Rosie Larner was an 18-year-old girl who was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend John Ortiz-Kehoe and his friend Billy Brown in December 1993 in Michigan. Her body was dismembered, burned, and scattered along the highways.
Her case remained unsolved for almost three years until Brown confessed to the police and revealed the horrific details of the crime. Ortiz-Kehoe was arrested in Mexico after a six-month manhunt and convicted of first-degree murder. Brown pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the murder and served one year in jail.
Here’s a look into her life and how she was murdered.
Who Was Rosie Larner?
Rosie Larner was the second of three children born to her mother, Rose Markey. She was born sometime in 1975 and has a younger brother named Jami Larner.
Her parents got divorced when she was about 4 years old. Even though no reports indicate who her father was, her mother used to work in a local convenience store in Lansing, Michigan.
Despite little information available regarding her early years, she exhibited challenging behavior as a teenager, earning the label of being rebellious. She held a job at a pizzeria in Lansing, Michigan.
Sadly, Rosie vanished in December 1993. Subsequently, it became known that she had been killed by her ex-boyfriend, John Ortiz-Kehoe, and his friend, Billy Brown. Law enforcement officers spent a considerable amount of time on the case. It took almost three years to break her murder case.
Rosie Disappeared On December 7, 1993
On December 7, 1993, Rosie Larner stopped by the convenience store where her mother, Rose Markey, worked. She said she was heading to her friend Keith’s place, but her mother had a bad feeling and urged her not to go. Rosie ignored her mother’s warning and left. That was the last time anyone saw her alive.
Concerned, her mother reached out to Keith the following day, but he insisted Rosie hadn’t been to his house. The police were contacted, commencing a search for the missing girl.
They found out that Rosie was a prolific phone user, making more than 1,500 calls a month. But none of the phone records led them to any clues. Her former boyfriend, John Ortiz-Kehoe, asserted that he was in the company of Billy Brown and a new romantic partner on the day she went missing.
Nearly 3 Years Later, The Police Found A Clue To Her Case
The case of Rosie Larner went cold for almost three years, as the police had no leads to follow. They had no idea that John Ortiz-Kehoe and his friend Billy Brown, two drug dealers who operated in Michigan, were the ones responsible for her murder.
It was only when the police interrogated Billy that he spilled the beans. He told them how he met Rosie at the convenience store in December 1993, where she convinced him to call John because she wanted to see him. John agreed to pick them up after Rosie agreed to have a threesome with them. She got into his car, unaware of the horror that awaited her at his grandparents’ house.
At John’s grandparent’s house, Rosie rejected the threesome proposal, and he strangled her to death. He then cut up her body and enlisted Billy’s help to clean up the house. They set her remains on fire and dumped her ashes along the Michigan highways.
She Was Strangled, Chopped Up, And Her Ashes Scattered On The Highway
According to Bill’s testimony, John made a detour to buy a hatchet, a knife, and some lighter fluid on their way to his grandparents’ place. He said he had no idea what John was planning to do with them.
They arrived at the house and joined Rosie in the shower. John made a move for the threesome, but Rosie turned him down. He snapped and wrapped his hands around her neck. He choked her until she stopped breathing, then cut her throat and chopped her up. They incinerated her remains and scattered the ashes on the city’s highways, as mentioned.
What Happened To Her Ex-Boyfriend?
John, Rosie’s former lover, escaped to Mexico, only to be apprehended six months later. Following a jury trial, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and received a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 1996.
In an attempt to overturn the jury’s decision, he raised four issues before the Court of Appeals of Michigan in 1999, one of which was the insufficiency of the evidence to support a first-degree murder conviction. The appeal was deemed unworthy of consideration and was denied.
Billy’s role as a witness led to his being charged as an accessory to murder. He was given a one-year sentence.
Emerald Santos, John’s fiancee, started a petition to the Michigan Court of Appeals, asking for 500 signatures to support John’s innocence in January 2021. She insisted that John was wrongly convicted and that Billy Brown was the real killer of Rosie Larner. John also blamed Billy during his trial. So far, over 300 people have signed the petition.
She launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to hire private investigators who could dig deeper into the case and locate silent witnesses who were now ready to speak.