On the night of December 22, 1975, Carol Rofstad waved goodbye to her best friend and headed back to the Delta Zeta sorority house on the campus of Illinois State University. Just steps away from her college home, she was beaten over the head and left for dead. Carol lay in the cold for as long as 12 hours before someone heard faint moaning the next morning and found her. Emergency surgery and 1975 - era life support was not enough.
Carol Ann Rofstad died on Christmas eve.
She was just 21.
Few ISU students know this story. There is no plaque or memorial tree planted on the quad. The University has never publicly acknowledged Carol's death. Her name has remained on a crime blotter, but otherwise slipped into obscurity. The murder remains unsolved.
Carol's Last Christmas, our 2 year investigation, uncovers countless mistakes, missteps, missed opportunities and what some might call malpractice on the part of local law enforcement.
But despite it all, there is still time to find justice for Carol, her family and friends. A prime suspect in this case is still alive. He has never been interrogated, let alone arrested.
We hope you'll listen to Carol's Last Christmas.
And share it with others who care.
Perhaps together we can "shake the trees" and the system to solve this cold case.
What are the odds that the same young college student could be attacked twice on the same campus, at essentially the same location?
In this opening episode, Mr. Green Jeans, we meet Carol Rofstad, an ambitious, confident and hard -working college junior…newly pledged to Delta Zeta sorority. Friends and family recall a frightening experience in the summer of 1974 that may have set the stage for Carol’s eventual murder
There may be no one (outside of Carol’s family) more dedicated to a solution than George Seibel. The retired Chicago cop has solved hundreds of murders, created college courses on cold case solutions and literally “wrote the book” on interrogation techniques. He’s got advanced academic degrees but he’ll tell you he’s a graduate of the University of Blood and Guts. In episode2, Cold Case Heat, George reveals some of the street smarts that make him an extraordinary investigator.
For decades, the lodestar in the Rofstad investigation was a remarkably detailed sketch of 2 suspects “seen” by an eyewitness in the dead of night. But there are serious questions about that witness and the composite drawings. In Episode 3, Chasing Ghosts, we explore the longstanding effect of that sketch on the trajectory of the case.
Was it a railroad tie? A log? A 2X4? And what happened to the object used to bludgeon Carol on that cold December night? In Episode 4, Where’s the Weapon?, the team tracks down a true smoking gun. The shock of the truth leaves family and friends speechless.
In 1977, there was a blockbuster break in the case…or so it seemed. First a confession, then an arrest (without a grand jury or indictment) and a man would spend 3 years in custody for killing Carol. What would become of this Convenient Confession? And where did they go from there?
In 1975, there were fingerprints. That’s about it. No one anticipated the sophisticated forensic techniques unlocked by DNA analysis. There have been questions through the years about DNA in the Rofstad case. So was there DNA testing? On what evidence? Items summarily dismissed in the 20th century as “having no value” might yet yield answers in the 21st.
More than 18 months into our investigation, a new name surfaced. Somebody who knew our prime suspect perhaps better than anyone at ISU. What made him tick? What could make him explode? In episode 7, The Rear View Mirror, this “source” recalls key moments before and after Carol’s death that go beyond mere coincidence.
In this episode, the Genuine Human Team reviews their scorecards. What are the strongest leads, dead ends? What could be making law enforcement skittish about having certain conversations. In a nearly 50 year old cold case, a 50 thousand foot view can be revealing.
Carol Rofstad’s memory is vivid among those who knew and loved her. But does the current ISU community care? Has law enforcement given up? In Episode 9, epilogue, we look at a subsequent case that would disgrace the Normal police department. And the troubled legacy of that dark night in December 1975 …. the season that would mark Carol’s Last Christmas.