Case of the Month: Laura Kempton (1958-1981)

PhotoGrid of Laura Kempton by AdS

Case of the Month: Laura Kempton (1958-1981) was found on Monday morning Sept 28, 1981, by a police officer (now retired) inside her apartment. She was 23 years old.

Laura was a student at the Portsmouth Beauty School (New Hampshire). In her spare time, Laura worked at Macro Polo, Inc. and Karen’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Laura was found around 9am on a Monday morning. This means that people were up and going to work.

The police officer came to talk to her about a series of unpaid parking tickets.

I cannot find anywhere whether he rang the bell or knocked on the door. I assume that when he didn’t get an answer, he tried the door handle. Was the door ajar or unlocked? Did anyone else see her door ajar? Did he have to turn the handle? He must have been suspicious by something why else would you try the handle. What was it? Did he notice something (signs of forced entry, stains, etc.) on the front door when he pushed it open? All we know is that he entered the house and found Laura’s beaten body.

Various newspaper articles (listed below) stated that Laura was last seen by a friend after leaving a watering hole called the Ranger Club early that Monday morning. I cannot find how she got back home from the watering hole. Did she walk or drive? Did anyone see her?

Police have indicated that they have held back evidence in this case and it does include DNA. This means that the case is solvable however, no match has been found yet in the various databases. Does that mean that the person who did this never committed any other crime, or that we cannot find a match because this person left the USA?

During the autopsy, the New Hampshire Medical Examiner found that Laura died of massive head trauma from being struck with a blunt object causing contusions and lacerations of the brain.

Another Portsmouth Beauty School student was murdered a year later. In 1982, Tammy Little died of severe head injuries. Like Laura, she was found in her apartment. These women lived in close to each other. Coincidence?

Aside from repeated content there is nothing else online about Laura’s case. There is no blog or website dedicated to her. If there is, I cannot find it. In 1981, we didn’t have social media and the blogosphere was another decade away.

If you have any information that might help police, please contact the Portsmouth Police Department at (603) 436-2511. There is a $20,000.00 reward for information from Portsmouth Crimeline.


In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and often more information can be found online and in newspaper archives.

The goal of these posts is to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any thoughts about Laura Kempton’s case I urge you to post them on your own social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. Every time we mention her name online we enhance her digital footprint. She deserves to be known for more than just her murder.

We must make sure that Laura keeps her web presence if we ever wish to find answers. You can help by linking to or sharing this post. If you do, the post will show up in new news feeds, reach new people, and networks with new connections. And who knows, we may reach someone who can help advance this case.

Thank you for remembering Laura Kempton with me.



Find a Grave

Portsmouth, NH Police Department

Boston Herald

Boston Globe

New Hampshire Department of Justice

SeaCoast Online


  1. […] Delano’s cold case is possibly the oldest in New Hampshire. There might be older cases but police records only date back to 1966. Another famous New Hampshire case is the unsolved homicide of Laura Kempton. […]

  2. […] Case of the Month: Laura Kempton (1958-1981) (via @Vidocq_CC on Twitter) […]