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Search continues for missing Charlestown woman

By MEGHAN PIERCE, Sunday News Correspondent
and SHAWNE K. WICKHAM, New Hampshire Sunday News

June 29. 2013 10:01PM
Crime scene tape lies on the road behind the State Police cruiser outside the entrance to the roadway leading to Kelly Robarge's house in Charlestown. (Meghan Pierce photo)

Kelly Robarge's Charlestown home is a crime scene and authorities have been using cadaver and search dogs on the ground and a helicopter above to hunt for the missing woman this weekend.

Robarge, 42, of 124 Happy Acres Road, was last seen in the late morning hours on Thursday, and worried family and friends reported her missing around 4:30 p.m. that day, according to Susan Morrell, senior assistant attorney general.

The State Police Major Crime Unit van is parked outside Kelly Robarge's home at 124 Happy Acres Road in Charlestown on Saturday afternoon as authorities continue to investigate her disappearance. (Meghan Pierce photo)

She would not say what evidence prompted authorities to issue a news release on Friday stating they believe Robarge "suffered significant physical harm or death."

"I can't comment on where any of the evidence is leading us other than it's given us cause for concern for her safety," she said.

Morrell would not say whether blood was found inside Robarge's home, which is at the end of a dead-end, dirt road in a heavily wooded area off Route 11/12 near the Claremont line. But she confirmed the home "is being examined as a crime scene."

Morrell would not confirm media reports that Robarge had filed for divorce from her husband, James Robarge, on Thursday in a Claremont court. "I'm not going to comment on her personal life and her family life," she said.

Morrell said the state Fish and Game Department is coordinating the search for Robarge, which has pulled in dozens of law enforcement officials from New Hampshire and Vermont. Asked whether they're searching the Connecticut River, she refused to say what the search area encompasses.

Jeanne White lives on Happy Acres Road just down the street from the Robarge home, where she said only a single state police cruiser remained on Saturday afternoon. "But we've had helicopters flying over the whole area pretty much all day," she said. "They go back and forth, back and forth, in a grid."

On Friday, she estimated as many as 20 police vehicles were on her road.

White said Kelly Robarge has two adult daughters and a young grandson.

White said the first inkling of trouble came Thursday evening, when a neighbor called to check on the well-being of her husband, who has a medical condition. The neighbor told them to look outside, where they saw five state police cruisers and a local police cruiser parked near the end of their driveway.

A state trooper from the Major Crime Unit came by to interview the Whites, asking them when they had been home Thursday and whether they had heard anything. They heard nothing, she said, but the air conditioning was on, and the roar of a rain-swollen brook on their property would have masked any noise.

Her husband asked the trooper whether someone was dead. "He said, 'We just don't know,'" White said.

Still, she said, "We just thought that they must have found a crime scene and maybe some kind of violence because it sounded that way."

Another neighbor, Ernie Hewey, said the Robarges have lived on Happy Acres Road since 2007 or 2008. "We liked them both, Kelly and Jim, and the girls," he said. "They were dog people."

"They seemed like pretty nice people," his wife, Cathy Hewey, said.

The more time passes, the more White fears the worst. "At first, it didn't bother me much, but the longer she's missing, it just seems really real now," she said.

Asked whether there's a risk to the public, given the suspicious disappearance of a local woman, Morrell said it's too soon to definitively answer that question.

"We are just trying to sort out what happened now, so people should be aware of their surroundings, but beyond that, I don't think it's appropriate to sound the alarm bells," she said.

Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding the disappearance or whereabouts of Robarge to contact state police at 271-3636.

"We're concerned for her safety, and we would like the public's help," Morrell said.


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