Local News

Police: Ex-worker confessed to killing Applebee's manager

Posted June 18, 2009

— Roanoke Rapids police said that a former Applebee's employee confessed to killing a manager who a co-worker found dead inside the restaurant Monday.

Police Chief Jeff Hinton said that Joshua Lindell Rouse, 22, of Roanoke Rapids, made the confession after being arrested Thursday on first-degree murder charges in the death of Sandy Denise Riedel, 29.

Sandy Denise Riedel Man arrested in slaying of Applebee's manager

Riedel was found in the restaurant, at 210 Premier Blvd.,  around 7:40 a.m. She was last seen alive about an hour earlier when her boyfriend brought her coffee, authorities said. She had gone to work early to open the restaurant.

Riedel had cuts and stab wounds, Hinton said. The chief said that although an undisclosed amount of money was taken from the scene, indicating a robbery, investigators still had not determined a motive for the crime. It did not appear there was forced entry into the restaurant.

The "speedy capture of the man who committed this terrible event" reassured Applebee's employees, said Elizabeth McGee, chief people officer of Apple Gold Group in Raleigh, which owns the restaurant.

McGee said Rouse was a "recent" employee and that company officials were still looking up his employment records.

Riedel’s sister, Cindy Riedel, said Rouse was fired Thursday morning, and that he was was an Applebee's employee when the murder happened.

Hinton did not say what led to Rouse's arrest, but said it was the product of "very thorough investigative techniques" and "very long hours" by officers and special agents with the State Bureau of Investigation. The case hasn't been closed, he said.

According to state Department of Correction records, Rouse served more than four years after being convicted of attempted armed robbery and assault charges in Halifax County. He was released in May 2008 and was on parole until February.

McGee described Riedel as a caring woman and a conscientious manager who was well-liked by employees and the community. A native of Jacksonville, Riedel was hired by Applebee's in October 2008 and moved to Roanoke Rapids in November to serve as that restaurant's general manager.

"Anyone who met her knew she was an enthusiastic, hungry, eager woman here to set the world on fire," McGee said. "She wanted to have the best restaurant, because she wanted to be seen as a winner, someone who gave back."

McGee said Riedel "absolutely cared about every employee who worked for her" and gave her own money to coworkers in financial need.

"There hasn't been a place I've gone that hasn't said how much Sandy and the restaurant meant to the community," McGee said.

The Applebee's reopened at lunch Thursday, allowing coworkers and patrons "to, as much as they could, move forward," McGee said. "Sandy would have wanted that."

The restaurant will hold a celebration of Riedel's life in a few weeks when her family feels ready to participate, McGee said.

"For now, we continue to grieve for the loss of Sandy, who was one of our most integral parts of our community," she said.

Born at Camp Lejeune and a graduate of White Oak High School in Jacksonville, Riedel is survived by her parents, a brother, two sisters and five nieces and nephews, according to her obituary.

A memorial service will be held at Jones Funeral Home in Swansboro at 2 p.m. Friday.

The family asks that donations in her memory be made to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, either by calling 512-794-1133 or mailing them to P.O. Box 161810 Austin, Texas.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • appalonia17 Jun 25, 2009

    I think he should be put to death

  • dlb800 Jun 19, 2009

    What's sad is that there are people who don't think this person deserves to be put to death.

  • appalonia17 Jun 19, 2009

    I understand about all of it b/c me and my family went through the same thing when my grandmother was killed in her own place of business by someone she knew since he was a little boy but this could happen anywhere. A person who doesn't have a criminal background could've done this. Hopefully he will get life or more...

  • Tiffany2007 Jun 19, 2009

    I would sit at his execution, if given the chance. Give her boyfriend time with him alone. PLEASE! Yes, I believe in the DEATH penalty!

  • seaturtlesrule Jun 19, 2009

    God bless her and her family~~~

    "Applebee's" is going down the toilet! Everywhere. Was the lady advised that the man was a felon, or that he had been fired?! Another reason for a "concealed weapon" law...especially for swf!

    The last time we went to Applebee's in Weelsun was quite a while ago, but there was an intoxicated man lying in the bushes right near the entrance to the restaurant! Truth! Nice for kids to see...then you have to explain..Oh joy!

    Safer to stay home and eat...if you can still afford food~~~

    Peace & Love.

  • ifcdirector Jun 19, 2009

    Oh liberals are sure to come and hold candles at his execution many years from now. What you have to ask is where are those same liberals today for the victim and her family and friends? No where to be seen and it will stay that way because in their world view society at large victimized this poor murderer and he is not responsible for his crimes. Get ready for the inevitable coming tear inducing profile on the killer in the Independent, which will fail to say much about the victim at all, and will also scream that his execution will be an injustice. And this. This is why we have people like this still on the streets today. Right at this moment.

  • jobchick2004 Jun 19, 2009

    Why dear, why?

  • SweetB Jun 19, 2009

    D*A*N*G He looks Mean!!! Mad at the world!!! What a senseless crime! Two families destroyed.

    If you are a parent, you may want to read:
    Parents should tune into media to keep teens safe

    My Friday rant: I've always believed that “The Media”, that our kids are subjected to and that we allow them to be subjected to are in direct relation to the way they relate to the world around them. It is still a parenting responsibility to regulate what, when and how much they are watching and listening to. As well as responsible parenting. End Friday Rant.

  • shakenbake68 Jun 19, 2009

    anyone work in management or HR? I'm still puzzled as to why they don't perform a background check.

  • GWALLY Jun 19, 2009

    ..."According to state Department of Correction records, Rouse served more than four years after being convicted of attempted armed robbery and assault charges in Halifax County"

    Why would Applebeys HIRE such a person and subject it's employees and customers to such a dangerous criminal...seems to me they do not care about their customers....so....I WILL NO LONGER BE GOING THERE!!! (MC D's either)