Saxtons River man accused in estranged wife's death

Monday July 8, 2013

ROCKINGHAM -- The death of a New Hampshire woman who had been missing for nearly two weeks is a homicide, and an arrest warrant has been issued for her estranged husband in Vermont on a second-degree murder charge, authorities said Monday.

The charge alleges that James Robarge of Saxtons River recklessly caused the death of 42-year-old Kelly Robarge on June 27 in Charlestown, N.H., by inflicting trauma to her body.

James Roberge is jailed at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield on unrelated motor vehicle charges stemming from his arrest last week in Bellows Falls near a medical center.

Vermont State Police have charged the 43-year-old Robarge with being a fugitive from justice. He was expected to be arraigned on that charge in Windham District Court in Brattleboro on Monday afternoon.

His attorney, Mimi Brill, declined to comment.

Fish and Game officers and New England K-9 Search and Rescue found the body of a woman Saturday in a wooded area in Unity, N.H. An autopsy Sunday confirmed the body was that of Kelly Robarge, and the cause of death was homicidal violence by undetermined causes.

On June 27, the day she disappeared, Kelly Robarge had filed for a divorce from Robarge. Shortly after she was reported missing, New Hampshire authorities had said they feared she had suffered serious injury or death.

Assistant Senior Attorney General Susan Morrell said the body of Kelly Robarge was identified Sunday from dental records and a distinctive tattoo.

Morrell said the cause of Robarge's death was homicidal violence by undetermined means. The manner of death was determined to be a homicide.

Fish and Game officers and New England K-9 Search and Rescue found the body Saturday.

The 42-year-old Robarge hadn't been seen since June 27.

James Robarge, 43, of Saxtons River, was in Windham County Superior Court last week answering to unrelated charges after he led members of the Bellows Falls Police Department on a chase Tuesday afternoon.

New Hampshire and Vermont authorities confirmed during the arraignment Wednesday that James Robarge was a suspect in the then-missing person's case involving his wife, Kelly.

In a press release that was issued late Saturday Morrell said local, state and federal law enforcement officials helped in the search for Kelly Robarge.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Department, New Hampshire and Vermont state police, members of the FBI, as well as local police officers were joined by the civilian New England K-9 Search and Rescue team.

On Tuesday James Robarge allegedly called the Rockingham Medical Center to make an appointment.

A doctor called police because it was thought that the person who made the call, "was likely to become violent and hurt himself or others," court records show.

Two Bellows Falls police officers later spotted Robarge's 1996 Chevrolet Blazer on Route 121 and Robarge was stopped.

He later took off, about 25 mph above the speed limit, when the police tried to have him exit the vehicle.

Robarge allegedly drove to the medical center, entered the building and led police on a chase through the halls.

He was tackled to the ground by an officer and apprehended.

He is facing a felony charge of attempting to elude with gross negligent operation and a misdemeanor charge of gross negligent operation. He pleaded not guilty to both charges in Windham Superior Court Wednesday.

Court records show that Kelly Robarge filed for divorce on the day she was last seen

James Robarge was contacted by New Hampshire law enforcement officials after his wife was reported missing.

The New Hampshire assistant attorney general said Saturday that since Kelly Robarge disappeared on the morning of June 27 she had no communication with family or friends.

Morrell said the circumstances surrounding her disappearance were suspicious and there was concern that she had suffered serious physical injury or death.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions