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Cold-case sleuths try to crack brutal 1975 murder of ISU student
In this 1975 Pantagraph file photo, investigators look at evidence at the scene of the beating death of Carol Rofstad, an Illinois State University student. (Pantagraph file photo)

NORMAL - Investigators with a college in Cicero hope to uncover evidence that would solve the brutal murder of an Illinois State University student more than 32 years ago. "I think the case is eminently solvable," said George Seibel, director of Morton College's Institute for Cold Case Solution.

"And as long as the truth comes out, it doesn't matter who does it," he said.

Seibel, a former Chicago homicide detective, said he doesn't have proof of what happened to Carol Rofstad on December 23, 1975. But he and student staff members conducted more than 250 interviews since November, and he gave Normal police upward of 50 pages of documents.

"We have a suspect, they have a couple suspects, and hopefully we can find a couple crumbs to send to police," Seibel said.

Normal Assistant Police Chief Kirk Ijams said unsolved murder cases are never closed. And his department has followed up on tips on the case over the last 30 years.

Ijams declined to confirm or deny Seibel or anyone else had given tips in connection with Rofstad's death. He encourages people to call if they have information, he said, but the vast majority of leads don't pan out.

"It's a tough case because it's so old," Ijams said. "But we haven't given up on it."

Robert Rofstad, Carol's brother, said two Normal detectives recently talked to him about his sister's death. And he said it is encouraging that Morton College is investigating the case, though he didn't know about the school's investigation or what access its members have to evidence.

Robert Rofstad was 18 at the time of his older sister's death, he said. He knows police want a conviction, but he especially wants his elderly mother and father to know who was responsible for their daughter's death, he said.

"We just want to know why and who," Rofstad said.

Robert Rofstad said Normal's new investigators seemed professional, and there always is a chance some new forensic evidence will surface.

"They couldn't promise anything, and you can understand that," Robert Rofstad said.

Seibel said his institute started looking into the case after finding it on the state police Web page for unsolved cases.

He said he was familiar with the case. Seibel's old police investigative unit on city's west side did some investigation on one suspect in the years following Rofstad's death, he said.

In talking with people who knew Rofstad, Seibel said one name repeatedly came up. He declined to say who that suspect is, but he described him as a man with a "rich history of violence toward females" and a man who had made believable threats against at least eight people's lives.

Seibel said his institute is careful to be respectful to what police are doing, and he turns over to police any information gathered. He said he thinks Rofstad needs to rest in peace, and her elderly parents deserve closure.

"Somebody, whoever it might be, essentially has been laughing on a daily basis, convinced that they beat this thing," Seibel said, later adding, "It would be a wonderful thing for somebody to knock on his door and say 'Come with us, the party's over.'"


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