Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Name: Roy Odes Caffey
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Orangeburg, South Carolina
Date: October 8, 1972


Details: Fifty-six-year-old Patrolman First Class Roy Caffey worked for the South Carolina Highway Patrol for twenty-five years. He and his wife, Mildred, lived in Orangeburg, South Carolina, with their fifteen-year-old son, Robert. Roy loved the outdoors, particularly hunting and fishing. He was well respected and liked in the community. Robert says that Roy was a great man with strong values.
At 11:20pm on October 8, 1972, Roy was found lying on the ground next to his patrol car along a remote stretch of Interstate 26, about a mile east of the Highway 601-I26 interchange near Orangeburg. The driver’s door was open. He had been beaten and shot six times – twice in the face, three times in the neck, and once in the thigh. The passerby who found Roy used the patrol car’s radio to call for help. Sadly, Roy died at Orangeburg Regional Hospital without regaining consciousness.
Roy’s murder was a long ago, seemingly senseless crime. But it is not a forgotten crime. Robert says that when Roy was killed, he felt a great void in his life. He felt like someone had reached inside him and taken something away from him that should not have been taken away. Robert says that Roy was not just a highway patrolman. He was also his father. And that is why he wants to find out who killed him. For over twenty years, Robert has waged a personal crusade to keep Roy’s case open and ensure that those responsible for his father’s death will one day be brought to justice.
October 8, 1972 was a relatively uneventful day for Roy. He left home at 7pm and headed to work. At around 10pm, he made a routine delivery of blood to Orangeburg Regional Hospital. Later that evening, he radioed his dispatcher and said he would meet his relief officer at the intersection of Highway 301 and Interstate 26, just north of Orangeburg. However, he never arrived there.
Shortly after 11pm, with less than half an hour to go on his shift, Roy pulled over a car along Interstate 26, about a mile east of the Highway 601-I26 interchange. They pulled into the emergency lane on the eastbound side of the interstate. Hugh Munn, the spokesperson for the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, says it was probably a routine traffic stop. He believes that Roy had no reason to fear the person(s) that he had stopped, either because he knew them or because he planned just to give them a traffic ticket and let them go.
But this would be no routine traffic stop. At least three witnesses told the police that they had seen Roy stop a late-model Mustang, either red, rust, or maroon in color, in the general area where he was later found. One eyewitness, twenty-two-year-old John Stokes, was on his way to his parents’ house after an evening out with friends. He is now a county deputy sheriff.
John remembers seeing a patrol car with its lights flashing on the side of the road. As he got closer, he recognized it as Roy’s. He also saw two white men standing next to Roy in front of the patrol car. The men were facing the hood of the patrol car. John also noticed a white passenger sitting in the rear passenger side of the Mustang.
A short time later, at around 11:15pm, another eyewitness drove by the scene and noticed that Roy had ushered three “hippie-type” individuals into his patrol car. Munn says that if Roy placed someone in the front seat of the patrol car, it means that he most likely knew that person well. Investigators believe that the people in the Mustang had great reason not to get caught or arrested. It has been theorized that they may have had drugs in their car or had just committed an armed robbery.
It is believed that after the occupants of the Mustang entered the patrol car, a fight broke out. The fight likely started in the car itself, as the car’s dome light and bulb were broken, and Roy’s hat was crushed. Roy was struck several times in the head and shoulders. He was then shot four or five times with his own .38-caliber pistol and once with a .22-caliber weapon. The killers then fled the scene with Roy’s gun and holster.
Several witnesses reported passing by either before or after the shooting. However, no witnesses have come forward to report witnessing the shooting itself. As a result, investigators do not know who was actually responsible for the shooting.
That night, a patrolman came to the Caffey home and told Robert and Mildred that Roy had been hurt. They immediately rushed to the hospital. When the doctor told Mildred that Roy had died, she asked what kind of car accident he had been in. The doctor then informed her that he had actually been shot.
Mildred never dreamed that Roy would be shot and killed. His family thought he was too careful of a highway patrolman and too protective of himself. Robert says he never dreamed that something like that would have happened to Roy.
Roadblocks were set up shortly after Roy’s murder. However, no trace of his killers was ever found. Authorities followed up on dozens of leads and interviewed several possible suspects, but no arrests were ever made.
Three years later, in 1975, Mildred died of a heart attack without ever learning who had murdered her husband. Robert says that Mildred died as a direct result of Roy’s death. He believes that she died of a broken heart because she did not have anything physically wrong with her. He says she worried herself to death, believing that the killers would never be caught. However, he thinks that they will be caught someday.
Robert has worked tirelessly to keep the case open. Each year, he speaks with local newspapers about it. He has also written to the governor, state lawmakers, and the head of the State Law Enforcement Division.
Today, Robert is a bank vice president and is married with two children of his own. He is determined that through them, the memory of Roy will remain alive. He often brings them to visit Roy’s grave and talks to them about Roy. He feels that he has been cheated out of his youth. If someone says to him, “It’s in the past; you have to move on,” he feels they have not experienced what he has experienced.
Robert notes that someone out there took Roy’s life, and they are walking around living their lives while Roy is gone. He says that someday they will have to “meet their maker” and face up to the fact that they killed someone.
Suspects: The suspects' vehicle has been described as a late-model Ford Mustang, either red, rust, or maroon in color. The suspects are believed to be two white males, accompanied by another white male or female. One witness described them as “hippie-type.”
Investigators have theorized that Roy’s killers attacked and killed him because they did not want to be arrested for illegal activities that they had been involved in. Investigators speculated that there may have been drugs in the killers’ vehicle or that they may have been involved in an armed robbery that night.
Investigators also theorized that Roy may have known at least one of his killers. His wife, Mildred, also believed this, noting that he left his patrol car without notifying his dispatcher.
Shortly after the murder, the police learned that two soldiers had been reported AWOL from Ft. Gordon, Georgia. The soldiers were driving a maroon Mustang, and one was reportedly heard saying that he wanted to “get revenge on all policemen.” They were later arrested in Louisiana. However, they were eventually ruled out as suspects.
A few weeks after the murder, two men were arrested in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, with official South Carolina accident reporting forms in their possession. Investigators thought the men may have stolen them from Roy’s patrol car. However, it turned out that the men had stolen them during a burglary at a South Carolina automobile agency.
In 1975, an inmate in a Georgia prison confessed that he and two others had killed Roy. However, investigators later determined that the inmate was not involved.
Robert heard from a source that Roy had said he was going to make a large drug bust that night and that everyone would be surprised over who it would be. However, no evidence has been found to support this information.
In 1992, after Robert did a newspaper interview about Roy’s murder, a woman called him and said she knew some of the people who were involved. However, she also said she did not want to get “further involved.” It is not known if she was ever heard from again after that.
There were unsubstantiated rumors that the Mustang used in the murder was buried by two brothers who had access to heavy machinery. The gun and holster may have been put in a small pond on the same land where the Mustang was buried. According to the rumors, the Mustang belonged to a woman, and the brothers borrowed it for a drug purchase. The brothers were known to be violent and were reportedly considered persons of interest at the beginning of the investigation.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the December 9, 1994 episode.
  • It was submitted to the show by Robert Caffey and Boykin Rose, head of the S.C. Department of Public Safety.
  • It was excluded from the FilmRise release of the Robert Stack episodes.
  • It was also profiled on "Crimestoppers."
  • At the time of the broadcast, Roy’s case was the only unsolved slaying of a law enforcement officer in the state of South Carolina.
  • In December 1993, the Highway Patrol dedicated their Orangeburg District Highway Patrol Office in Roy’s honor.
  • Some sources state Roy was found just before midnight.
  • He is not to be confused with football player Lee Roy Caffey.
Betsy kemmerlin

Betsy Kemmerlin

Results: Solved - On February 14, 1997, authorities arrested forty-one-year-old Betsy Rourk Kemmerlin of Santee, South Carolina, and charged her with Roy’s murder. She was sixteen years old when the crime took place. She had been considered a potential suspect and was questioned and polygraphed by the police early in the investigation. She was also interviewed several times in late 1995.
Betsy had previous convictions for obtaining goods under false pretenses, being an accessory before the fact to burglary and grand larceny, and tampering with a video poker machine. She had also previously been arrested for forgery and disorderly contact.
While police initially suspected Betsy of being involved, additional tips from “Unsolved Mysteries” viewers helped to support their case. She had reportedly bragged to several people at a bar about her involvement in Roy’s murder. After her arrest, she told investigators that two others were involved: her brother, Benjamin Douglas “Ben” Kemmerlin, and a friend, Durham Lee Mizzell. Ben was twenty at the time of the murder, and Lee was twenty-eight.
Both men died prior to Betsy’s arrest. Ben was struck and killed by a vehicle while his own car was stopped alongside Interstate 95 near Santee on August 28, 1981. He was twenty-nine. Lee was shot and killed by his son-in-law during a domestic dispute at his house on March 2, 1984. He was forty.
Betsy told investigators that on the night of Roy’s murder, she went with Ben and Lee while they sold marijuana at clubs. She said they smoked a lot of marijuana, and she was “groggy and tired” when they left Orangeburg and headed down Interstate 26. She remembered Ben and Lee getting out of the car after they were pulled over. She heard an argument, and then Ben and Lee returned to the car.
Betsy told investigators she realized something was wrong when she heard Ben and Lee whispering, and one of them said, “We’re in trouble now.” The next day, Ben came to her crying and said, “We did something bad.” When she asked what he meant, he told her to “look at the paper.” After reading the newspaper, she realized he was talking about Roy’s murder. She said that Lee also admitted to being involved in the murder and threatened to kill her if she talked to the police about it.
Investigators checked Ben and Lee’s backgrounds extensively, stating that both were “fully capable of doing something of this nature.” They learned that Lee shot and killed his first wife, allegedly while cleaning his gun. The death was ruled accidental, but investigators now believe it was “suspicious.” Along with Betsy, Ben was also considered a suspect in Roy’s murder early in the investigation.
Betsy also told investigators that Ben and Lee placed the guns used in the murder in a jewelry box and buried it near the Santee Indian Mound in Clarendon County. She had marked a nearby tree to show where it was buried. However, the tree had apparently been removed since then. Investigators searched but were unable to find the guns. Betsy had used two vehicles at the time of the murder that matched the one seen that night. Investigators searched property owned by her mother for the vehicles. However, nothing was found.
Betsy was initially allowed to await trial under house arrest. However, in April 1997, she tried to acquire a .22-caliber pistol and was arrested for public drunkenness. As a result, she was returned to jail to await trial.
On February 8, 1999, Betsy pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to Roy’s murder. She was given a ten-year suspended prison sentence and five years' probation. She was also ordered to undergo alcohol and drug abuse treatment. Prosecutors agreed to the plea deal since there was no physical evidence and several witnesses had died. They also said the lack of cooperation and organization between law enforcement agencies prevented the case from being solved sooner.
In 2000, Betsy was arrested for violating her probation. She had tested positive for drugs, failed to complete drug treatment, failed to report to her parole officer, and was behind in the payment of fines and fees. She was then sent to a state prison. On December 26, 2001, she was released again. On June 14, 2009, she died at the age of fifty-three.
In October 2012, Hugh Munn, who had helped investigate many of the leads in this case, passed away at the age of seventy. In November 2014, state and local officials dedicated two Interstate 26 rest areas as “SCHP Patrolman First Class Roy O. Caffey Memorial Rest Stops” in honor of Roy.