House of secrets

Roger Ellison was reportedly seen on the Pash property on several occasions prior to his disappearance on the morning of February 10, 1981. What happened after that is unknown. Cops dug up the backyard and no human remains were found. Could they have missed something, or was Roger buried in the crawl space underneath the house? Research indicates that killers sometimes use crawl spaces to dispose of bodies. Case in point: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy murdered 33 young men and boys burying most of their bodies in the crawl space beneath his suburban Chicago home, and more recently the body of a college student from West Virginia was found in a crawl space at an apartment building where she lived.

I drove to the former Pash house one Saturday afternoon in search of answers. Upon my arrival, the first thing I noticed was the front entrance facing east. It ran parallel to Highway 65, a somewhat busy two lane highway even back then, and the only main road leading in and out of town. The driveway entrance also faced east with access to the property off of Highway 65. Suppose a murder had been committed. There would have been limited opportunity to carry out the crime and dispose of the body through the front entrance during daylight hours without being seen.

I walked up to the front door and knocked. An elderly gentleman answered the door and invited me in. As it turned out, he was well aware of the Roger Ellison investigation because he was the county coroner the year Roger disappeared.

For the next two hours, the homeowner took me through the house which was being renovated and showed me every nook and cranny, including the basement crawl space. While replacing the floor joists in the kitchen and bath area on the north side of the house a few years back, the homeowner said he saw a depression of what looked like the body of a teenager in a fetal position in the dirt below the floor in the crawl space. He called investigators who returned to the house and excavated the crawl space. No human remains were reportedly found.

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 Stairs leading into the basement.          

 

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Basement crawl space searched by police for the remains of Roger Ellison who disappeared on February 10, 1981. 

Inside the kitchen area was a framed north facing opening that in all likelihood was a kitchen window in the Pash house. I also noticed what appeared to be two north facing windows on the wall next to the staircase leading up to the second floor. They were boarded up and closed off and it’s unclear whether they were functioning windows in 1981. There was another north facing window in a sun porch off of a second floor bedroom with clear views of the high school’s south entrance. A rock wall about three feet high ran parallel to the Pash property on the north and Cedaredge High School on the south separating the two lots. A group of school kids nicknamed the ‘rockwallers’ used the wall for smoke breaks before and after school and in between classes. With an abundance of north facing windows in close proximity to the rock wall, it’s highly unlikely that Roger’s disappearance went unnoticed. 
 
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 A north facing window that has been boarded up and closed off.       

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A second floor sun porch window with views of the south entrance at Cedaredge High School. 

While interviewing the homeowner, I discovered one more place of interest on the former Pash property that hasn’t been searched. I am following up on that lead and will post more information as it becomes available. For a detailed cold case timeline, check out “Inside A Reporter’s Notebook.” Share your views on my blog or click on the Contact page to send me an email.

Lori

Coming up: Suicide versus homicide, you decide  

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