The Tragic 1993 Murder Of Jessica Roach

The following article includes information regarding murder and sexual assault.

Jessica Roach was only a sophomore in high school when she died under tragic circumstances (via The Cinemaholic). Roach was just 15 years old and she wanted to become an airplane pilot when she was older. According to the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (via FindLaw), on September 20, 1993, Jessica Roach went outside to ride her bicycle. 

The teen left her home in Georgetown, Ill. to ride her brand-new bike around town. But tragedy struck when Jessica's sister found the bike lying on the road, but Jessica was nowhere to be found. Her sister alerted their father, who contacted the police. But Jessica would never be seen alive again. Six weeks after she went missing, her remains were discovered in Perrysville, Indiana, which is close to the state's border. Her body was found when a farmer discovered her body while using his combine. Jessica's body showed signs of having been there for some time. Due to the state of her remains, it was difficult for investigators to learn more about when, how, or where she died (per FindLaw).

Hall denied knowing Roach

According to Bustle, police found suspect Larry Hall about a year later when he began trailing a pair of girls. The girls reported him to the police and provided investigators with Hall's license plate number. When he was brought in for police questioning and shown a photo of Roach, Hall apparently flinched and covered his face before denying that he'd ever seen her.

A confession eventually did trickle out, with Hall telling police that he tied her up but couldn't remember what he used (per CNN). He then said that he removed her clothing, raped her, and strangled her against a tree with his belt. Hall also provided vague descriptions of other young girls he'd abused: "I picked up several girls in other areas, but I can't remember which ones I hurt," he told police. 

The other person he did remember raping and killing was 19-year-old Tricia Reitler. He recanted that information almost immediately, and by the next day, he claimed he was just telling the police about his dreams. The department still searched his house where they found incriminating notes and a suspicious shopping list. Investigators also found altered photos of Roach and Reitler, mixed in with pornographic images that had blood and ropes drawn onto them. Still, Hall claimed he'd actually staged that scene to garner attention.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Hall wanted to 'watch over the dead'

Bustle reports that Hall was given a life sentence with no possibility of parole. The police thought Hall was capable of crimes against numerous other women, but they couldn't prove it. At that point, investigators enlisted another inmate, James "Jimmy" Keene, who was just handed a 10-year-sentence in prison without parole (via Newsweek). Keene had only been incarcerated for the drug charges for a few months when the U.S. Attorney asked if he wanted to try and gain information on Hall. 

If Keene cooperated and held up his end of the bargain by finding information on Hall's other victims (including the location of the victims' remains), his prison would end. Keene agreed to become an informant, and the two inmates became friends over time. One day in the prison workshop, Keene spotted Hall carving some falcons and placing them on a map marked with red dots. Hall allegedly told Keene that the birds were to "watch over the dead."

Where is Larry Hall today?

James Keene immediately blew his cover after telling the FBI this new information so prison guards put him in solitary confinement while Larry Hall remained in the regular prison (via Newsweek). By the time Keene got out, there was no map or wooden falcons to be found, and Hall continues to dispute his past confessions to this day. Keene was released from prison anyway, and the tale of his time with Hall was turned into an Apple TV + miniseries in 2022 called "Black Bird."

Despite his numerous denials, one confession that Hall hasn't recanted was one given in 2011 regarding the murder of Laurie Depies (via Newsweek). He provided police with information about her that was never released publicly, and they began to reinvestigate her 1992 murder case. Per The Cinemaholic, even with a lot of circumstantial evidence found at his residence and told to police in interviews, Larry Hall has never been charged with any crimes besides Jessica Roach's kidnapping. According to the Miami Herald, in 2017, police officially reopened the murder case of Tammy Zywicki, of which Hall is a suspect. Today, Hall is incarcerated at a medium-security prison in North Carolina.

Jessica Roach's loved ones held benefits in past years in her memory, and, in 2015, they created a scholarship in her name (per Jessie Roach Memorial via Facebook). The page also shared photos of Roach's gravestone, which features the engraved image of an airplane.