In April 2005, Janet Abaroa was stabbed to death in her home in Durham, North Carolina. The house had been entirely undisturbed otherwise, and her 6-month old son was left unharmed in another room.
When officers attended the scene, they found Janet in kneeling position in her bedroom; she had suffered multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy would later reveal that she had been pregnant.
Police were stumped as to who would want to murder this popular happy go lucky 25-year-old mother.
Her husband Raven Abaroa told police he had returned home from soccer practice to find his wife lying in a bloody scene. “She’s been shot or something. There’s blood everywhere,” Raven Abaroa told a 911 dispatcher at the time.
Janet’s sister, Sonja Flood, told police that the pair had started to have marital problems not long after they married. Flood said: “He [Abaroa] came to her one day because he wanted to be out of the marriage, and explained to her that he had been cheating on her with several different people.”
Abaroa was already in trouble with the law. Just a few months before the murder, he was dismissed from his job at a sporting goods company because he had embezzled $9,000.
Four months after the murder, he pleaded guilty to five counts of embezzlement and was placed on a two-year probation.
Murderer Raven Abaroa quickly remarried
Shortly after that, he moved with his son to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he met Vanessa Pond. The pair married three years later in 2008.
When Janet’s family heard that Abaroa had remarried, they reached out to Pond to warn her that they believed he’d killed Janet. Meanwhile, Abaroa’s relationship with Pond had become increasingly abusive and violent.
Just four months into the marriage, Pond, and Abaroa separated, and she went public, stating that she believed her husband had murdered Janet.
A cold case detective was put in charge of looking once more into Janet’s murder, and they increasingly discovered inconsistencies in Abaroa’s story. They also learned that he had taken a $500,000 life insurance policy out on Janet.
The police believe that Arbaroa stabbed his wife before he left for soccer practice and that he left his 6-month old son alone in the house with his dying mother. On his return from soccer, Arbaroa then began playing the role of a traumatized and grieving husband.
Arbaroa was arrested in February 2010, at his trial he entered an Alford plea agreeing to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He was given a prison sentence of just under 8-years, he was also given credit for time served.
He was released Christmas day 2017.
More from Dateline: Secrets Uncovered
Follow the links to read about more crimes profiled on Dateline: Secrets Uncovered.
Donald Bess raped and murdered 20-year-old student Angela Samota in Texas in 1984. He managed to evade justice for three decades until advancements in forensic science sent law enforcers knocking on his door.
Byron David Smith shot dead two teenagers who broke into his home. He argued it was self-defense, but police said he used unreasonable force by setting a trap for his victims before executing them.
Dateline: Secrets Uncovered airs at 8/7c on Oxygn.