Wis. man arrested 34 years after allegedly beating, assaulting, and fatally strangling woman
12/09/2022 11:47 am PST
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (TCD) -- A 66-year-old man was recently arrested in Washington state in connection with the sexual assault and death of a woman nearly 34 years ago.
According to the criminal complaint, on Nov. 7, 1988, Appleton Police Department officers responded to an area near West Spencer Street to a report of a missing person. A man reportedly said that his wife, Betty Rolf, failed to show up for work and that she would often walk to her place of employment.
That same day, Rolf’s partially clothed body was found face-down under the bridge of West Spencer Street, the criminal complaint reads. Rolf’s purse and a strap were reportedly around her neck, and she showed signs of trauma to her head and face and had minor trauma to both of her knees.
According to the complaint, an autopsy report revealed that she suffered blunt trauma to the head, strangulation by ligature, and multiple skin abrasions. Her death was ruled a homicide. It was also determined that she had been sexually assaulted, WBAY-TV reports.
In 1988, the Wisconsin Crime Lab reportedly did not have the ability to perform the necessary DNA testing. More than a decade later, in 2001, the complaint says human DNA was "recovered from the sperm cell fractions of the vaginal swabs and the rectal swabs" performed on the victim’s body.
According to the complaint, in February 2019, investigators performed a familial DNA search. Investigators were reportedly able to narrow down two possible suspects: Gene Meyer or his brother. Meyer’s brother allegedly provided a DNA sample, but it was not a match, and Gene Meyer was identified as the primary suspect.
Investigators reportedly spoke with Gene Meyer’s niece, who told them about a conversation she had with her mother, Meyer’s sister, about a family secret involving him. Meyer allegedly called his sister and said "Goodbye" and "Thank you for everything."
Meyer’s sister reportedly told her daughter, "I have a secret. I have a secret, and it’s going to go in my grave."
FBI agents obtained Meyer’s DNA from the handle of his truck in November, the complaint says. The DNA sample reportedly matched the sperm found on the vaginal swabs from Rolf’s body.
Meyer was eventually found and arrested in Washington state on Wednesday, Dec. 7, WBAY reports.
Meyer was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree sexual assault, according to the criminal complaint. He remains held at a jail in Tacoma, Washington, and will be extradited back to Wisconsin.
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