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Abaroa to fight extradition in wife's death

A former Durham resident charged with killing his wife almost five years ago plans to fight extradition from Idaho to North Carolina.

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DURHAM, N.C. — A former Durham resident charged with killing his wife almost five years ago plans to fight extradition to North Carolina.

Durham police arrested Raven Abaroa, 30, late Monday at his Montpelier, Idaho, home and charged him with the April 2005 murder of Janet Christiansen Abaroa, 25. He is being held without bond in Idaho's Caribou County jail.

During an initial court appearance Tuesday, Abaroa requested a court-appointed attorney and told the judge he didn't want to be sent back to North Carolina to face the murder charge, according to the Idaho State Journal. The newspaper said a Feb. 17 extradition hearing was scheduled in the case.

Kaiden Abaroa was placed in the custody of his paternal grandmother after his father's arrest, authorities said.

Janet Abaroa was stabbed to death in an upstairs bedroom at her 2606 Ferrand Drive home on April 26, 2005. She was pregnant at the time. The Abaroas’ 6-month-old son, Kaiden, was also in the home but was unharmed.

In an October 2007 interview with NC Wanted, Raven Abaroa said he had nothing to do with his wife's death. He told police he was at a soccer game in Morrisville when she was killed. He found her when he returned home, he said.

"The Christiansen family is disappointed that Raven has chosen to fight extradition to North Carolina. It just does not make sense," Janet Abaroa's family said in a statement. "We would have assumed that Raven would have wanted to return to Durham to clear his name. He has continually professed his innocence. In our minds, an innocent person would welcome the opportunity to clear (his or her) name."

Spokesman Tim Dowd said the family is satisfied that an arrest had been made, a spokesman said Tuesday, but they were disheartened that it was her husband who was charged with her death.

"To think that you would give your daughter up to someone who would have the potential to murder her is just hard to even imagine going there," Dowd said.

"I think certainly they didn’t want to (suspect Raven Abaroa), but I think the evidence kind of pointed that they had to," he said. "None of use wanted to believe that Raven could have done this. Yet, there were patterns of behavior that, you know, we needed to make the police aware of."

Dowd declined to discuss specifics but noted issues with other women and financial issues affected the Abaroas' marriage.

Raven Abaroa and his son left North Carolina after his wife’s death, and he remarried. He is estranged from his wife, Vanessa Pond.

Pond and her parents traveled from their home in Utah to talk to Durham police about Raven Abaroa in early 2009.

Anyone with additional information in the case is asked to call Investigator Charles Sole  of the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4440, extension 29350, or by e-mail at Charles.Sole@durhamnc.gov, or Sgt. Sheldon Perkins at 919-560-4440, extension 29326, or by e-mail at Sheldon.Perkins@durhamnc.gov.

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Erin Hartness, Reporter
Pete James, Photographer

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