Angels & Demons
EVIDENCE: As time went on, it seemed increasingly clear that whoever had written these directions was almost certainly the killer.
The detectives were in the dark, searching for the door that would lead them to the light.
It was the spring of 1992, and the investigation was well into its third year. Sgt. Moore and the rest of the team did not know how much longer they had left until the powers that be decided the whole thing wasn't worth it anymore.
Moore and the others kept going, trying almost anything they could think of to buy more time, more room, a solid lead. They held more press conferences, brought new people onto the team, raised the reward from $5,000 to $25,000. They asked Unsolved Mysteries to feature the case. They remembered the writing from the Calais -- the handwritten directions found on the Clearwater Beach brochure -- and asked whoever wrote them to please call.
Moore turned to his wife, Carol, for help. After 20 years of marriage, he knew she was smart and independent and not afraid to speak her mind. She worked as an interior decorator, which meant she saw the world differently, thought in terms of colors and shades and balance, sensed when things were arranged properly and when they were not.
So Moore showed Carol photos of the brochure and the handwriting.
"What does this mean to you?" he asked.
When he was off duty, he would take her to the boat ramp. He took her to the Days Inn. He drove with her on I-4 and I-275, guiding her along the route that the Rogers women had taken into Tampa and to their deaths.
"What do you see?" he said. "What were the victims thinking?"
Carol did not disappoint him. When they drove the route, she wondered if perhaps Jo and the girls had been in the far right lane of I-275 South and accidentally gotten off at Dale Mabry Highway, where the exit-only lane suddenly curves right. Maybe they got lost, she said. Maybe they stopped someplace on Dale Mabry and asked for directions. Could that be where they met the person who wrote on their brochure?
Glen listened carefully, filing everything away. He was ready to consider any plausible theory.
After all this time, he and the other investigators were still working out of the gray office on the second floor of the St. Petersburg police station. The team members had their work cut out for them. Finding the killer was already a mammoth challenge. But as they piled up the overtime on the case, they also found themselves being second-guessed inside their own police department.
From almost the start of their time on the Rogers investigation, Moore and his detectives felt they were under attack from nearly every direction. Other officers resented how much time they were being given. They especially resented seeing so many resources devoted to a case that, in their opinion, was clearly unsolvable. The only way the case would ever be closed, they said, was if the killer strolled into the station and turned himself in. Moore's team was accused of wasting time, acting selfishly, riding the case for all it was worth.
"How much longer are you gonna milk this one?" people would say.
The jabs were not occasional. They were a common refrain, heard in the halls, in the offices, in staff meetings.
"Why are people still working on this case?" other officers asked. "Why are we doing this?"
The critics were envious of the fact that the team was allowed to use a special computer system, the HOLMES system brought over from England. Due to the high-profile nature of the case -- the Unsolved Mysteries segment had aired in the fall of 1991 -- they also assumed that Moore and his people were signing book and movie contracts left and right, preparing to grow rich and famous. As it happened, producers and agents were calling, expressing interest in the case. Moore and the rest of the team had already agreed, though, that they would have no part in such projects. Their goal was to make an arrest, period.
The critics weren't buying it.
"When's your book coming out?" they would ask Moore.
Moore would look at them. "I'm not a writer," he would say. "I'm not doing a book."
Ill feelings toward the sergeant and his detectives skyrocketed early in their investigation, when the decision was made to segregate themselves inside a special office. Moore's team had occupied one end of a large squad room, sharing the space with detectives working robberies and other homicides. Then one day a construction crew showed up and erected a wall across the center of the room, dividing the area where the Rogers investigators were working from the area where the other detectives worked.
It didn't help that the half of the squad room claimed by Moore and his people had better windows, affording them more light than the detectives on the other side of the wall. It also didn't help that Moore had a lock installed on the door to his half of the squad room, or that the only people with keys to that lock were the members of his team.
Even worse, the thermostat regulating the temperature for the entire room was located on the other side of that locked door. This meant that Moore's team controlled the temperature for everyone in the room; sometimes, when no one was inside the locked office, the other detectives would be burning up or freezing and would have no way to get to the thermostat.
By their nature, detectives are nosy people. They don't like to be shut out of anything, especially a piece of their own home turf. From the day the room was split in half, the other investigators complained about the locked door and the thermostat and the unfairness of the window situation.
Mostly, though, they griped about being locked out.
"What's going on back there?" they would say to the team members emerging from the inner sanctum. "What's so secret?"
As much as Moore and the rest of the team chafed at the accusations of elitism, discretion told them to keep their mouths shut. Given the appalling nature of the crime they were investigating, they knew that any leaks could have disastrous consequences. Among other things, they could not allow the names of potential suspects -- and there were hundreds of them over the years -- to accidentally be made public without risking the ruin of those people's lives.
To be fair, the frustrations with the Rogers investigation were not all based on envy or petty concerns. Some of the other homicide detectives, struggling with unsolved cases of their own, wanted to know why the murders of Jo and her daughters merited so much more attention than other homicides. Yes, this case was terrible. But was it necessarily more terrible than other murders? What if some of the vast amounts of time and money expended on the Rogers case for more than two years now had been directed instead toward other investigations? How many more killers might have already been caught and put behind bars?
These were legitimate questions. Furthermore, they were exactly the kind of issues that had to be agonized over and weighed by the officials running the police department. After all, the department ran on a budget like every other government agency. Resources were limited; tough decisions had to be made on how to divide those resources.
Up to now, the department's chain of command had decided that the Rogers investigation did merit extraordinary attention. Moore and his team were searching for someone who was almost certainly a serial killer with a taste for murdering more than one victim at a time. If this person were not caught, how many more lives might he claim? Still, the longer the case dragged on, the more difficult it became for the department to reconcile the tension between the desire to make an arrest in the Rogers murders and the need to attend to other cases.
Moore felt this tension every day as he walked down the halls of the station. To him, it seemed as though he and his investigators were working under a perpetual cloud. He felt he had the support of his immediate superiors, Lt. Gary Hitchcox and Maj. Lois Worlds; Hitchcox, in fact, was devoting himself full-time to the case and was working out of the team's office. But elsewhere in the department's hierarchy, there were those who clearly thought the time was approaching when Moore and his team would have to be ordered to let it go.
"We had a tremendous amount of pressure put on us by the administration," Moore says. "Not to solve the case, but to get off the case."
SEARCHING FOR IDEAS: During off-duty hours, Glen Moore asked his wife, Carol, for her thoughts on the case. Moore took her to the boat ramp where the Rogers car was found.
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