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Can Cold Cases be Solved? Tampa Cold Case Solved After 23 Years

In June 1989, three bodies were found floating in Tampa Bay. All three of the bodies had their hands and feet bound, as well as concrete blocks tied to their necks and duct tape placed over their mouths. These three bodies were identified as a mother, Joan Rogers, and her two daughters. The man who murdered these three people was executed in 2011. Now his DNA has been linked to a cold case.

Chandler did not become a suspect for the Rogers' deaths until 1992. It was not until then that the case became high-profile when police finally posted billboards showing enlargements of samples of an unknown suspect's handwriting. Chandler's neighbor recognized his handwriting and reported it to the police.

A completely separate case in Coral Springs began on November 26, 1990, when a woman by the name of Ivelisse Berrios-Beguerisse went to work at the local mall. Unfortunately, the woman never returned home after finishing her shift that night. When she did not return home, her husband began to worry and found her car in the mall parking lot; he quickly called the police. Within a few hours, the police found her body dumped in neighboring Coral Springs. Police took swabs from Berrios-Beguerisse's body, but the tests could not confirm any semen or confirm any DNA suitable for testing. The swabs taken from her body stayed in evidence for the next 23 years.

Chandler became a suspect in Berrios-Beguerisse's case in 1992 after he was identified as the killer of the Rogers women. The police learned that he had lived 1.5 miles from the Sunrise mall where the woman had worked and was abducted from. Unfortunately, Chandler's DNA was not taken by the state until his 1994 conviction for the Rogers' murders.

Chandler was executed in 2011. However, his DNA lived on in the state criminal database. In August 2013, detectives decided to take another look at the investigative file. The detectives knew that the new modern techniques of testing would be more efficient than those used on the swabs in 1990. After 23 years, the lab was able to confirm a match to Chandler. Detectives say that if Chandler were still alive he would be charged with the murder of Berrios-Beguerisse.


Tampa Bay Times, Police: Notorious Killer Oba Chandler's DNA Links Him to 1990 South Florida Murder, William R. Levesque, 2/25/14

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