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Police searching Londonderry location in connection to Denise Robert murder

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
and CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent

October 19. 2017 4:49PM
DENISE ROBERT 

Investigators looking into the 2015 murder of Denise Robert in Manchester execute a search warrant at 43 Kendall Pond Road in Londonderry. (David Lane)

LONDONDERRY — Authorities searched an apartment in Londonderry Thursday in connection to the 2-year-old unsolved murder of advertising saleswoman Denise Robert, officials said.

The search took place at the B unit of 43 Kendall Pond Road.

"In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, what items are being sought and what, if any, items are located will not be disclosed," Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said in a joint statement with Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard.

Robert, who was 62 at the time of her death, was shot in the head while taking her regular Sunday night walk through a neighborhood in Manchester's affluent North End.

The search involved Attorney General investigators, Manchester police, New Hampshire State Police and Londonderry police.

Reporters from a half-dozen news outlets staked out the home, and two news helicopters flew overhead. At mid-afternoon, school buses from the nearby Londonderry South School rumbled by the scene.

"I've lived here 14 years and I've never seen anything like this before," said Kelly McFadden, who lives in the Woodlands apartment complex across the street from the two-family home. She remembered news reports about Robert's death and how wonderful Robert was, McFadden said.

According to online property records, the property, which includes both units, is owned by Boyd and Dorothea Mattson, who live in Unit A. The police search was concentrated on Unit B.

A family remained on the front yard, surrounded by police cruisers, as officers entered and exited the household with evidence. At one point, a woman came out of the residence yelling obscenities at reporters.

Homicide prosecutor Jane Young said the search started around mid-morning, and she expected it would conclude by the end of the day.

The Robert investigation ramped up in February, when three detectives, including a retired Massachusetts detective, were assigned to it full-time. The search means that investigators were able to convince a judge they have good reason to believe they'd find evidence that will help them solve the crime.

Young said affidavits and inventories connected to the search will be sealed from the public.

"We indicated we would pursue every available avenue, and this is one of those avenues," Young said. She would not say if other search warrants have been executed. Nor would she say who leases the property.

Jon Sherman, said he knows the family through the Derry VFW and used to visit their Independence Day parties with his son. He said it was strange to see the police presence around a home where he has spent time.

Robert was a fitness buff who sold advertising for weekly newspapers owned by the Union Leader Corp. She was the oldest of 12 children, most of whom have settled in the greater Manchester area. Given her Manchester roots, family ties and job, she was well known throughout the region.

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

A Londonderry police unit is parked outside 43 Kendall Pond Road, Unit B of which was searched Thursday by detectives investigating the 2015 murder of Denise Robert in Manchester. (CHRIS GAROFOLO)

The murder prompted candlelight vigils and teary remembrance services. It also brought a sense of unease to the North End, which has been relatively unscathed by the crime experienced in other areas of the city.

Both Police Chief Nick Willard and Mayor Ted Gatsas pledged at the time that the murder will be solved.

More than $40,000 in reward money has been pledged in the case.

Earlier this year, Young acknowledged that the bullet that killed Robert has never been found. Speculation has ranged from a random killing to Robert stumbling upon some kind of criminal act. 

Authorities have said they haven't ruled anything out and Young encouraged anyone with information to make a call.

"As we have repeatedly said, there is an individual or are individuals who know what happened," Young said.

Contacts include Todd Flanagan at 271-1208 or Manchester police detective Justin Breton at 271-4956.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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