Monroe police hope pill evidence leads to slaying suspect

MONROE — Detectives continue to face vexing questions in the March stabbing death of Jacqueline Rothenbuhler outside her Monroe home.

At the top of the list: Who did it?

Monroe police hope that unravelling one mystery discovered at the crime scene may help lead them to Rothenbuhler’s killer.

Law officers found dozens of pills of varying colors on the ground near the victim’s left hand. They want to know whose pills those were and how they got there.

No pill container was found at the crime scene.

“The detectives have looked at these pills to try to get some kind of connection and really haven’t come up with anything,” Monroe Police Department spokeswoman Debbie Willis said. “We found no evidence of anything like these pills in the house.”

There were dozens of pills scattered near the body, too many pills to carry in two hands, Willis said.

Rothenbuhler, 59, was found dead about 4 a.m. March 18 in the back yard along W. Maple Street. Her throat had been cut.

She last was reported seen about 5 p.m. the afternoon before. At the time, she was cooking corned beef and cabbage for a Saint Patrick’s Day dinner.

Detectives searched the house and the property for clues. They pulled Rothenbuhler’s phone records, canvassed the neighborhood and interviewed family and friends.

They are waiting on laboratory test results from potential evidence collected, Willis said.

At the same time, detectives are circulating fliers with photographs and details about the pills, hoping it will jog peoples’ memories. The fliers describe four kinds of pills and how they are typically used.

The pills include:

•Loperamide hydrochloride, which is used to treat diarrhea and also in detox centers;

Fluoxetine hydrochloride, also known as Prozac, which is used to treat depression, anxiety and stress;

Amantadine hydrocholoride, which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease but also can be used to treat the flu and cocaine withdrawal;

An unknown red capsule that might be a generic cold medicine or fish oil.

“We are hoping to get the information about this out to find someone who may have known someone who might have been detoxing,” Willis said. “We are just hoping that someone will say, ‘Oh I think I know something about that.’ We still believe somebody knows something and we just haven’t got to that person with the right information. Sometimes people have information they don’t understand may lead to a break in the case.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Monroe Police Department at 360-794-6300. Anonymous information may be left on the department’s tip line at 360-863-4600.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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