I-70 Serial Killer Part 2

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-in5bc-1079835

Award-winning crime writer, Synova Cantrell, and ex-Gambino Associate, Hootie Russo discuss the disturbing case of the I-70 Serial Killer. 

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Follow Hootie’s Channel Here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtF9CGDw0zQQyjicH4sLPGA

 

Find more on Synova Here:

www.synovaink.com

 

An Athlete Murdered Young – Death of Aimee Willard

Photo courtesy of guest blogger. Check out his FB group here: Ian’s Group

June 20, 1996

Aimee Willard‘s athletic accomplishments earned her a scholarship to play lacrosse and soccer at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It was in lacrosse that the 22-year-old tomboy particularly excelled; by her junior year, she led the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring and assists. She was designated as one of the top 25 female lacrosse players in the United States, but because of a man described as “pure evil,” she became an athlete who died young.

In the early morning hours of June 20, 1996, Aimee’s car was found abandoned along Interstate 476 near Philadelphia. That afternoon, her badly beaten body was found in the north part of the city.

Three people emerged as suspects in Aimee’s murder, but all were cleared after DNA identified the true culprit. Twenty-four years after Aimee’s murder, her killer remains on Pennsylvania’s death row, his appeals nearly exhausted.

The only mystery remaining in the murder of Aimee Willard is when will the man who took her life pay for the crime?

On June 19, eleven days after her 22nd birthday, Aimee met friends at Smokey Joe’s Tavern in Wayne, just north of Philadelphia. Conversing at the tavern for nearly three hours, the girls had a great time catching up with each other. Aimee drank only a small amount of alcohol and left the bar between 1:30-1:45 a.m. on June 20.

On the day before summer officially started, the warm Pennsylvania morning was about to be marred by a chilling crime.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., off-duty paramedics found Aimee’s car parked along the shoulder of an Interstate 476 off-ramp. Its engine was running, the lights were on, and the radio was playing. The driver’s side door was open, and a trail of fresh bloodstains dotted the pavement. A bloody tire iron lay by the side of the car, which was later identified as Aimee’s.

Police were summoned and found more blood along the passenger side of the car and the nearby guardrail. Later that morning, they found underwear and tennis shoes at the top of the ramp, also determined to be Aimee’s. Her other clothes were never found.

That afternoon, 17 miles away in North Philadelphia, two children playing in a vacant lot discovered Aimee’s nude body. An autopsy determined she had been sexually assaulted and killed by blunt force trauma that crushed her skull. She had been killed at approximately 7:00 a.m. on June 20.

Three men became suspects in the murder of Aimee Willard. Disturbingly, two of them were in law enforcement, and the third had previously masqueraded as such. 

As police searched the ramp where Aimee’s abandoned car was found, 23-year-old Andrew Kobak approached them, saying he had been on the ramp early that morning and had seen the car. Kobak had once worked five blocks from where Aimee’s body was found. More interestingly, he had previously been arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Kobak allowed police to search his car. They found handcuffs and a flashlight similar to those used by law enforcement. A search of his home-produced police paraphernalia as well as a magazine that could be used to order police equipment. After the searches, Kobak stopped cooperating with authorities.

Police were convinced they had their man, believing he approached Aimee under the guise of a police officer. Two bona fide law enforcement officers, however, also emerged as suspects.

An off-duty Pennsylvania state trooper, who lived only a few blocks from Aimee’s home, claimed to have seen both Aimee’s car and a police officer parked in a squad car behind it. The trooper said he spoke briefly with the officer, offering his assistance. When told he was not needed, the trooper said he drove away.

All of the police officers who responded to the call of Aimee’s abandoned car, however, said no one identifying himself as a state trooper spoke to them. Furthermore, authorities determined the trooper was in a different location at the time. The trooper soon resigned from the Pennsylvania State Patrol.

One week later, a local police officer not involved in the investigation into Aimee’s murder came forward, saying he had come upon her car while the paramedics were on the scene but before the police arrived. The officer said he saw the paramedics parked behind her car and that he spoke with them. The paramedics, however, contradicted the officer’s account, saying they neither saw nor spoke with him. Like the state trooper, the police officer later admitted to lying to his fellow lawmen. He, too, resigned shortly thereafter.

Investigators had three suspects in the murder of Aimee Willard: Andrew Kobak, who pretended to be one of them, and two of their actual own; the Pennsylvania State Trooper and the local police officer. DNA tests, however, exonerated all three men.

The only connection Aimee’s killer had to law enforcement was his multiple arrests. 

In December 1997, one-and-a-half years after Aimee’s murder, semen found on her body was matched to 38-year-old Arthur Bomar, Jr.

Police were led to Bomar after nineteen-year-old Patty Jordan reported an attempted carjacking near Philadelphia. A man had tailed her after she left a local nightclub and purposely struck the back of her vehicle. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused.

As Patty drove off, she memorized the car’s license plate number. The plate was traced to Bomar. In December 1997, one-and-a-half years after Aimee’s murder, semen found on her body was matched to 38-year-old Arthur Bomar, Jr.

Police were led to Bomar after nineteen-year-old Patty Jordan reported an attempted carjacking near Philadelphia. A man had tailed her after she left a local nightclub and purposely struck the back of her vehicle. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused.

As Patty drove off, she memorized the car’s license plate number. The plate was traced to Bomar.

Bomar was no stranger to authorities. He had previously been convicted of several assaults on young women and the second-degree murder of a woman in Nevada in 1978. He had been sentenced to life in prison but was granted parole after serving only eleven years. The parole board evidently thought Bomar had been rehabilitated. They would soon be proven deadly wrong.

In 1990, less than a year after he was paroled, Bomar was charged with the attempted murder of a woman named Theresa Thompson; the charges were dropped after she died of a drug overdose in 1991 before the case was brought to trial. He was also believed to be connected to the rape of a Philadelphia college student, though the evidence was not sufficient to charge him.

The evidence, however, was more than sufficient to charge him with the murder of Aimee Willard.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on the evening of June 19, 1996, Philadelphia police had pulled Bomar over for a traffic infraction only six blocks from where Aimee’s car would be found in the early morning hours of June 20. Police sought to question him but could not initially locate him.

The following week, Bomar was arrested after trying to break into a woman’s apartment. As the three other men emerged as suspects, authorities turned their attention away from Bomar and did not question him then about Aimee’s murder.

After the DNA evidence linked Bomar to Aimee’s murder, his girlfriend told authorities he was at Smokey Joe’s Tavern on the evening of June 20, 1996. It is believed he noticed Aimee at the bar and followed her along Route 476 after she departed.

Due to the damage found on the front of Bomar’s car and the back of Aimee’s car, police believe he purposefully rammed the back of her car to get her to pull over. When Aimee exited her vehicle to exchange information, Bomar is believed to have struck her with the tire iron later found alongside her car.

After knocking Aimee unconscious, Bomar is believed to have taken her to north Philadelphia, where he raped her and killed her with three blows to her head from another large object. Afterward, he is believed to have run over her with his car. A burn pattern found on Aimee’s back was consistent with the oil pan on the bottom of Bomar’s Ford Escort, which was found in a junkyard with slight damage to the front bumper. Its tires matched the impressions found near Aimee’s car.

Furthermore, DNA testing showed blood found on the car’s door was Aimee’s.

In February 2003, six-and-half years after Aimee’s murder, Arthur Bomar, Jr. was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. He was also convicted of rape, assault, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse.

At his sentencing, Bomar professed he was convicted only because he is black. He then flipped his middle finger at Aimee’s mother, Gail, and told her to f**k herself. He also threatened to kill her and her two other children.

When Bomar had been arrested for breaking into the woman’s apartment a few days after Aimee’s murder in June 1996, he had a set of keys for a Honda in his pocket. Police learned he had put his Ford Escort’s license plate on the Honda. It was the license plate Patty Jordan had memorized when the car rammed her.

The plate was registered to Bomar, but the Honda belonged to 25-year-old Maria Cabuenos, another Pennsylvania woman who had been reported missing in March 1996, three months before Aimee’s murder. Maria is also believed to have been abducted on Route 476, near where Aimee’s car was found. Dried blood was found in the trunk of her Honda, and both bumpers were slightly scraped, as were the bumpers on Aimee’s car. Moreover, Aimee’s blood and hair were found in Maria’s car.

In January 1998, three months after Bomar’s conviction for Aimee’s murder, Maria Cabuenos’ remains were found in nearby Bucks County. Like Aimee, she had died of blunt force trauma.

Bomar is the prime suspect in Maria’s murder, but he is not likely to be charged because of his death sentence. 

Over 17 years after his conviction for the murder of Aimee Willard, Arthur Bomar, Jr. remains on Pennsylvania’s death row, still exhausting his appeals. In 2014, his appeal was rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. His remaining options are few, but a date has still not been set for his execution.

Bomar maintains he did not kill Aimee and still insists he was convicted only because he is black. No one of any color is supporting his claim.

Authorities continue to investigate Bomar’s possible involvement in other homicides. They believe he may be a serial killer but have not yet been able to link him to any more murders.

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, AKA “Aimee’s Law,” was introduced by then-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and was signed into law by President Clinton in 2000.

The Act encourages states to keep murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars longer and holds a state financially accountable if it fails to do so. In addition, it allows interstate parole violators to be jailed in their state of residence at the expense of the state where the original offense was committed. Furthermore, it permits for offenders to be jailed in another state if circumstances allow it.

A small roadside memorial on the exit ramp from Interstate 476 to southbound U.S. Route 1 marks the site where Aimee Willard’s car was found.

US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport in the United States, established the Aimee Willard Award. Created in conjunction with Aimee’s mother, her high school coach, and the Philadelphia Women’s Lacrosse Association, the award is given each year in recognition of the outstanding collegiate athlete participating in the USWLA National Tournament.

George Mason University honors Aimee with the yearly Aimee Willard Commemorative Award, presented to the Mason student-athlete who best exemplifies the standards of quality set by Aimee: intensity, consistency of purpose, achievement, and teamwork. 


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

• Cold Case Files

• Philadelphia Inquirer

• Unsolved Mysteries

• Washington Post


Join Our GUEST BLOGGER’S FACEBOOK GROUP here


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas. Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Each week Synova & her team of guest bloggers highlight an obscure cold case. Synova works directly with the victims’ families to give them a voice and to generate leads for law enforcement. The potential viewership currently sits at 500,000!

Help Synova’s team reach a million people with these cold cases. Together we can solve some of these cases.

As a way of saying “Thank You” when you sign up for Synova’s true crime newsletter, you will get her Grim Justice eBook as a free gift! Please help us reach out to more people in our search for truth.

SIGN UP HERE


Check out Synova’s new Podcast, Chasing Justice

Chasing Justice is on Podbean, Stitcher, google podcasts, itunes, and spotify. Listen on you favorite app! Look for the logo above. There is another Chasing Justice podcast out there.


I-70 Serial Killer Part One

chasing-justice-2

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-amywu-1076a25

Award-winning crime writer, Synova Cantrell, and ex-Gambino Associate, Hootie Russo discuss the disturbing case of the I-70 Serial Killer.

Sign up for the Racketeer Here:

https://mailchi.mp/b4b977160338/theracketeer

Follow Hootie’s Channel Here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtF9CGDw0zQQyjicH4sLPGA

Find more on Synova Here:

www.synovaink.com

Karma Finds A Murderer


The sad tale of Erica Richardson is all too common. In 1996, the pharmacy manager was introduced to John Feiga. Erica was instantly attracted, and for several months, Feiga treated her like royalty, surprising her with flowers and other small gifts and showering her with affection.

Erica thought she had found her knight in shining armor. She couldn’t have been more wrong.

On December 8, 1997, Erica was stabbed to death in her Valrico, Florida, home, 15 miles east of Tampa. John Feiga was the prime suspect, but he was never tried for the crime because he was murdered four months later.

John Feiga is presumed to have murdered his former girlfriend, Erica Richardson. No one knows who killed Feiga.

Erica Richardson was the first person in her family to graduate from college.

After finishing her degree in microbiology from the University of Florida, she obtained a Pharmacy degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Erica returned home and accepted an offer to manage a Walmart pharmacy in Seffner, 14 miles east of Tampa. She also bought a home in Valrico.

Erica had offers from larger pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies which would have paid her more money. Still, she wanted to be near her parents, Sam and Imogene, who lived in Progress Village, 12 miles south of Seffner.

The only thing missing in Erica’s life was a suitable mate. Sam and Imogene initially liked John Feiga. He was a respected mechanic and had previously worked for the Tampa Electric Company.

Feiga was initially charming and treated Erica well. Shortly after moving into her home, however, he became jealous and controlling of his girlfriend. Erica told her mother she was beginning to fear him.

As her affections for John deteriorated, Erica asked him to move out; John did, but he did not want her to move on without him.

Feiga continued to harass Erica by following her and frequently visiting the pharmacy for no reason other than to ask her to take him back. After she repeatedly rejected him, Feiga’s ire grew, and he threatened his former girlfriend with physical harm. Erica then obtained a restraining order against him, but the harassment continued, and Feiga was arrested.

Not even several days in jail and the threat of prison time, however, deterred him.

On December 6, 1997, as Erica and Imogene were Christmas shopping at a Tampa mall, Feiga approached them. He was calm and apologetic. Despite the restraining order she had against him, Erica agreed to meet with him. She told her mom she and Feiga were going to her home to discuss their situation.

Imogene pleaded with her daughter not to go with him, but Erica assured her everything would be fine. She was wrong.

Imogene phoned her daughter’s home repeatedly over the following two days but received no answer. She became panicked when she phoned the pharmacy and was told that Erica, uncharacteristically, had neither shown up for work nor called with an explanation.

Imogene drove to Erica’s home and was alarmed to see John’s truck in the driveway. Peering through a window, she saw a bloody knife on the floor. She summoned Erica’s neighbor, a highway patrolman.

They found Erica’s blood-soaked body in the kitchen. Her murder was clearly a crime of passion; she had been stabbed 67 times.

The prime suspect was her former boyfriend and the last person with whom she was seen, John Feiga. He, too, had not arrived for work.

Feiga had been seen driving Erica’s 1992 Honda on the day she was last seen. It was located 770 miles away on December 23, two weeks after Erica was last seen, in a parking lot near his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. None of Feiga’s family or friends in the area claimed to have recently seen him.

Signs of a struggle were found in Erica’s kitchen. Tests showed her blood had been mixed with that of another person. Detectives suspected it was Feiga’s, but they could not locate a sample of his DNA for comparison.

They soon, however, obtained Feiga’s DNA which confirmed their suspicions and closed the case, but not in the way they had hoped.

On April 13, 1998, five months after the murder of Erica Richardson in Florida, the body of an unidentified man was found in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River. The man remained unidentified for over a decade until July 2008, when the mixed DNA found on Erica’s body matched the John Doe’s.

Dental records confirmed the remains were those of John Feiga. DNA testing confirmed he was Erica Richardson’s killer.

Perhaps poetic justice had been served; John had also been murdered. Authorities have not disclosed how he died, and his killer remains unknown.

If you believe you have information relating to the murder of John Feiga, please contact the St. Mary Parish, Louisiana Sheriff’s Office at (337) 828-1960.

Although John Feiga was not found guilty in a court of law, authorities have declared him the killer of Erica Richardson.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

America’s Most Wanted
Tampa Bay Times
Unsolved Mysteries


Join Our GUEST BLOGGER’S FACEBOOK GROUP here


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas. Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Each week Synova & her team of guest bloggers highlight an obscure cold case. Synova works directly with the victims’ families to give them a voice and to generate leads for law enforcement. The potential viewership currently sits at 500,000!

Help Synova’s team reach a million people with these cold cases. Together we can solve some of these cases.

As a way of saying “Thank You” when you sign up for Synova’s true crime newsletter, you will get her Grim Justice eBook as a free gift! Please help us reach out to more people in our search for truth.

SIGN UP HERE


Check out Synova’s new Podcast, Chasing Justice

Chasing Justice is on Podbean, Stitcher, google podcasts, itunes, and spotify. Listen on you favorite app! Look for the logo above. There is another Chasing Justice podcast out there.


Drive-by Shooting Kills Father of Two: The Murder of Alonzo Thomas IV


On April 5th, 2014, 20-year-old Alonzo Thomas IV, also known as “Zoe,” was at a friend’s home at the 7100 block of Wayne Street in Kansas, Missouri, when he received a phone call & stepped outside to take it. A moment later, shots rang out. 

Police officers were called out in regards to a shooting. When they arrived on the scene, Alonzo was found lying by the front door of a residence. Witnesses saw him talking to some individuals in a white Uplander with rusted rims. Witnesses saw a black man with dreadlocks wearing white & black clothing shoot Alonzo in the front yard of the home & leave the scene on foot. 

A wounded Alonzo made it to the front door of the nearby home, where he knocked on the door, collapsed, and died. Despite it being 1 pm and there being witnesses, no arrests have been made. Alonzo was the father of two children; one child hadn’t been born yet. There were people around, and someone saw something. 

There is a $40.000 reward. Anyone with information can call the TIP Hotline at (816) 474- 8477 or the Kansas City police department at (816) 234- 5218.



More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Cricket Andrews is a new crime writer working on her own book to empower victim’s families. She has worked as a victim’s advocate for years and is passionate about helping those affected by violent crime.


Support Synova’s Cause:


EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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The Man Who Died Twice – The mystery of the death of Clarence Roberts

May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'CLARENCE AND GENEVA ROBERTS'

On November 18, 1970, a fire destroyed a barn at the home of Clarence and Geneva Roberts. While sifting through the debris, the fireman found the remnants of a body burned beyond recognition. It was initially identified as that of Clarence Roberts.

Ten years later, on November 29, 1980, another fire destroyed the new home of Geneva Roberts. Two bodies were found amidst the debris; one was that of Geneva, and the second body was identified as Clarence Roberts.

Today, the small town of Nashville, Indiana, is still divided over the fate of the man who was twice declared dead. The official ruling is that Clarence killed an unidentified man who was found in the first fire only to himself be killed in the second fire ten years later. Some, despite the forensic evidence that says otherwise, still believe he perished in the first fire.
A select few others reject both scenarios; they believe Clarence Roberts did not die in either fire and lived the last years of his life in hiding.

Both lifelong residents of Brown County, Indiana, Clarence and Geneva married in 1941 and settled in rural Nashville, a town of 800 people 60 miles south of Indianapolis.

The Roberts had four sons.

Clarence was a respected member of the community, having served as Brown County Sheriff and as a board member of the town’s bank. He was also active in the local chapter of the Masons.

Clarence and his brother Carson had operated two successful Nashville businesses together, first a lumber company and then a hardware store.

Both Carson and Clarence were earning good livings and living comfortably. Carson was content, but Clarence was not.

Clarence’s financial success had gone to his head. He had a good amount of money but not enough to finance the lifestyle he was living in 1969.

Clarence was becoming an out-of-control spendthrift. He purchased three luxury cars as well as a fashionable and expensive home.

When asked about the lavish purchases, Clarence said he had made a windfall from investments. In reality, he had incurred a pitfall, having lost nearly all of his money in failed investments in an apartment complex and several grain elevators.

The 52-year-old Clarence had been raised in a low-income family but had worked himself from rags to riches. Now, he was returning to the rags, and that was only the beginning of his troubles.

By the fall of 1969, Clarence was in serious financial peril, and several lawsuits had been filed against him.

One bank had recently been granted a $45,000 judgment against Clarence, and another was alleging he had defaulted on his home’s mortgage. In addition, the Wabash Insurance Company, which had loaned Clarence money for building the apartment complex, also filed suit, claiming he had submitted to them altered and fictitious bills totaling between $131,000-$200,000.

In June 1970, Clarence and his attorney discussed his filing for bankruptcy. Against his lawyer’s advice, Clarence rejected the option. In October, two of his prized luxury cars were repossessed.

On the afternoon of November 18, a bank officer went to Clarence’s home to discuss a note on which the bank suspected Clarence had forged his brother’s signature. Clarence’s remaining cars were at the location, and the bank officer believed he saw him in the home. Clarence knew of the bank’s suspicions and did not answer the door. He may have seen only one way out of his predicaments.

At 6:15 p.m. on November 18, 1970, neighbor Ella Cummings reported a small fire on the Roberts property. Geneva and her kids were not at home at the time of the fire.

By the time the fireman arrived on the scene, the fire had engulfed the grain barn the Roberts had used as a garage and storage area. By the time the blaze was suppressed, the barn had been reduced to ashes.

Beneath the remnants, the fireman found a body next to a half-melted shotgun. The body was too charred to recognize, but it was presumed to be Clarence. Knowing he had been severely depressed, authorities initially believed he had committed suicide.

The gun had been recently fired, but no gunshot wounds were found on the burned body. In addition, the gun’s position over the body was not compatible with the recoil, which would have followed its firing.

Further questions were raised when a tooth discovered near the body was identified as a lower right second molar. Clarence had that same tooth removed several years before the fire.

Amidst the ashes, Clarence’s Masonic ring was also found, only slightly damaged.

Investigators believe the ring was planted after the fire because it was virtually unscathed.

Brown County Coroner Jack Bond found an absence of carbonous material and internal burning in the victim’s respiratory tract. Because of the large amounts of carbon monoxide in the blood, Dr. Bond believed the victim had died from carbon monoxide intoxication before the fire.

Dr. Bond refused to sign the death certificate for Clarence Roberts and deemed definitive identification of the body impossible.

The Indiana State Medical Examiner, however, did rule the remains to be those of Clarence Roberts.

Geneva and her children, along with other family members, were certain it was Clarence found in the barn.

Clarence’s nephew Bob White surmised that Clarence had accidentally set the barn afire while shooting himself. Bob said his uncle kept gasoline for his lawnmower in the barn, which may explain the barn’s rapid burning.

The declared remains of Clarence Roberts were buried at the local cemetery.

Because the fire investigation produced a growing list of perplexing questions, the remains were exhumed on December 21, 1970. The findings raised additional red flags when the victim had type AB blood. Clarence’s military records showed his blood type was B.

Clarence’s family countered that the military records of servicemen’s blood type were often inaccurate. They still believed he died in the fire.

Two days before the fire, Clarence had been seen at a bar in Morgantown, 13 miles south of Nashville, in the company of a man who appeared to be a vagrant. He was about the same age and height as Clarence and bore a physical resemblance to him. No one recognized the man.

As the men left the bar together, the vagrant nearly collapsed outside the bar. He had been drinking heavily, and some patrons believed he was excessively drunk; others thought he appeared to suffer a small seizure. Clarence said he would take the man to a hospital.

Police checked all the hospitals within a 300-mile radius. They determined the vagrant had not been admitted to any of them. He has never been identified and, because of his resemblance to Clearance, some believe he may have been the man found burned to death in the Roberts barn.

Several years after Clarence supposedly died in the fire, a dead man walking was reportedly sighted.

An acquaintance believed he had seen Clearance and an unknown woman in his tavern in April 1972. Other acquaintances think they saw him in 1974 and 1975.

An insurance investigator said he received reports of Clarence’s living in New Mexico and abroad in Mexico and West Germany.

In 1975, based on the alleged sightings and the forensic evidence suggesting he had not perished in the fire, a grand jury indicted Clearance Roberts for the murder of the now declared “John Doe” found burned to death on his property November 1970. The grand jury found the fire was an attempt to make the vagrant appear to be Roberts and that he had committed suicide.

Clarence had purchased several life insurance policies in the months before the fire, nearly $640,000 (although some sources say the amount was close to $1 million). He was ruled to have orchestrated the scheme to avoid paying his debts by having the insurance companies award Geneva his life insurance proceeds.

Geneva insisted her husband had died in the fire. Still, the Wabash Live Insurance and Modern Woodmen of America challenged her claims, saying the evidence was insufficient to declare Clarence dead.

Geneva filed an action against the insurance companies. The case dragged for several years. When it finally came to trial in 1978, a judge ruled in favor of the insurance companies, concurring that insufficient evidence existed to prove that Clarence Roberts was deceased.

Geneva’s claims to the life insurance money were denied.

Devastated by the ruling, both financially and mentally, Geneva had to move to a smaller home on the outskirts of Nashville. She became a recluse; when people arrived at her home, she would always greet them outside at the back door. She never let anyone, including family members, into the house.

After taking a kitchen job at a local Howard Johnson’s motel, Geneva began buying large cases of beer from local shopkeepers. Strangely, she was a diabetic who rarely drank. Geneva’s late husband, however, like to sip the suds, and the brand of beer she purchased just happened to be Clarence’s favorite.

When neighbors reported seeing a man on the grounds of Geneva’s home, rumors began to swirl. The man never let anyone get close to him. Police set up surveillance on her home, but they never saw him.

Geneva’s sister, who lived on an adjacent lot, said she could hear Geneva talking to the man but was certain the man’s voice was not Clarence’s.

Some believed Clarence Roberts had returned to Nashville. Soon, coincidence or not, a second catastrophic fire came.

On the evening of November 29, 1980, just over ten years after Clarence had supposedly perished in a fire, another inferno broke out at Geneva’s new home. After it was extinguished, firefighters found her body in the ashes.

Several hours later, a second body was found in another part of the house. It was identified as that of Clarence Roberts.

The second fire was a clear case of arson, and police determined Geneva had been murdered. The burn patterns from her bed led to the adjacent room where the second body was found, then down a hallway and out the home’s back door.

Turpentine was used to start the fire, placed from the bedroom to the back door, but it could not be determined whether it had been started by the man identified as Clarence or by a third party.

Investigators say they are 100% certain the male body found in the second fire’s debris is that of Clarence Roberts.

However, they cannot determine whether Clarence had murdered Geneva, died accidentally, or if he, too, had been murdered.

Some believe an unknown third party murdered both Clearance and Geneva. Others theorize that Clarence and Geneva committed suicide together so their children could collect on their life insurance policies.

A few believe a more sensationalized story: That a desperate Clarence, wanted for murder, out of money, and with nowhere else to go, returned to Nashville after living in hiding for a decade, only to find Geneva with another man and murdered her in a jealous rage before again setting the home on fire.

The Roberts children still believe, despite the forensic evidence, that their father was killed in the first fire in 1970.

Although investigators are certain the second body found in the second fire is Clarence Roberts, exactly who lies beneath this grave, however, is still the subject of local gossip.

The headstone for Clarence Roberts reads that he died on November 29, 1980. The Roberts children, however, still believe his death occurred on November 10, 1970.

I could not find anything stating where the remains of the still-unidentified man killed in the first fire are now buried.

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Further Reading:
• Indianapolis Star
• Terre Haute Tribune
• Unsolved Mysteries
• UP


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