[Originally published in the Island Park News – see http://www.islandparknews.

net/]

Angie Dodge murder still unsolved
Mother still seeks closure of her daughter’s murder case. June 13, 2010 will be the
14-year anniversary of Angie Dodge's murder.
By ELIZABETH LADEN

All I have ever wanted is the truth and closure. I want to know how my daughter
died, who was there, why it happened. — 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.
To Carol Dodge, it's as raw a hurt today as it was the day she was told about the

murder.
Christopher Tapp, now 33, is serving a life sentence for the crimes, but some people
believe he was never present when the rape and murder occurred and was
manipulated into confessing to the crimes and naming other men who allegedly
took part in the crimes. Even Dodge now thinks Tapp was not involved and she feels
the Idaho Falls Police Department spent way too much time on Tapp and not enough
on other possible leads.
Even the courts have lightened up on Tapp. In April 2010, the Idaho Court of Appeals
reversed part of a June 2008 decision by 7th District Judge Joel E. Tingey denying
Christopher Tapp's application for post-conviction relief. He will be granted an
evidentiary hearing in 7th District Court to determine whether he had proper legal
representation at his original trial. He argues that his trial attorney failed to present
evidence that he was interviewed improperly while in police custody and evidence
showing his mental capacity was too diminished to allow him to make a voluntary
confession.
DNA testing done on evidence at the 1996 crime scene place another man there
who is not Tapp. A match for that man who raped Dodge and possible killed her has
never been found.
Now, Angie Dodge's case has been turned over Idaho Attorney General Criminal
Investigator, Scott Smith, who says his office is still actively searching for closure.
The case is “perfect for familial searching,” says Greg Hampikian, Ph.D. a Professor
of Biology and Criminal Justice at Boise State University and Director of the Idaho
Innocence Project that is working to get Tapp released. Familial searching involves
searching a state and/or national DNA database for DNA profiles similar to the
samples in evidence. The hope is that one of those family members might lead
detectives to the killer.
On May 11, 2010, Hampikian told the News that in the Angie Dodge case, DNA in
evidence, “points to one mysterious unknown perpetrator. Chris Tapp has never
been linked to this crime by any physical evidence. There is a complete DNA profile
of someone who left sperm, pubic hairs, etc, and we need to request the FBI to do a
low stringency or ‘familial’ search. It is the only present hope for testing.”
Hampikian says Tapp’s confession was given in exchange for immunity “after he
was fed many details of the crime. He basically repeated back what he had been
told over the long hours of interrogation in exchange for immunity. When the DNA
did not support that story, he tried desperately to name the killer, offering name
after name to be tested,” and more than 70 people have now been tested.

“No one matches the DNA of the person who raped (and probably killed) Angie
Dodge. The prosecutor took back the immunity agreement, and Tapp tried to
withdraw the story he had told. The prosecutor was permitted to withdraw the deal,
Tapp was not permitted to withdraw the story. That was the only evidence against
him,” Hampikian noted.
He emphasized, “The forensic evidence does not indicate that Tapp was ever at the
crime scene (in fact he never was until the police took him there, in an unusual
action). It indicates only that a single male was clearly present with Angie Dodge,
and that he left hairs and semen on her body. That male is absolutely not Chris
Tapp, nor anyone else tested in this case. The real shame is that law enforcement is
not using the one test left in this case, the low stringency (familial) search.”
Smith says his office is looking into the possibility of having the familial search
done.
In a 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, who is in an Ely, NV. prison for another
crime. Tapp was the only person charged in the crimes. District Judge Ted Wood
sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison.
Dodge says she continues to be frustrated by 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 and Idaho law enforcement officials claim the case
is still open, so they will not provide detailed information to the media for better
coverage or for a television special.
Dodge believes there are people alive today who could help bring complete closure
to the crime, possibly even 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.
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 evidence

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 informant 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 drug related.
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.
Benjamin Hobbs - the man Tapp says slit Angie's throat - has never admitted any
role in the rape and murder. As already noted, Hobbs is in prison in NV. He's serving
time 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 then boyfriend, Christian Grebstad, had been in touch with an exgirlfriend.
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 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, www.angiedodge.com . Dodge 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. Some day, justice will triumph.
If you have any information about the case, call Scott Smith at 208.332.3089 or Email scott.smith@ag.idaho.gov Also consider providing Carol Dodge with the same
info, so she can make sure the AG is following up. E-mail Carol at
caroldodge@hotmail.com . Anonymous tips can be shared by calling Crimestoppers
in Bonneville County - 522.1983. Crimestoppers offers cash awards for information
that results in felony convictions. Anonymous tips can also be e-mailed from the
Angie Dodge Web site, www.angiedodge.com .
Click here to reach a site filled with DNA info and cases solved via familial
searching.
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. —
Elizabeth Laden, Island Park News & HenrysForkCountry.com