The Bodies In The Ice Box | Charles Frederick Rogers

(Investigator posing with the fridge where Fred and Edwina's remains were found. Picture credit: houstoniamag)

When it comes to unsolved cases, this is one of those stories that has so many theories around it that it's hard to tell what is exactly fact and what is fiction. I have a long list of cases that I will be covering in future posts and this story just happened to be on the list so this week I wanted to go for a case which left a lot of questions behind it. 
You'll see as the story goes on, its quite obvious who the murderer was but the circumstances were not that simple so let's get into it....

In 1965 an elderly couple by the name of Fred and Edwina Rogers were living with their son Charles, at a house he owned in an area called Montrose in Houston, Texas. Charles was unemployed and in his 40s and the relationship between himself and his parents had always been rocky. Fred and Edwina had been together for 50 years and they also had a daughter, Betty who had sadly passed away years before. 

To anyone looking in, Fred and Edwina were just a quiet, ordinary couple but behind closed doors they were said to have abused Charles both physically and psychologically and this had been going on since he was a child. The couple would also commit acts of fraud and often used Charles name to open various accounts without his knowledge, eventually he would find out about the scams and he'd have to pay back the money that was owed. There's no record of him ever reporting his parents to the authorities for this but it did further deepen the resentment he had towards them. 

(Fred and Edwina Rogers. Picture credit: houstoniamag)

Charles would communicate with his parents through notes that would be pushed under his bedroom door. Charles was never seen by the neighbours, they assumed that Fred and Edwina lived alone in the house this was because Charles would often leave the house early in the morning and return at night. Some believe he communicated to his parents with notes because either it was due to him leaving the house so early in the morning whilst they were asleep or that he just simply didn't want to talk to them. 

As I mentioned before, Charles was single, in his 40s, unemployed and lived with his parents but before this he had quite an interesting background. He was a very intelligent man who had friends in high places and gained a Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear physics and he had a very keen interest in amateur radio. He could speak several different languages and had spells as a pilot in the US Navy as well as serving in the Office of Naval Intelligence. 

He worked as a very successful seismologist for Shell Oil and had a natural talent for finding oil, gas and gold, making the companies that he worked for quite a lot of money. He was a very sought after individual, everyone wanted Charles to come and work for them and he was making quite a lot of money. To anyone looking in, Charles seemed to have it all having such a successful career and steady, decent income. The only thing that seemed to be missing in Charles life was a long term relationship. He was a handsome man but for some reason the romantic relationships only ever lasted short term. 

(Charles Frederick Rogers. Picture credit: medium)

In 1957 Charles made a shocking decision out of the blue, he decided that after 9 years working for Shell Oil that he was going to just quit, just like that! No explanation, no warning, just quit his job, walked away from an amazing salary and his friends and colleagues were dumbfounded and couldn't figure out why as he had always enjoyed his work.

So from 1957 to 1965 he was living with his parents and what nobody knew was that Charles had endured years of abuse from both his mother and his father. The abuse from his father was also said to have been sexual. On the 20th of June 1965, Charles finally snapped, June the 20th was Father's Day and instead of just packing his bags and leaving, he decided to murder his parents. This case is often put down as ''unsolved'' or ''Charles is the number one suspect but we can't be 100% sure'' but I think it's pretty obvious what happened if you follow the details of the case. 

Before I continue, you may want to skip over this part as it is quite gruesome. 

Fred was attacked with a claw hammer, his eyes had been gouged out and his penis had been removed. Edwina had been brutally beaten and shot in the head. As if this horrific murder of two elderly people was not enough, the bodies were then taken upstairs to the bathroom where they were dismembered. Some of their remains were put in the fridge (their heads were placed in the vegetable compartment) and the rest were cut up and flushed down the toilet. 

All of this must have taken some time and all in the same house which further adds to the belief that Charles had committed these horrific murders. The killer knew their way around the house and the anger in which the murders were carried out. To gouge out the eyes and remove the penis of one victim? Some people believe that Charles had done this as an act of revenge for the alleged years of sexual abuse at the hands of his father and for the murders to have taken place on Father's day too, it all seemed so personal.

On the 23rd of June the police went to the house after a concerned relative contacted them after they hadn't been able to get through to Fred and Edwina on the phone for a couple of days. After receiving no response to their knocks on the door, the police forced their way into the home. Someone had stacked plant pots up against the door in what looked like an attempt to add some weight against the door so nobody could get in. 

The house was quiet, there was no noise, no response to the police. The house looked clean, nothing looked out of place but they did notice a plate of food on the kitchen counter that didn't look stale which gave them the impression that someone must have been there recently. 

One of the officers decided on a whim to look in the fridge where he saw what looked like pieces of dead hog meat all stacked up on top of each other, it had no packaging on it, he was just about to close the fridge door when he spotted what looked like human heads in the vegetable compartment.

Just like in the Dennis Nielsen case (who I'm sure you have probably thought of as you've been reading these last few lines) the drains outside were starting to back up. The police removed the remains from the fridge and the drains. Charles was still nowhere to be seen and no note was left behind, he simply vanished. There was a little blood that was found leading to his bedroom and a keyhole chainsaw with blood on it. 

Back in the 60s they didn't have the technology and DNA science that we have today so the police did the best they could with what they had. No trace of Charles was ever found, appeals were made but they came to nothing. 10 years after his death he was declared dead so his estate could be probated.

(Newspaper article about the case. Picture credit: Unknown newspaper source) 

So what happened to Charles?

This is where the number of theories come in. I'll let you come to your own conclusion...

There was a book released in 1992 called 'The Man on The Grassy Knoll', written by two men named John R. Craig and Phillip A Rogers (no relation) and in their book and investigation into Charles, they concluded that Charles was a CIA agent who had been one of the two shooters involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy before fleeing to Guatemala. They concluded that Charles murdered his parents because his mother had been monitoring his phonecalls and catching onto his plans. 

A couple who had been following the case for years and did their own research into Charles (Hugh and Martha Gardenier, they also wrote a book about the case 'The Ice Box Murders'.) claimed that Charles did indeed murder his parents after years of abuse and fled to Mexico with the help of some powerful, wealthy friends. They also claimed that Charles had been murdered himself in Honduras over a financial matter. They rejected the theory that Charles was a CIA agent but they did say that he came into contact with some contracted CIA workers during his time at Shell Oil. 

There's the theory that someone came into the house and murdered Charles along with his parents and the police just haven't been able to find the body.

Another theory is that he murdered his parents and then went somewhere where he couldn't be found and then took his own life,

What do I think happened? Well, I think he did murder his parents and then fled. He made a lot of money in the 9 years that he worked for Shell Oil, enough money to have bought his own house which himself and his parents were living in. He was a single guy with no children so maybe he had saved a lot of money, took off and started a new life. I do believe that he had powerful connections, oil is a very sought after thing and I can imagine he was in the company of various types of people, people who had money, people who had power. As for the connection to the John F. Kennedy assassination, I'd have to look into that more as that is another case that has thousands of theories surrounding it.

Will they ever find out what happened to Charles? Like I mentioned before, this was the 1960s, times were different, it was a lot easier for people to take off to somewhere and start a new life. Everything was done on paper back then, no internet, no mobile phones, no forensic science techniques. 

If charles is alive today and that's a big IF, he'd be 99 years old so even if the case was solved and he was found, there's really not anything that could be done. 

I guess it's just one of those cases that will forever remain with theories and rumours about what became of Charles Frederick Rogers.

Let me know what you think.

RIP Edwina, Fred and John F. Kennedy.

Thanks for checking out my lastest case, see you in the next one  x

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1 comment:

  1. 😻😻😻 This was AWESOME!!! Literally hooked on every word! This case truly is one of the more bizarre cases, especially with the JFK connection that really raises eyebrows! The 60's were a much different time where people could change identities rather easily and quickly with right connections. Even in the 80's it was still possible. This was really awesome and I loved it! ❤❤❤