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Woman believes foul play involved in sister's death

December 15, 2005|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Pennsylvania State Police have yet to make a determination on the manner of death of a woman killed Sunday by a train, but Angela M. Roberts' sister believes she might have been the victim of foul play.

"I think someone killed her. There's no way in hell she'd kill herself," MaryAnn Collins of Chambersburg, Pa., said Wednesday. "Angela thought the world of her mother. That's another reason I know it wasn't suicide, because it happened on her mother's birthday."

The body of Roberts, 39, formerly of 263 Garfield St. in Chambersburg, was found Sunday night on railroad tracks near the Walter Avenue bridge in Greencastle after a crew member of a passing train reported seeing what appeared to be clothing by the tracks.

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Police and Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said Roberts was killed by a train. Although her body was discovered Sunday night, Trooper David Peck said she died "in the early morning hours" of Sunday, and the investigation had determined which train struck her and the approximate time it occurred.

Peck said police have not determined whether her death was a suicide, accident or homicide. He said no further information on the investigation will be available until at least next week.

Police gave Roberts' address as Greencastle, and Peck confirmed Wednesday that she was staying at the Econo Lodge before her death. He said there were no obvious signs of drug or alcohol involvement in her death, but that toxicology tests had not been completed.

Roberts was due in Franklin County Court on Wednesday for mandatory arraignment on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a prohibited offensive weapon and disorderly conduct. She had been charged by state police on Sept. 12 after an incident near Fayetteville, Pa.

The affidavit of probable cause stated police went to the 5000 block of Lincoln Way East for a disturbance involving a man and a woman. Roberts told police the man owed her $200, the affidavit stated.

During the investigation, police said a large dagger was found in her car, along with empty beer cans with copper foil and an empty pen that could be used to smoke crack cocaine.

Collins said Roberts had lost her home in Chambersburg within the last month and also had lost her job as a driver for a vehicle parts company.

"That was because of the drugs. The same reason she's dead," Collins said.

Roberts had a drug problem years ago that had resurfaced, but her life had not always been troubled, Collins said.

"She was involved in drugs before, but she got her life straightened out," she said.

"Angela had a good heart ... She would have done anything for anybody," Collins said. "Before she got involved in this, she was a family person."

Dara Taylor, who along with her husband owns Rob N Dara's, a tavern in Chambersburg, also recalled Roberts' generosity.

"Last Christmas, she bought all of our employees gifts ... and she was clean last year," Taylor said. In recent months, however, "she was going through difficult times."

Roberts has two sons and a daughter from a previous marriage, Collins said. Roberts remarried, but was separated from her husband, Kenneth H. Roberts, Collins said.

According to court records, Kenneth Roberts had finished serving a county prison sentence for sexual assault in August and is on probation for a related conviction of indecent assault.

Collins said there are several questions she wants the investigation to answer. She asked how her sister got to the railroads tracks, about a mile from where she was staying, on a bitterly cold night. Collins also said her sister's vehicle was not found near the body.

Collins also wants to know why her sister might have felt a need to carry a weapon such as the dagger found in her car when she was arrested.

"I'll never let this rest until they find who killed her," she said.

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