HANOVER, N.H. (AP) The humanity that Susanne and Half Zantop brought to Dartmouth College has made it difficult for colleagues to accept how the couple”s lives could have ended in a double homicide.
The Zantops, both longtime professors at the Ivy League school, were found slain in their secluded house about three miles from campus.
“They were wonderful people. They were special intellectually, humanly, everything,” said Dartmouth languages instructor Roxanne Verona.
Verona told neighbors she stumbled upon the Zantops” bodies when she arrived at the house for dinner Saturday evening and found the door unlocked.
Police have since cautioned Verona not to discuss the discovery, but some details about the slayings have seeped out.
“She went in and called out. There was no answer,” neighbor and friend Audrey McCollum said. “She turned and saw Susanne on the floor with blood around her.”
Verona rushed to McCollum”s home to call police while McCollum”s husband Robert, a doctor, went over to the Zantops” home. According to his wife, Robert McCollum said he saw enough to know for certain the couple had been dead for several hours and it was not a murder-suicide.
Attorney General Philip McLaughlin on Sunday refused to discuss a possible motive, suspects, the cause of the deaths or the condition of the house, saying he did not want to jeopardize the investigation.
Susanne Zantop, 55, was chairwoman of the German Studies Department. Her 62-year-old husband taught Earth sciences. They had taught at Dartmouth for at least 25 years and had two adult daughters.
Classes were held as scheduled yesterday. College President James Wright and his wife invited students and staff to their home yesterday afternoon, to “come together in this difficult time to comfort one another.”
About 50 faculty members, administrators and students held a somber meeting on campus Sunday night and agreed to set up a support network with a campus hot line.
Many embraced, some were tearful, and most, including Dean Jim Larimore, were trying to come to terms with the word “homicide.”
“Words like this don”t come easily in a place like this,” he said. “What we have to acknowledge is that this is a nightmare, but we won”t wake up.”
A picturesque town of just under 10,000, Hanover is lively, but considered safe. The last murder was in 1991, when two female students from Ethiopia were killed with an ax.