Robert Roach and Shannon Rodrigues are still searching for answers, exactly three years after their brother’s suspicious death.
On the night of Feb. 7, 2015, Sioux Narrows resident Richard Roach’s body was found on the side of Apache Road in Sioux Narrows. The 60-year-old local mechanic was last seen earlier that evening at a party at a nearby residence, and was found by a co-worker. The post mortem examination revealed that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma, consistent to that of a motor-vehicle collision.
Now on Feb. 7, 2018, the family is still hoping that someone comes forward with information about what happened that night. The OPP held a conference with Roach’s family and local media to help re-ignite discussions regarding the case, in the hopes that more information would be provided to help solve the cold-case.
“Today marks three years since the passing of our brother,” said brother Robert Roach. “Those of us who had the good fortune to get to know him know that he had a kind heart. He had a good sense of humour. A lot of friends. He was always trying to make others smile or laugh. He was a wonderful person. So selfless. What I miss the most about him, is not being able to spend any time with him, since he’s been gone. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about him and miss him,” he said.
“If anyone had a loved one, where they had no answers and nothing but questions, they would want to know what happened. If anyone knows anything, please come forward, so that our family can move forward as well. We don’t move forward, until we know what happened,” he added.
“We just want answers. We’re not bitter,” said sister Shannon Rodrigues, as she held back tears. “To the person responsible, I wouldn’t want to wake up every day and feel the guilt that you must feel. I couldn’t live with that. I don’t know how they could. Freedom is letting go. You’re not going to feel at peace with yourself, unless you come forward and help us, and help yourself at the same time. No bitterness. We just want answers. Everybody can be at peace, the guilty and the family,” she said.
“We’ve gotten to the point now that we can smile. We can laugh about things that we did as a family, but then we always stop. We need that answer. It’s hard to go on. He always tried making everyone laugh, no matter what. He was the better of us,” she added.
OPP Det./Insp., Randy Heida, made the trip from Orillia for the conference. He is the major case manager for the Criminal Investigation Branch for the OPP, and police are hoping that his experience will help bring more answers to the so far answerless case. Even as police are three years into the investigation, Heida is holding out hope that more members of the public will come forward with answers.
“We’ve been able to work with the public, and have been able to gather all of the information that they have shared with us. The question in this case, is that somebody did this to this man. The evidence shows that he was hit by a vehicle. We need to find out, if there are eye-witnesses out there that we haven’t spoken to yet. If there’s anyone out there that wants to talk to us, we’re ready to talk to them. We want to hear what they have to say,” he said.
Heida says that due to the secluded nature of the Sioux Narrows community – which has a reported population of 720 residents – the potential for eye-witnesses is fairly low. To compound the issue, Apache Road isn’t exactly a main drag in the community. The narrow, winding, twisting, snow-covered road connects the community from the highway to Totem Lodge, where Roach worked as a mechanic. However, the OPP believe that someone must have seen something.
“It’s a secluded area, not a lot of traffic or houses in that area. So, the potential for witnesses is less than an urban area, but we are hopeful. We believe that the information is in the community. That night, it was snowing heavily. It was cold. The conditions were not ideal. There’s no lighting in the area, but it’s a plowed road. So, there is the potential for traffic in the area. Somebody out there knows more information, and we believe that they will come forward with it and help us and the family move forward,” he added.
Heida says that while police are still searching for more information and more answers in the investigation, the community’s response has been outstanding.
“The community has been great. Absolutely terrific. The people that we spoke to, especially those who knew Rick, as a person, all liked him and wanted to help as much as they could. We’re hoping to continue that moving forward. There still might be people out there that we haven’t spoken to. So far, the cooperation that we received has been fantastic. The community has been very supportive of the investigation and the family,” he said.
Heida noted that the initial investigation conducted in 2015 had ‘issues’, and that the officers involved were ‘held accountable.’ Heida did not go into further details, adding that the OPP are only concerned about the current investigation.
Following the conference at the Sioux Narrows Detachment of the OPP, the family paid a visit to the place where Richard was found in 2015. Just off the side of Apache Road, a cross was built for Richard out of driftwood that he was working on – as he was an avid handyman and woodworking enthusiast. Mementos and a portion of his ashes were placed around the cross, as well as a scarf, a wreath, a dreamcatcher and his brother’s lucky fishing jig.
“Investigators strongly believe that the key to solving this incident rests with the people in this community,” said OPP S/Sgt. Jeff Duggan. He noted that there is a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of who is responsible. Duggan also noted that the OPP does not close unsolved cases, and the case will remain open until it is resolved. He says that the OPP will continue to follow up on any information, and all tips received.
If anyone has any information, they are asked to contact the Director of the OPP Criminal Investigation Services at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, or their nearest OPP detachment. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
For more information:
Roach case media conference
Roach investigation update set
$50,000 reward offered for information
OPP Reward information