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Kidnap, rape, and murder of 65-year-old Martha Roberts by neighbor in rural Tennessee: Hometown Homicide investigates

Close up photo of Doe Roberts
Martha “Doe” Roberts went missing from her home in Tennessee, and she was raped and murdered. Pic credit: Family Photo

The disappearance of Martha Eudora ‘Doe’ Roberts from her home on a 150-acre farm near Eads in Tennessee shocked this quiet rural community in the summer of 1992. Husband Allen had left their home after allegedly receiving a phone call regarding work when he returned he discovered his 65-year-old wife was missing.

Allen received a further call later that afternoon when the alleged kidnapper demanded a $100,00 ransom for the return of Doe Roberts. Additional phone calls followed, and each time the supposed kidnapper claimed to be holding Doe hostage and demanded various amounts of money.

However, for approximately a year, the police focused their investigation on Allen; he was the main suspect in his wife’s disappearance. Thirteen months passed before the mystery caller was identified as Charles Jackson Lord Jr., a neighbor, and former business partner of Allen.

When police began to focus on Lord, they discovered that Doe had been buried in his backyard. He finally admitted to being the kidnapper. Desperate for money Lord had spent about four months planning the abduction.

Lord explained to the police that he tricked Doe into getting into his car by telling her Allen had been in an accident. Once he got her back to his house, he tied her up in the garage and drugged her with sleeping pills, and then he raped her. After phoning Allen to demand a ransom, he returned to the garage where he raped his victim again; he then put a pillow over Doe’s face until she stopped breathing.

Earlier in the day, he had constructed a pit behind his compost pile for burial purposes. Lord’s wife was apparently at home that day yet was completely unaware of her husband’s sordid activities.

Charles Jackson Lord, Jr. pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated rape; he received a sentence of life in prison plus twenty years.

Catch the details of the case in Hometown Homicide at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

Jerry was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, but is now based in the UK. He specializes in true crime and entertainment news stories. When... read more
Jerry Brown

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