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Solution elusive in 2015 murder of advertising saleswoman

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 29. 2017 11:22PM
Denise Robert was found shot to death about 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, near Ray and Carpenter streets in the city's North End. 
Information sought by police
As of May, a $44,950 reward was available to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest in the murder of Denise Robert.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact attorney general investigators at 271-4956 or the Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040.

MANCHESTER — Two years ago today, Manchester native Denise Robert parked her car at Brookside Congregational Church and started her routine Sunday evening walk through one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods.

Within a half-mile, the fitness buff and advertising saleswoman was dead, killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Her homicide remains unsolved, despite the work of a three-detective task force that has been assigned to the Robert investigation since Feb. 28.

Homicide prosecutor Jane Young said the three — one Manchester police detective and two Attorney General investigators — are committed full-time to the investigation, a level of resources not seen since a Conway teenager was abducted in 2013. The kidnapper-rapist eventually released the girl and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

“You can’t do these jobs unless you have a lot of stamina and hope and heart, and these three have it,” said Young, an New Hampshire associate attorney general who oversees the case.

The three detectives are reviewing documents, interviewing witnesses and pursuing other investigative techniques, Young said. As in the past, she would not discuss specifics, or even answer questions about whether police have a suspect.

As of May, a $44,950 reward was available to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest.

Robert, who was 62 at the time of her death, worked for decades selling newspaper advertising for weekly publications that were eventually acquired by the Union Leader Corp. The oldest of 12 children, she grew up in the North End and was well known throughout the region’s small business and retail communities.

At the time of her murder, she shared a Bedford condominium with her mother, Jeannine Robert.

Her body was found on a Ray Street sidewalk, just south of the Carpenter Street intersection. Earlier this year, Young acknowledged that the bullet that killed her has never been found. The owners of the adjoining property have landscaped the property, and no mementos of Robert’s demise were visible there on Tuesday.

At the time of the murder, authorities downplayed any notion of a random killing. On Tuesday, Young said: “I don’t disagree that random murders are rare, but this team is looking at any available evidence.”

Robert’s brother, Tom Robert, said the Attorney General emails the family with updates, which lack specificity. Some family members have asked to be removed from the update list.

“They don’t want to be on the emotional roller coaster they felt they’ve been on,” Robert said.

Robert said he’s grateful that a task force is now involved and recognizes the benefit of a new set of eyes looking at the material.

Last Sunday, Robert’s mother attended a Mass at the Catholic Medical Center chapel on behalf of her deceased husband and Denise, Tom Robert said. She then hosted a memorial gathering at her home. Robert said no memorial is planned today.

“I’m sure,” he said, “we’ll all take time to reflect and ask for God’s guidance and mercy.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact attorney general investigators at 271-4956 or the Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040.

mhayward@unionleader.com


Crime, law and justice Manchester