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Son Kills Mother in Deep River

Published 12/27/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 12/27/2013 03:41 PM

By Brian Boyd
Zip06

A Rattling Valley Road woman was found beaten and stabbed to death on Dec. 26, and police have charged her son, Robert O. Rankin, 22, with her murder. The deceased has been identified as Margaret Rohner, 45.

Rankin's arraignment paints a grisly picture of that morning. Rankin's father, Robert Rankin, Jr., called 911 from 131 Rattling Valley Road shortly after 1 p.m., telling dispatch that, "My son killed my ex-wife."

Trooper Kerry Taylor responded and found Rankin, Jr., hugging Rankin in the driveway. Upon questioning, Rankin identified himself as the sole killer of his mother.

After having his rights read to him, Rankin reportedly stated, "I will tell you anything you want to know" and then, "I killed my mother because she is pretty much responsible for everything that has gone wrong in my life."

Rankin told Taylor that he began to plan to kill his mother that morning by snapping her neck. At about 11:30 a.m., he began his attack, eventually using a fireplace poker and a Buck knife to stab her. After he killed her, he used the knife to mutilate her body, telling police he was "looking for a baby."

After killing his mother and removing her clothes, Rankin told police he then washed his hands, took showers, and took his dog for a walk. It was on that walk that he encountered his father.

Rankin had superficial wounds obtained in the struggle. Taylor described his demeanor as "extremely calm" and reported that he "showed no emotion and spoke in an even and quiet tone."

Rankin has been charged by troopers with murder and is being held by State Police on a $1 million bond. Rankin was scheduled to be arraigned in Middletown Superior Court on Dec. 27.

A post mortem examination of the deceased will be conducted by the Chief State's Medical Examiners Office to determine the manner and cause of death.

The criminal investigation is continuing.

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