Weapon used to kill aircraft mechanic may be in Tahoe or Douglas landfill
Nevada Appeal News Service
The .22-caliber weapon used to kill aircraft mechanic Robin Bodden may be at the Douglas County landfill or the bottom of Lake Tahoe, according to an affidavit filed to secure a murder charge against the victim’s widow.
Investigators believe that Karen Bodden, 44, went to the Douglas County landfill and took a trip on the M.S. Dixie on Aug. 17 – the day after Robin Bodden was murdered – and had an opportunity to dispose of the weapon.
The 29-page affidavit was prepared by Douglas County sheriff’s investigator Ron Elges and submitted to East Fork Judge Jim EnEarl last week, who set Karen Bodden’s bail at $1 million cash.
She appeared in court Tuesday with lawyers James Wilson Jr. and Royle Melton of Carson City on a charge of open murder with use of a deadly weapon.
EnEarl set a preliminary hearing for March 30 on the charge.
Following the murder, authorities believe that Karen Bodden had 10 days before a family member reported her husband missing to set up her story that she didn’t report his absence because they were having marital problems.
What investigators discovered, according to the affidavit, was that Karen Bodden had allegedly embezzled thousands of dollars from her husband’s business, General Aviation Services of Nevada, and from personal accounts.
She was arrested Sept. 11 on the embezzlement charges and has been held in Douglas County Jail.
The affidavit gives a chilling account of Robin Bodden’s last moments.
“Rob’s murderer approached him from behind and fired a single shot to the back of the head, causing him to fall to the ground, then fired a second shot to the right temporal side,” according to the affidavit.
Authorities believe Robin Bodden was killed at the hangar and the murderer used the mechanic’s own tools and supplies to carry out the crime.
The body was wrapped in a blanket, bound in tape and tied with a nylon strap. The murderer wheeled a hydraulic lift into place, attached the engine lift to the strap and hoisted the body onto Bodden’s pickup truck parked inside the hangar.
According to the affidavit, the murderer cleaned the area with paper towels and drove to the desert near Johnson Lane, dumped the body into a shallow grave and covered it with dirt.
Witnesses said Robin Bodden kept two .22-caliber handguns at his hangar. One was recovered, but authorities said it was not the weapon used to kill him.
The second handgun is missing.
Ten days later, authorities were alerted to Robin Bodden’s disappearance by a sibling.
They searched the Boddens’ Judy Street home on Aug. 27 and found Karen Bodden and her daughter packing.
Karen Bodden told investigators said she couldn’t afford the house payment and maintained her husband wasn’t returning.
Investigators returned to the residence Sept. 10, the day Bodden’s body was found, and discovered two copies of a letter to Douglas County detectives “typed in a manner to appear Rob wrote them.”
“The letters tell detectives to quit looking for him, that he is on to another lifestyle where he is treated like a high roller, that Karen is the kindest, sweetest person he knows, that his wallet is enclosed with the letter because he doesn’t need it anymore and that he gives everything he owns to Karen,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators said there were no letters in the house on Aug. 27. On Sept. 10, two identical letters were in plain view on a desk or table in the master bedroom of the residence.
Investigator Elges said he believed the letters were prepared after Robin Bodden’s disappearance and death by Karen Bodden to thwart investigators’ attempts to find her husband.
They never found the wallet.
A copy of the letter attached to the affidavit contains obscenities and typographical errors, racial slurs and pejorative comments toward Robin Bodden’s siblings.
“I’m a monster. What I have done to her (Karen) will haunt me forever. I can never come back. Tell my baby doll I’m sorry,” the note read.
It was signed “Robin Raymond Bodden, AKA Rob Bodden.”
The affidavit said Karen Bodden was never in a state of mourning after her husband’s disappearance or after his body was discovered and she was informed of his murder.
When the investigator accused her of the murder, she did not deny it, Elges wrote.