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Husband balks at exhuming slain Durham woman's remains

Posted July 1, 2010
Updated July 9, 2010

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— A man accused of stabbing his wife to death inside their Durham home five years ago has objected to an attempt by police and prosecutors to exhume her body.

Attorney Amos Tyndall previously said Raven Abaroa had no objections to removing Janet Christiansen Abaroa's remains from her Pennsylvania grave. Janet Abaroa's family issued a statement Thursday, however, saying that they learned Wednesday that Raven Abaroa had refused to sign a court order allowing the exhumation.

Janet Abaroa, 25, was pregnant with her second child when she was stabbed to death in an upstairs bedroom at the couple's Durham home on April 26, 2005.

Raven Abaroa, 35, has said he had nothing to do with his first wife's death. He told police he was at a soccer game when she was killed, and he found her when he returned home later that night.

Police arrested him Feb. 1 in southern Idaho on a first-degree murder charge. He had moved to Utah and Idaho with the couple's son, Kaiden, after the stabbing and later remarried.

Tyndall couldn't be reached Thursday for comment about the exhumation.

Janet Abaroa's family said they were "prepared to do whatever is required," including going through a July 9 court hearing about exhuming her remains.

"The family is united in their effort to pursue justice in this case and has had an extremely tough time with the very real stress surrounding the whole exhumation process, but they understand the importance of this initiative as part of an active, ongoing murder investigation," the family said in the statement.

"The fact that Mr. Abaroa has elected not to cooperate, despite his initial indication that he would, saddens the family but comes as no surprise, as he has never been engaged in helping authorities solve the brutal stabbing murder of his pregnant wife," the statement continued. "His actions are certainly not appreciated by the Christiansen family and will only serve to strengthen their resolve to push forward."

Raven Abaroa remains in the Durham County jail under a $5 million bond.


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  • cth1 Jul 9, 2010

    "I think that they should respect the husband's decision."Lickad

    Really?? Please tell me you're being sarcastic!! No one respected Janet's wishes when she was being brutally stabbed to death!! Sounds like her husband is the killer to me. Why else would he approve the exhumation ...then, once he realizes he can stop it... suddenly change his mind?? If he wasn't the killer then why wouldn't he want her exhumed so that he could be proven innocent. My guess is... it's because he's guilty as sin!! Have you seen the interview with the woman he married after this murder? She left him within 6 months because he was so violent and beat her. Doesn't sound like a loving husband to me!! I hope the judge overrides the husbands "wishes". He deserves NO SAY in this murder investigation!! Bet he's wishing he would of just divorced her now!!

  • exquisite1 Jul 2, 2010

    Nobody that is posting comments on here, knows exactly what happened, so to say he's guilty & he knows it, is quite simply, wrong. Case in point, http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/7889571/. Obviously the two situations are very different in detail, but it was the police who said, "He's guilty & he knows it" there and we surely don't want a repeat. Not now, not ever.

    I feel horrible for her family members that have had to wade through this terrible monstrosity over the last five years. Whomever is guilty of this heinous crime, should most certainly be punished to the fullest extent.

  • dogsrule12cheek Jul 2, 2010

    I dont think no murder suspect or anyone in Jail for that matter have a say so of what goes on outside those bars,



  • Adelinthe Jul 1, 2010

    Suspects shouldn't be in command of decisions like this.

    God bless.


  • aoakley336 Jul 1, 2010

    Lickad, he is a murder suspect. His decision should not be respected. Not cooperating with authorities just makes him look guilty, even if he is not.

  • terminatrixator Jul 1, 2010

    The husband..is in jail and was indicted on First Degree Murder charges of Janet and their unborn child. I think Janet's family, the ones that have been seeking Justice for the past five years should have the right. What kind of husband stabs his pregnant wife?

  • Lickad Jul 1, 2010

    I think that they should respect the husband's decision.

  • terminatrixator Jul 1, 2010

    Since April 26, 2005 Janet's family & friends have had to deal with the ugly reality of her murder. Raven had not so much as visited his wife's grave since her murder, so he should have no say so. "The fact that Mr. Abaroa has elected not to cooperate, despite his initial indication that he would, saddens the family but comes as no surprise, as he has never been engaged in helping authorities solve the brutal stabbing murder of his pregnant wife" says it all!

    Raven, you could have divorced her!

  • Alexia.1 Jul 1, 2010

    Why is this happening 5 years later? Did he run out of town and nobody could find him, or did the police just not have any evidence at the time to successfully try him in court?

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Jul 1, 2010

    Of course he would object!