TAMPA, Florida – Oba Chandler, a Florida man found guilty of three counts of murder in the deaths of Joan Rogers and her two teenage daughters, maintained his innocence until the day of his execution.
The 1989 murders of Rogers and her daughters, Michelle, 17, and Christie, 14, remained unsolved for three years after their bodies were discovered in Tampa Bay. The victims were found with their mouths taped shut, tied to concrete blocks, and nude from the waist down.
Tampa police were able to identify Chandler as a suspect using handwriting samples he had left behind. Prior to his execution, Fox True Crime podcast detailed the exhaustive search for Chandler.
Chandler was charged with the murders of the Rogers family after a woman who had hired him for work recognized his handwriting from a police billboard.
Shortly after the gruesome discovery, it was determined by autopsy that the victims had died from asphyxiation, though it was unclear whether they had been drowned or strangled with the ropes around their necks.
The bodies of Rogers and her daughters were left unidentified until a Days Inn housekeeper who read news articles about the case contacted police. It was revealed that the trio had been on vacation in Florida, while Rogers’ husband remained at their dairy farm in Ohio.
The case took an interesting turn when a Canadian tourist reported being raped just weeks before the Rogers family was murdered. She provided a description of the assailant and a composite sketch was drawn up based on her account.
A sample of Chandler’s handwriting was eventually matched to the directions found in Rogers’ abandoned vehicle. This, along with other circumstantial evidence, led to Chandler’s arrest and subsequent murder trial.
At his trial, Chandler admitted to meeting the Rogers family and writing out the directions but maintained his innocence. He was eventually found guilty and executed in 2011, still claiming his innocence until his death.
In 2014, Chandler was linked to another unsolved murder through DNA evidence. This revelation brought a mix of closure and emotional turmoil to the family of his fourth victim.
Chandler’s reign of terror finally came to an end, with evidence tying him to multiple heinous acts of violence and murder.