Saturday, September 8, 2012

Attorney says Idaho Falls police withheld evidence in Angie Dodge case

IDAHO FALLS, ID — Christopher Tapp, the man convicted of raping and killing Idaho Falls resident Angie Dodge on June 13, 1996, says police and prosecutors failed to turn over critical evidence to his defense attorney when they were preparing for Tapp’s trial. Tapp’s public defender, John Thomas, made the claim on Tapp’s behalf in a “Brady petition” filed with the Bonneville County court and prosecutor's office on Wednesday, September 5. The petition calls for Tapp to be freed because the Idaho Falls Police Department failed to share significant findings in its investigation of the crimes. Tapp was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The petition declares that at least 10 times in police reports, IFPD Detective Ken Brown mentions Jeffery Lynn Smith, a former Idaho Falls resident and convicted rapist, as a suspect in Dodge's murder, but the information was never shared with Tapp’s attorney. The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that the prosecution violates the defendant's rights to due process when evidence is withheld, the petition notes. John Browning, an Idaho Falls resident in 1996, alleges in an affidavit dated August 30, 2012 and filed with the Brady petition that in 1996, he told IFPD detectives that Smith came to the apartment he shared with his now ex wife that was not far from the crime scene. The “visit” took place at about 3 a.m. on June 13. He said in the affidavit that Smith had blood on his clothes, gashes on his face, and a rug burn on his chin. Browning states that Smith made him feel “uncomfortable,” and when he asked Browning if he could use the bathroom to wash up, Browning said he could use an outdoor hose but could not come inside. Browning also said Smith voluntarily explained the injuries and blood but the affidavit does not include any details about what Smith may have said. Browning’s ex wife, Gentri Nicole Morris Goff, gave a similar account in an affidavit dated August 13, 2012, and said the IFPD never interviewed her to see if her story matched her husband’s. She also declared that in July 2012, Tapp’s legal team showed her a 1988 photo of Smith, and she identified him as the man who had come to the apartment in 1996. In 1997, Christopher Tapp was convicted of raping and killing Dodge. After hours of police interviews during which his legal team — including the Idaho Innocence Project — says he was manipulated and coerced, Tapp confessed to the crimes. No hard evidence, such as DNA or eyewitnesses, has connected him to the crimes. Last month in a Dateline NBC feature on the Innocence Project’s push to get Tapp freed, Carol Dodge, Angie’s mom, said she now believes Tapp is innocent. On Thursday after the Brady motion was filed, Carol Dodge said she hopes Judge Tingey “does the right thing” and frees Tapp. Tingey has 30 days to act on the petition. On Friday, Sept. 7, Idaho Falls Police Chief Steve Roos said one of his detectives is looking for any records IFPD may have of contacts with Smith. He also said a DNA sample was taken of Smith and it did not match DNA at the crime scene. In 1992, Bonneville County charged Smith with murdering Leo and Mary Downard of Ammon, but dropped the charges due to lack of evidence. His brother, Lanny, was later charged with the crime and convicted. In 1998, Bonneville County convicted Smith of a 1993 rape. "The average Joe on the street should be concerned that the police are withholding evidence. When police start going awry there has to be checks and balance and that’s what defense attorneys are for,” said Tapp's attorney, public defender John Thomas, in an interview Channel 8 Eyewitness News aired Thursday, Sept. 6. “If there is one witness out there the state is not turning over there may be others out there.” Also on Channel 8, Bonneville County prosecutor Bruce Pickett said, "The fact that Chris Tapp can make multiple filings with the court or submit new evidence goes to the strength of our court system, not to the weakness of it. If there is, other evidence, the court wants to look at it.”

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dateline looks at Angie Dodge's murder case Judge denies new DNA testing to find Angie’s killer By ELIZABETH LADEN IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls mother whose daughter was murdered and raped in 1996 wants the man convicted of the crimes to be freed. Carol Dodge, mother of Angie Dodge, shared her story with the nation on the August 24th NBC-Dateline show, called “The Confession.” The Dateline episode is also available for viewing at In June 1996, Angie was found murdered and raped in her apartment. Christopher Tapp, who was 20 yrs old at that time, and hung near the Snake River in downtown Idaho Falls with many other young people during that summer; admitted to the Idaho Falls Police Department (IFPD) detectives after several hours of interrogation that he willing took part in the murder. In 1998, a jury convicted Tapp of murder and he has spent the past 15 years in prison. However; Angie’s mother Carol, the Idaho Innocence Project, and state’s appellate court attorneys’, Dennis Benjamin and Sara Thomas, now believe Tapp is an innocent man. The NBC-Dateline episode focused on the possibility that Tapp is innocent, and the main reason is that the IFPD has no DNA evidence that puts Tapp at the scene. The DNA samples of semen and hair found at the crime scene belong to a Caucasian individual that has never been brought to justice. NBC-Dateline, Idaho Innocence Project and many others all question the tactics that IFPD Detective Jared Fuhriman (now Idaho Falls mayor) and Det. Ken Brown (now retired) used during the interrogation that resulted in Tapp’s confession. They assert that Tapp was manipulated into admitting he was in Angie’s apartment when she was killed and that he cut Angie, after another man he cannot identify slit her throat and raped her. IFPD detectives claim that when they questioned Tapp, he knew details about the crime that only a person who was there would have known. However, there are many who question the IFPD’s investigative tactics saying the detectives gave Tapp the information. The Dateline episode showed some of the segments of the interrogation that support their assertion. Indeed, Dodge told NBC-Dateline that she believed Tapp was guilty until she spent many hours watching all of Tapp’s interrogation tapes. Dr. Greg Hampikian, a professor at Boise State University, a DNA expert, and director of the Idaho Innocence Project, has requested the DNA profiles in the Angie Dodge murder case so that new DNA technology can be applied that would possibly lead to the true identity of real killer. On August 14, District Judge Joel E. Tingey denied a petition filed by Tapp, asking for YSTR DNA testing. Judge Tingey ruled that Tapp was convicted of Angie’s murder based on Tapp’s statements, not DNA evidence. Tingey ruled that “The identity of Tapp was not an issue at the time of trial but rather the issue was the extent of his involvement in the murder. Tingey stated that the DNA gathered at the crime scene was only relevant to the identity of a yet unknown assailant. DNA evidence of an unknown individual has no effect on Tapp’s conviction.” He noted that Idaho law allows new DNA testing if the result of the test has “the scientific potential to produce new, noncumulative evidence” that would show the petitioner to be innocent. Dr. Hampikian said the Innocence Project is appealing Tingey’s decision. Still, IFPD could request Touch DNA testing that may lead to the actual killer. Although; IFPD Chief Steve Roos says the Dodge case is actively an open case, he has not authorized further DNA testing. Roos has not responded to an Island Park News requesting that he explain why he will not authorize further DNA testing. Dodge told the News that Idaho Falls Prosecuting Attorney Bruce Pickett recently told her Tapp will remain in prison because of his confession and the fact that he was convicted by a jury. Pickett has not responded to a phone call or e-mail asking for his thoughts about Tapp and also about a letter a California attorney sent to Pickett and sent a copy to Island Park news. Dated August 27, the letter, from Gregory Sarno of Castro Valley, blasts Pickett for allegedly making a statement that maybe there would be “closure” for people affected by Angie’s murder now that Tapp’s appeal was denied in July 2012. Sarno’s letter states: “How could there be any closure when the citizens of Bonneville County, the state of Idaho, and the nationwide ‘Dateline’ audience know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Ms. Dodge’s cold-blooded killer has not been identified, charged, or incarcerated? In such context, the false imputation to you of remarks about closure brands you as delusional at best, or as harboring a hidden agenda for condoning egregious miscarriage of justice entailed by Mr. Tapp’s imprisonment for more than a decade. “More effective that retraction, as a means of salvaging your tarnished image, would be a press conference asking Attorney General Wasden to reopen the Tapp matter. Justice delayed is justice denied, true, but belated justice is better than none at all.”

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The tragedy of unsolved crimes

Unsolved crimes are a disease in all communities, and there are so many in Idaho! The victim’s loved ones live day to day with a cloud of darkness in their hearts that can never go away — unless the crime is solved.

That darkness is also part of our communities. Every unsolved crime reflects flaws in the law enforcement community. It compels us to wonder if all procedures were followed, if all possible resources were used to search for the criminal or criminal. In Angie’s case, there were many failures, and there continue to be failures.

Ask yourself — what if your loved one was murdered and the case never solved?

As a journalist who has covered this case and a friend of Carol Dodge’s, I ask all who read this to never forget Angie, and to pray that her killer or killers are found.

Letter from retired detective to Carol Dodge

I am a retired Detective Supervisor who has worked in Southeast Idaho for an extended period of time. I have not worked in the Idaho Falls area, but have assisted on many cases in the past with these agencies.

When I read the contents of your website I became concerned that as a family victim of a serious crime that not more has been done to communicate with you properly. I hope not to offend you or any of the persons involved in the investigation, but want to give you some background of why these type of things occur. Idaho does not have a high crime rate and as a result does not investigate these type of crimes on a frequent basis. Even if a person works 20 or 30 years as a detective, you probably would only be assigned 10-15 investigations of this type of magnitute over your career.

In Idaho Falls, Bonneville County and all of Southeast Idaho you do not have investigators who are assigned as Homicide Detectives. As a result those officers are frequently under trained and lack experience in what to look for on these type of crime scenes. Additionally some of the supervisors, especially those at the IFPD do not have the experience to oversee the detectives who are investigating the crime. As a result you frequently have things that should have been done, but where missed. As a result the case is not brought to a sucessful conclusion. You will also find that frequently there are what is term as "Turf Wars" Many agencies do not have the funding or equipment that is necessary to process such a crime scene. As a result the stiff necked supervisors fail to call in or ask for assistance from those who have the equipment. In our area the IFPD could have asked at least two bigger agencies that have the equipment and expertise to assist.

The first would be the Crime Lab in Pocatello (CSI). Don Wykoff is the supervisor of that unit. He and his staff who have received extensive training in processing these type of crime scenes could have been summoned to assist the IFPD. The State Police also in Pocatello have crime scene trailers and detectives who could have responded at no cost to the IFPD.

I would have also called out the Pathologist and the Coroner to the scene. The coroner is frequently an elected official, say someone from the Fire Department and really doesn't aid in the investigation. However the Pathologist who will be examining the victim later, will be allowed to see everything as it was before anything was moved. This could prove to be beneficial when he locates evidence during the autopsy. In this particular case if he has been trained on Blood Spatter he can evaluate the evidence and directon of the spatter, drops, transfers and many other items. This is another piece of evidence that would show the positioning, location and direction of attack. If detectives have done their job correctly they should have photographed and documented this very important evidence.

Frequently when detectives document this type of evidence, they place evidence markers on the wall, floor and other locations to give a pattern analysis. Frequently hundreds of photographs showing the droplets, transfers and contacts should be taken to document this evidence. Video tape and camera stills should be taken of the entire crime scene by one person, slowly entering the scene to document exactly how the scene was before anyone entered.

At this point assignments are given to each officer who is involved in the investigation as to what they are going to do. What freqently happens in these type of cases is the Administration of the Department, the Chief of Police, Captains, Mayor etc..hear about the crime and then utilize their power to go into the scene and examine what has occurred. If the Officers on the scene are doing their job correctly, they will refuse to allow any of the non involved parties into the scene until the scene is released. As a result of allowing extra persons into the scene, evidence is moved, destroyed or obliterated. Freqeuntly supervisors are worried that someone else might get the credit and make their department look bad. As a result they do not call for the additional assistance that is needed in these type of cases. Knowing what I know about equipment expenditures during this time frame, it would not surpise me to see that IF did not have all of the necessary equipment to process the scene.

As you stated in the web site I have never heard of a crime scene being released in such a quick time to the apartment owner. Usually what you see is a uniformed officer standing guard on the apartment for days until all of the investigators and crime scene techs are sure that they have not left anything untouched.

The other problem that you have is the fact that there are suggestions of drug users being associated with your daughter. I would have to ask the IFPD if they are not allowing you full access to the case file, why. You want justice in the case and if there are multiple suspects involved, then you would not do anything that would endanger this. The police need to see you as part of their team. Is the police department protecting someone within its own group. Are they protecting someone that they are using for information on drug cases because he/she has provided good information on other cases. Does it involve someone who has a family member in a high position. We do not have to look far in the past to see other problems like this. How much does politics play into the outcome of this investigation. In recent years a large number of victims have complained about the lack of communication from detectives handling cases. It appears that this is similar to what you have been experiencing. As I read over your experiences there appears to be many faults and investigative techniques that were not used.

As a victim I would be demanding a weekly contact from the lead investigator in the case. If he or she does not call weekly, then I would be talking to the Chief of Police and if he did not respond then the Police Commissioner who oversees the Police Department on the City Council. Additionally I would be contacting the various media outlets such as Americas Most Wanted, Court Television, Nancy Grace, Fox News and some of the others who could bring this to a new light in the media.

Be forewarned that for every 20-25 contacts you might get turned down, but all it takes is one sucessful contact. Locally I would contact Brenda Baumgarten with channel 6. She has experienced some of the same issues with the IFPD in the past. If she does not take it then maybe Aaron Kunz. Both of these parties have been around and have some experience with interviewing people. I also believe that they would give it an honest effort. In reference to the print media, I would have some reluctance of having anyone at the Post Register handle the case. The reason I say this, is due to the fact they have to rely upon the Police Department for news. They have to keep it friendly and will frequently look the other way to avoid conflict.

I would try Debbie Bryce at the Idaho State Journal. I have found that she digs into a case and will report what she finds no matter what the outcome is. You might ask why I would take the time to give you this information. I have seen too many times in the past where investigators are put into these positions not because of their ability, but because of their friendships with Leadership, with the positions they hold in their church or civic groups and so forth.

As a result frequently you have people in these positions that do not do their job. And when the public complains it goes upon deaf ears. You and your family are victims as much as your daughter was. You deserve the very best in treatment and investigative techniques. You pay the wages of those who are supposed to be handling the case and you and the media should demand answers and results.

I would question if the Post Register was allowed access to the file, then why doesn't the police department under the freedom of information act provide you with a copy. If they claim it is an open investigation, the insurance company covering your daughter would need a full and complete copy to provide a settlement. I would then have known and experiened investigtors who do not work at IFPD or Bonneville Sheriff look at the case and give you a full and descriptive indication of what went right and what went wrong. The reason I say someone else who would not be swayed by friendships in the Department. You need someone who knows what to look for and be honest if there are mistakes that were made. You also need someone who has the contacts such as Dr. Henry Lee the renouned pathologist that can look at crime scene photographs and give you valuable information. You also need someone that can send the information to the Behavioral Science Unit at Quantico FBI Academy to review the contents of the report and see if there are possibilities in the profile of this having multiple offenders with the case or a single person. You also need someone at the FBI crime lab to review the evidence that was collected to see if there are other avenues that need to be explored. As you can see there are many other things that could have,and should have been done. Without reviewing the case file, I can only make suggestions and hope that you get some positive feedback from others who have information concerning this horrible crime. Also remember as a general rule suspects do not keep quiet. They frequently will talk about something like this and if there is another suspect in prison in Nevada, I would hope that the Nevada authorities have placed someone either in the cell or near the cell of the other suspect to see if he might be talking. You and your family will be in our prayers. I hope that this helps a little bit to understand some of the complexity of these type of cases.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

READ THIS FIRST: Seeking closure of Angie Dodge's brutal murder case

All I have ever wanted is the truth and closure. I want to know how my daughter died, who was there, why it happened. It is distressing to watch convicted rapist & murderer Christoper Tapp try to convince the justice system that he is innocent, and frustrating that Tapp has refused to give up any significant information about others involved in crimes. — Carol Dodge

IDAHO FALLS - A bright yellow crocus breaks through the earth in an east-facing garden. Soft green grass appears on a neighbor's lawn. Flocks of geese and ducks fill the sky over the Snake River with their raucous cries.

Every day, another sign of spring brings joy to the people of this Idaho community who experienced a long, cold, winter this year. But since the spring of 1997, Idaho Falls resident Carol Dodge has not greeted spring like most other city residents who start making plans for a fun summer in this beautiful area of America.

Every spring marks another year that the brutal rape and murder of her daughter, Angie Raye Dodge, remains unsolved. And while people flock to the greenbelt to walk the trails along the river, Dodge goes there to remember her daughter. A marker is there to honor Angie and remind others that the community has numerous unsolved murders and missing people. Each brings daily heartbreak to the victims' loved ones. Each makes the community feel unsettled and unsafe.

Angie Raye Dodge was a beautiful young woman, with bright blue eyes, blonde hair, and a vibrant personality. She graduated from Idaho Falls High School with the class of 1995. In high school she participated in track, honor society, and the Renaissance Club, an organization honoring academic achievers. Her friends describe her as upbeat, outgoing, likable, and caring.

Her life, so full of promise and potential, was snuffed out by evil when she was raped and murdered in her Idaho Falls apartment on I Street, not far from the greenbelt, early in the morning of June 13, 1996. She was 18 years old.

This week, Carol Dodge is already wondering how she will handle the 12th anniversary of her daughter's death, now less than three months away. It's as raw a hurt today as it was the day she was told about the murder, especially so because the one person convicted of the rape and murder is now claiming he was unjustly convicted and is asking for a new trial.

Christopher Tapp is serving a life sentence for the crimes, but claims in a civil suit that his attorney did not adequately represent him.

Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett wants Tapp's case dismissed. At a March 19 hearing, 7th District Judge Joel Tingey gave Tapp's attorney, John Stosich of Idaho Falls, 15 days to present evidence against granting 's Pickett's request.

Pickett will then have seven days to refute Stosich's arguments, and then Judge Tingey can take up to 30 days to make a decision.

In a detailed, graphic, videotaped confession in January 1997, Tapp told police investigators he held Angie down while a man named Benjamin Hobbs and a person he knew only as "Mike," raped her. Tapp told detective Jared Fuhriman, now the mayor of Idaho Falls, that Hobbs forced him to stab Angie. He also testified that Hobbs slit the young woman's throat. Angie's neck was nearly severed from her body.

DNA evidence has not been linked to Hobbs, so Tapp was the only person charged in the crimes. District Judge Ted Wood sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison.

Carol Dodge said it was "extremely difficult" to see Tapp in court last week. She said it is distressing to watch Tapp try to convince the justice system that he is innocent, and frustrating that Tapp has refused to give up any significant information about others involved in the rape and murder.

Dodge notes that it is unfortunate that convicted rapists and murderers like Tapp can sit in prison year after year and talk themselves out of taking responsibility for their actions and attempt to convince others of their innocence. It is hard on the legal system and horribly tough on the victims families.

"All I have ever wanted is the truth and closure," she says. "I want to know how my daughter died, who was there, why it happened."

This is the second time the prosecutor's office has filed a motion to dismiss Tapp's civil case. Tingey granted Pickett's earlier motion to dismiss on seven points. But he ruled that there is validity to Stosich's argument that the jury might not have gotten an accurate picture of Tapp's mental condition, and that Tapp's lawyer failed to allow Tapp to testify and didn't introduce evidence of a learning disability Tapp may have.

Pickett argued that the videotapes show that Tapp was aware of the seriousness of the charges he was facing, and knew his rights.

Dodge says Tapp describes the murder and rape in horrific detail, so much so that any claims that he was repeating anything he had heard from another person cannot be true.

Tingey could rule that Tapp received a fair trial and sentence. If he rules there was a problem with the sentence, another hearing would be scheduled. If he rules that Tapp didn't receive a fair trial, Tapp's conviction would be vacated. The state would then have to decide whether or not to bring new charges against him.

Dodge says it's agonizing to think that Tapp would ever be set free.

But that's just one of many aspects of the case that haunt her constantly. An even bigger problem for Dodge is the lack of regional and national exposure the case has had from day one.

Today, television is awash with shows hosted by personalities like Nancy Grace, Geraldo, Oprah, and Greta Van Susteren, and news specials that reenact unsolved cases, and give enormous attention to unsolved murders and missing persons cases. Sometimes this leads to arrests, convictions, and to finding lost people - to the closure Dodge so passionately seeks. But her daughter's case has had local coverage only, for the most part.

Dodge believes there are people alive today who could help bring complete closure to the crime, verifying Tapp's confession and identifying others who were directly and indirectly involved. Some of these people may have known Angie, Tapp, and others who frequented the greenbelt and lived in Angie's neighborhood. They may have moved away from Idaho Falls before the crime was committed and, due to the lack of publicity about the case, may never have heard about the rape and murder.

Or, perhaps they were involved in drugs and other risky behavior at that time, as Tapp was, and never came forward out of fear. But now they may be on a better path in life and want to come clean about what they know, Dodge says.

As the 12th anniversary of Angie's death approaches, Dodge has renewed her efforts to find a media outlet to publicize the case in hopes of finding people who can help her find that long sought closure.

Also of great concern to Dodge is frustration with those who investigated the crime scene and interviewed witnesses. Idaho Falls police did the typical thing of first looking for suspects among family members. Dodge says this wasted valuable time.

The Dodge family also charges that investigators did not handle all the physical evidence properly. For example, Dodge was given some items that were in her daughter's apartment. She put them in storage, not having the heart to go through them. But after some time had passed, a friend helped Dodge open the storage containers. Dodge said they were shocked to find substantial physical evidence that demonstrated a violent act. Police were notified and an investigator cut some of this evidence from the items and claims to have taken it to a lab. Dodge has never heard the results.

Also puzzling is that the city of Idaho Falls claims it has no taped records of any 911 calls the night of the murder. Dodge says this means there is no evidence that Angie had tried to call for help.

Dodge is also angry that the crime scene was released within the 24- hour period after the discovery of Angie's death. Reports state that Angie's body was taken from the crime scene at 5:05 p. m. However. the chief of police released the crime scene shortly after 10 a.m. the following morning to the owner of the apartment building.

"Less than a 24-hour crime scene investigation on a brutal murder?" says Dodge.

The owner then called a cleaning and restoration service that painted the walls and removed the carpet. Dodge said she contacted this service and was told that investigators had not removed any pieces of the carpet. Knowing that the carpet could have held physical evidence, Dodge asked investigators why no samples were taken. She later learned that after she had called the investigators, they contacted the cleaning service to obtain a carpet sample, and the service said the carpet had been hauled to the landfill.

Dodge also said that the police department removed a wallet that was found in a shoebox taken from the crime scene at Angie's apartment. However the wallet belonged to someone that a police department employee knew. This wallet was released to the owner's father immediately. The young man was interviewed, and he claimed he had lost the wallet outdoors, he barely knew Angie, and she must have found it on the ground. Dodge questions the legality of releasing any evidences within the first 72 hours into a murder investigation.

Because Angie had known Tapp, although not well, and Tapp was in a circle of people who were known to have been playing around with drugs, Angie's autopsy included a toxicology report. It was clean for drugs and alcohol. Although some may say Angie may have been involved in some risky behavior on a limited basis, it is more likely that she would have encouraged others to stop using drugs. Angie was an honor student and a hard worker with specific goals she hoped to achieve, Dodge notes.

However, some say Angie seemed troubled and withdrawn a week or so before her death. In fact the night Angie was murdered, Carol said, Angie came and visited with her for a few hours and Carol recalls those lasts moments of seeing Angie alive. Angie pulled out of the drive-way at 10:24 p. m. Carol will be forever grateful for her last words to Angie, which were, "I love you.

During that visit, Angie told Carol she had "done something stupid," Carol says. Carol replied that everyone does stupid things sometimes, and Angie replied that she had done something "really stupid." Carol said she did not press her daughter for an explanation. She said Angie also told her she wanted to get out of town and planned to visit her father the next day. He was working in security at Colter Bay on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park.

Later, Carol learned that Angie had gone to Stucki's Gas station after their visit, and Angie told a friend there that if she did not have to work the next morning at Beauty of all Seasons, she would leave right then, because she needed to get out of town. This was at 10:45 p. m. on June 12.

Dodge said some of Angie's friends recalled that Angie seemed quiet and withdrawn at times during the two weeks before the murder.

Also not long before her death, Angie had taken a short plane trip out of Idaho Falls. What happened on that plane trip, and who else may have been involved in the trip, could be clues to solving the crimes, Dodge says. Dodge said an airport security person who knew Angie saw Angie at the airport shortly after 5 p. m. a week or two prior to her death, wearing a long skirt and Birkenstock sandals, carrying a backpack, and appearing to be happy. And, she saw Angie return that same night. Dodge said investigators never followed up on that plane trip, to her knowledge.

This is another reason why giving the case regional and national exposure could help. Maybe a flight attendant, airport worker, ticket salesperson, or other passenger remembers seeing Angie and knows the flight's destination. Maybe they saw Angie with another person at the airport or on the plane.

Another concern is that there were tips that a confidential informer working with narcotics agents was part of Tapp's crowd.

Idaho Falls investigators have often reported that they did not think drugs were involved in the case, or that the murder was premeditated. Dodge said she has always felt uncomfortable with this because the investigators know that some of the people Angie hung out with were involved with drugs. Angie's anxiety prior to her murder also implies that she feared she was in danger.

In an early story on the case, the Post Register reports that one detective said the case is "frustrating because people who might have valuable information about the murder are in the local drug culture and are not likely to speak to police." But then the detective went on to say he did not believe the murder was drugrelated.

Investigators interviewed around 200 people, once they got through with the family, said Dodge. These included Angie's friends and strangers who hung out in the neighborhood and on the greenbelt.

More than 75 DNA samples were taken from people who were interviewed. In 2007, a Florida laboratory determined that whoever raped Angie was 96 percent Caucasian and 4 percent Asian.

When the DNA results were announced, Detective Capt. Roger Smart of the Idaho Falls Police Department said, "It is basically a cold case, but it is not a closed case. We run down every piece of information we get."

Benjamin Hobbs - the man Tapp says slit Angie's throat - has never admitted any role in the rape and murder. Hobbs is in prison in Ely, NV. for first degree kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery with a deadly weapon committed in January 1997 on a young woman from Nevada. Hobbs is originally from Las Vegas Nevada, and lived in Idaho Falls at the time of Angie's death.

Again, because of the lack of regional and national exposure to the case, someone may be out there who knew Hobbs before he was arrested for the Nevada crime and could link him to Angie's murder.

Dodge said it has also been difficult to accept that in June, 2001, Bonneville County Prosecutor Kipp Manwaring decided to not pursue an accessory charge against Jeremy Sargis, formerly of Idaho Falls.

Sargis faced the accessory charge in 1997 after he was accused of withholding information about Dodge' s murder from authorities. The charge was dismissed after Manwaring said he would seek the charge again at the end of convicted murderer Christopher Tapp' s court hearings, according to court records.

Sargis testified at Tapp' s 1997 preliminary hearing on murder and rape charges, but he pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked questions.

Dodge was found dead in her bedroom by a co-worker from the Beauty For All Seasons company, who was concerned that she had not come to work. There was no sign of forced entry into the apartment. There were signs of a short struggle. Dodge's landlady, who lives downstairs, told police she did not hear anything unusual Wednesday night, just a stereo playing in the early evening.

Angie had moved into the apartment around a month before her death, and had no roommates.

Until just before her death, she worked part-time at Stucki's, and then at Beauty For All Seasons.

In the early days of the investigation, some of Angie's friends said Angie had learned that her thenboyfriend, Christian Grebstad, had been in touch with an ex-girlfriend.

Grebstad had dated Angie for around six weeks, until just before her murder, and was reported in a Post Register story as having said he's "still in shock" about her death. The relationship ended when Angie found a letter Grebstad had written to his ex-girlfriend and got the wrong impression, he said.

The morning after Tapp's March 19 hearing, Dodge said she was losing hope. The stress has affected her health - she has had four heart attacks. She has driven thousands of miles following leads gleaned from various sources, including the Web site, .

She has been down from time to time for almost 12 years now. But she is a woman of inspiring, amazing determination, strength, and love. She always picks herself up and finds a seed of hope planted in her strong faith in God. Someday, justice will triumph.

A cash award is available for people who have information that leads to a conviction. If you know anything about Angie Raye Dodge's case, call the Idaho Falls Police Department's detectives division at 529-1416. You also can call Crime Stoppers at 522-1983 and give a tip anonymously.

You can also e-mail Carol at

Photo - Angie Dodge