A widow is terrorized by the extortionist who murdered her husband.

Roger Dean in a polo shirt wearing glasses

Roger Dean

Roger ties up his wife with a rope as a gunman in a ski mask points his firearm at him

The gunman forced Roger to tie up his wife


November 21, 1985, was an ordinary Wednesday morning in the Littleton, Colorado, neighborhood of Roger and D.J. Dean… Except for the strange car parked on the street. Some remembered it as a ’68 Pontiac, others a ’76 Oldsmobile. But everyone agreed the man inside was a stranger. At the time, they thought nothing of it. Because at the time, Roger Dean was still alive.

Gunman in a ski mask holding roger by his arm as he points his gun at him

The gunman threatened Roger

Roger called his wife into the bedroom around 7:00 that morning. Standing next to her husband was a gun-wielding, masked intruder. He forced Roger to tie and blindfold his wife. Then he took Roger into another room. As D.J. lay helplessly on her bed, she could hear Roger and the gunman talking, but she couldn’t tell what they were saying. D.J. heard the gunman rifling through drawers. Then gun fire erupted.

As Roger tried to flee the house, the intruder shot him five times at point blank range. Roger Dean died before help could arrive.

The gunman stands at the top of a staircase, shooting the banister right next to Roger

The first shot ricocheted off the banister

From the beginning, several aspects of the case puzzled investigators. Roger had twine marks on only one wrist, so it appeared that he had never actually been tied up by the gunman. Also, Roger was wearing contact lenses when he was shot. Yet, strangely, in an upstairs bedroom, his glasses were found covered with duct tape.

Sgt. Anthony Spurlock of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department believed that both the twine and glasses were red herrings, planted to give the impression that Roger had been blindfolded and bound:

“We believe that Roger hired an individual to come over to basically kidnap him, take him to his bank, withdraw $30,000 from their account, and then obviously drop Roger off someplace so Roger could report a robbery and he would have that $30,000 to himself.

During the investigation, police also learned that Roger had taken nearly $30,000 from his business and put it in a secret account.

On most weekdays, Roger left home before 6:15a.m. On the day of his murder, Sgt. Spurlock learned, Roger was seen drinking coffee in his garage at 7 a.m.:

“What we make of that timing is that he was waiting for this individual to come and meet him at his house. We also believe that the individual was probably sitting in his car when Roger lifted the garage door, which was the signal for this individual to get out of his car and walk over to Roger’s home.”

According to D.J. Dean, her husband was not capable of what the police had accused him of:

“In my heart, I cannot believe that Roger had anything to do with this. This is the man I was married to for 26 years. And, yes, there had been personal problems in the last years, especially since the death of our son. But I knew the man too well.”

The gunman in skimask shooting his revolver

The gunman shot Roger five times

After Roger’s murder, D.J. and her daughter, Tammy, tried to move on with their lives. Five years later, on July 21, 1990, they received an anonymous letter. Its author claimed to be the man who killed Roger Dean. The letter demanded $100,000. If the money wasn’t delivered, he threatened to kill again. The letter read, in part:

Do you know that I have met your daughter, Tammy, on a few occasions? Do not make me kill her! Your son is dead, your husband is dead. Do not risk your daughter. She is the last one left.

The gunman with a payphone up to his ear

The gunman repeatedly called Roger’s wife

The authorities were convinced that the letter was legitimate and that it was written by Roger’s killer. He wrote that he would call her six days later on July 27.

D.J. and Tammy were given round-the-clock protection. FBI agents moved into the house and set up a wiretap. When the man called as promised, he told D.J. that Roger owed him money and that he wanted to be paid back. D.J. agreed to pay him the $100,000. The FBI traced the call to a phone booth in Denver, but by the time they got there the caller was gone.

Roger’s killer called 12 more times. And then he told D.J. to drive to a supermarket 20 miles north of her home and wait for further instructions. D.J. tried to trap the caller with the help of an FBI agent hidden in her car. Surveillance trucks and a S.W.A.T. team were nearby.

The extortionist finally called and told D.J. to leave the $100,000 in an alley behind an apartment complex in downtown Denver. Later that evening, August 19, 1990, the FBI watched as D.J. made the drop. They waited until dawn, but no one showed up.

Special Agent Bob Pence of the Denver FBI:

“Whether or not he spotted something, whether or not he just took for granted that the law enforcement was involved, or whether or not he got cold feet. And although he didn’t detect any type of law enforcement, he just was too scared to actually make the pick-up. I think all of those are possibilities.”

In his last call, the extortionist told Tammy he planned to kill her. He said he would strike when she least expected it.

Authorities know only that the suspect is white, about six feet tall, and uses an extensive vocabulary. Interestingly, they feel that the extortion letters were written by a man and a woman, working in conjunction.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season two with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Shanese

    Saddened to learn D.J (Doris Jean ) has passed away 3 years ago 2020. But the murderer has been caught.


  2. Anonymous

    Even though a person has been arrested. I still think the daughter has more information than what she appears. The person described her like he knew her. But she never recognized him when he called. Plus the unknown evidence of a female accomplice brings that curiosity because of how her father knew the suspect. Also I wonder if the FBI agent is related to the former Vice President. (That also stood out to me.)


  3. Ali Houssney

    An African American man named Michael Jefferson was arrested in April of last year and was charged with Roger Dean’s murder, even though during the Unsolved Mysteries segment it appeared the gunman was white. Sorry to bring up race but I am telling the truth. They said DNA linked this Michael Jefferson guy to the crime. It took a little over 35 years but it is amazing how DNA and technology have advanced. I think he is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years.


  4. AVM

    HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — A 64-year-old man has been arrested in the killing of a Lone Tree man in 1985, authorities announced Friday.
    Michael Jefferson faces charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and kidnapping in the death of Roger Dean, who was 51 when he died on Nov. 21, 1985.


  5. Emilie McPhail

    They arrested/charged somebody today


  6. Maricica S

    They can solve it from the online geneology sites with familial DNA.


  7. Curious

    Have there been any updates on this case? After being on UM did the family still receive calls?


  8. AH

    I read an article from the Denver Post that they have the killer’s DNA from the mask he left, and I believe they said fingerprints as well.

    That was back in 2010. They’re still waiting for matches to come through the data base. It’s only a matter of time until they solve this.


  9. Rose ANDREWS



  10. Anonymous

    I hope you find the people soon can find pice.


leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.