Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Shotgun Slaying of Bruce and Darlene Rouse

A Visit from the Past

For 15 years the Rouse case continued to gnaw on detectives, especially Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Chuck Fagan. He was one of the original detectives on the case and always considered Billy a suspect. He told the Chicago Tribune in 1995 that he had been carrying Billy's picture in his wallet for the past 15 years.

Fagan and his partner Mike Blazincic were part of a cold case team, and they decided to take another look at the Rouse murder. "There was little doubt in my mind who did it," Blazincic told the Tribune in 1995. They tracked Billy to Key West and called the police there, asking to be notified if he were to be arrested again.

Key West Police sign
Key West Police sign

The detectives wouldn't have to wait long. Three months later, the phone rang. It was Key West police calling to say Billy had been arrested in connection with two bank robberies. Fagan and Blazincic flew to Florida, intent on talking to Billy on videotape. He would oblige them.

William Rouse
William Rouse

Billy greeted the detectives with, "I expected you guys a long time ago," according to the Tribune. Billy told them he thought of his parents' murders every day, saying, "I think I really might have done it."

Fagan and Blazincic were surprised — they couldn't believe their luck. The only other person who would have been able to crack the case was Robin, and she was dead. Billy was their only shot, short of finding the murder weapon with his prints on it. Now he was ready to tell them what happened and also agreed to undergo hypnosis and take a polygraph test.

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