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Two Dartmouth Professors Found Murdered in Their Home

Aired January 29, 2001 - 2:48 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Investigators in Hanover, New Hampshire have ruled the deaths of two Dartmouth professors as a double homicide. Professors Susanne and Half Zantop were both found dead in their home by dinner guests that arrived. Susanne Zantop was the chair of the German Studies program at that Ivy League school. Her husband, Half Zantop, was an Earth sciences instructor. Both instructors have been on the faculty for 25 years. So far, police are offering very few details as their investigation into this continues.

Joining us with more on the killings is Andrew Grossman, who is managing editor of "The Dartmouth Review" and he just got out of class as well, so we appreciate your being with us, Andrew.

Can you tell us, is there any new information at this point about these murders?

ANDREW GROSSMAN, MANAGING EDITOR, "THE DARTMOUTH REVIEW": Nothing is complete, today. There is going to be 4:00 p.m. press conference that we're hoping the police and the attorney general announce something.

CHEN: Can you tell us a little bit about it. I mean, it just seems so unlikely. I mean, out there in an Ivy League school. It does seems to be a rural, sort of private area where they lived. It's really shocking.

GROSSMAN: People this part of New Hampshire really take pride in that they're able to leave their doors unlocked. They're able to walk around late at night without any -- without any qualms. So, it really did come as quite a surprise that something like this would happen in this area.

CHEN: And college professors? I mean, have there been any threats on them or anything happening in the Dartmouth area that would have indicated that there might be a killer on the loose in this area?

GROSSMAN: Nobody that we have spoken to has thought of anything specific. You know, several professors have said, you know, that in the course of teaching, you know, there can be conflicts. But again, nobody can think of anything specific that would have escalated to this level.

CHEN: Can you tell us little bit for viewers who not familiar with the story about how the Zantops were found, the situation that occurred this weekend?

GROSSMAN: Sure. The Zantops were found by a dinner guest who the called police, who actually went to next door neighbors of the Zantops and then called the police. And the police found them. They were on the floor of their study and there is -- the only thing we know is that there is a lot of blood. We're not -- we don't even know what the method of death was.

CHEN: And I understand one of people who found them was a physician and could recognize that...

(CROSSTALK)

GROSSMAN: That's true. The next door neighbor, Bob McCollum, is the former dean of the Dartmouth Medical School and is also a doctor.

CHEN: And he been able to verify that he thought couple had been dead for some time.

GROSSMAN: Right. He thought they had been dead for several hours, which would imply that they died in the afternoon.

CHEN: At Dartmouth, has there been any extra concern? Have you been told to do anything in particular to make yourselves safe?

GROSSMAN: Well, the police said they have no reason to believe that there is any special danger right now. But the dean of faculty -- I'm sorry, the provost housing officer said there will be additional security on campus for the upcoming weeks.

CHEN: What about this couple? I mean, a married couple teaching at Dartmouth so many years. What's the reaction been on campus?

GROSSMAN: As you would imagine, the predominant reaction really is shock. You know, nobody can really think of any reason why this would have happened. You know, it's not the sort of thing we're used to having happen up here, and it's just -- it's very unexpected all around and they were a couple that was very well-regarded on campus.

CHEN: Andrew Grossman, a student at Dartmouth and a managing editor of "The Dartmouth Review" joining us on the telephone line.

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