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  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    TX - Steven Rodawalt, 24, Irving, 12 March 1993



    Fort Worth Star-Telegram





    Fort Worth Star-Telegram



    March 24, 1993

    Mystery surrounds death of Irving man after traffic accident A driver vanishes from the scene of a wreck. Ten days later his body, bearing no sign of serious injury, is found in a nearby ditch.


    Author: Domingo Ramirez; Star-Telegram Writer

    Edition: NORTHEAST AM
    Section: METRO
    Page: 17












    Index Terms:
    AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS-Fort Worth/Tarrant County

    Missing Persons



    Estimated printed pages: 2





    Article Text:

    IRVING - First, Steven Todd Rodawalt was involved in a traffic accident March 12 near Texas Stadium and left the scene. Three days later, his father reported him missing.

    On Monday, Rodawalt, 24, of Irving, was found dead in a drainage ditch just a few feet from the accident site.

    That's all police are sure of as they try to learn what happened to Rodawalt - who wasn't seriously injured - and how he died nearby.

    As of late yesterday, authorities had not determined what killed Rodawalt, who had not been seen since the accident.

    "There were some small abrasions on him, but that was about it," said Sydney Gomez, an Irving police spokeswoman.

    A ruling on the cause of Rodawalt's death should be made in the next few weeks after completion of toxicology and other tests, said a spokesman with the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office.

    Based on a preliminary autopsy, police don't believe that Rodawalt die! d from injuries suffered in the traffic accident or from falling into the ditch.

    "There were no external or internal injuries to cause his death," said police Capt. Travis Hall.

    Investigators scoured the scene yesterday where Rodawalt's body was found Monday afternoon by a motorist who had run out of gas and then noticed the body as he walked to use a phone, police said.

    Police believe that Rodawalt had been dead for several days.

    According to a traffic accident report, Rodawalt was driving a 1979 Olds Cutlass on March 12 when it hit the rear of another vehicle in the 2300 block of Storey Lane near Texas Stadium.

    Rodawalt was apparently driving home when the accident occurred, Hall said.

    "The other motorist walked to a telephone to call police, and when he returned, Rodawalt's vehicle was there, but he was gone," Gomez said.

    Police have no idea where Rodawalt was when the motorist returned.

    Three days l! ater, Norman Rodawalt, Steven's father, reported his son missing.

    "When we didn't hear from him on the day of the accident, we knew something had happened to him, but we didn't know what," Norman Rodawalt said yesterday. "He had been living with us, and I don't believe he had any health problems."

    Steven Rodawalt graduated from Irving Christian Academy and was attending the University of Texas at Arlington.

    "We don't know if he went to that ditch to hide or what," Hall said. "He had no identification on him except for a letter with his name on it."

    Funeral for Steven Rodawalt is tomorrow at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Irving. Burial will be in Oakgrove Cemetery.


    Steve was my son and I have gotten absolutely no help from the Irving Police Department. The wreck was minor and the two men in the other cars had shady pasts. The official cause of death was drowning but the only way to drown in that ditch would be if someone held your face in the water. I was only about an inch deep and two inches wide. The knees were scraped out of his jeans, the toes scuffed off his shoes and bruises and abrasions indicated he had been dragged. Anyone with a shred of advice would be welcome.

  2. #2
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    Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by okiloki
    ...
    Steve was my son and I have gotten absolutely no help from the Irving Police Department. The wreck was minor and the two men in the other cars had shady pasts. The official cause of death was drowning but the only way to drown in that ditch would be if someone held your face in the water. I was only about an inch deep and two inches wide. The knees were scraped out of his jeans, the toes scuffed off his shoes and bruises and abrasions indicated he had been dragged. Anyone with a shred of advice would be welcome.
    This is certainly an unusual case. Unless your son was frozen in a snow bank, I cannot fathom him being in a ditch for 10 days.

    You will need to get a copy of the accident report, which should indicate positions of all cars involved, locations of cross roads, etc, and damage to vehicles. Whether or not airbags deployed, seat belts worn, noticable blood, etc. would all be indicated.

    The article indicates that there was an autopsy being done to determine cause of death. Were the exact nature of other injuries and damage to shoes/trousers mentioned in that document? Did the autopsy determine how long he had been dead when found?

    Could this accident have been staged or set up? You mention other cars, how many total? Was he run into by a car following him?

    With the small amount of information that you mention, it sounds as if a case could be made for a staged accident, followed by an abduction and murder.

    What have you learned about the other men mentioned? Did they have any known connection with your son? Did they have any prior or subsequent crimes of a violent nature?

  3. #3
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    Oct 2005
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    unsafe

    Not sure it has anything to do with your case but, according to a simple web search on the name "Storey Lane", that road "Storey Lane" has a history of being a dangerous place to be,everything from a mentally disabled young man being raped when he missed his bus and walked to the next bus stop, to a hit and run which seems to have angered locals in the area and which caused a drive to be started to get curbs & sidewalks on the street which took several years to finally get accomplished. Just from the articles I read I got the impression it is a high crime, very unsafe place to be.

  4. #4
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    This is certainly an unusual case. Unless your son was frozen in a snow bank, I cannot fathom him being in a ditch for 10 days.

    It was March, a sunny and cool Friday. No snow or rain.

    You will need to get a copy of the accident report, which should indicate positions of all cars involved, locations of cross roads, etc, and damage to vehicles. Whether or not airbags deployed, seat belts worn, noticable blood, etc. would all be indicated.

    There was no accident report. There was a police report that seemed a bit strange. The men said that Steve ran into them and they talked to him and told him to stay there and they would go to the rundown motel they lived in and call the police. They did call the police and came back and his car was there but he was gone. (Actually, he was only 100 feet away in that drain pipe.) I don't know why they had to leave to use the phone when there were people with phones on the road and accidents are usually reported by passersby. We were hoping that he was ok and had amnesia and couldn't get home because he was always where he said he would be. The police told us that his car must have been stolen because they had no idea where it was but his friends found it in the Irving Police Dept impound before his body was found.

    The article indicates that there was an autopsy being done to determine cause of death. Were the exact nature of other injuries and damage to shoes/trousers mentioned in that document? Did the autopsy determine how long he had been dead when found?

    The autopsy is where I got the information about his shoes and jeans. The right side of his face was very abrased and looked like it had been held on the concrete as he struggled and the right lung was full of water. He also had enlongated marks on the front of his torso which also indicates dragging. The cause of death was ruled as drowning and they stated he has been dead for approx 10 days.

    Could this accident have been staged or set up? You mention other cars, how many total? Was he run into by a car following him?

    I have always thought this was a setup. That they slowed down slowly and he hit them. It was a minor accident and they drove to the motel in their vehicle. His wallet, watch and new leather jacket were missing.

    With the small amount of information that you mention, it sounds as if a case could be made for a staged accident, followed by an abduction and murder.

    I absolutely believe that this was staged as a robbery or insurance scam. They did sue and won a settlement and also complained about back injuries but continued to work as roofers while they collected the money.

    What have you learned about the other men mentioned? Did they have any known connection with your son? Did they have any prior or subsequent crimes of a violent nature?

    A few years later, I worked with a man who was a former Irving police officer. He told me that the motel, where the men were living, was a 'dump' that the police put their informants to set up other people. They were people who had been arrested and stayed there and were allowed to sell drugs and lure prostitutes in order for the police to make more arrests. Of course, the police deny this but he was certain because he had been a part of it and left because of the corruption he witnessed.

    A local newspaper 'The Observer' went to the Irving PD and tried to investigate but was turned away and an FBI agent tried to look at the records but they told him it was a cold case and there were no records or reports.

    After over 5 years I got what records they had and the statements from the men in the other car. Basically, that's where I got the story about the 'accident'. I tracked one of them down and called him on his job, still roofing for a family member. I asked him if Steve seemed drunk or injured and he said 'no, he was ok'. I asked him how old he thought Steve looked and he said '24', his exact age. That struck me as strange and I believe he knew that from stealing his wallet. The other man, his cousin, had moved away and nobody knew where he went, also strange.

    I went to the Police Dept and insisted that someone take me where Steve was found. When you walk down into that cement ditch, you are about 20 feet below the freeway and can't be seen. It's wide and the tunnel is long and large enough for several motorcycles to go through it at the same time. It had rained the day before and there was only that small amount of water there, as I mentioned in the first post.

    I truly believe that he was lured down there, maybe on the premise of walking to Texas Stadium to use the phone and call the police. He was an innocent and would have trusted them. I think someone got him down there, overpowered him, robbed him and then drug him into the tunnel.

    I also believe that someone knows what happened and may have told someone else. I'm hoping that anyone who has heard this story or anything similiar may surface and give me a lead. I just want to know the truth about what happened so I can have some kind of closure.

  5. #5
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    Bumping case up. It is now 20 years old.

  6. #6
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    Certainly a mystery with no really good explanations. This is the only relevant entry that comes up when I Google [Steve Rodawalt 1993]. Was Steve adopted?
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by STANDREID View Post
    Certainly a mystery with no really good explanations. This is the only relevant entry that comes up when I Google [Steve Rodawalt 1993]. Was Steve adopted?
    Yes, Steve was adopted.

  8. #8
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    Thank you. Twenty three years now and still no answers.



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