated on May 18, 2004, and filed a joint petition for divorce on Aug. 12. The couple divided their possessions and finances, and the divorce was granted on Sept. 15. According to the decree, this was Rankin's second marriage and Meyer's third.
Attempts to contact Rankin were unsuccessful yesterday.
The couple had no children, though Meyer has three, two of whom, authorities said, live in New Hampshire. In divorce records in the space for her work number, the form reads "n/a" (not applicable). There were no court cases pending against either party when the divorce went through, or since. No domestic violence or restraining orders were on file at Newport district court.
Meyer was active in preservation causes, sold her weaving at area craft fairs, and served as membership director for the Norwich Farmers' Market in Vermont.
Despite this, according to Suzie Wallis, the market's president, no one there seemed to know her very well. Wallis said the matter of Meyer's disappearance was raised at the organization's board meeting Monday night.
"The members found the news sad and upsetting," said Wallis, "and they're sad that she's still missing. I've known her for a very long time, but only through the market, not socially. We knew that she had been married and divorced, and was divorced again. Otherwise, we have very little information."
New Hampshire authorities said the search is still being conducted in New Hampshire.
A number of women in New Hampshire have been missing or murdered in mysterious circumstances in recent years:
Maura Murray, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, crashed her car on Route 112 in Swiftwater in February 2004, walked into the woods, and disappeared, leaving no trace.
Brianna Maitland, also a U-Mass student, vanished after leaving the restaurant where she worked in Montgomery, Vt. the following month.
Louise Chaput, of Sherbrooke, Quebec, was stabbed to death while hiking in Pinkham Notch in November 2001.
Tina and Bethany Sinclair, residents of West Chesterfield, left their home one night in February 2001, and haven't been heard of since. However, in that case, authorities have identified a probable suspect in the disappearance of the mother and daughter.
The publicity surrounding the current case has brought plenty of tips from the public.
"A lot of people have been very helpful," said Maj. Barry Hunter of the state police Major Crime Unit. "I only wish we could ask for something specific, but we'll take as much information as we can get."
Investigators are based at the Goshen Police Department, and police encourage anyone with information to drop in. A toll-free number, 1-800-852-3411, has been set up at state police headquarters for callers who have tips. The public also may call the state police Troop C barracks in Keene at 358-3333.