HOUSTON — When an elderly Houston couple wasn't heard from, family members began to worry. And, as it would turn out… with good reason.
Fred and Edwina Rogers’s family enlisted the help of Houston Police to check out the couple’s Montrose neighborhood home.
When officers arrived, the front door was locked, the windows were closed up tight and there was no answer from anyone inside. Police went around back and found an unlocked door. Inside, nothing seemed out of place.
It was a hot summer day in Houston, June 20, 1965—just a few days after Father’s Day, and after their exhaustive search, Houston Police Capt. Charles Bullock decided to pop open the fridge for a cold beer. That’s when he discovered a grisly scene that will haunt him and his city for the next 50 years.
"As he's closing the door, he looks down in the vegetable crisper and there's Edwina starring back at him," said true crime author Hugh Gardenier.
The 81-year-old husband and his 72-year-old wife were found cut up and placed inside the refrigerator—mistaken for packages of freshly butchered slabs of meat.
The news of the murders shook the entire city.
"This was such a bad, bad case. People were scared all over Houston," Gardenier said.
True Crime Chronicles, a weekly true-crime podcast, is bringing listeners the gruesome story of the “Icebox Murders.”
Hosts Will Johnson and Jessica Noll spoke to KHOU’s Grace White about her coverage of the case. This week’s episode also features true crime authors Hugh and Martha Gardenier, discussing their years-long investigation into “The Icebox Murders” for their book of the same name.
"It's become somewhat of the urban folklore,” Hugh said.
The episode will dive into who police believed was responsible for their deaths and his motive.
After police found the couple, their 43-year-old son who lived with them, Charles Frederick Rogers, was nowhere to be found. Police never had the chance to talk to the Navy pilot-turned-geophysicist. And now, they never will.
Charles Frederick Rogers was declared dead just 10 years after his parents were found slaughtered in their shared home, after it is believed that he was murdered in Honduras in a business deal gone wrong.
During their investigation, police would uncover family secrets that would go back decades.
But no one would ever be arrested for their murders.
"It was a perfect crime. He got away," Hugh said.
True Crime Chronicles is a weekly true-crime podcast from VAULT Studios and TEGNA, hosted by Will Johnson and Jessica Noll, that takes a look at a new case each week. They take a fresh look and deep dive into a case that one of our TEGNA stations has covered and bring a new perspective, updates and interviews with family, police, the accused and the reporter who covered the story.