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Robarge homicide records: Police found blood, drag marks

Union Leader Correspondent

July 08. 2013 8:32PM
James Robarge, 43, looks over to his defense attorney Mimi Brill during Robarge's extradition hearing at Windham District Court in Brattleboro, Vt. on July 8, 2013. Robarge is charged in New Hampshire with the second-degree murder of his wife, Kelly Robarge, but he is currently held on charges unrelated to his wife's death. Robarge maintained his right to extradition and the state of New Hampshire has 30 days to officially request his return to be tried for the murder. (Valley News Libby March)

Police found spattered blood and signs of a body being dragged at Kelly Robarge's Charlestown home, court records show.

Her estranged husband, James R. Robarge, 43, was arraigned Monday on a fugitive from justice charge in Windham District Court in Brattleboro, Vt. He faces a charge of second-degree murder for recklessly causing Kelly Robarge's death by inflicting trauma to her body using homicidal violence, Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said.

The process of extraditing Robarge to New Hampshire — which he is fighting — could take several weeks to a month, Morrell said.

Kelly Robarge's body was discovered Saturday in Unity, more than a week after law enforcement officials launched an extensive search for her. James Robarge had been estranged from his wife for several months, Morrell said, and living at his father's home in Saxton's River, Vt.

Investigators believe Robarge killed his wife June 27, the same day she filed for divorce from him, Morrell said.

According to the affidavit, Robarge reported Kelly Robarge, 42, missing to one of their two adult daughters.

Ciera Robarge returned home from her shift at Walmart around 3:30 p.m. June 27 to find her father sitting outside 124 Happy Acres Road home with her nephew.

Robarge allegedly told his daughter he found his 1-year-old grandson on the couch crying with "no sign of Kelly, who was supposed to be baby sitting."

When Ciera took the baby inside the house to change his diaper, James Robarge said he was going to look for Kelly Robarge, the affidavit stated.

It was family friend Eiron Kimball who called Charlestown police to report Kelly missing, after Ciera Robarge called her.

"Eiron reported Kelly's purse and car were still on the property, but her cell phone was missing," the affidavit said.

Using cell phone records, Claremont police officer Eric Fosterling located James Robarge walking on the 2nd NH Turnpike in Unity shortly before 6 p.m., about 100 yards away from his broken-down 2000 Volkswagen Jetta.

He was shirtless, wearing jeans and sneakers.

Robarge said he had been in the area looking for his wife when his car broke down.

Soon after, a state trooper arrived and observed Robarge had injuries to his thumbs and index fingers, abrasions down his neck in a downward motion and scratch marks on his left chest and torso, which he told the officers were from his dogs.

They also observed blood on his sneakers and jeans.

When asked about his shirt, Robarge told police he hadn't worn one that day.

According to the affidavit, Robarge said he had consumed alcohol, so he was taken to the Claremont police station. He allowed the officers to take several items from him, including two knives.

Kelly Robarge's body was found Saturday, about 300 yards off Britton Road in Unity.

"The remains were located a short distance off the path, in an area where it appeared more oil had spilled and the grass was trampled down, consistent with a vehicle backing up and stopping. The female body was clothed in blue sweat type pants, with a white and red strip on each leg. The body had decomposed and had been obviously attacked by animals. A skull and jaw were found nearby the torso. On the torso's lower back was a tattoo of the humming bird and flowers," the affidavit said.

The tattoo and her dental records were used to identify Kelly Robarge during an autopsy Sunday afternoon.

During an interview, Ciera Robarge told a state trooper that "her father told her that her mother is having an affair, and that her mother is planning to take the house and truck in the divorce."

James Robarge has been held in Vermont's Southern State Correctional Center since July 2, when he was arrested in Bellows Falls, Vt., for attempting to elude police and grossly negligent operation.

In a brief arraignment in court Monday, public defender Mimi Brill said Robarge was not waiving his right to fight extradition. She requested bail.

Judge David Suntag said due to the seriousness of the charge, he would grant Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver's request that Robarge be held without bail.

Suntag had increased bail on Sunday to $100,000 after Robarge was charged with second-degree murder.

Suntag then explained to Robarge that New Hampshire authorities now have 30 days to issue a "governor's warrant" requesting he be extradited.

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