This story, the murder of 16-year-old Stephanie Faye Wagner, is an example of why I believe in the death penalty. On Halloween night 2006, Stephanie was killed on her way home from work. She stopped to help a co-worker who appeared to be having car problems. She worked as a waitress at the Indian Head Restaurant, he, worked there as a diswasher. But he was no ordinary dishwasher. He was Danny Rouse, a 51-year-old convicted child murderer. Did Stephanie know this? Doubtful, as she normally did not work with him. But by all accounts, she was a friendly and helpful person. She probably did not think twice before stopping to help him. When Stephanie did not come home from work, her parents called the police, but then also family members went out to look for her. In fact, it was family members who found her abandoned car, with her purse and cell phone still in the car, but her shoes outside of the car, and a pair of sunglasses. The next morning Rouse showed up to work as normal, and the police took him in for questioning.
Rouse was taken into custody Nov. 1. Police say that during questioning he admitted murdering Stephanie Wagner after she spotted his vehicle on the side of the road and stopped to help.“He said he attempted to strangle Stephanie Wagner and he thought that he had strangled her to death,” Wallace, the Cass County detective, said during Rouse’s probable cause hearing. “And then he noticed that . . . she was not dead and he used what he described as an 8-inch hunting knife, an 8-inch blade … and he stabbed her.”Wallace testified that he drew a map and Rouse pointed out where he’d dumped Stephanie’s body. She was found about a mile from her abandoned car, two rows deep in a field of corn.
Danny Rouse is being held without bond and he has another court date coming up on Jan. 29.
However, in addition to this case, apparently there may be more:
Rouse is also being questioned about two northern Indiana murders committed in the mid-1970s. Police say Rouse gave information in prison that could mean he is a possible suspect in the October 1975 death in Fulton County of 26-year-old Lela Donnelly Hildebrandt. Police also are looking into Rouse’s possible connection to the 1974 death of Nellie Mikesell in Fulton County.
Thus far nothing more has been said about these 2 additional cases, but I am sure more information will be coming out soon. If he is indeed the murderer in those cases, then he will be classified as a serial murderer, as there will be 4 cases attributed to him, including the murder he spent 26 years in prison for, Jason Learst. If he had not been released on parole for that one, at least one life would have been saved.
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Filed under: Amber Alert, crime, high profile, murder, murder in the 21st Century Tagged: | 2006, Amber Alert, arrest, Danny Rouse, homicide, Indiana, missing person, Stephanie Faye Wagner, Stephanie Wagner, teen murder