Unknown Charles & Nona Rauer Killer- Nevada- 1994 Jan 22, 2017 4:43:10 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Jan 22, 2017 4:43:10 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: Washoe County (Nevada) Sheriff's Office website)
INCLINE VILLAGE, NV - Twenty years ago, a retired couple was murdered in their Incline Village home. The crime remains unsolved, one of Washoe County's "cold cases."
But it and others like it are getting new attention. In a small storage room in the Washoe County Sheriff's Office are shelves containing the files of this department's unsolved major crimes. Each represents a victim, a family without closure, justice delayed, but not necessarily denied.
You see these cases aren't sitting on the shelf, gathering dust.
They're getting new attention and that includes the murders of Charles and Nona Rauer.
Sixty-three-year-old Charles Rauer and his 56-year-old wife Nona had moved in their retirement away from the big city crime of southern Florida to the safe quiet of Tahoe's north shore. "They were retired, living in a condo up in Incline, basically living the dream that they had," says Washoe County Sheriff's Detective Josh Palmer..
The dream turned to nightmare one morning in early December of 1994. Their bodies were found in their home in the 800 block of Oriole Way in Incline Village on the 4th. It's likely they were killed in the morning of the 2nd or 3rd. Cause of death: blunt force trauma.
"These people were beaten to death in front of each other," says Palmer. "It was basically torture."
"It was a slaughter," said Det. Rich Hill, surveying the scene back in 1994.
When I walked through the home nearly a year later with Hill, everything seemed still in place. In fact, only a few items were taken. A bracelet Charles Rauer wore and a video camera.
"There were much more valuable things available to someone who was there for a robbery," says Palmer. "Thousands of dollars of dollars in jewelry in the house that were untouched. So these items would be more sentimental or trophy type items for the killer."
The bracelet and the camera were never found.
The couple's 1991 Mazda Navajo was also missing. It was found a couple days later just a few blocks away hidden by a snowfall in front of the Justice Court in Incline. It and the home had apparently been wiped clean.
There was little for investigators to go on. A crime with no explanation, no motive. Weeks passed. In February the Rauer's daughter, Barbara Wilson, came out to Nevada from her home in Fort Lauderdale.
"I want resolution. I need resolution." she told us at the time, adding she had never worried about her parents, feeling they were safe at Lake Tahoe. Her brother, Charles Rauer, Jr., who was living in Reno, was also calling our newsroom pressing for more progress.
As time passed, however, Barbara Wilson would become convinced her brother was responsible for their parents' death and she would file a wrongful death suit against him.
There were reasons. His parents had apparently just cut off financial support and he had made some puzzling statements to others indicating he knew the day before they were found that his parents were dead.
"He would talk about it in the third person and just about feelings," says Palmer. "And that's what prompted some people to believe he had some involvement."
The lawsuit was settled out of court. Rauer remains a person of interest. The case has remained open all these years. Other detectives have worked the case, but Palmer has just been assigned.
His will be a fresh set of eyes on these files and he'll be assisted by the Sheriff Office's new cold case unit, which includes a pair of veteran retired Reno PD detectives.
It's a total reset of the investigation. Palmer will be re interviewing witnesses and bringing today's DNA forensic sciences to bear.
DNA not belonging to the victims was found in the home, apparently on an object which may be the murder weapon. There have been two decades of evolution in DNA sciences since the initial investigation. New tests could reveal results which weren't possible back then.
Every detective has a busy case load and some are less than enthusiastic about so called "cold cases." Others get passionate about the assignment. "I think that it's a challenge," says Palmer. "I think that these victims and the people that are involved that are still alive deserve justice and I will work it as far as I can as long as they let me."
His hope is there is someone out there who saw or knows something and didn't come forward 20 years ago. A small detail could be the key.
If you have information that could help solve this case, you're asked to call the Washoe County Sheriff's Office or Secret Witness. Secret Witness has posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution. The number is (775) 322-4900. Callers may remain anonymous while collecting cash rewards.
www.washoesheriff.com/sub.php?page=unsolved-homicides (scroll down or ctrl + f to find this case)
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