Local News

Slain insurance auditor laid to rest

Posted May 25, 2008 6:35 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2008 10:57 p.m. EDT

— A slain state insurance auditor whose body was found in South Carolina was laid to rest on Sunday.

The funeral service for Sallie Rohrbach, of Angier, was held at the Thomas Funeral Home, 401 N. Ennis St. in Fuquay-Varina. Rohrbach was buried at Raleigh Memorial Park, along Glenwood Avenue.

“She could light up a room. She had just a wonderful sense of humor, just a vibrant person,” said Joseph Ingram, friend of Rohrbach.

"She was a very caring, giving, generous person,” brother-in-law Mark Rohrbach said.

Rohrbach's body was found Tuesday in a wooded area in Fort Mill, S.C., 25 miles from a Charlotte insurance agency that was the subject of a state insurance audit she was conducting.

The agency's owner, Michael Howell, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the 44-year-old's death.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have said her death is connected to her duties as an auditor and that evidence in her car and Howell's vehicle connected him to the homicide.

“Sallie died protecting the people of North Carolina. She died doing her job as a Department of Insurance employee,” said Chrissy Pearson, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

Top state insurance officials were at the funeral, including the commissioner. The department spokesperson said they are looking into their existing policies to see if or anything needs to be changed in wake of Rohrbach's death.

“We will honor her by making sure that whatever we do from here on out gives our employees the confidence and peace of mind to continue their work and the work that Sallie was doing,” Pearson said.

Investigators have not released further details about Rohrbach's case, including a cause of death.

Sources inside the police department told CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte, however, that she died from blunt force trauma and that the killing took place inside Howell's office at the Dilworth Agency.

Howell made an initial appearance in court Thursday and asked a judge for a public defender, a request that was denied by a judge who said he had enough money to pay for his own defense.