The case of

Joan "Jo" Rogers, Christie Rogers, Michelle Rogers, Ivelisse Berrios-Beguerisse

Victim

Joan "Jo" Rogers, Christie Rogers, Michelle Rogers, Ivelisse Berrios-Beguerisse

Victim Race

Caucasian

Victim Date of Birth
Victim Age
Date Reported
Date of Death

May 26, 1989, and November 27, 1990

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Body Location
Date of Conviction

1992-09-24

Body Discovered Date
Murderer

Oba Chandler

Who is Oba Chandler?

Oba Chandler was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. At ten years old young Oba’s father, Oba Chandler Sr., committed suicide by hanging himself in the family’s apartment. Sources say as gravediggers were covering his father’s grave, Oba jumped on top of the casket and had to be physically removed as he stomped on his father’s coffin.

His father’s suicide was only the beginning of a life filled with troubles for Oba. Before he was eighteen, he was arrested twenty times. At first, the arrests were for petty crimes, but as Oba grew older, they became more intense. He was charged with armed burglary and kidnapping. While burglarizing a couple’s home, he forced the woman to strip to her underwear. He was caught touching himself while looking into a woman’s window in another instance.

Despite his felonious ways, Oba seemed quite a ladies man. Sources state he had eight children by seven different women. In the 1980s, Oba met Debra Whiteman. The couple married on May 14, 1988, and Oba promised his new bride his criminal history was in the past, and she had nothing to worry about.

After he married Debra, life seemed to be on the up and up, and Oba. He started an aluminum business in Tampa, Florida, where he now resided. Oba also decided to treat himself to a gift; a blue and white Bayliner boat to take on Tampa Bay.

Who Are Joan “Jo,” Christie, and Michelle Rogers?

Van Wert County, Ohio, is a close-knit neighborhood where most residents work on farms. The Rogers family made up of father Hal, mother Joan “Jo,” and daughter Christie and Michelle, hailed from here. Hal Rogers was a quiet, hardworking man, but Jo made up for what John lacked with her outgoing personality.

The daughters, Christie and Michelle, grew up on a farm, so it only made sense that they would have a passion for animals. Christie was like her mom, she was outgoing and popular, but Michelle took after her dad, quiet. Michelle preferred smaller groups to large parties but enjoyed spending most of her time with her new boyfriend, Jeff Feasby.

Michelle was secretly struggling; after her uncle, John Rogers, was arrested, everyone would find out the terrible truth. John, Hal’s brother, who lived in a mobile home on the farm, had been sexually abusing Michelle since she was fourteen years old. After John kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, tied her up, and filmed it, police also uncovered disturbing audio and camera footage of Michelle bound and pleading for help.

John was sentenced for the assault on his ex-girlfriend. Michelle refused to testify against him, so the charges against him were dropped regarding her. The family thought they deserved a vacation after what they had been through. There was a problem, though; work on a dairy farm never stops, not even for a trip. Someone from Roger’s family would have to stay behind to make sure the farm continued to run.

Hal Rogers volunteered to stay on the family dairy farm, allowing Jo to take their teen daughters on vacation. The girls decided on a trip to Florida. While Jo hoped to see the state’s beaches on their road trip, Michelle and Christe Rogers had other plans in mind, theme parks.

On May 26, Roger’s women started their journey to the sunshine state. They visited the Jacksonville Zoo, Disney’s MGM Studios, Seaworld, and more. After spending several days in central Florida, Roger’s ladies packed their 1986 light blue Oldsmobile Calais and went towards Tampa. Jo drove around for a while, searching for their hotel, Day’s Inn at Rocky Point. Eventually, Jo pulled over, took out a tourist brochure of the area, and began to look at the map.

As Jo sat pursuing the map, a man approached the vehicle. He was friendly, helped the ladies, and wrote directions to their hotel on Jo’s map. Before he left, the man asked Jo if she and her daughters would like to join him on a sunset sail, and Jo agreed. The friendly stranger told Jo the directions to the boat launch and a description of his boat, blue and white.

Thanks to the kind man, Jo, Christie, and Michelle were able to find their resort; they checked in at 12:30 PM. At 7:30 PM, Jo, Christie, and Michelle were seen leaving the restaurant attached to the motel after finishing their dinners. Before heading to the boat launch, the women returned to their hotel room and snapped a few photos before leaving for their boat ride.

One of the last photos on the camera featured Michelle sitting on the floor in flip-flops, white shorts, and a bikini top. In hindsight, the last photo on the roll seems like eerie foreshadowing; a beautiful sunset directly over Tampa Bay, the last one the women would ever see.

Three Bodies Found in Tampa Bay

On June 4, 1986, people on a sailboat underneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge were enjoying the warm summer day. Their day of fun on Tampa Bay soon turned to horror when the people aboard the vessel saw a body in the water in the distance.

Authorities were immediately alerted and tried to remove the body from the water, but it proved too difficult. A rope was tied around the victim’s neck and attached to a concrete block. The cord holding the concrete block was severed, and the body was pulled aboard a rescue boat.

A second body was discovered at the St. Petersberg pier about two miles from where the first body was found. Soon after, a call came in that a third body was found near the second. All three bodies were female, weighed down by a concrete block, and had their ankles and hands bound. Duct tape covered the victim’s mouths, and they all had their pants and underwear removed.

Investigation Into The Murder of The Roger’s Family

A medical examiner determined they had been in the water for approximately three to five days. The investigators determined the bodies had been dropped in the middle of the bay. As if from a boat. As days passed, detectives struggled to determine the identity of the three female victims.

It was on June 8 when a housekeeper at the Day’s Inn told her supervisor the occupants of room 251, the room of Jo and her daughters, had not been there for several days. All of their items were still in the room, but the beds had not been slept in. The news of the three female bodies in the bay clicked in the supervisor’s head as he rushed to dial 911.

Police contacted Hal at home in Ohio and asked him for his wife’s and teen daughters’ dental records. The bodies of the three female victims were identified as Jo, Christie, and Michelle Rogers. A pathologist determined the woman had drowned. Since the bodies had been in the water for some time, it was unclear if they were sexually assaulted, but it was assumed they were since all three women were nude from the waist down.

At first, police in Tampa looked into Hal for the triple murder, and his stern demeanor made him seem suspicious to police. Hal, who was seen at several restaurants in Ohio when it was determined the women were killed, loved his wife and daughter deeply but was just a man with a rugged exterior. Detectives also looked into Hal’s brother John, but it was determined he had nothing to do with the murders.

The vehicle belonging to the Roger’s women was found at a public boat ramp. Inside were two sets of directions written by two different people. One of the notes written on the hotel stationary pad was determined to be written by Jo. She had written down the boat launch directions and the phrase “blue w/ wht.” The second note on a tourist brochure read, “Coutney Campbell Causeway RT 60 Days Inn.”

Detectives compiled the evidence and put together a theory. It seemed as if Jo was describing the colors of a boat on her note. Whoever had taken them on the boat had indeed murdered them. Also, there was a note from an unknown individual with directions to the Day’s Inn.

An Assault on A 24-Year-Old Canadian Woman in Tampa

Judy Blair, a 24-year-old Canadian tourist, reported a sexual assault in May 1989. While on vacation in Madeira Beach, Florida, a kind man invited Judy aboard his blue and white boat for a sunset tour. She took him up on his offer, and the man took advantage of her and assaulted her on the boat.

A friend of Judy’s was waiting for her on the Madeira Beach boat ramp, and Judy believes that is the only reason she is alive. The brave woman survived the ordeal and was able to provide detectives with a composite sketch of her attacker. The composite sketch showed a man in his mid-thirties.

Police took a chance and posted the note from the unknown individual on the brochure on a billboard over Tampa. The sign read, “WHO WROTE THESE DIRECTIONS? You may know who killed the Roger’s Family.” Soon after the billboard went up, a local woman called in and said she recognized the handwriting on the billboard. She had just hired a contractor to put aluminum siding on her house, and she had a receipt with his writing. His name was Oba Chandler.

Oba Chandler lived only miles from where Jo parked their vehicle at the boat launch. Although, after the billboards went up in the area, he moved to Daytona Beach. It was also confirmed that Oba called his wife from his boat the night Judy was assaulted and Jo, Christie, and Michelle were killed, verifying he was out on his blue and white boat those nights.

The police sketch was also a dead ringer for Oba. The boat the assaults happened on was sold, but detectives could match Oba’s palm print to one left on the brochure. He was arrested on September 24, 1992, and charged with three counts of murder.

The Trial of Oba Chandler for The Murder of The Roger’s Family

Oba never denied meeting the Roger women. He said he wrote down directions to their hotel after Jo stopped him at a gas station and never saw them again. He called his wife those nights while he was out on the boat because of engine trouble, and he had also phoned the coast guard for assistance. No record of Oba phoning the coast guard existed. A boat mechanic also disputed his engine claims.

Witnesses testified, including a co-worker at his aluminum company, who said the morning after Roger’s women were murdered, Oba was very tired and bragged about a date he had with three women. Others testified that Oba confessed about the murders to them, saying the only reason Judy Blair was alive was that a friend was waiting for her back at the boat launch.

Oba was found guilty of the murders of Jo, Christie, and Michelle and sentenced to death in November 1994. The triple killer maintained his innocence the entire time he was on death row but was ultimately executed on November 17, 2011, at sixty-five years old in Florida State Prison. He ordered three salami sandwiches as part of his last meal. Protestors protested the death penalty while others cheered when the death warrant was signed by Governor Rick Scott. The serial killer was finally dead.

The Murder of Ivelisse Berrios–Beguerisse

Detectives always assumed Oba had killed before the Roger’s women, and in 2014 DNA testing confirmed that he did in South Florida. In November 1990, twenty-year-old Ivelisse Berrios–Beguerisse’s was sexually assaulted and strangled in Coral Springs.

The tires of her vehicle were slashed. It was presumed the person who cut her tires disguised himself as a “helpful and friendly” stranger before he attacked. Cold case detectives have been told to look into Oba Chandler’s location for any murders in the late 1980s and early 1990s, mainly in the Coral Springs area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Oba Chandler now?

Oba Chandler was executed by lethal injection for the murders of Joan Rogers and her teenage daughters Michelle and Christe in 2011.

What did Oba Chandler do to Roger’s family?

Oba Chandler abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered Jo, Christie and Michelle Rogers.

How many children did Oba Chandler have?

Oba chandler had eight children.

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