LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:
February 2, 2001 is the last time Bethany attended classes at Keene High School and Tina showed up for her job as a home nurse. At the time, they were living with Tina’s boyfriend, Eugene Van Bowman Jr., at 182 Mountain Road in West Chesterfield, New Hampshire.
The next day, Bethany went on a date. At 11:30pm, she and her boyfriend spoke on the phone and made plans for Valentine’s Day. This is the last time anyone heard from the teenager.
On February 4, 2001, Bowman claimed he and Tina got into an argument and he stormed out of the house. He returned later that day.
What is known about Tina and Bethany’s disappearances comes solely from Bowman and, as such, should be taken with a grain of salt. In an interview with police, he claimed the pair had taken their clothes and left sometime after his and Tina’s argument. They left behind their cat, a number of personal belongings and Tina’s white Dodge Neon. When asked why he hadn’t reported them missing, he said he’d assumed they’d taken off for a few days and would return after Tina had cooled off.
The next day, an unidentified woman called Keene High School to say Bethany wouldn’t be attending classes, as she was sick. While authorities are uncertain of the caller’s identity, family members told WMUR in 2011 that they know who made the phone call, but are unable to reveal the person’s identity due to the ongoing investigation.
Tina and Bethany were reported missing on February 10, 2001, after school officials called local authorities about Bethany’s continued absence.
According to reports, Bowman was last seen on the Connecticut River in his Scat hovercraft at around 4:30am on February 4, 2001. An extensive search of the area was conducted, but no clues were uncovered. Search warrants were also obtained for the family’s residence, but the results, along with the rest of the files pertaining to the investigation, have been sealed.
Tina’s sister, Sharon Garry, had been concerned for Bethany’s safety after learning Bowman had been charged with molesting his eight-year-old daughter in the 1990s. Following the Sinclairs’ disappearances, he pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to between two and 15 years in prison. He was released on parole in October 2003.
Sharon had spoken about Bethany coming to live with her in Connecticut and was aware issues between Tina and Bowman. According to police reports, officers made several visits to the residence for domestic incidents, but neither Tina or Bowman were ever arrested. Court records also indicate Bowman accused Tina of domestic abuse in July 2000, but the allegations were later rescinded.
When Sharon brought up her concerns with Tina, the pair got into an argument. Tina told her sister that she would get herself and Bethany out of the situation, and the two hadn’t spoken since.
There have been numerous police and volunteer searches for the pair over the years, including of the Connecticut River and Pisgah State Park. No evidence was uncovered, despite search parties making use of cadaver dogs, dive teams and helicopters.
In June 2014, the New Hampshire State Police Cold Case and Marine Patrol units, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Dive Team, the Massachusetts State Police Underwater Recovery Team and the Vermont State Police SCUBA Team conducted a search of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, near the Vernon Dam in Vermont. Investigators wouldn’t say if anything of interest was discovered.
There hasn’t been any activity on Tina’s bank account, credit cards or cellphone since she and Bethany went missing, and she never cashed her last paycheque. There’s also been no noted activity on either of their Social Security numbers, and neither of them have contacted their loved ones, despite Tina being close with her family.
Bowman has reportedly refused to cooperate with the investigation. While he hasn’t been named a suspect, he is considered a person of interest.
Sharon has hired private investigator Gil Alba, who specializes in missing person and cold cases. His team, which includes retired FBI agent Robert Booth and retired police chief Tom Shamshank, has offered its services for free.
Detectives believe Bethany and Tina met with foul play, and have uploaded their dental records and other identifying information into a national database, should their remains be found. The investigation remains active, with efforts being led by the New Hampshire State Police Cold Case Unit and the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
Unfortunately, new information has been scant.
Bowman has continued to have contact with police following his release from prison. In 2004, he was issued a no trespass order after a resident reported him for trespassing on her property, and just a year later was charged with violating his parole and sent back to prison. In 2011, he was placed in protective custody after officers responded to reports of an intoxicated person. He was later released without charges.
Memorials for Tina and Bethany have been erected at a bend in the Connecticut River, off Route 9 in West Chesterfield.
Sharon has shared that the pair’s disappearances have torn the family apart. They no longer spend holidays together, and her father and brother haven’t found a way to properly deal with how they’re feeling.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Tina Marie “Tee” Sinclair went missing from West Chesterfield, Cheshire County, New Hampshire on February 4, 2001. She was 34 years old, weighed 120 pounds and stood at 5’2″. She had light brown-to-strawberry blonde hair, green eyes, a vertical surgical scar extending down from her bellybutton and a butterfly tattoo on her right ankle. Her ears are double-pierced, and at the time her fingernails were long and well-manicured.
Her former married name is Mayotte.
Bethany Anne “Beth” Sinclair went missing from West Chesterfield, Cheshire County, New Hampshire on February 4, 2001. She was 15 years old, weighed between 120 and 135 pounds, and stood around 5’2″ to 5’7″ tall. She had brown hair, green eyes and a U-shaped scar on her forehead. Her legs and hips are out of alignment, resulting in her knees being turned inward, and she wears glasses. It’s possible she was wearing a necklace with a crucifix pendant at the time of her disappearance.
She may use the last name Deuso.
Currently, both cases are classified as endangered missing. If alive, Tina would be 55 years old and Bethany would be 36.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact New Hampshire State Police at (603) 223-3856 or the agency’s Cold Case Unit at either (603) 223-8570 or (603) 271-1255.
Image Credit: NamUs