Local News

Judge Reduces Bond For Husband Of Missing Durham Cellist

Posted April 24, 2003
Updated December 10, 2006

— Robert Petrick, the husband of missing Durham cellist Janine Sutphen, has been in the Durham County Jail for three months on charges of bank fraud -- charges that he has always denied. Investigators said the charges are related to Sutphen's disappearance.

Five new charges were added to Petrick's previous fraud charges and his bond increased from $10,000 to $160,000. Wednesday, his bond was reduced to $10,000. Petrick's attorney said his client does not have the money to get out of jail.

A ruling is expected by Judge Orlando Hudson Thursday whether Petrick's car, which is being held as evidence, can be returned to him.

Through the glass of a visitation booth in the jail Tuesday, Petrick expressed his frustration with being in jail while his wife is missing and while his financial life crumbles.

"When I was arrested, I wasn't even questioned about these charges. I was arrested," Petrick said. "The detective spent a period of time trying to get me to confess to murder. I told him I didn't do it. Then I asked for an attorney."

Petrick heard the news Monday that a body was found in Alamance County

could be that of his missing wife. Later, he heard it was not Sutphen's body.

"I hope they find her if she is dead because hopefully, they'll also find some evidence that I didn't do this," Petrick said. "I want to find my wife. I've already hired a private investigator because they (Durham police) are not looking for her. They're just waiting for her body to turn up."

When asked if Petrick thought his wife might be alive, he said, "I hope so. I can't logically believe it, but I have got to hope. It's all I've got."

Petrick would not say how he was able to hire a private investigator. He has not been able to put together $1,500 for bail. He was also unable to attend a foreclosure hearing Tuesday on his home.

Petrick was emotional when talking about how friends have abandoned him and believe the worst about him.

"All I could ask at this point is that people would give me the benefit of the doubt that I might not have done this. I haven't even been charged with it. Give me the benefit of the doubt that I might not be guilty," Petrick said.

Petrick said he hopes to be able to sell his car to raise bail money, but Durham police are holding his car along with thousands of dollars of computer equipment.

Police have not named Petrick as a suspect in his wife's disappearance.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all