A Pennsylvania man has been charged with fatally beating his wife more than 30 years ago, then slashing her wrists to make it appear she killed herself, prosecutors announced Tuesday. Carl Rodgers, 62, of Shermans Dale, was arrested Monday in the 1983 death of his wife, Debra Rodgers, who was 23 when her body was found in a state forest several miles from his family's dairy farm in Loysville, about 30 miles from Harrisburg. A coroner at the time ruled Rodgers' death a homicide, but no arrest was made. Prosecutors in the attorney general's office decided to bring the case before a grand jury last year after reviewing cold-case homicides with state police. At the time, Rodgers lived with his wife and their 5-year-old daughter in a trailer near his parents' house, and on April 23, 1983, told her family that she had disappeared from their home, reports the AP.
He claimed she was depressed about her job at a state park and was suicidal, according to a grand jury report. The family mounted a search, and Carl Rodgers led them to her car, which was parked along a remote dirt access road. Family members later discovered her body hundreds of yards away. The body looked like it had been dragged there and a knife was found nearby, its sheath bearing the name "Carl." A coroner at the time determined she died of blunt force trauma to the head, and said her wrists were cut after the fact "to imply suicidal activity." The grand jury said it heard testimony that Debra Rodgers excelled at her job, had recently landed another state job that paid more money, and seemed happy, contradicting her husband's claims. Carl Rodgers "was the only individual with the motive to make her death appear to be a suicide," the grand jury said.