Husband Arrested in Murder of First Wife

Photo: Husband Arrested in Murder of First Wife: Durham Police Charge Raven Abaroa with First Degree Murder in 2005 Stabbing

Almost five years after a murder mystery consumed the suburbs of Durham, N.C., police arrested and charged Raven Abaroa with first degree murder in the death of his first wife Janet.

Janet Abaroa, a beautiful, 26-year-old northern Virginian, was stabbed to death in her own home in April 2005.

Abaroa, 30, is expected to be arraigned this morning at a courthouse in Montpelier, Idaho. He moved to the Salt Lake City area after Janet's death and remarried; he is now being held for extradition to North Carolina.

Abaroa has said he discovered his dead wife's body in the bedroom of their Durham home after he returned from playing soccer that evening. Nothing else in the house was disturbed, authorities say. The couple's 6-month-old son, Kaiden, was left unharmed in another room.

The arrest, which was a joint effort by the Durham Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and the FBI, comes four months after "Primetime Crime" aired an investigation into the unsolved death of Janet Abaroa.

Janet's family members, whose suspicions have long pointed toward Abaroa, credit "Primetime's" critical examination of the murder with helping to spur a new investigation. In a statement, they expressed gratitude and said that they believe the "extensive evidence will speak for itself."

Although an arrest has been made, Durham Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Love Story Began at College

Janet Christiansen, the seventh of 10 siblings, came from a solid Mormon family. At Southern Virginia University, in Buena Vista, she met Raven Abaroa in 1998. He instantly swept her off her feet.

"She was beautiful, attractive. ... I just felt so much comfort when I was with her," Abaroa said in an interview with the TV show "NC Wanted" in 2007. "And we started this journey of getting to know each other and it was an amazing journey."

Janet Abaroa's sister, Erika Bakey, said her sister was enamored of Raven. Both were 19 and enthusiastic soccer players. "She always talked about if they had any kids, they were going to be fantastic soccer players because both of them were," Bakey said.

In August 2000, after two years together, Janet and Raven married at the Mormon temple in Washington, D.C. They settled in southeastern Virginia. Janet's friends and family said they thought life for the newlywed couple was perfect.

CLICK HERE to see photos of the couple through the years.

Soon a job opportunity moved the couple to Durham, where they both took positions at a major sports apparel company. Janet's sisters say the couple was beginning to have some marital problems.

Marital Problems Plague Newlyweds

"He came to her one day because he wanted to be out of the marriage," said Sonja Flood, Janet's sister, "and explained to her that he had been cheating on her with several different people. And very soon after that, she found out that she was pregnant."

Pregnancy should have been the happiest time of Janet and Raven's lives, but instead Janet confided in her family that she felt helpless. Her older sister, Dena Kendall, said that Janet "didn't want to raise the baby as a single mother."

But after Abaroa received some advice from close friends to "grow up," the young couple was able to work things out, and welcomed son Kaiden into the world on Oct. 17, 2004.

"He promised, swore up and down, that he would no longer cheat on her, that she was the only one for him. He would make it work," Flood said.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...