For nearly 6 1/2 years, the brutal murder of Cody Rogers has puzzled authorities in Hockley County. 21-year-old Rogers was found shot to death in the summer of 1996. His body was lying across a bed in his friend Lance Barker's mobile home South of Anton.
Barker was taken into custody and questioned after the murder. He was released and never charged. The lead investigator, Hockley County Chief Deputy Dave Kinney, says there's a mountain of circumstantial evidence, but is still missing that one piece of physical evidence needed to bring a killer to justice.
Police may have found that piece of evidence. Deputy Kinney says new evidence is being processed at a DPS forensics lab and depending on what lab tests reveal, it could crack the case wide open. Something Cody Rogers' family is desperately hoping for.
Kathy and John Rogers of Wolfforth have had a hard time with the murder of their son. "I just miss him," says a teary eyed John. But they have never lost hope of finding his killer.
"He goes on with his life, but our son doesn't. This is a constant fear that he might kill someone else. If he did it once, why would he not do it again?," says Kathy.
Deputy Kinney says that having no murder weapon and no witnesses have made this a tough case. "It's a hard one. You don't have anybody that's seen them. You don't have any real physical evidence. If we can find the 30/30 riffle, you know, that would be great. It had a scope, a serial number and it's been entered in the system as a stolen weapon possibly used in a homicide. Just hasn't turned up."
But now, this unsolved case is getting a much needed boost. The famous VIDOCQ Society of Philadelphia has picked it up. It's a group of talented forensic scientists and law enforcement agents who take on cold homicide cases they think they can help solve. And since they took the case just a few months ago, they've helped to uncover a new piece of evidence that could blow the lid off this case. That evidence is classified for now, but Cody's parents believe it's the key.
"And I think maybe this time we've got him," says Kathy.
John and Kathy say their grandchildren make life easier, but they've never tried to mask the pain this crime has caused them and they say closure will come when their son's killer is behind bars.
"If this piece of evidence is in fact that elusive key piece of evidence, Deputy Kinney says the case will then immediately be presented to a Hockley County grand jury. The evidence is at the DPS crime lab and there's no time table on when processing will be complete, but it should be soon.