Missing in Milwaukee: A Mother's Quest for Justice


Karren Kraemer's daughter Becky Marzo vanished from Milwaukee, Wis., more than five years ago and since then Kraemer has fought a relentless campaign against the man she suspects is responsible for her daughter's disappearance: Marzo's boyfriend Carl Rodgers.

Watch the story tonight, January 7th, on a special hour of "20/20" at 9 p.m. ET

"It was about letting him know that I was going to stay right there in his life. It was a mother's need to know the truth," said Kraemer. "My goal was to push him to break. I wanted to break him."

If you know any details about this case, please click here to contact the Milwaukee Police Department or call 414-935-7360.


Marzo, 23, was last seen by friends walking into the house she shared with Rodgers in December 2003. She and three of her friends had enjoyed an innocent night out, a night frequently interrupted by Rodgers' urgent calls telling Marzo to come home.

"I was scared with her and Carl," said Kristina Randall, who drove Marzo home that night. "I was worried about what he could have done to her in the middle of the night."

'Handprints on Her Arm'

Her friends had reason to worry because, they say, Marzo often showed up black and blue from the beatings she got from Rodgers.

"You could see her broken nose. It was swollen," Randall said. "You know, handprints on her arm."

VIDEO: Karren Kraemer on 20/20.

"She walked in the house and I didn't even know it was my daughter. She was so beaten," Kraemer said. "And I remember pleading and praying that she'd never go back to this man."

While Marzo's mother is convinced Rodgers killed her, he had a simple explanation for his activities that night: He told his parents and his sister he threw Marzo out.

"Carl told us he found out she was hanging around with some people that he definitely wouldn't want around his kids or around his house," said Rodger's stepfather, Jeffrey Stemper.

"When people are in relationships, nobody can say what goes on behind closed doors," said Rodgers' mother, Anita Stemper. "Carl, my son, he's always been a sweet person, and I don't think that he's a monster, like these people are trying to portray him as."

Photo: Body Exhumed Monday In Becky Marzo Case

Loving and Hard-Working

Rodgers' family describes him as a loving and hardworking divorced dad whose two children often shared the house with Rodgers and Marzo.

"My brother and I live with my father and we never saw them argue or anything else," said Rodgers' teenage daughter Angel. "My father never put his hands on anybody."

In fact, to the Rodgers, it was Marzo who seemed to be the tougher one.

"We thought Becky was a little hard. I don't know another way to put it, but it seemed like she had been through some things and gave her kind of an edge," Jeff Stemper said.

Rodgers told detectives looking into Marzo's disappearance that she probably had returned to Miami, where she had fled to 10 months earlier.

She had retreated there, friends say, to escape the abuse she received from Rodgers.

"She was hoping to get a better start on life," Randall said.

Marzo Goes Missing

"She was a stripper for a short time," said Randall's sister Lisa, who is also a close friend of Marzo's. "She was staying at the hotel with one of the girls that was working."

When Marzo's family filed a missing person's report, the FBI found Marzo working at a strip club called the Goldrush. The investigation also revealed that she may have been "prostituting herself" and had "a substance abuse problem."

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