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Suspect in insurance examiner's death faces embezzlement charges

Posted February 6, 2009

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— The man charged with killing a state insurance investigator last spring has been charged with embezzling money from clients, state Department of Insurance officials said Friday.

Michael Howell, 41, of 5404 Fredrick St. in Indian Trail, was charged with 25 counts of embezzlement by an insurance agent. Howell remains in the Mecklenburg County Jail on a charge of first-degree murder in the May death of Sallie Rohrbach, 44, of Angier.

Rohrbach's body was found wrapped in garbage bags in a wooded area of Fort Mill, S.C., on May 20. Authorities haven't been able to determine the cause of death.

Department of Insurance officials said Rohrbach was sent to examine the books of the Dilworth Insurance Agency when she disappeared on May 14. Howell owned the agency.

Each embezzlement charge filed against Howell represents a premium payment that Howell pocketed instead of forwarding to an insurance company, according to warrants. Investigators said the transactions occurred between March 2004 and May 2008 and were to cover premiums owed to GMAC Insurance and Discovery Insurance companies.

A full audit of Dilworth Insurance Agency has been turned over to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office, officials said. The case remains under investigation, and more charges could be filed, they said.

Soon after Rohrbach's body was found, sources in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told CBS affiliate WBTV that she died from blunt force trauma and that the slaying occurred inside Howell's office.

Police seized a stick from the office as possible evidence in early June, according to a search warrant. Testing produced positive results for traces of blood on a carpet and a computer cord.

11 Comments

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  • pebbles262004 Feb 6, 2009

    Yes, she was still married and lived with her husband.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 6, 2009

    25 years in the slammer should do it.

  • gohawks Feb 6, 2009

    this was an awful story
    her husband was not ever a suspect

    I wish Howell was up for the death penalty
    he does not deserve anything for taking a innocent life
    she was protecting the citizens of NC

  • shirleyr1 Feb 6, 2009

    Sallie was married at the time of her death, and there was no ex husband. And yes her loved ones do read this blog.

  • happymom Feb 6, 2009

    "This is truly sad, it makes one wonder though, if her ex husband had anything to do with it?
    pingaels"

    I thought she was married, and WHY does this story make you wonder if her "ex-husband" had anything to do with it? Looks like the motive was to cover up embezzlement by a business owner. How does that have anything to do with her family?

  • ENC-43 Feb 6, 2009

    pingaels-gee whiz......obviously you didn't keep up with this story when it happened, so I don't know why you feel you need to comment on it now. Anyone that knew this situation knew that her husband (yes, they were married) had absolutely nothing to do with it. You might want to remember that her loved ones are probably reading these comments. Comments like yours certainly would add even more hurt.

  • nandud Feb 6, 2009

    There was no ex-husband.

  • rcrdngcountry Feb 6, 2009

    the death penatly is the answer to cold blooded murder.

  • atlpeach Feb 6, 2009

    Wasn't she & her husband still married?

  • pingaels Feb 6, 2009

    This is truly sad, it makes one wonder though, if her ex husband had anything to do with it?

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