Gayle Barrus Murder: How Did Her Killer ‘Roger Plato’ Die? Let’s check out. Gayle Barrus, a 30-year-old single mother of three, was reported missing after leaving a coffee shop in Battle Creek, Michigan, on October 9, 1988. Her remains were discovered 16 days later in nearby Emmett Township.
The hugely popular true-crime documentary series On The Case With Paula Zahn is slated to examine the heart-wrenching cold case of Battle Creek homicide in its next episode, titled “Shadowy Figures.”
Season 24 of the show is currently airing. Episode 11 will focus on the Battle Creek case and will premiere on Investigation Discovery and Discovery+ on May 8 (Sunday), 2022, at 10 PM/9c.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about the incident, such as the victim’s background, the evidence available, the assailant’s motives, and the general aftermath, we’ve got you covered.
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What Caused Gayle Barrus’ Death?
Gayle Barrus was a compassionate and devoted single mother to three children at the age of 30, but she was also gregarious, enthusiastic, and almost tireless in her professional pursuits. She worked as a waitress in at least two places, sometimes pulling double shifts to make ends meet, but she still found time for herself, a fact well-known in the neighbourhood.
That’s why her visit to Speed’s Koffee Shop in the early morning hours of October 9, 1988, after a shift at a neighbouring pub, was hardly remarkable. Gayle, on the other hand, created an impression that night by wearing a striking sweater and sharing a booth with two men until she departed around 3:30 a.m., which was significant because she never returned home.
The search for the man who murdered a single mother might lead police to the perpetrator of a second brutal crime with chilling similarities. Don't miss the premiere of "Shadowy Figures" Sunday at 10 pm/9c on Investigation Discovery and discovery+! pic.twitter.com/9QoWeqKsoV
— On The Case With Paula Zahn (@OTCPaulaZahn) May 3, 2022
It was unusual for the mom to be away from her children on weekends, so when the minors chatted with neighbours on Sunday evening, they didn’t hesitate to phone 911 and submit a missing person’s report.
There was a massive search for Gayle in Battle Creek, Michigan for the next 16 days, but all that was found were her cold remains on River Road in Emmett Township. She was discovered with her pullover pulled up, her trousers down, and 12 knife wounds across her stomach and upper back (some fatal).
As if that wasn’t enough, her autopsy report revealed she had defensive injuries, indicating she struggled for her life till the end.
Who Killed Gayle Barrus and Why?
When the investigation began, it was discovered that Gayle’s car had been parked outside Speed’s Koffee Shop until someone called to have it confiscated, thinking it had broken down. The link between her disappearance and this moment had not been formed, thus the ultimately fruitless forensic analysis was essential – it almost proved that Gayle hadn’t even made it to her car on October 9, 1988.
The two men Gayle was last seen dining with became a major focus of the investigation, especially after a waitress said they had left shortly after her. There were no firm leads at the time, but someone had called in to say they’d seen the victim potentially arguing with a male next to a green pick-up truck just yards away from the crime scene.
What’s more, their description of the individual matched one of the males in question; yet again, the case became cold due to a lack of unambiguous identification. One of Gayle’s sons called the Battle Creek Police Department on the 30th anniversary of her death to beg that her case be reopened, only to discover that others were already working on it.
Since she’d been sexually attacked, there had been a lot of biological evidence, but it turned out that none of it had been tested against the most likely suspect, then-24-year-old Roger Plato. The reason for this was that no DNA samples from him were accessible, until one was discovered during a regular audit in another county. The further testing yielded an almost perfect match in 2021.
In his official judgement, Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert said, “There is more than enough evidence to charge and bring Roger Plato to trial for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Gayle Barrus.” “There’s no evidence they knew one other before she died, and there’s no reason why his DNA would be in her underwear other than criminality.”
How Did ‘Roger Plato’ Die?
Roger Allan Plato, sadly for Gayle Barrus’ family, can never be forgiven for her death because he died two days before her body was discovered, on October 23, 1988. He’d been recognised as a suspect in another sexual assault case due to his green pick-up truck, but when officers approached him for interrogation, he refused to comply.
A struggle occurred, and he was shot and killed on the spot by a detective. It’s worth noting that this case occurred two weeks prior to Gayle’s disappearance.
Don’t miss On The Case With Paula Zahn’s next episode, ‘Shadowy Figures,’ premiering exclusively on Investigation Discovery and discovery+ on May 8 (Sunday), 2022.
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