The houston ice box killer
The Ice Box Murders by Hugh GardenierOn Fathers Day, June 20, 1965, Fred Rogers, age eighty-one, and his wife, Edwina, age seventy-two, received a surprise. They were murdered. Three days later their mutilated, dissected bodies were found in the kitchen refrigerator of their modest home by two Houston police officers. The patrolmen thought they were making a routine call. Instead they discovered the perfect crime. The next morning, early newspaper headlines attributed the murders to the couples 43-year-old son, Charles Frederick Rogers. Described as brilliant, erratic, and reclusive, Charles Rogers dominated newspaper headlines for weeks and became Houstons very own Norman Bates.
Houston police never made an arrest, nor did they find the trail of the narcissistic killer. It wasnt for the lack of trying, though. James Paulk, a dedicated detective, took the case personally. This is the story the public never knew, the press didnt piece together, and Houstons movers and shakers prayed would be buried forever. Beyond the black and white of the criminal investigation files, this is the account of a hidden motive, parents who werent what they seemed, and a son that was far from being a recluse. Police corruption, gambling, narcotics, gun-running, and federal probes blend in a stew that is the saga of a Texas family, an ambitious police captain, a perfect crime, and a city with a dark side.
True Crime Tales
An investigator examining the icebox where the bodies were found. The home itself was eventually torn down, and the site is now occupied by condos. Image: rgd6-n On June 23, , after receiving a call for a welfare check on Fred and Edwina Rogers, two Houston police officers knocked on the front door of their Montrose home before kicking it in. Inside, one opened the fridge and discovered what he thought were stacks upon stacks of hog meat. That, unfortunately, was far from the grisly reality.
In the midth century, the old and unmechanical version of the refrigerator, the icebox, used blocks of ice to keep food cold. On June , in Houston, a refrigerator, the much more advanced version of an icebox, was used to store the limbs, torsos, and heads of Fred and Edwina Rogers. When the police arrived at the house it looked neat. No one answered the door, therefore the police decided to let themselves in. A police officer checked the refrigerator, supposedly to find a cold beer for the hot day.
On June 23, , Marvin Martin called Houston police to request a welfare check on his aunt and uncle, Fred and Edwina Rogers, with whom he had been unable to get in touch for several days. When officers forced their way into the Montrose home, they found it empty. Noticing food left out in the kitchen, patrolman C. Bullock opened the refrigerator, where he discovered the dismembered bodies of the elderly couple. The Rogers' adult son, Charles, who lived in the house, immediately became a person of interest in the investigation.
Rogers and his wife, Edwina Harmon Rogers. On June 23, , Houston patrolmen paid a standard visit to the house of an elderly couple, Fred and Edwina Rogers. To their surprise, they found the house empty and were probably on their way out when one of them decided to check the fridge. Charles Bullock, one of the patrolmen present that day, recalled the scene:. My partner standing next to me made the comment that it looked like somebody had butchered a hog.