Who Killed Carol Rovstad?
It’s one of the many unanswered questions surrounding the 1975 Illinois State University student’s death — and it’s also the name of a new Facebook group that current ISU seniors are using to rekindle awareness of the nearly 50-year-old death. Cold case interest.
Nicole Roach, a senior psychology major, plans to pursue a master’s degree in forensic genetic genealogy — which Roach believes also happens to be the key to solving the Rofstad murders.
“I transferred to ISU my sophomore year in 2019 while I was researching ISU … I saw Carroll’s case on the Illinois State Police website,” Roach said. “I saw this and thought, ‘I’ve never heard of this before.’ I have friends who go to ISU, my parents go to — how come I haven’t heard of this?”
Roach said she continued to dig for more information, subscribing to Newspapers.com to find media coverage of the case, and then requesting case files from regular police departments through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“A lot of suspects just take a polygraph test, and if they pass, they’re let go,” she said. “So when I saw this, I thought, ‘Well, there must be a way to fix this.’
Roach said she would like to see updated DNA testing of the potential murder weapon found near Carol Rovstad’s body. Rofstad, last seen on the way home in December. From what is now The Garlic Press to her fraternity house in South Fell on December 22, 1975, was found around noon on December 12. 23. Rofstad was reported unconscious and severely beaten; nearby was an 18-inch railway sleeper covered in blood. Rovstad died a day later on Christmas Eve.
Railroad ties are evidence Roach might want to see retested.
Case files, she said, show that “in the early 2000s, rank-and-file police officers sent evidence — I’m not quite sure what — to the FBI for analysis.”
“The results of these tests were never released publicly and are not in the case file,” she added. “Twenty years have passed since the test; the technology to extract DNA and degrade DNA — all these things have flourished even in the past five years, and the technology is much better than before.”
A spokesman for the General Police Service said the agency does not normally disclose information on ongoing or pending cases, nor would it comment on the development of the Rofstad case, if at all.
Meanwhile, while she waits for a response, an answer — anything from the authorities — Roach manages the “Who Killed Carol Rovstad” Facebook page, on which she tries to Share what she has learned with others.
“There wasn’t a lot of actual information out there—a lot of the information I got was from newspaper articles that I had to subscribe to (or FOIA requests), so it wasn’t easy to get,” she said. “I really wanted to put the story together, get information that wasn’t available online, give it to people in its entirety, and say, ‘These are the facts. What can we do to help?'”
In the true crime community these days, there’s a thin line between helping and hurting; Roach says she’s walking that path by bringing Carol Rofstad into focus, rather than focusing on potential suspects people and their stories.
Roach said Rofstadt’s sister, Laura Kuhn, had approved the work, in part to keep Carroll’s memory alive and perhaps through new knowledge of the facts of the case. Eyes to find justice.
“Our family continues to be devastated by Carroll’s death,” Coon said in a statement. “Our parents have died without getting any closure. The person responsible may still be alive, And someone somewhere didn’t pay for the murder of an ISU student who was a wonderful daughter, sister and friend to many. We’re still looking for any information that might help this crime.”
We count on your support to continue telling stories like this. Together with NPR donors across the country, you create a more informed public. In fact, one story after another. Please take a moment to donate now to fund the local journalism our community needs. Your support really matters.
window.fbAsyncInit = function() FB.init(
appId : '1763132750501806',
xfbml : true, version : 'v2.9' ); ;
(function(d, s, id)
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s);
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = "https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js";
(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));