Cold case Specialist with Vermont State Police Major Crimes Unit, Brad Hanson, said investigating unsolved cases is the right thing to do.
“You know every crime has a theory… it may prove or disprove some of the theories that we have…and at the end of the day it’s a cold case…this case is 44 years old,” Hanson said.
39-year-old Joan Rogers was originally reported missing on July 16th, 1977, but she was found the following day.
Joan and her husband owned a farm on Houston Hill Road in Hardwick, Vermont. They were also renting a nearby hayfield that was a stone’s throw away from their farm.
Joan was a daughter, sister, mother, wife, and even an accomplished Army veteran.
Her twin brother John Gray describes her as happy-go-lucky. “I never went out of my way to make friends, where she was always making friends,” said Gray.
On the night she went missing she was doing what mothers typically do…driving her kids to an activity so they can hang out with their friends.
“She had done chores that night… nothing out of the ordinary. She then took her sons to the movies… there used to be a movie theater here in Hardwick, “the Idel Hour”, and the last we know is that she dropped her sons off at the movie theater at approximately 7:30 Friday night and that was the last time she was known to be seen,” said Hardwick Chief of Police, Aaron Cochran.
At the time, Joan and her husband were in the process of getting a divorce and she was staying with her father in downtown Hardwick.
“She didn’t show up to do chores the following morning. Her husband did contact Joan’s father, with who she was living with, as she did not return home and was not home at the time according to her father. Mr. Gray, Joan’s father, started going out and looking for her and didn’t find her. Mr. Gray was the one who originally reported her as missing,” said Chief Cochran.
The following day, the family launched a search party to find Joan, but not in the condition they hoped.
“The cause of death was strangulation and I can’t speak to the condition of the body but I can say it would be classified as a brutal homicide,” said Chief Cochran.
Her body was found tucked away in the hayfield with her bra wrapped around her neck and her truck parked right next to her.
“The important thing for people to know is these cases never go away. The Vermont State Police and Hardwick PD will look at Joan Rogers until we can say that we have done everything,” said Vermont State Police Detective Sergeant, James Vooris.
If you have any information regarding the murder of Joan Rogers, contact Vermont State Police and or Hardwick Police Department.