January 30, 2001

Dartmouth Community Coping With Murders

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As the news of the murders of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop infiltrated the Hanover community, students and faculty find themselves having to deal with both grief and shock over the crime.

The bodies of the Zantops were discovered around 6 p.m. on Saturday by Roxanne Verona, a language instructor at Dartmouth and a longtime friend, who had been invited to the couple’s house for dinner.

Half, 62, and Susanne, 55, were professors in the Earth Science and German Studies departments, respectively, and had taught at Dartmouth for 25 years.


Law enforcement officials have released little information to the public due to the ongoing investigation, but at a press conference yesterday, Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General, said that no arrests had been made.

While she would not comment on whether there are any suspects, she did confirm that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner had determined that the crime was a homicide.

“We are pursuing a number of leads,” Ayotte said. “There are no resources being spared. Since the investigation was initiated on Saturday, in excess of 30 investigators from the three agencies have been vigorously investigating these homicides.”

A press release from the Hanover Police Department said that this was the first murder in the town in more than 40 years and the first of a Dartmouth faculty member, as far as anybody could remember.

“Words like this don’t come easily in a place like this. What we have to acknowledge is that this is a nightmare, but we won’t wake up,” said Dartmouth College Dean Jim Larimore.

The couple was known among the Dartmouth community as being extremely involved with students. Molly Stutzman, the chair of the Community Relations committee of the Dartmouth Student Assembly, stressed that the Zantops set a personal atmosphere for students.

“The wonderful thing about them is that they were very involved,” she said. “Many people come to Dartmouth for close student-professor interaction and the Zantops really worked closely with the them.”

Stutzman also remembered Susanne Zantop’s involvement with students in helping them adjust to college life.

Archived article by Seth Harris