Investigator testifies: 'Her statement was falling apart'

Karen Bodden's explanation of her husband's disappearance began to unravel even before the 50-year-old airplane mechanic's body was discovered dumped in the desert off Johnson Lane, according to the lead investigator in the murder case.

Douglas County Sheriff's Investigator Ron Elges testified at Bodden's murder trial he discovered inconsistencies in her statements within days after Robin Bodden's sister reported him missing.

"Her statement was falling apart," Elges said. "The information I was finding contradicted with her statement."

Elges testified most of Wednesday and Thursday in Bodden's trial before a jury of 12 women and one man, including an alternate.

She is on trial on a charge of open murder with a deadly weapon. She pleaded not guilty in October following her indictment by a Douglas County grand jury.

Elges testified that he was contacted by the victim's sister, Barbara Bodden, on Aug. 27, 2006, when she reported her brother missing.

He said Karen Bodden told him she last saw her husband at 1:30 a.m. Aug. 17 when he gathered up clothes and left their residence in anger.

Discrepancies started to show up, Elges testified, when Bodden changed the dates she saw Robin and alleged she was moving from their Judy Street residence because she couldn't afford the $1,800 monthly mortgage.

Elges testified that she came up with $2,850 within days of her husband's disappearance to move into a rental in the Sunridge area with her daughter.

According to Elges, Bodden said she didn't report her husband missing because she was used to his absences and was planning to move out.

She left a note on the door of his business, General Aviation Services at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, which said he was leaving with a man named "Ramos" and would return.

Elges testified Bodden told him she watched them fly away.

Elges said no records indicated a "Ramos" used the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

Under questioning from defense attorney James Wilson Jr., Elges testified that Karen Bodden was cooperative prior to her arrest on Sept. 11, 2006.

"Karen cooperated with you throughout the investigation? When you asked permission to search her residence and Rob's hangar, she said, 'Yes'?" Wilson asked. "She never hesitated, she never put you off, she never tried to bide time?"

"She was always very cooperative with me," Elges said.

In opening statements Wednesday, Wilson told the jury their task was to sort facts from speculation and theory.

"Karen Bodden did not kill her husband; she did not shoot him. She did not have any involvement in his murder and she doesn't know who did," he said.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson alleged Bodden killed her husband Aug. 15-16, 2006, because of "greed and liberty."

He said evidence would show she began embezzling money from the victim's business and personal accounts 10 months before he died and continued to take money after his death.

Jackson said Bodden was afraid her husband would turn her into authorities and she would go to prison for a 2004 embezzlement conviction for which she received probation.

Karen Bodden was convicted of embezzling $44,000 from the Department of Motor Vehicles. She received five years probation, served 60 days in Carson City Jail, and was ordered to pay restitution.

"If the authorities were made aware of the stolen money, she could go to prison," Jackson said.

Wilson said the prosecution could not prove exactly when Rob Bodden was killed nor were investigators able to find evidence that his wife was involved.

"They looked, but they didn't find anything," Wilson said.

"Rob never told Karen because of the $2,000 he would turn her in. People who knew about it said Rob said he would not turn her in," Wilson said.

Wilson described Bodden's fatal wounds.

"The first shot was dead center at the back of his head. The second shot was at the right temple. That is cold-blooded murder. They theorize it was committed for less than $2,000," Wilson said.

The trial, before District Judge Dave Gamble, is expected to last up to three weeks.


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