Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
The Beverly Rowbotham murder mystery
It's been more than seven years since she was found dead in her car in Selkirk, Manitoba - but the public interest in who killed Bev Rowbotham remains as strong as ever.
So does the police will to bring her killer to justice, according to several sources.Yet despite identifying a suspect from day one - Rowbotham's husband, Mark Stobbe - the case remains stalled in investigative limbo.Stobbe, it should be noted, has always maintained his innocence. And while he is refusing to do interviews on the case, he is speaking through his Winnipeg lawyer.
Tim Killeen told me again this week his client desperately wants to see his wife's killer caught. And that Stobbe will do anything he can to assist the investigation.It's not surprising to learn police have their eye on the spouse - that is fairly common in these types of murder cases. And often that suspicion proves to be well-founded.But is this, as Killeen has suggested, a case of police using "tunnel vision" and becoming so focused on one man that they become blinded to other potential suspects?Or is this a case of a "perfect murder" that will never be solved?Much of the intrigue surrounding this case involves the fact Stobbe held a high-ranking position with both the Saskatchewan, and then the Manitoba, governments. That has prompted police on at least one occassion to farm the case out to an out-of-province Crown attorney for opinion.Other talking points include the suicide of a lead investigator, a search of the Red River, reports of a shadowy figure on a bicycle, the repeated searches of the Rowbotham-Stobbe home, an attempt by insurance companies to avoid paying Stobbe, a subsequent lawsuit that was settled out of court and the revelation Rowbotham was killed in her own backyard - and not where her body was found.One of the frustrating aspects from a journalistic aspect is the difficulty in getting any type of official information or updates from the police.There are seemingly dozens of wild rumours and theories floating around about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Rowbotham's brutal 2000 slaying just north of Winnipeg.If even half of them were true this case would be the stuff of best-selling books and TV movies-of-the-week.We in the media aren't the only ones hearing them.The Rowbotham family have expressed numerous concerns about the status of the case, and actually supported a Winnipeg Free Press motion three years ago to unseal search warrant documents pertaining to the investigation in hope of shedding some new light.After a fairly lengthy legal battle, the newspaper won a partial victory and got access to partially edited copies which showed Stobbe was identified as the suspect. They also revealed DNA was found at the scene - from both Rowbotham and another source - and a warrant to seize a sample from Stobbe was obtained.So what became of that forensic evidence? We still don't know, as the portion of the search warrants which remained cloaked in secrecy dealt with this aspect of the case.Now, as the original sealing order expires, media outlets are renewing their fight to have the documents made public. Police are fighting the move, claiming the investigation is ongoing and could be compromised if the information comes to light. (Read story by clicking HERE)
Yet with so much time having passed, you truly have to wonder if police are really making any progress - or just spinning their wheels.One thing is clear. Everybody in this case deserves answers - from the Rowbotham family, to Mark Stobbe himself.Let's hope they come soon.Do you agree the search warrants should be unsealed? Or is this an example of the media - and by extension the public - trying to stick its nose where it doesn't belong? Post your thoughts below.
PS - in my next blog, I'll update you with some thoughts on another major Manitoba murder mystery that is dragging along.www.mikeoncrime.com