Is Indiana man dead or has he assumed some other identity?
VOL 242, NO. 39 LOUISVILLE, SUNDAY MORMNG, FEBRUARY 8, 1976 Copyright 1976, The Courier-Journal Courier-Journal Courier-Journal t Timet Is Indiana man dead or has he assumed some other identity? By GLENN RUTHERFORD Courier-Journal Courier-Journal Courier-Journal Staff Writer NASHVILLE, Ind. On the evening of Nov. 18, 1970, fire destroyed the five-car five-car five-car garage behind Clarence Roberts' house here. Some people believe the fire also destroyed destroyed Clarence Roberts. Some people don't. The fact is someone did, indeed, perish in the garage more than five years ago. The body lies buried in the Roberts family family plot in, Nashville Memorial Park. And the fact is Clarence Roberts, who would be 57 now, hasn't been seen or heard from since the day of the fire. There are, however, few other incontrovertible incontrovertible facts in this bizarre case. Indiana State Police investigators, physicians physicians and forensic pathologists, and townspeople who knew and liked Roberts all possess enough confusing and contradictory contradictory information about the case to baffle both Perry Mason and Ellery Queen. The state police say they have a "sub- "sub- stantial amount" of information indicating indicating the body found in. the garage debris wasn't Clarence Roberts. But one of their own, Lt. Col. Al Walker, Walker, a veteran of 23 years of police work and who was directly involved in the investigation, investigation, believes the body buried in Nashville is that of Roberts. So does Roberts' Roberts' wife, Geneva. Theories about the mystery abound, each with its share of official support, each with its share of corroborative circumstantial circumstantial evidence. But the two main theories are these: Clarence Roberts, a once-successful once-successful once-successful businessman at the brink of financial ruin and personal embarrassment, decided decided to end the tragedy through suicide. Roberts accomplished what, other troubled men only fantasize: He dropped out, left it all behind, disappeared and took on a new identity. He tricked some wine-soaked wine-soaked wine-soaked derelict into playing the sui cide role for him, set fire to the man and his garage, then fled. The latter theory has more variations and apparently more believers than the former. Roberts is said to. be either in Europe, living on the proceeds of a Swiss bank account, or . hiding in the . United States, waiting for the courts to declare him legally dead. That done, his wife (or widow), Geneva', could receive the $1 million million life insurance that Roberts carried to protect his business investments. , Among those who apparently believe Roberts is alive are the members of a Brown County grand jury who heard testimony testimony in the case last November. Though their report to Circuit Judge David Woods was sealed, Indiana State Police Capt. Stan Kenny said the grand jury "saw fit to indict" Roberts. "We have a warrant for his arrest," Kenny said. And newspapers in Indianapolis have See DID Page 16. col. 1, this section