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RPSO still trying to solve 1972 homicide of man whose remains were found behind farmhouse

Death of Donald ‘Tad’ Rogers Koehler still unsolved
Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and Crime Stoppers of Central Louisiana need your help in solving a cold case from 1972.

It was June 30, 1972, when Donald ‘Tad’ Rogers Koehler was reported missing. According to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Koehler disappeared from the Alexandria area after dropping off his girlfriend for work at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. Investigators said they learned he was preparing to propose that night.

“He was reported missing,” said Major Mark Baden, who heads up the RPSO cold case unit. “[There was a] little wanted poster his daddy put out offering a $500 reward, but they never got any calls.”

A little over a month after Koehler’s disappearance, on July 31, 1972, his car, a 1964 light blue Mercury Comet, was found parked at the old Howard Discount Center on MacArthur Drive. Nearly four months after that, on Nov. 19, 1972, his remains were found on Cooper Road. Major Baden said, at the time, Cooper Road was a gravel road with an abandoned farmhouse. Investigators believe his neck was broken.

“The guy that owned the house, he was a farmer,” said Major Baden. “He had went out there to check on the house and the surroundings and he walked around the back of the house and he came upon bones.”

Major Baden said the spot was a known party area.

“This was way in the country,” he said. “They would drink and probably smoke a little pot and nobody messed with them because they were out in the woods.”

Forty-nine years later, the case remains stuck.

Major Baden has located Koehler’s old girlfriend and she’s been very helpful.

“She has thought of this every day since it happened,” he said.

Major Baden said it’s a rough feeling when you want to give a family closure, but it’s not soon enough before some family passes away.

“It just tears your heart out that you can’t give them the answer and the closure before they leave,” he said.

If you have any information that could help the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office solve the case of the death of Donald ‘Tad’ Rogers Koehler, you can contact them at 318-473-6700 or Crime Stoppers of Central Louisiana at 443-STOP. You can remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers, and your tip that leads to an arrest or indictment could lead to a reward of up to $2,500.

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