A man from Pennsylvania was arrested Monday for the death of his wife three decades earlier. Carl Rogers, 62, of Shermans Dale has been charged with the 1983 murder of Debra Jane Rogers, Pennsylvania State Police announced on Tuesday. The break was made after the state police made an effort to reinvestigate cold case homicides last year, CNN reports.
"These cases never go away, much like the pain of the family members who lost a loved one," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated.
Debra Rogers was 23 years old when her body was found in a wooded area by her family’s home. At the time she lived with Carl and their 5-year-old daughter in a trailer on the Rogers family farm. At the time, Carl told police that Debra was depressed about her job and that she mentioned suicide during an argument the night she disappeared.
"That was completely at odds with how her family and coworkers saw her and knew her at that time," Shapiro said Tuesday, adding that Carl’s story “never quite checked out.” He said the husband’s story changed “repeatedly,” according to CNN.
Debra’s shirt was pulled halfway up her torso when her body was found, which made it look as if she had been dragged. Near her body, a knife was found. According to Shapiro, the name "Carl” was engraved in its sheath. Her wrists were slashed in what appeared to be a suicide, but the coroner’s report said Debra died from blunt force trauma to the head and torso. Her death was ruled a homicide and nobody was charged, resulting in an unsolved murder for three decades.
The case was reopened last year by an investigating grand jury after they looked at evidence gathered from 1983 investigation.
"Our investigation, it is important to note, did not hinge on any one piece of new evidence or any bombshell revelation," Shapiro said. "Instead, a closer examination of the facts and collaborative use of law enforcement resources led us to this day."
That closer look at the details of the case led to Carl’s arrest on Monday. He was detained while at his job at a feed mill, according to local reports. He faces a life sentence if convicted for his wife’s murder. He’s currently being held without bail.
Carl's attorney, Geoffrey McInroy, told CNN that the evidence against his client is just circumstantial.
"Here we are looking at bits and pieces that even the commonwealth had difficulty assembling," he said. "It's my position that those same facts fit together to tell a different narrative."
McInroy said the death of Carl’s first wife has haunted him for years, and the attorney added that the arrest was a shock.
"It kind of took him by surprise that the Attorney General's office saw fit to arrest him at work on a Monday morning," he said.
[Photo: Pennsylvania Attorney General]