Local News

Husband balks at exhuming slain Durham woman's remains

Posted July 1, 2010 1:55 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2010 6:03 a.m. EDT

— 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.