If their emotions could be summed up in a single word, “hope” would be that word for Joe and Jennie Biggar of Ferris, who learned Friday that a 15-year-old murder case might finally see closure.
The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office took two men into custody this week relating to the March 1994 deaths of Joe’s ex-wife, Robbie Biggar, 53, and their 23-month-old grandson, Kasey Roberts.
Jennie said she can’t wait for the day when she can make a trip to Robbie and Kasey’s final resting spot: side-by-side graves in Rosehill Cemetery in Blooming Grove, Joe and Robbie’s hometown.
“Finally, I can go to Blooming Grove and go to their graves and say, ‘They got him,’ ” said Jennie, who along with Joe and others, has sought to keep the case alive through the years, to not let their loved ones be forgotten in a case gone cold.
Arrested this week and charged with capital murder were Larry W. Samples, 61, of Arlington and Galen M. Boyd, 48, of Katy. Samples was Biggar’s boyfriend at the time of her death, with court documents indicating Boyd was an acquaintance of Samples’.
Joe and Jennie said they knew Samples, but neither had heard mention of Boyd’s name until media reports broke about the arrests Friday afternoon.
A $2 million bond has been set for Samples and a $1 million bond set for Boyd. Both remain in custody at Wayne McCollum Detention Center.
Joe and Robbie had divorced about a year before she lost her life, but had remained close.
Although he’s in ill health now and confined to a wheelchair, Joe said he wants to remain alive long enough to see justice done, not only for his former wife of 22 years but also for his grandson.
During an interview Saturday with the Daily Light, he and his new wife, Jennie, vowed to be in the courtroom when the matter goes to trial.
“This is an answer to our prayers,” Jennie said. “But, until they put (Samples) into the courtroom and find him guilty, it won’t be over.”
“She was a great woman, I guarantee you,” Joe said, saying the marriage ended through no fault of Robbie’s. Both he and Jennie described Robbie as a kind and caring individual who would have given someone the shirt off of her back if needed. She was a loving grandmother, they said, one who doted on her grandchild and seeing him at every opportunity.
Neither deserved to die, they said, noting Robbie’s body was found in a field near the old Superconducting Super Collider site at Maypearl, her face beaten so badly that it took dental records to identify her.
Kasey was found deceased and in his car seat in the back seat of Robbie’s car, located by authorities at an apartment complex in Red Oak.
Both Joe and Jennie have strong feelings about the case. “When they find someone guilty, if they need someone to pull the plug … ,” Joe said, not having to finish the sentence to convey his meaning.
His and Jennie’s hope for a conviction and justice has kept them going. Through the years, Jennie has kept up with their treasured photographs and maintained a scrapbook that includes newspaper clippings and other items relating to the case.
Fifteen long years, and most of those brought no word or development in the case. Joe and Jennie said they were told at one point when the Texas Rangers took a look at what was then considered a “cold case” that there was not enough evidence to proceed.
Earlier this year, however, the sheriff’s office decided to revisit the case, with investigators taking a fresh look. The arrest affidavits indicate a meshing of old and new evidence that was reviewed, along with statements taken from old and new witnesses, including two former girlfriends of Boyd’s.
Although they had hoped for arrests before now, Joe and Jennie said they’re pleased nonetheless with the developments this week.
“I want to go to the sheriff’s office Monday and meet with the investigators and personally hug their necks for what they have done,” Jennie said. “Who was it said, ‘Keep the hope alive, the dream lives on?’
“We are so grateful they reopened the case,” she said.
The case began when a missing person’s report was filed with the Lancaster Police Department on March 19, 1994, by Robbie Biggar’s son-in-law, Kevin Roberts, who reported his mother-in-law and his son, Kasey, were missing and had not been seen since the day before.
Multiple agencies were involved with the case, with the affidavits noting a witness statement that said Samples didn’t participate in the search effort, but “kept asking if they had found the car yet.”
Biggar’s Ford Thunderbird was discovered March 20 in an apartment complex parking lot on Sierra Grande in Red Oak, with the body of the toddler found strapped into a car seat in the back seat. An autopsy showed that the 23-month-old died from hyperthermia and dehydration.
Two days after that, Biggar’s body was discovered in a field on Industrial Road near Farm-to-Market 66 in Maypearl, with an autopsy determining that she died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. Both deaths were subsequently ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office.
According to the affidavits, Biggar’s daughter, Cheryl Roberts, told authorities she had last spoken with her mother at about 9 p.m. March 18, with Samples telling police he last saw Biggar between 10 p.m. and midnight that same day at her residence and that plans were to meet at Lake Whitney the next day for a motorcycle race.
Authorities believe Biggar was sent on an errand to pick up items at Walmart in Lancaster, from where the affidavits state she was abducted at gunpoint, with her car driven out to near the old Superconducting Super Collider site, where her body was later located. The car was then cleaned and dropped off in the apartment complex, with the child left strapped in his car seat inside, according to the court documents.
The affidavits indicate Boyd has admitted his involvement in the case to others. One of those individuals was someone he was serving time with on an unrelated charge in 1996 and that person sent a letter that same year to Ellis County authorities detailing the conversations. The sender said in his letter, however, that he was hesitant to give a statement due to his still being incarcerated with Boyd, who he said had threatened to kill him if he ever spoke of the matter.
That inmate reported, as did others, according to the affidavit, that Boyd said the child’s death was an accident.
According to the witness statements referenced in the affidavits, “(Boyd’s) intent was for someone to find the baby inside of the car but he had forgot to roll the window down slightly so that the child could be heard crying.
“Other witnesses have overheard Galen Boyd speak of killing Robbie Biggar and leaving the child in the vehicle, which caused the baby to die,” the document reads. “These witnesses have also listed in several written statements that Robbie Biggar’s boyfriend, Larry Samples, was an accomplice with Galen Boyd to this offense, which involved an insurance scam.”
The affidavits indicate Samples was questioned by authorities early on in the case and at one point submitted to a polygraph, with the operator noting that he “showed signs of deception concerning questions involving the death of Robbie Biggar and Kasey Roberts.”
“This same report also further indicated that Larry Samples would not admit to causing the death of the victims, but indicated that the death of Kasey Roberts was an accident,” one of the arrest affidavits reads, referencing previous work done on the case. “Reports also indicated that Larry Samples stated to investigators that he would return on June 6, 1994, and fully confess to this offense on that date. There seems to be no additional follow reports made or follow ups conducted with Larry Samples regarding his intention to return and fully confess.”
The affidavits do indicate that Samples was later convicted of a theft charge relating to forged documents pertaining to the sale of Biggar’s home in Lancaster.
Since 1994, multiple agencies and personnel have worked with and assisted the sheriff’s office with the murder investigation, Chief Deputy Dennis Brearley said, noting that the investigation is not over but is ongoing.
The arrest warrant was issued Aug. 18 for Boyd, with an arrest warrant issued for Samples on Aug. 20.
The sheriff’s office met with the district attorney’s office Friday relating to the case, with a grand jury presentation pending.
E-mail JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1452.