Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the brutal slaying of 18-year-old Angie Dodge in her I Street apartment. Her killer has never been found.
For Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother, it’s yet another in a long line of years without an answer to her burning question.
“Angie’s death has consumed the last 22 years of my life, researching
and trying to find out who killed her,” Carol said. “I have lived it every day for 22 years. Multiply 22 years by 365 days by 24 hours. It has consumed me.”
Idaho Falls Police Department officials said the case will remain an active, important priority for them.
Chief Bryce Johnson balked at the characterization of the Dodge murder as a “cold case.” It’s not sitting on a shelf, he said. It remains under active investigation, and new investigative work is regularly performed.
“We’re still working on the case today, and it is important to us,” said Detective Josh Deede, who now leads the investigation.
Deede said the killer’s DNA was first entered into the nationwide criminal DNA database in 1996, where it has continually been compared to the DNA of criminals around the nation. Unfortunately, there have been no matches to date.
“We’re always looking for what new technology can bring us, and if there’s a new technology out there, we want to use it,” Johnson said. Two of Angie’s brothers, Roger and Todd, have never previously spoken with the news media. It was too painful, they said. They came forward this week to share their recollections of their sister’s life and death.
They remember Angie as loving, vivacious and caring. She loved music. She lit up a room. If she loved you, there wasn’t any doubt about it.
The last time he saw Angie, Roger said, was outside her I Street apartment. She was barefoot. She kissed his expecting wife’s belly, looking forward to the birth of her niece.
“We had never gotten along better,” he said. “I was robbed of her.”
Roger said after Angie’s murder his life began a quick downward spiral driven by his grief at the death of his little sister. Before that, he said he occasionally had a beer after work with his co-workers at Larsen Farms, where he worked 18-hour days as a truck driver. But after his sister’s murder, he descended into severe alcoholism. Even the mention of his sister’s name, he said, would send him into a three-day bender.
“I haven’t been able to talk about it until now,” Roger said.
He was so grief-stricken, he said, that he missed his sister’s funeral and his daughter’s birth. Two years later, he and his wife were divorced. He lost all contact with his children, toddlers at the time, he said.
Roger said he didn’t achieve sobriety until April 24, 2013.
Roger said he sometimes sees news stories about killers apprehended many decades after a murder. He hopes he doesn’t have to wait that long.
“I’d like to have this solved in my lifetime, to have some peace,” he said. Todd, nine years Angie’s senior, said he had left home for Oregon while Angie was still young. He never got to know her the way he would have liked to.
“I have a lot of guilt as a brother that I never really had a relationship with her,” Todd said. “Our whole family has been robbed of her life, her personality. She deserves some justice. We all deserve some justice.”
Deede said he recently opened an account on GEDMatch, an open source genealogical database that was used to catch the Golden State Killer, a serial rapist and killer active from the mid-1970s to the mid-’80s in Southern California, as former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, by identifying a close relative. DeAngelo was charged in April but hasn’t yet been convicted. Deede said once he finds a match to the DNA left at the crime scene, it will be time to build a case against the man who killed Angie.
“It’s not an ‘if.’ It’s a ‘once,’ ” he vowed.
Carol pleaded for anyone with knowledge of the case they haven’t reported to break their silence.
“There is somebody out there who knows what’s behind my daughter’s killing,” Carol said. “There’s somebody who knows who’s involved. Somebody needs to do the right thing. They need to come forward.”
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.