Tina & Bethany Sinclair: Missing New Hampshire Mother and Daughter

For the most part, the beginning of the month of February in 2001 was just like any other for the residents of Chesterfield, New Hampshire. The occupants of the small town were huddled together for the winter, continuing to face temperatures below freezing and roads covered in the sparkling crystals of the region’s annual snowfall.

But the calm in Chesterfield was soon disrupted by an investigation carried out by New Hampshire state troopers. The whirring sound of helicopter blades above the small town drew eyes to the sky while foot searches on the ground and of the nearby Connecticut River and Vernon Dam hoped to turn up any small clue of the mother and daughter gone missing. Tina and Bethany Sinclair were nowhere to be found.

Though the two missing Sinclairs were the focus of the small community that year, over time, updates became fewer and farther between. Eventually, the signature cold weather of New England struck again, making the searches of the waterways surrounding the town next to impossible. The searches paused. The investigation stalled out.

But Tina and Bethany Sinclair are far from forgotten. Although Tina and Bethany have not been seen for more than twenty years, the case is not closed. Answers are out there.

Please report any information to the New Hampshire State Police at (603) 223-3856 or the agency’s Cold Case Unit at (603) 223-8570 or (603) 271-1255.

Small Town Life

Chesterfield, New Hampshire is a small, family-oriented town of just 3,500 people. It lies at the southeastern most point of New Hampshire, bordering both Vermont and Massachusetts, on the ancestral lands of the Pennacook people. 

According to Census records, the majority of the square mileage of the town is just water. The layout of the town leaves just a few square miles for the citizens of Chesterfield to make their homes, and the few thousand people live in close proximity with one another. 

Like much of New England, Chesterfield is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone. Not only that, but they know the residents of neighboring communities, as well. Many of the students from Chesterfield attend school in the neighboring town of Keene, effectively expanding the community beyond the town limits.

Census records also indicate that those 3,500 residents of Chesterfield are not solely Chesterfield. This number also includes the unincorporated communities of Spofford and West Chesterfield, New Hampshire. The tiny village of West Chesterfield was the home of Tina and Bethany Sinclair.

About Tina and Bethany

In February of 2001, 34 year old Tina Marie Sinclair, who was known to her friends as “Tee,” lived with her daughter, 15-year old Bethany Anne Sinclair, often called “Beth.” The mother and daughter duo had just moved back to her home state of Vermont from Florida after Tina divorced Bethany’s father in the early 2000s. 

The end of her marriage was simply a new beginning for Tina. After moving back home to New England, she worked hard to build a life that she was proud of for herself and her daughter. Around 2001, Tina was working as a home nurse. She had just finished cosmetology school at Keene Beauty Academy, and was getting closer to her dream of becoming a hairdresser. Tina’s friends and family recall that she just wanted to help other people. Her mother and sister remember that Tina was a good person. 

Soon after moving home, Tina began dating a man named Eugene Van Bowman Jr. but more commonly called “Van.” Sharon remembers believing that the two had been very happy together, especially at the beginning of their relationship. She was happy for her sister and supportive when Tina decided to move herself and Beth into Van’s home in West Chesterfield just a few months into the relationship. The three of them lived together in a home on the edge of the river in a town made up of mostly water.

According to an interview with the Sentinel Source in 2013, Tina and her sister Sharon had always been close. The two women had grown up around Brattleboro, Vermont with their parents, another sister, and a brother. Brattleboro was just a fifteen minute drive away from Chesterfield, and the short distance made Tina feel comfortable. She was close to home, where she and her sister had always been social when they were younger. Tina was very well liked and was a caring mother to her only daughter, Bethany.

Bethany Anne Sinclair was just 15 years old in 2001. She was a freshman at Keene High School, where she had an active social life. Despite only recently moving to New England from the home she knew in Florida, she was able to make many friends at her high school of over a thousand students in the town next door. 

Only a few months into her first academic year at the high school, Bethany already had a boyfriend who cared about her deeply. Beth’s family and friends described her as carefree, happy, and fun. She loved music and was an excellent student. In so many ways, Beth was a typical teenager.

Tina and Bethany had been through a lot together. The mother and daughter were very close with one another. They were also close with their extended family. Mary Lewis, Tina’s mother, shared with the Sentinel Source that although she eventually moved further away from Brattleboro to Massachusetts, Tina and Bethany continued to visit her for afternoons spent catching up over coffee and tea.

Despite her closeness with family throughout most of her life, in late 2000 and early 2001, Tina was not in frequent contact with her sister. In October of 2000, Sharon had expressed concern to Tina about her relationship with Bowman. The argument spiraled into a much larger disagreement, and the two had drifted apart, not speaking. 

This argument and the silence between Tina and Sharon may have been one of the reasons why the seven days between February 3 and February 10, 2001 were so quiet. Sharon cared deeply about her sister. But because the two had not spoken in months, she did not immediately notice when her sister and niece disappeared.

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