Arrest May End Mystery Of Trooper Slain In '72 -- Officer Was Shot With His Own Gun

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - One October night nearly 25 years ago, Trooper Roy Caffey radioed a dispatcher to say that he would meet his relief at the Interstate 26 interchange just north of town.

When the second Highway Patrol car arrived at the spot, Caffey, a 25-year patrol veteran, wasn't there. Then the radio crackled: Officer down, shot with his own gun. Caffey was found next to his cruiser a few miles away.

"They said he was shot in the face so many times they had to look at his name badge to see who he was," said his son, Robert Caffey, who was 15 at the time and who has pressed authorities for 24 years to solve the case.

On Feb. 14, authorities said they finally broke the case: Betsy Rourk Kemmerlin, 41, was arrested, and prosecutor Walter Bailey said he will charge her with Caffey's 1972 murder.

Investigators wouldn't say what led them to Kemmerlin and refused to give a motive for the slaying. The exact role she is alleged to have played has not been disclosed.

Bailey said Kemmerlin implicated her brother and another man - both now dead - as accomplices.

After the slaying, at least three motorists reported seeing a red car, perhaps a Mustang, stopped by the road and at least two men approaching the cruiser. The red car never was found.

There apparently was a struggle inside the cruiser. The dome light was smashed and the officer's hat was crushed. Caffey's pistol and holster never were found.

"We just never gave up," Robert Caffey said. "We wanted the people in the state of South Carolina to know that somebody killed not only a Highway Patrol officer but a father. I wanted to know who did it."

In 1994, the shooting was featured on TV's "Unsolved Mysteries," and new leads poured in. Also, a behavioral scientist who helped investigate the Susan Smith child murders drew up personality profiles of the killers.

Then last week, Bailey announced Kemmerlin's arrest.

"Her statement is she knows nothing about a murder," said her lawyer, Thomas Sims.