A widow is terrorized by the extortionist who murdered her husband.
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.
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.
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:
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.:
According to D.J. Dean, her husband was not capable of what the police had accused him of:
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:
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:
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.