The Ice Box Murders/Charles Rogers

FeaturedThe Ice Box Murders/Charles Rogers

The Ice Box Murders is an unsolved murder case involving the Rogers family. Fred Rogers and his wife Edwina were both found dismembered and put into the refrigerator. Their son, Charles, was the main suspect, but he fled and was never found, leading this crime to remain unsolved and eventually Charles was declared dead after not being found for years.

Charles Rogers in 1942 enrolled at Texas A&M University but he later dropped out and then enrolled at the University of Houston where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear physics. During WWII, he was a pilot in the United States Navy and also worked in the Office of Naval Intelligence. After the war, he worked as a seismologist for Shell Oil for nine years, but then in 1957 he abruptly quit his job with no explanation. Friends and associates of Rogers would later say that he was extremely intelligent and had a talent for finding gas, oil, and gold for the companies he worked for. He spoke several languages and had an interest in ham radios. In the mid-1950s he joined the Civil Air Patrol where he met David Ferrie (Ferrie was later named a conspirator in the assassination of JFK by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison).

By the year 1965 Rogers was unemployed and living with his elderly parents in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. Rogers was described as reclusive and would often communicate with his parents by slipping notes under the door. Neighbors weren’t really aware that he was living there since he would leave home before dawn and return after dark.

On June 23rd, 1965, two Houston police officers entered the Rogers’ home by force when Edwina’s nephew Marvin became concerned when his calls to his aunt went unanswered for several days. When they got inside, police didn’t find anything out of the ordinary but did notice food sitting on the dining room table. One officer opened the fridge and found what was thought to be numerous cuts of washed and unwrapped meat neatly stacked on the shelves. He thought it was the meat of a butchered pig, but as he was closing the door he noticed two human heads in the vegetable bin. Upon further inspection, he discovered it was the heads of Fred and Edwina Rogers. What the officer thought was hog meat in the fridge was actually the cut up body parts of the elderly couple. Police later discovered the organs were removed from both victims, cut up and flushed down the toilet while other remains were never found. It was determined that the couple was killed on June 20th. An autopsy showed Fred Rogers was killed by multiple blows to the head with a claw hammer. His eyes had been gouged out and his genitalia removed. Edwina Rogers was beaten and shot, execution style. Police said that the bodies were dismembered in the upstairs bathroom by someone with “some knowledge of anatomy”. There was little blood in the house and the only amount that was found led to Charles Rogers’ bedroom. In it, police found a keyhole saw but no trace as to where Rogers was. A search for Rogers was launched with a warrant saying he was a material witness to the murder but he was never found.

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The Keddie Murders

FeaturedThe Keddie Murders

The Keddie Murders was a 1981 quadruple homicide that happened in Keddie, California. It took place in Cabin 28 during either the late evening of April 11th, 1981 or early morning of the next day. The victims were 36-year-old Glenna Sue Sharp (who went by Sue), her 15-year-old son John, and his 17-year-old friend Dana Wingate. Later Tina Sharp (who was 12) was found a distance away from the cabin. Let’s break the crime down.

Sue and her five children (along with a few of her son’s friends) went to a cabin that Sue had been renting since November of 1980. On the night of April 11th Sue’s oldest daughter, Sheila, went to sleep over at a friend’s cabin instead of staying at her own. This move saved her life. A bedroom upstairs would have Sue’s youngest sons and their friend sleeping in it. The morning of April 12th, Sheila came back to her cabin at around 7:45 AM and discovered a grizzly sight. Her mother, her brother John, and his friend Dana were all murdered. They had been tied up with medical tape and appliance wire, and had been stabbed, bludgeoned, and strangled to death. Upstairs, Sheila discovered her two younger brothers and their friend were fast asleep, completely unharmed. With the help of her neighbors she got the three boys out.

An examination of the bodies revealed that the victims suffered from at least two different hammers of varying size. Sue and John had been stabbed repeatedly, and Sue had also been bludgeoned to death with a rifle and Dana Wingate was strangled to death. There were various weapons found at the scene, including a table knife, a butcher knife, and a bloody hammer (later another bloody hammer would be found that seemed to be intentionally planted). Other weapons, such as the rifle, were never recovered. A second bloody knife turned up in a trash bin behind the Keddie general store.

There were several suspects, including Marty Smartt, who was a close friend of the family’s and with the local sheriff (his son was also with the Sharp family and was the friend sleeping upstairs) and “Bo” Boubede, who was reportedly a hit man for Chicago and Las Vegas mobs. Some suspects were thought to be former lovers of Sue that held a grudge for some reason, but despite the considerable evidence and police questioning no one was arrested. It was questioned severely why Tina’s body was discovered so far from the cabin, and many people believe the entire crime was a police cover up. Eventually, in 2004, Cabin 28 was demolished along with the secrets and answers to this horrendous crime.

Lizzie Borden

FeaturedLizzie Borden

“Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.”

That famous rhyme has been heard all throughout history since the incredibly vicious murder of Lizzie Borden’s parents in their own home in 1892. Lizzie was acquitted of the murders although many people still believe she committed the crime. In the end no one was actually charged for the murders, but even now people are debating who the real killer is.

Lizzie Andrew Borden was born July 19th, 1860 in Fall River, Massachusetts to Andrew and Sarah Borden. Her father was a successful property developer and he directed several textile mills including the Globe Yarn Mill Company. He also owned some commercial property and was both the president of the Union Savings Bank and a director of the Durfee Safe Deposit and Trust Company. Despite his success and wealth, Andrew was quite a frugal man. His home did not have indoor plumbing and did not spend money as those who were extremely rich did. Her mother eventually died in 1863 and three years later Andrew married Abby Durfee Gray.

Lizzie had an older sister named Emma and they both were raised religiously and attended the Central Congregational Church. Lizzie was extremely involved in her church which also included teaching Sunday school to children of recent immigrants, she was involved in Christian organizations such as the Christian Endeavor Society where she was a secretary-treasurer, and also social movements such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She was also a member of the Ladies’ Fruit and Flower Mission. She very much detested her stepmother and would often called her “Mrs. Borden” which indicated she did not feel close with Abby at all. Lizzie was convinced Abby was just after her father’s money and didn’t actually love him.

A lot of tension grew in the family months before the murder especially due to Andrew giving Abby’s family members various pieces of real estate. Lizzie and Emma demanded that they got a home as well and so they got the home they lived in before their mother died. They purchased it for $1 but a few weeks before the murders they sold it back to their father for $5,000 (which is like $133,000 today).

On August 4th, 1892 between 10:30 AM and 11:10 AM Andrew Borden was murdered in his living room while taking a nap while Abby Borden was killed between 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM in the guest bedroom. Lizzie and Emma usually cleaned the guest rooms but at the time John Morse, the brother of Lizzie’s deceased mother, was staying with them and had slept in so when he awoke Abby went up to make the bed. According to forensic investigation it seemed that Abby was facing her killer which she was first struck from the cut above her ear which caused her to turn and fall to the floor. She was then struck 17 more times in the back of the head until she finally was dead.

Andrew and Morse were in the sitting room after breakfast and chatted for about an hour. Morse left to visit a relative at around 8:48 AM and Andrew left for his morning walk around 9 AM. When he returned it was around 10:30 AM and his key failed to open the door so he knocked on the door for help. Bridget, the maid, tried to unlock the door but it was jammed. Later she claimed she heard Lizzie laughing from what seemed to be from the top of the stairs. This statement was significant since Abby was thought to be murdered first and was found upstairs in the guest bedroom. Lizzie of course denied it. Lizzie also gave two different accounts of her movements on that day. She said she was in the loft for about 20-30 minutes eating pears and that she went to look for an iron in the loft as well. Bridget Sullivan, the maid, said she was in her room on the third floor resting from cleaning windows when at around 11:10 AM she heard Lizzie calling to her from downstairs. She said someone had come in and killed her father. He had been struck around 10 or 11 times with a hatchet. One of his eyeballs had been split in two which suggested he was asleep when he was attacked. He was still bleeding which meant it was a very recent attack.

During the investigation, Lizzie was giving strange and contradictory answers to the police. At first she claimed she heard a groan or a scraping noise before entering the house, but two hours later said she heard nothing and didn’t think anything was wrong when she got inside. When she was asked where her stepmother was she said that Abby received a note saying she should visit a sick friend. She also said she thought Abby had returned and asked someone to go upstairs to check. Mrs. Churchill (a neighbor) and Bridget went upstairs and as they reached the halfway point they saw in the guest bedroom Abby lying facedown on the floor.

Many of the investigators did not like Lizzie because of how calm she was and that she kept changing her story about her whereabouts. However, no one checked her for bloodstains or properly searched her room. They found several axes in the basement one of which the handle was broke and was thought to be the murder weapon but at the time didn’t do much about it. A friend of the family, Alice Russell, entered the kitchen the day after the murders and witnessed Lizzie ripping up a dress saying she got paint on it and was going to burn it and it was never tested if there was blood on it nor was it confirmed whether or not it was the dress she wore the day of the murders.

Lizzie was initally tried and then aquitted based on not enough evidence and also the poor work of the police at the time but she remains still a suspect of the murders even to this day. Her behavior, the dress, and her accounts of her actions on her day still do not make sense but many people believe she was the one who murdered her parents in cold blood.