Real Name: Roger Marlin Dean
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Date: November 21, 1985
Details: On the morning of November 21, 1985, a masked gun-wielding intruder broke into the Littleton, Colorado home of fifty-one-year-old Roger Dean and his wife, Doris Jean "D.J.". At around 7am, he called her out of the bathroom and she came face-to-face with the intruder. He forced him to tie up and blindfold D.J.. He then took him to another room where they talked to each other. Unfortunately, D.J. could not hear what they were saying.
A few minutes later, the intruder returned, demanding to know how much money D.J. had in her savings account. He then looked through several drawers and left the room after hearing a noise. Roger told him that he had $30,000 in the bank. They left to go there. As they were leaving, however, the intruder fired once at Roger, striking a banister. As he went to flee from him, he was shot multiple times at point blank range. He still tried to run from him; however, he collapsed on the driveway and died. The killer fled the scene in his car, leaving the mask behind.
From the start, investigators were struck by several oddities surrounding this case. Roger had twine fiber embedded in only one wrist, meaning that he had never been tied up by the killer. Also, he was wearing contact lenses when he was shot. In an upstairs bedroom, police found his glasses with duct tape attached, giving the appearance that he was blindfolded.
Investigators believe that Roger hired an individual to come over to his house, abduct him, take him to the bank, withdraw $30,000 from his account, and leave him somewhere with it to himself. Investigators learned that in the year prior to his death, he had taken nearly $30,000 from his business and deposited it in a private account, without D.J.'s knowledge.
The investigators also learned from neighbors that Roger was seen in his garage at 7am on the morning of his murder. This was odd because, on weekdays, he normally left home around 6:15am. This led the investigators to believe that he was waiting for the killer to arrive, and that the opening of the garage door was a signal for him.
Roger's family, however, could not believe that he was involved in his own death. They tried to move on with their lives. Then, five years later, on July 21, 1990, D.J. received a threatening letter from someone claiming to be his killer. The writer demanded $100,000 from her. He claimed that if he did not receive it he would kill her daughter, Tammy.
D.J. and Tammy notified the police and the FBI. They believed that the writer was the killer, so they put them under protection and surveillance. On July 27, 1990, the extortionist called as planned, demanding money that Roger owed him. The FBI traced the call to a phone booth in nearby Denver. However, he was gone by the time police arrived.
After nearly a dozen phone calls, the extortionist told D.J. to go to a supermarket twenty miles north of her house and wait for further instructions. With an FBI agent hidden in her car, and surveillance vans nearby, she attempted to lure the extortionist into a trap. After a few minutes, a phone call came in at the pay phone. The extortionist gave her instructions on where to drop the money. He told her to leave $100,000 in an alley behind an apartment complex in downtown Denver.
At 10pm on August 19, 1990, D.J. left the money at the spot. He later called Tammy at their house, claiming that they did not follow his instructions. He also said that he would hurt her because of it. The money was never picked up and the extortionist never contacted the Deans again.
The Deans still hope that the killer can be found.
Suspects: The killer is described as a male, approximately 6'0". He was between twenty and forty years of age in 1985. His car was believed to be a '68 Pontiac or a '78 Oldsmobile. He is believed to have an extensive vocabulary. Although some witnesses described the killer as white, at least one described him as black.
Investigators have noted that they have both DNA and a partial fingerprint belonging to the killer. However, they have yet to receive any matches.
Investigators are not certain if the killer and the extortionist are the same person. They believe that the letters were written by a man and a woman working together. However, Tammy has stated that she believes the writer was connected to the killer because the letters contained details that only the killer knew.
Investigators have noted that they have several suspects, including the son of Roger's secretary, whom he allegedly had an affair with prior to his murder. He matched the description of the killer and was angry with him over the affair. Police stated that they have not ruled him or his mother out as suspects.
Another theory police have investigated is the possibility that the killer knew about Roger's embezzlement from his company and planned to blackmail him.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 6, 1991 episode.
In an unusual move, it was inexplicably categorized by the show as "The Unexplained" instead of the more logical "Unexplained Death".
Results: Solved. Fortunately, the extortionist never carried out his threats against D.J. and Tammy. According to some sources, investigators no longer believe that the extortionist and the killer were the same person, as he got several of the facts wrong when contacting the Deans.
In April 2021, sixty-four-year-old Michael Jefferson was arrested and charged with Roger's murder and attempted kidnapping. Investigators used genetic genealogy to match DNA from the ski mask found at the crime scene to Jefferson. It was determined that he had been living in Colorado at the time of the murder and had a criminal history in Denver. An investigator who heard his voice also noted that it sounded the same as the extortionist (who had sent the Deans cassette tapes with his voice on it). On April 6, Jefferson was extradited from Los Angeles to Colorado to face prosecution. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence.
Sadly, D.J. passed away in 2020 at the age of eighty-four.
- Roger Dean on Unsolved.com
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