State Police pull vehicle from Connecticut River they believe belonged to woman missing since 1978

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Page from “Tales Told in the Shadows of the White Mountains,” by Charles Jordon, who covered the story of Alberta Leeman as a young reporter back in 1978.

GORHAM, NH – State Police in conjunction with NH Fish & Game, Gorham Police Department, Lancaster Police Department and Vermont State Police are investigating the discovery of a vehicle found submerged in the Connecticut River, South of the Lunenburg/Lancaster Covered bridge.  The vehicle has apparently been in the river for decades, recently found by NH Fish & Game using specialized technology – and it may help solve a cold case of a missing New Hampshire woman, dating back to 1978.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the vehicle may belong to Alberta Leeman, of Gorham. Ms. Leeman was last seen alive in July of 1978.  Although her disappearance is not considered suspicious, according to police, it was for years the center of much speculation about how someone could seemingly vanish without a trace.

The NH Fish & Game dive team is actively searching the area around the vehicle.  The circumstances surrounding how the vehicle ended up in the Connecticut River are part of that investigation by the New Hampshire State Police in collaboration with Vermont State Police.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available while still protecting the integrity of the ongoing investigation, State Police said in a press release issued Friday.

Charles Jordan, editor of The Colebrook Chronicle, covered the case of Alberta Leeman as a young reporter for the Coos County Democrat.

Ms. Leeman’s story was chronicled by then reporter Charles Jordan, currently editor of The Colebrook Chronicle. He started working for the Coos County Democrat shortly after Ms. Leeman’s disappearance and, two years later, wrote an in-depth piece about the unsolved case. He eventually included the story it in a book published in 2003, “Tales Told in the Shadows of the White Mountains.”

Contacted on Friday by the Ink Link, Jordan said the news of the discovery “is fascinating,” to hear after all these years in the cold case file.

“This is fascinating. It was one of those stories where there wasn’t a period after the sentence,” Jordan said. “In the news business, it’s like running into someone you haven’t seen in years.”

Jordan said where the vehicle – a Pontiac – was located makes sense.

“That’s where, as I recall, police thought she may have been heading, at least that was the theory, but nothing ever turned up. It was peculiar – it wasn’t just a missing person, it was the vehicle too – and a car back then was more like a yacht,” Jordan said.

Ms. Leeman had left her job at a local hotel and drove off into the night, Jordan said. That was the last time anyone saw her alive.

Anyone with information pertaining to the vehicle or Ms. Leeman’s disappearance is encouraged to contact:  Det. Sgt. Matthew Koehler, NH State Police (603-223-8890) or via email at

About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!