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334: Case 287: Half & Susanne Zantop

2024-06-08 | 🔗
When Half and Susanne Zantop were found brutally stabbed to death in their Etna, New Hampshire home, friends, colleagues and investigators were all at a loss to understand it. The married couple were both beloved professors at Dartmouth College, and no one could think of a reason why someone would want to harm them. But a crucial clue left at the crime scene would lead investigators directly to some unlikely suspects: two high school students with a deadly plan… --- Narration – Anonymous Host Research & writing – Erin Munro Creative direction – Milly Raso Production and music – Mike Migas Music – Andrew D.B. Joslyn Sign up for Casefile Premium: For all credits and sources, please visit casefilepodcast.com/case-287-half-susanne-zantop
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Content warnings. Please see the show notes for this episode on your app or on our website. Website. On the evening of Saturday, January 27, 2001, Roxana Verona drove to the small town of Etna, New Hampshire and turned onto... Prescott Road. It was a long stretch of bitumen flanked by brush, low stone walls and tall thickets of trees on either side. Also roughly an inch of fresh snow on the ground. Occasionally, picturesque homes could be seen through the dense foliage, but most of the road's houses were hidden from view. View. Although it was only just after 6.30pm, the area was already cloaked in darkness due to the mid-winter season.
Pulled up at a gravel driveway and turned, following the curved 50-yard driveway downhill and parking at its base. Next to the driveway was a garage and behind it was a two-story house. Built just… to 16 years earlier in 1985, the property was modern and surrounded by gardens and woods, Ideal home for residents seeking a peaceful retreat. Who lived in the house were Roxana's good friends, Hough and Susanna Xantop. A warm social pair, they had invited Roxana over for dinner. Roxana grabbed her hand in the bag and a salad she'd made before getting out of the car and walking to the front door. She rang the doorbell, then placed a hand on the doorknob. To her surprise, the door was unlocked. Despite being the sort of people who often hosted guests, Hoff and Suzanne
Anna were also security conscious and always locked their house up. Roxana wondered if Susanna had left the door unlocked for her benefit. Had mentioned that Hoff would be out at a birthday party when Roxana arrived. Perhaps Susanna? had decided to take a shower and wanted Roxana to be able to let herself in. Turned the doorknob and entered the house, calling out I'm in as she did so. She hung her coat and bag up at the end of the hallway, then placed the salad on the dining room table. All of the housekeeping. Lights were on, but Roxana noticed how strangely quiet it was. She could inhale. The shower running or the sound of someone bustling about getting ready. Walking into the kitchen, she found it empty. Some bread, cheese, and chopped vegetables were out as though someone was midway preparing a meal, but there was no...
Cooking aroma. Suzana, Suzana, Roxana called. There was no reply. The house felt empty. Then Roxana noticed that the study door was open and a light was on inside. She's a great friend of mine. Headed towards the room, which was usually a neat and tidy space with hundreds of books lining floor to ceiling bookshelves and Hoff's desk with everything in place. Yet, on this occasion, it was in total disarray. Papers and photographs were strewn all over the floor. A card table was knocked over. Roxana immediately noticed that Hoff and Susana were there too.
Floorboards, and both were covered in blood. At the house next door, Bob McCollum was celebrating his 76th birthday with his wife, his daughter. And his son-in-law. Just as the group were raising their glasses in a toaster bob, they heard someone Pounding at the front door and a woman screaming. They found Roxana Verona outside, crying about the
discovery she'd just made at the Zantop residence. Bob's wife called 911 while Bob, a doctor, ran next door to see if he could help. Roxana and Bob's daughter went with him. While Roxana hid in the Xantops kitchen waiting for police, Bob went to check on his neighbours. 65-year-old Susanna lay on her stomach near the study door. The card table that had been knocked down was a Dover was resting on her calves. There was a large puddle of blood pooled beneath her head, which faced away. It appeared the blood came out of her head. Came from a large slash made across her throat. Susanna was wearing a brown and black jumper and tan corduroy trousers, which were also covered in blood. Colm checked Susanna's wrist for a pulse but found none. Her husband Hoff, who was 62.
Who was a few feet away from Susanna, sprawled on his right side. Rested on the base of a bookshelf which was splattered with blood. Like Susanna, Hoff's clothes were blood-soaked. There was a cut in the left leg of his jeans and he had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest and head. Hoff's face was white and completely drained of blood. It was clear to Bob that he too was deceased. The fate the couple had met was an extremely violent one. Spots and splatters of blood covered books, paperwork, chairs, and an oriental rug that was beneath Hough's feet. There was also a clear clue as to the weapon used to inflict the violence. Lying on top of a bloody... Birkenstock sandal that had come off Susanna's foot was a black plastic knife sheath.
It was more than a foot long and three inches wide. A second matching sheath also lay under a nearby chair. Within several minutes, multiple police officers from Hanover Police Department had arrived at the scene. Hanover police department had arrived at the scene. Over was a large town that lay four miles west of Etna, right near the border of New Hampshire and Vermont. Its biggest claim to fame was that it was... Home to the Ivy League University Dartmouth College. Many residents of Atner were employed in Hanover and despite its semi-rural appearance, Trescot Road was a popular thoroughfare for commuters between the two towns. The Hanover officers were also joined by members of the New Hampshire State Police and officers from the Grafton County Sheriff's Department. They conducted a sweep of the Xantops home to ensure...
Couple's attacker wasn't hiding somewhere in the residence before turning their attention to the crime scene. A trail of blood leading from the study out of the house. In the foyer was a partial bloody print left by a boot. Two more prints were found outside and eventually a total of five full or partial boot prints were identified. 19 full or partial finger and palm prints were also collected. Hoff and Susanna had both Both suffered numerous knife wounds. As well as having her throat cut, Susanna had been stabbed in the back. Her head and abdomen. Hoff's injuries were mostly to his chest, including to the heart and lungs. Died within seconds or minutes. Forensic technicians combed surfaces for hair and took samples of multiple blood droplets.
Other investigators seized numerous items from the home that they hoped might offer up evidence, including a desktop computer and a laptop. Judging from the scene in the kitchen, it looked as though the attack had taken place earlier. That day at around lunchtime. There was a pot of homemade soup being prepared on the stove. Vegetables and herbs lay nearby, along with a loaf of bread and two blocks of cheese. Into the night. Reviews with the couple's loved ones would reveal they tended to follow the same routine each weekend. Off would get up early, bring his wife a cup of tea in bed, and they would sit and chat. Then Susanna would see to household chores while listening to the radio. Had morning tea together at 11am, then homemade soup at 1pm. On that... Particular Saturday, records would show that the couple had emailed some friends at 8.30am, and Susanna called Rock 'n' Roll.
Sanna Verona at 10.30 to invite her over for dinner. That was the end of the video. Last time anyone had spoken to the couple. Hoff and Susanna had both moved to the United States from Germany, but met while they were studying at California's Stanford University during the 1960s. They were... An intelligent couple who spoke multiple languages and were passionate about education and progressive politics. Hoff, who was six foot tall. And an avid outdoorsman earned a PhD in geology. Susanna was petite at five feet but described as a bundle of energy. She obtained her Masters in political science before later achieving a PhD in comparative literature. The couple married in 1970, had two daughters, and later became professors at Dartmouth College.
Susanna was chair of the university's German faculty while Hoff taught geology and earth science. Popular with the students and staff alike and made friends easily. The Xantops loved hosting dinner parties where they would debate ideas and discuss arts and culture. After all, After their daughters grew up, they decided to leave Hanover for a more rural setting and bought the Trescot Road property in Atna. They loved how natural light streamed in through its large windows and the way it was surrounded by nature. The house wasn't visible from the outside led investigators to suspect the couple had been killed by someone who knew them. Stranger passing by the road wouldn't see the home down below. Moreover, There was no sign of a break-in and aside from the mess in the study, the house hadn't been ransacked or rummaged through. author.
And Susanna owned a number of extremely valuable works of art, yet none were stolen. Hoff's wallet was missing, but nothing else. The scene didn't look like a burglary gone wrong. Plus, the attack had taken place. In the late morning or early afternoon in broad daylight. That seemed like an odd time for thieves to strike. Then there was also the extremely brutal nature of the murders. Stabbing was a particularly violent way to kill someone and involved up-close direct Both Hoff and Susanna were victims of overkill, with some wounds made post-mortem. This suggests… a personal motive and a murderer are driven by rage. Everything seemed to be pointing to a targeted attack. Word of the Dead.
Homicides spread like wildfire through the Dartmouth community as well as Hanover and Etna more broadly. story. That the college's student newspaper learned that two professors had been murdered. They published an Article on their website and distributed it to all students via an email bulletin. Violent crimes were rare in this community, where many residents left their doors permanently unlocked. Fear spread along with speculation as to who could be responsible. Possible. Some wondered if an angry student might have committed the crime. Others suspected a jealous colleague. In the next video, I'll be sharing my story with you. Investigators were tight-lipped and wouldn't say if there was an ongoing risk to the community or not. Than 30 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies were assigned to the case, making
largest investigations in New Hampshire. In a media conference about the killings, members of the public were asked to keep an eye out for anyone in their circle who was behaving suspiciously. That's it. Included having a particular fixation on the case, sudden absence from work, altered sleeping patterns. Buttons, a change in drinking or smoking habits, or seeming nervous and irritable. During an interview with investigators several days after the murders, Hoff's teaching assistant said he could only think of one person who might want to kill the professor. That individual was another geology professor who worked on the other side of the country at Arizona State University. Stanley Williams was 14 years younger than Hoffa Zantop and although he was based in Arizona, he had obtained his PhD in geology at Dartmouth. His work had been...
Overseen by Professor Dick Stoiber, who was also responsible for hiring Hoffa Zantop. Afternoon of Saturday January 27, Hoff had been planning to drop in on Professor Steuber's 90th birthday celebrations. Prior to having dinner with his wife and Roxana Verona. Stanley Williams was somewhat famous amongst the geology Circles due to an incident that had taken place eight years earlier in 1993. Williams. Been leading a small group of scientists, engineers and tourists to a crater by an active volcano. When the volcano erupted. Nine of the 15 attendees were killed and Williams was gravely injured after a rock struck his head. He's dead. Nearly died and was left with permanent brain damage. He began to have angry outbursts and suffered bouts of depression.
According to Hoffa Xantop's teaching assistant, Williams had been open about the fact that he wanted a job at Dartmouth, but the only one he was qualified for already belonged to Hoff. On the day of the Xantop murders, Stanley Williams had actually been in town to attend Professor Stoiber's birthday party. Flight from Arizona then rented a white Daewoo sedan to get around. Hoff's teaching assistant said Williams had been in a strange mood at the party. He seemed tense and angry before suddenly becoming friendly and celebratory, offering the assistant some champagne straight from the bottle. Lead detectives had. They tracked down the rental car Williams had used and searched it thoroughly. In the boot was a cardboard box with a red Reddish-brown stain that looked like blood. Several investigators wound up flying to Arizona to interview Williams and his wife.
Williams admitted that he'd run into Hoff the day before the murders, but firmly denied being involved. When asked if he'd… Hired anyone to kill the Xantops, Williams was adamant that he hadn't. Investigators remained suspicious and took blood samples from Stanley Williams. But they couldn't... Find any evidence tying him to the crime. Testing would reveal that the blood-like stain from the box in his hire car was actually the remnants of a stew. Had taken a pot of this stew to a friend's house and placed it in the box to prevent it staining the car's upholstery. Two ways to clean the car up is to use a Weeks after he first entered investigators' sites, Stanley Williams was ruled out of the investigation. While in the absence of any arrests or worthwhile developments, the rumour mill went into overdrive. The Xantops next door neighbours told reporters...
Us that the couple had recently been counselling a troubled student. Hoff had told them that they... The student was a young man experiencing distress but didn't give a name. Neighbours had warned him to be careful, as in their opinion the student sounded like he was suffering from paranoia. They got to know him and he was very upset. Wondered if he could be responsible for the couple's murder. Talked about a student possibly being behind the crime. The day before the murders, Hoff was seen in his office engaged in a crime. In a shouting match with a student. Both were speaking in Spanish at the time. The student was tracked down. It turned out to be a student. Out that he was completing a double major in English and Spanish. He said he'd taken Hof's Earth Sciences. Course sometime earlier and the two had become friends. What had sounded like…
Heated argument to outsiders who didn't understand Spanish was actually them loudly teasing each other. other ladies involving various students were pursued, then dismissed as they went nowhere. in the next video. Near February, three weeks after the murders, the Boston Globe ran a front page story with the headline Love affair. Eyed in New Hampshire killings. Husband involved with unidentified woman, officials say. The article went on to quote unnamed sources who claimed detectives believed the murders were a crime of passion that resulted from an affair Hoff was having. Investigators suspected a lone man was behind to the attack as the weapon was fired. News was heavy. The person most likely responsible was the husband or partner of the woman Hoff was involved with.
Article outraged friends of the Xantops who wrote angry letters to the newspaper in response. They were adamant that Hough and Susanna were deeply in love and committed to one another, there was no indication of any infidelity. Two days later, New Hampshire's Attorney General publicly disputed the contents of the article, saying that in Investigators did not think an affair was the motive for the murders. The Boston Globe. Subsequently ran a retraction. At the time they had believed the information they had was accurate, but they now apologised to the Xanthopsid. Family and friends for inadvertently causing more pain. From the outside, it looked like... Detectives weren't making any progress on the case. However, they had kept the biggest clue they had. Had tightly under wraps from the media and the public. Two crucial items had been recovered from the crime scene - the matching knobs.
Life sheaths. These had not belonged to the Xantops and were clearly left behind by the killer or killers. Two indicated they were looking for more than one perpetrator. An examination of the foot-long hard plastic sheaths revealed that they were highly unique. They were designed to fit a very particular knife called an SOG Seal 2000. These knives… were commando weapons with a 7 inch blade and a 5 inch black contoured handle. They had only been on the market for five years and were made in the state of Washington by a company called SOG Specialty Knives. SOGI Seal 2000 was named for the US Navy Seals and the one sold with the US Navy Seals. The sheaths found at the Zantope residence had only been around for the past 10 months. This meant detecting the light.
Is the most likely to be found. I've seen. Gaiters obtained a list of shops and mail order catalogues that sold the knives in New Hampshire, as well as... The neighboring states of Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and New York. They began calling merchants one by one to ask for their records of SOG Seal 2000 sales since March 2000. Detectives also... Contacted a large number of online retailers requesting their sales records. Roughly two. Weeks after the murders, SOG provided them with a 69 page list of buyers, merchants and distributors where they had shipped knives to during the relevant period. The list accounted for almost 5,000 knives.
Began the painstaking process of going through the list. On Wednesday February 14, a detective noticed that a Massachusetts-based company called Fox Firearms had purchased a 124 SOG Seal 2000 knives, which was a far higher Number than any other name on the list. The detective contacted the owner of Fox Firearms and learned he operated the fire. Raided an online store out of his home. He'd received his order of 124 knives the previous June and had so far sold 84 of them. He faxed the detective a list of all his sales. As the detective scanned the list, one particular purchase stood out to him. Less than four weeks before the Zantop Murders, a buyer who lived just 35 miles from Aetna, had purchased not one, but two knives.
The buyer's name was James Parker and he went by the online handle of @jimmybruce. In Chelsea, a small town in Vermont almost 35 miles directly north of Vatnar. Investigators drove immediately to Chelsea to make some inquiries. Learn that James Parker was a high school student and he was just 16 years old.
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Listening to this episode's ads. By supporting our sponsors, you support Casefile to continue to deliver quality content. Just before 7pm on Thursday February 15, the investigators pulled up at the address James Parker had supplied when buying the knives. It was a red A-frame helmet. House situated on a 38-acre lot. The detectives knocked on the front door. Door and it was answered by the home's owner, John Parker. Detectives introduced themselves and explained that they were there to discuss some knives which his son had bought.
Invited them in and took them through to the kitchen. Sitting on a stool there was a clean cut teenage boy with spiky dark hair. It was James, whose friends called him Jim. Detectives explained that they were under no obligation to speak with them, but both John and James... Parker agreed that it would be fine. Sitting at the kitchen table with his father and the three officers, James explained that that he and his friend Robert Tulloch had purchased the knives to use while camping. The two boys loved the outdoors and had dreams of travelling to Colorado and even overseas to go rock climbing. They thought the knives would be useful for cutting the knives. Down branches to build forts. However, when they tried using the footlong weapons, they found that they were too big, so they decided to Resell them. Not long after receiving the knives the previous month, James and Robert had
driven to an army goods store in the larger city of Burlington to see if the shop owner was interested in them. He wasn't, but a customer overheard. Their conversation and offered the boys $60 per knife. The teenagers weren't thrilled with the offer as they'd hoped for more than double that, but they ultimately... Agreed. When asked what the customer looked like, James described him as scruffy looking with dark hair, either black or brown. The man was asked to wear a mask. Man was between 5 foot 9 and 6 feet tall. James said he was in his early 20s, but then added he might have been in his 30s. Heard about the murder of two Dartmouth professors in the neighbouring state of New Hampshire, James said he hadn't. The detectives asked... If James would be willing to provide them with his fingerprints. He said he would. He and his father accompanied the detectives to the location.
Sheriff's Office to do so right away. James Parker seemed like a nice young man with a supportive family who'd grown up in a lovely middle class home. He was... In his second to last year of high school with no criminal history, and the detectives found it highly unlikely that he could be behind the brutal murder of Hoff and Susanne Azzantop. Paid a visit to James Parker's friend Robert Tulloch to get his version of the knife story. With Robert's parents before meeting the 17 year old who was 6 feet tall and lanky. And mature for his age. While James had appeared slightly nervous to be speaking with police, And articulate. He repeated what James had told them about the knives, but couldn't the man who'd bought them as James had looked after that.
To that they hadn't told their parents about buying the two weapons because they knew they wouldn't approve. Told the detectives how he and James liked to rock climb. They asked if the pair had Any climbing lately. Robert said he'd recently clambered over a snowbank and had an accident, on a metal spigot that was jutting out of a maple tree. These spigots were used to tap maple trees for syrup, which is a big industry in Vermont. Like his friend, Robert. Readily agreed to provide his fingerprints. Detectives also asked if they could take a look at Robert's shoes. He showed... Them two pairs he wore often – some Nike sneakers and a pair of Vask hiking boots. The Booze.
Boots were the same size as those that had left Prince at the Xantop house, prompting detectives to ask if they could take them. Again, Robert agreed. He too went to the Sheriff's office to provide his fingerprints. Then both boys were permitted to return home with their parents. At around 11am the following day of Friday February 16, the Cape his lead investigator received a phone call from John Parker, James' father. John didn't beat around the bush. Telling the detective, Jimmy's gone. you John and his wife Joan had been woken at around 3am by the sound of James' 1987 Silver Audi starting up. John and Joan leapt Of bed and ran to the window and called out to their son to stop, but he ignored them and drove away. The car was in the way of the police. The police were in the way of the police.
Couple later discovered a note that James had scribbled and left for them. It read, I just had to go to the hospital. Talk to Robert alone. I will be back in the morning. Don't call cops. This reassured John and Joan somewhat. Their son had been through a shocking experience the day prior and it made sense he would want to discuss it with his friend who was going through the same thing. However… They had told James he shouldn't speak to Robert for the time being and Robert's parents had done the same. John decided to head out and go looking for the boys. He drove around town for an hour but found no Trace of them. He and Jones spoke with Mike and Diane Tulloch, Robert's parents, and while they They all initially shared the same hope that their sons were just talking together somewhere.
Continued to pass, they began to worry. John eventually made the decision to ignore James' request and phone the police. The news that the teenagers had taken off came as a shock to detectives. They had seen no signs that the two had any intention of running away and were still unable Unsure if they were even involved in the Xantop murders. The cart on Robert's leg had seemed suspicious, as did his vast boots, but the boys hadn't seemed like killers. They had suspected maybe one of the teenagers was covering for someone. A search was immediately launched for the teens, and word began to spread through the small close-knit community of Chelsea that... Two local boys were wanted by police. Their high school was contacted, but no one else was. There had seen Robert or James. They hadn't shown up for classes that day.
Principal that if they did show up, they should not be allowed into the school. They should lock the doors and call the police. Peace immediately. Less than two years earlier, the United States had been shocked and forever altered by the Columbine Massacre, a tragedy that was a major in which two friends had committed a mass shooting at their high school. Facing their own violent crime perpetrated by a pair of teenage boys, New Hampshire investigators were scared of what might happen next. But friends and teachers of the boys quenched. And understand why they would be sought by law enforcement. The worst they could imagine was that Robert and James had maybe done something online, like posted a joke. That was misinterpreted. James Parker had... Active happy childhood with his parents and older sister. He loved to build forts, go fishing, play basketball, and ride his dirt bike.
He lost interest in playing organised sports as he got older, instead becoming interested in music. He also wanted to stand out and could be a bit of a show-off or class clown. James was intelligent, but he found school boring and began dreaming of living a bigger life in someplace more exciting than Chelsea. He became friends with Robert Tulloch in middle school. Robert's family relocated to Vermont from Florida. Even though Robert was one year older than James and in another class, they had no idea what he was doing. The same loud, talkative energy and outdoorsy interests. The two became even closer. As they got older, spending more time together without other friends. One of their favourite The time was rock climbing. By mid-2000, it was obvious to everyone that the pair were best friends.
Those who knew them said that Robert was the leader of the two and the younger James seemed to be more of a follower. Never seemed untoward or toxic. Both boys were bright and doing quite well in school. Talented musician and drama student, as well as a well-liked class clown. Robert was a gifted member of the school's debate team and had been elected Student Council In fact, he was so far ahead on his credits that he was on track to graduating high school without having to attend many of his senior year classes. Either boy was interested in partying, drinking or drugs. The only criticism some people had of them was that they seemed to think they were smarter than everyone else. Strange that it happened recently was that the two boys had abruptly taken off on an impromptu road trip on the morning of Wednesday, January 31, four days after.
Other xanthops were murdered. That night, James had called his parents. To tell them he and Robert had caught a bus interstate. He wouldn't say where they were headed. The next morning he called again to say they were in St. Louis, Missouri but they wanted to come home. Their parents booked them flights back to New Hampshire. When friends grew up, they were Grilled them about the trip, all they would say was that they'd intended to go rock climbing in Colorado. time. Gators kept a watch over the teenagers' parents and homes. By late afternoon, they received word that James Parker's fingerprints matched a print found on one of the knife sheaths found in the Zantob home. This confirmed that the knives the teenagers had bought were from the Zantob home. Were the same ones used to murder the professors. Detectives secured search warrants for the Parker and Tully crime.
Rooms, and later that night, two separate teams of forensic investigators headed to each house. Focus was on the teenagers' bedrooms. Robert Tullock's room was upstairs, alone in the front corner of the house. Clothes were strewn across the floor. Along with a mattress. There was also a closet, a chair, and a bookshelf. Rock climbing equipment was attached to one wall. Investigators seized books, pieces of paper, computers, and items of clothing. One investigator noticed a cardboard box on the floor in a corner next to a small bin. Books and writing pads lay on top of the box. The investigators moved the notebooks aside and opened up the box. Inside was a large stash of comic books. Lying on top of the
Top of the comics were two items, almost entirely wrapped in fabric and duct tape. Portion of the items were exposed - the black handles of two SOG Seal 2000 knives. The knives were subsequently unwrapped. One had been taped up inside a sock. To the other was inside a mitten. There appeared to be bloodstains on the blades. Testing would later confirm that the bloodstains were not bloodstains. That belonged to Susanna Xantope. Now the story of the two fugitive teens was big news across New England. A massive search was underway across the region. An off-duty officer near Sturbridge in Massachusetts recalled giving directions to two young men who matched the teen's description at a gas station before...
Four news of their fugitive status had broken. This prompted investigators to focus on the the Sturbridge area. Late on Saturday February 17, a Massachusetts State Trooper was keeping a look. For any sign of the runaway teens during his shift. At a truck stop in Sturbridge, noticed a silver Audi parked in the lot that was covered in snow, indicating it had been there. Air a while. It also had a Vermont license plate. Worried that the teenager was in the might be hiding inside, the trooper cautiously approached the vehicle. Don't forget to subscribe! Licence plate details matched Jim Parker's Audi. But aside from some belongings and crackers spread across the seats, it was empty. It appeared that Jim Parker's Audi was empty. The boys had abandoned it shortly after running away and found another way to keep fleeing.
Audi Kyle Tucker was a 30-something truck driver from Alabama who'd stopped for a bite to eat at the Sturbridge truck stop on the evening of Friday February 16. He was accompanied by his wife Nancy who... Was helping Rowdy out with the drive. The couple noticed two teenage boys carrying back... And begging for a ride from other truckers. Nancy was keen to help them out. Rowdy agreed. They offered the young men a lift in their 1999 white Peterbilt truck which had green flames painted on the bonnet. The teenagers introduced themselves as Sam and Tyler and said they were planning to hitchhike all the way to Southern California in search of work. The Tuckers empathised... With the two young men, and Nancy even offered to give them the number of her sister in California in case they needed help when they got there.
The couple took them as far as Columbia, New Jersey, which was a distance of 220 miles from where they'd picked them up. They reached the Columbia truck stop in the middle of the road. Middle of the afternoon on Saturday February 17. Before dropping them off and continuing on their way, the tuckers let Sam and Tyler used their CB radio to ask if any other truckers in the area could give them a lift. Named James Hicks responded saying he didn't think he could offer a ride but the teenagers were welcome to hang out in his truck's cab if they needed somewhere with him. Worn to rest until they found one. They accepted his offer. James was watching his satellite television when they got in and a news report came on about two Vermont teenagers on the run who were wanted for questioning in relation to a double murder.
The teenagers asked James to switch over to the Weather Channel and he obliged. The teens were clearly exhausted and soon fell asleep. James felt sorry for them. He had three teenage sons of his own, one of whom had died just four earlier in a motorbike accident. It went against company policy to pick up hitchhikers, and James had never done so before, but… Decided he'd give these boys a lift after all. He was headed west, which was the junior. General direction the young men wanted to go. They left New Jersey on Sunday morning, as they headed towards a truck stop in the middle In Spicerland, Indiana, James used his CB radio to put a call out for anyone who could take the teens from here. His final destination was north in Chicago, but the teenagers wanted to keep going west.
Can anybody give a ride to two boys who want to go to California? James asked. He added that he'd picked up the young he... Hikers in New Jersey. After a brief moment, a reply crackled through. Sure, I can, said a man's voice. It was 3.45am on Monday February 19 when James Hicks' truck pulled into the Spice Land truck stop. He'd agreed to the truck stop. With the other trucker to drop the teenagers off at the fuel desk. As James said goodbye to Sam and Tyler, he handed over a $10 note and told them to use it to buy some breakfast. The teens clambered out of James' truck and stood by the fuel pumps, waiting for their ride. To their surprise, they were all in the same car. Fires, two deputies from a local sheriff's department approached instead.
The young men and began speaking to them separately, asking them for their names, birthdays, and identification. Neither had ID on them. One said his name was Tyler J. Jones. When asked what the J stood for, he paused noticeably before stating Jeffrey. The other boy said his date of birth was March 40 1982. Implying that he meant March 30. Then a message came over the deputy's dispatch radio, which included the message that he the name Robert Tulloch. Upon hearing this, the boy who'd claimed to be Sam said, It's me you are looking for. You've got us.
Thank you for supporting us by listening to this episode's sponsors. Hi, I'm Graham Class, host of Technically Speaking, an Intel podcast. Join me for Season 2 as we explore the future of technology evolving today. In each episode, I'll speak with the minds transforming medicine, healthcare, retail, entertainment, and technology. Personal computing and more with the help of AI. Here's a clip from one of our latest episodes. There's one demo we had for scenescape and the executive loved it. It's like, this is amazing. I can do motion tracking. I see where people are. He's been in a space, maybe I have a radiation sensor and I can set triggers. There's so much he saw that can be done.
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Thank you for listening to this episode's ads. By supporting our sponsors, you support Casefile to continue to deliver quality content. After James Parker's Silver Audi was found at a Sturbridge truck stop in Massachusetts, investigators had reviewed CCTV footage from the location. Showed James Parker and Robert Tulloch climbing into a white 1999 Peterbilt truck with green flames on the bonnet. They traced the truck to its company, which led to the accident. Them to Rowdy Kyle and Nancy Tucker. Because detectives weren't sure if the teenagers were still travelling with the couple or not, calling Rowdy's cellphone for fear of spooking them. Instead, they tracked the truck via a global positioning system. When the company was in the middle of a global pandemic, they were
Couples stopped in Pennsylvania for arrest, investigators swooped. They learnt that the tuckers had already dropped off the boys' heads. A stop in New Jersey where they'd met up with a trucker heading west. Meanwhile, some... Sergeant Bill Ward of the Henry County Sheriff's Department in Indiana was following the case. He'd heard a statement that he'd been arrested for being a victim of a crime. News report about the fugitive teens and how they were supposedly fleeing west. Sergeant Ward thought that might make it likely that they'd passed through his jurisdiction on their way, as the busy The East-West Highway Interstate 70 cut right through the county. During a shift, Sergeant Ward decided to patrol the nearby Flying J truck stop and keep an ear out on his radio for any CB chatter. Heard James Hicks' request for someone to offer two teenage boys a lift. Without hesitating,
Ward replied, Sure, I can. Then he put in a call for backup and waited for the truck to arrive. The sergeant's hunch proved correct and the team was on the other side. Two teens turned out to be the fugitives he was looking for. After seeing the deputy's handcuff James and Robert then placed them in their cruises, trucker James Hicks approached. He asked why they were being arrested and was told that they were wanted for murder. Angered by this revelation, James told the deputies that he'd given the teens $10 for breakfast but now he wanted it back. Deputies retrieved it for him. A press conference was soon held to notify the public that the suspects in the Zantot murders had been apprehended. But when asked by journalists what the motive for the crime was, did they know?
Detectives still didn't have an answer. ABC News had reported that detectives found books related to white supremacy and Nazism in Robert Tulloch's bedroom. Types had always been outspoken in their belief that their native Germany should make amends for the Holocaust and its Nazi past. Whether the teenagers had chosen the couple because of their political beliefs, but detectives had found no evidence of that. James Parker and Robert Tulloch were taken to the Henry County Jail in Indiana. Rather than hold the teenagers... With the other inmates, James was taken to an interview room and Robert was held in a weight room. Both cried heavily for hours. Guidance from his parents and their lawyer, Jim didn't speak to investigators. Robert was taken. To speak with an FBI agent and sobbed throughout the interrogation, saying It was pretty
easy to throw my life away. At one point he repeated the words I'm so sorry Jim, I'm so sorry Jim over and over. But he said nothing about the crimes he was in custody for. Both teenagers agreed to waive extradition and voluntarily returned to New Hampshire. Back in Chelsea, their parents were interviewed. By investigators. All four of them told detectives that they had no idea who Hoff and Susanna Zantope were and knew a way to get them to the hospital. With no reason why their sons would murder them. As far as they were aware, there was no connection between Jim and Robert and the couple. The teenagers' families found it impossible to believe they were involved, even when they They learnt that the knives used to kill the couple were found in Robert's room. A boot print recovered at the site.
Scene also matched Robert's left boot. Despite popular opinions, The teenagers had always been well behaved, investigators discovered this wasn't their first brush with the law. Almost a year earlier in April of 2000, a Chelsea resident named Robin Mix had returned home to find Jim, Robert and two other boys in his basement, cooking spaghetti and watching a movie. Out the boys were friends with Robin's twin daughters who had invited them over. When they means arrived at the house. No one was home, but one of the doors was unlocked so they Doves in and stayed all afternoon. Robin wasn't happy about the intrusion but he didn't report the incident. However, a few months later, he was in a very bad situation.
Later there was another similar situation. Jim, Robert and some of their friends let themselves into the home of another classmate whose family was on vacation. They later said they did so was a prank. Nothing was taken from the house and when the family found out about it, like Robin Mix, they were reluctant to report it. But when the property's owner, who rented the house to the family heard about the matter. She phoned the police. The teenagers were subsequently referred to a court diversion program for juveniles, which they completed. They were also qua- questioned in relation to a series of other break-ins in the area, but weren't charged for any. Even though these incidents pointed to a pattern of misbehaviour, they were nothing like the grisly scene discovered at the Xantop residence.
A few months later in June of 2001, a sheriff's deputy was... Transferring an inmate from Grafton County Jail to a different county, where he was being charged with passing bad checks and forgery. The two chatted as they drove, with the inmate, whose nickname was Ranger, telling the deputy about how he'd ended up in jail. Ranger added that he'd been housed in a cell close to Robert Tulloch, who was being held on remand until it was time for him to face trial for the Dartmouth murders. The deputy told Ranger... It was a shame, and said that while the evidence against the two suspects was strong, investigate Still hadn't figured out what their motive could have been. rain. Deputy that not only had Robert admitted to committing the crime, he had told him what the motive was. Apparently it was because
Robert had never killed anyone before and, quote, he was nervous and wanted to get a few under his belt. As for why the xanthops were chosen, that had been totally random. Robert and Jim had initially intended to attack the couple's next door neighbours, but they hadn't been home. Ranger also mentioned that the only thing the teenagers had taken from the scene was Hoff Zantop's wallet. Deputy passed the information on to a member of the team handling the Zantog case, who was immediately struck by Ranger's revelations. That the only item missing from the Xantop residence was Hough's wallet, and that information Been
more insight into the crime. Apparently, Robert had told Ranger that he and Jim had gained access to the Xantops' home by pretending they were conducting an environmental survey for a school project. They'd... Already tried this ruse some time earlier on another intended victim in Rochester, Vermont, but he had turned them away. Office Antarctic. However, was a geologist and earth sciences professor, so the topic was right up his alley. The two young men into his home and taken them to his study to chat, while Susanna prepared lunch in the kitchen. Ranger also elaborated on the motive. As well as wanting to practice killing someone, Robert and Jim had Wanted money. That's why they'd chosen a neighbourhood near Dartmouth which was wealthy
people who were relaxed about home security. But after they had murdered the Xantops, they panicked and left the house without taking anything other than Hoff's wallet. Ranger had asked Robert whether the crime was his idea or Jim's. Robert said... Third, it was kind of mutual but described the dynamic between the two friends as one where he called the shots and Jim. Went along. This matched what those who knew the teenagers had said about their relationship. Also provided details about the crime scene that could have only come from someone with first-hand knowledge of it. Rangers' insight gave investigators the closure they needed regarding a motive and they finally stopped trying to find a link between the killers and their victims. Tulloch was old enough to be charged as an adult under New Hampshire state law, but Jim Parker, who was 16 at the time of the murder.
Was a juvenile. Nevertheless, the severity of the crime led to prosecutors charging him as an adult as well. Jim's attorneys pushed back against this and the matter went to court. thought. Ultimately, the prosecution won out. Following this, Jim Parker's defence team wanted to make a plea deal. In early December 2001, Jim Parker agreed to plead guilty to being an accomplice to second-degree murder. He would be sentenced to 25 years to life. State law would allow him to later apply for a sentence reduction, meaning… he may only have to serve a minimum of 16 years and 8 months. In exchange, he agreed to testify against Robert Tulloch at trial and tell investigators. Gators everything they wanted to know. Jim Parker spent five hours
giving a detailed confession. Over time he Iz and Robert's friendship had become increasingly insular. The two teenagers felt a sense of superiority over everyone else, believing themselves to of the world. Himself as having a divine intellect. In one of his class papers, Jim wrote... That if he had to have a letter burnt onto his chest, it would be the letter I for Incredible. Cramped of escaping Vermont, but they weren't satisfied by the thought of leaving for college. Thought higher education was a waste of time and led to a boring life of conformity and 9-5 careers. He and Jim wanted to go further afield. They talked about travelling to Italy or France before settling on Australia.
Australia was appealing because the people there spoke English, but it still seemed exotic to them. There were also lots of outdoorsy things for them to do and a variety of climates to explore. Their conversations about travel evolved into actual plans. They speculated… About how much money they would need to live overseas and came up with a budget. it. They thought that 10,000... $1,000 would be enough to cover their plane tickets and to support them for one year. Began trying to think of easy ways they could raise the cash quickly. All of the ideas he came up with involved criminal activity. Began stealing mail in search of credit cards but gave up after 15 attempts with no results.
Robert suggested they steal ATM machines or rob a bank. The plans evolved to the point where the friends visited some banks together to suss them out, but they abandoned the idea. Robert and Jim continued to dabble with criminal activity. They discussed carjackings. A vehicle and robbing its occupants. After talking about stealing a car to go for a joyride for some time, Robert gradually convinced Jim to give it a go. The pair came across a truck at a quarry they liked to drive to sometimes, which was unattended with a tear. Key in the ignition. The pair drove it around for a bit before leaving it at the quarry and going back home. They returned. To the quarry another day to do the same thing, but this time a quarry worker found them. gym. To jump out and hide without being seen, but Robert, who was behind the wheel, got caught.
Police gave him a verbal warning but that was it. In late May 2000, they stole an... Terrain vehicle that was parked at a residence, then hid it in some woods near Jim's house and Listed it for sale on the online commerce site eBay. But no one wanted to buy it. Without registration papers. And the teenagers made no progress in their plans. Robert began to grow frustrated. One day while driving around with Jim, he suggested they break into a house and steal something. They had a
Entered other people's homes without permission before, on the two occasions they'd gone into the residences of school friends with other boys. As they drove through the streets looking for a place to break into, they spotted an elderly couple. Robert suggested they rob the couple, saying they could use rocks to bash their heads and then we'd take their money and run. Jim said no, telling Robert they'd get caught. But the seed was planted, and Robert began to talk more often about how easy it would be to rob people, then kill them to prevent being identified. Over several weeks he talked Jim into the plan. At first the idea was to attack people out on the street. But eventually they decided it would be safer to target them at home. That way no one else would see them.
They would talk their way into a house by claiming their car had broken down and they needed to use a phone. Then they would tie up at the residence. They would steal their ATM and credit cards, before killing them and dumping their bodies in a pre-dug grave. Because neither of them had ever been violent towards anyone before, Robert said they should practice taking a life. He suggested he kill his pet dog, Ruby. Robert thought Ruby was stupid, and Jim had seen him hit her before. But he rejected Robert's idea, believing they should only kill for financial gain and to not take an innocent animal's life for the sake of it. Finally, on the evening of Wednesday July 19, 2000, Robert and Jim decide to leave the I did they were ready to try out their plan. They went to an abandoned house outside of town that they liked to hang out at sometimes and dug a large grave.
Into commando clothing they had purchased from army surplus stores and slid knives into their boots. They also packed a backpack with duct tape and rope. Then they headed to a house just down the road. It was a holiday house that belonged to a couple so it was often empty. But on this particular night, the owner Andrew was staying there with their young son. Robert and Jim arrived at the house just after 10pm. Robert used a wire cutter to cut the home's phone lines while Jim hid in some bushes wearing a ski mask. Then Robert knocked loudly and urgently on the front door. Andrew's face appeared. Heered at a window next to the door and he asked what Robert wanted. I have car trouble.
Can you help me out? Robert replied. Andrew was suspicious and told Robert no. Robert asked if he had jumper cables and repeatedly pleaded to be let in to use the phone. Used, certain that the tall teenager was up to no good. When Robert continued... To stand there, Andrew brought his right hand out from behind his back. back. He was holding a 9mm Glock pistol that he always carried with him. At the sight of the gun, Robert stated Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I just wanted to use your phone. But… Didn't seem scared and didn't leave. Andrew said he would call a local garage for him. Enthusiastically encouraged him to do so right away. Andrew went to dial the number and found the phone was dead. Realising…
The teenager outside must have cut the wires, Andrew suspected that now... He would be lying in wait for Andrew to go outside and check the phone line. Instead, Andrew… Drew sat low on the living room floor with his son and his pistol, on high alert for indicating that Robert might be breaking in. But none ever came. After Andrew had made it clear that he was armed and had no intention of letting Robert in, Robert and Jim gave him a chance to get in. Gave up on their plan that night. But they weren't deterred in the long term. A few months went by and Robert continued to plot. By January of 2001, they felt ready to try again. On New Year's Day, they placed an online order for two SOG Seal 2000 combat knives.
So came up with an alternative ruse. Instead of one pretending their car had broken down while the other hid in the bushes, they would knock on the front door together. During broad daylight. They'd say they were conducting an environmental survey for a school project, figuring people... Would be less spooked by clean cut high school students in the middle of the day. On Saturday January 20 2001, Jim Parker borrowed his mother's green Subaru, then he and Robert Drove to a nice neighbourhood in Granville, Vermont. They chose the biggest house on a street called North Hollow Road, which sat at the top of a hill. They went up to the front door and knocked. Was answered by an older man. The teenagers asked if they could interview him for an environmental survey. The man abruptly refused, saying he was too busy and shut the door.
Robert and Jim were frustrated by yet another failure, but they refused to give up. They decided they'd try again, but next time they'd try again. Time they'd target a whole new area. Hanover, New Hampshire was only a 40 minute drive from Chelsea and was home to wealthy people who might fall for their story. Also, So, they had no connection to the area and as they lived in the next state over, there would be nothing to tie them to the crime. A week later on Saturday January 27, Robert and Jim set out again. I'll see you in the next video. After they arrived on leafy Trescot Road just outside of Hanover, they tried one house but no one was home. They decided to try the next door neighbours. Hoffa Zantop had opened the door to his home.
And was very friendly. He seemed interested in their survey and invited the teenagers inside, taking them to his study. Robert began asking questions while Jim pretended to take notes. They hadn't prepared a proper survey, so most of Robert's questions were made up on the spot. But Hoff was patient and helpful. Full. Struck by how nice Hoff was and began to rethink their plan. As we can see, the Robert wrapped up the interview, Hoff offered him some constructive criticism, saying, You need to be more prepared. He offered to put them in touch with a friend who might be able to them improve their survey. And when he turned to his desk to look for the phone number, Robert struck.
He pulled out one of the knives they'd brought and when Hoff turned around, he stabbed him in the chest. Hoff screamed and fell to the floor, where Robert continued to stab him. Hoff's wife Susanna came running in from the kitchen. When she saw Robert lying on top of her husband stabbing him, she began screaming too and tried to grab at Robert. Grabbed Susanna and pulled her away, telling her to shut up. Then Robert told Jim to... Slit Susana's throat. And he did. During the frenzy attack, Robert sustained a deep cut to one leg. The teenagers hadn't remembered to threaten their victims into handing over the pins for their debit cards. But there was 300... $40 cash in Hoff's wallet, which they stole. In the rush to leave the house, they left their...
Knife sheaths behind. On the drive home, they realised their mistake. Later that evening, decided to go back for the sheaths but when they drove past the Xantops house, they saw police cruisers parked outside. After all their plotting to commit the perfect crime, the error of leaving the knife sheaths behind led detectives to Jim Parker and Robert Tulloch within three weeks. It has been speculated that off Xantops' constructive criticism of Robert Tulloch was what led to Robert abruptly and violently attacking him. To tie up their victims to obtain bank details, but Robert seemingly became angry after being told he needed to be better prepared. Those who... Knew him have described other incidents in his life where he lashed out aggressively out of wounded pride.
Most of the money stolen from the Xantops was spent during their two failed attempts to go on the run. While Jim Parker agreed to the deal, he was able to make the money. To a plea deal, Robert Tulloch's attorneys were preparing to argue he was not guilty by reason of insanity. A psychiatrist hired by Robert's defense diagnosed him with bipolar. Polar disorder and the defence said he'd been in the middle of an extreme manic episode that turned into psychosis at the time of the murders. Personally were opposed to this strategy as it would require them to testify in extreme detail about private family matters. Public interest in the case and the trial was going to be a media circus. Those who knew Robert were also doubtful about his diagnosis, saying that he'd never displayed any signs of manic episodes, let alone psychosis. After Robert found out Jim would testify against him, he was also asked to go to the hospital
Him, he realised he was unlikely to win his case. On Friday April 5 2002, he pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In their victim impact statement, Veronica and Marianna Zantop reflected on how tragic it was that their parents' generous natures and love of teaching had been taken advantage of by their killers. Nika stated, quote, My father's name was Hoff, which in German means 'to help'. My father lived up to his name. That their desire to help, to teach, and to open their home to perfect strangers was abused Such a horrific way makes their deaths seem like the greatest violation.
Rather than focus on the inhumanity and monstrosity and the sheer stupidity of their brutal and senseless deaths, I've tried to console myself by trying to perpetuate the essence of my parents - two people with true open-heartedness and generosity who fought for positive change. Change. And my sister and I will continue that fight. As Robert Tulloch listened to this statement, he stared directly at both women with a blank expression. Later that afternoon, Veronica and Mariana read the statement again at Jim Parker's sentencing. Unlike his friend, Jim rocked back and forth and... Began to cry as he listened. He subsequently asked permission to speak. It took him... Almost a minute before he managed to get out the words, I'm sorry.
There's not much more I can say than that. Jim Parker and Robert Tulloch were initially sent to different prisons, but later both began to serve at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men. They were held in different areas of the facility and not permitted contact with one another. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to sentence offenders who committed crimes as juveniles to life imprisonment without parole. Consequently, Robert Tulloch became one of five inmates. The state of New Hampshire who was eligible for resentencing. His resentencing hearing is scheduled to take place in July of 2024. In April of 2020, the National Council of 2024, James Parker was granted parole. Veronica Zantops spoke with the Valley News about the development, stating that we...
She misses her parents deeply, she isn't motivated by revenge against their killers. Quote, Since it happened, I've become a mother. I've become a mother. I've become a mother. Psychiatrist and I realised that the world is complex and teenagers are complex. And maybe some of the thoughts I had at the time have changed in terms of compassion for his family. Even him at age 16 doing something terrible. Veronica said that neither she nor her sister felt it was their place to decide whether James Parker should receive parole. They had already acknowledged the trauma his crime had created, and felt that maybe he should have the chance to make something of his life, adding I wish James's family the best and hope that they are able to heal. The legacy left by Hough and Susanna Xantope lives on at the Dartmouth College.
University holds a comparative literature lecture in Susanna's honour. A garden named for the couple was also planted near the heart of the campus, between a school chapel and a hall. It featured As trees, ferns and perennial flowers and was designed as a place where students and staff could go for contemplation and remembrance. It lives as a place of remembrance. Permanent reminder of Hoth and Susanna Xantope's passion for justice, learning, and
And community. Hi, I'm Graham Class, host of Technically Speaking, an Intel podcast. Join me for season two as we explore the future of technology. Join me for Season 2 as we explore the future of technology. Evolving today. In each episode, I'll speak with the minds transforming medicine, healthcare, retail, entertainment, personal computing and more, with the help of AI. Here's a clip from one of our latest episodes.
There's one demo we had for scenescape and the executive loved it. It's like, this is amazing. I can do motion tracking. I see where people are. Will be back. He's been in a space, maybe I have a radiation sensor and I can set triggers. There's so much he saw that can be done. He was so excited and he said, Where's the AI? Well, it's the AI that's doing everything you just described. Listen to Technically Speaking, an Intel podcast, on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. If your business needs a new application, then developers will have to write code. A lot of code. If your location needs to be modernized, then you'll need time, resources, and caffeine. If that sounds daunting, then you need Watson X Code Assistant. AI designed to multiply developer productivity so you can generate code quickly.
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Transcript generated on 2024-06-09.