Louise Pollard said her husband ordered her to cut up the lifeless bodies of her houseguests with a chain saw before burying them under the couple's farmhouse and shed outside Selma, according to a search warrant released Monday afternoon.
She bore that secret for eight years before telling her mother when she fled from her husband, Bobby Pollard, after a fight this month. Louise Pollard's half-brother then tipped off the Johnston County sheriff.
"This had been on her mind for several years, apparently," said Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell. "She had the chance to get away to the safety of her mother, and she finally was able to get it off her chest."
The Feb. 3 statement from the 34-year-old housewife about the deaths of Ceasar Ruvalcava Ortiz and Robin Clark ignited a murder investigation and an elaborate search of the Pollards' farmhouse.
A grand jury Monday indicted Robert "Bobby" Bruce Pollard on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Ruvalcava, then 23; the jury indicted Louise Pollard on charges of being an accessory by keeping the deaths secret more than eight years. Investigators do not know what the motive for the killing might have been.
Louise Pollard said Clark became so distraught after not being able to find her boyfriend when the two women returned from an errand that she took a gun from Pollard and shot herself, according to the warrant. Bizzell said his detectives haven't been able to verify how Clark died. He hopes pathologists can determine whether she was killed or committed suicide.
"There appears to be some question about whether Robin killed herself, but none of the evidence points to my client killing her," said Bob Denning, Bobby Pollard's attorney. Efforts to reach Louise Pollard's attorney failed.
According to the search warrant, here's what Louise Pollard said happened one day in early August 1997: She and Clark, a 17-year-old relative who, with Ruvalcava, had been living with the Pollards, went to the bank. When they returned to the remote farmhouse, Bobby Pollard seemed upset and left in a hurry. When Clark couldn't find Ruvalcava, Louise Pollard offered Clark a gun and the young woman shot herself in front of Pollard in the living room.
Louise Pollard said she then phoned her husband -- the search warrant doesn't specify how or where. Once he returned home, the Pollards dumped Clark's body atop Ruvalcava's in a chest freezer behind the house, according to the court papers. The Pollards buried the freezer under the shed.
Bobby Pollard then loaded Clark and Ruvalcava's clothes and furniture into a 1976 Ford F-100 pickup that Clark had borrowed from her mother, according to the warrant. Bobby Pollard drove the load south on Interstate 95; Louise Pollard followed in her car. Pollard abandoned the pickup on an overgrown path, just miles over the South Carolina line.
Some time later -- the warrant doesn't specify how long -- Bobby Pollard ordered his wife to dismember Ruvalcava and Clark's bodies, according to the search warrant. She then dumped Clark's remains into a rusted metal oil drum out back where the couple burned trash. Bobby Pollard ripped up their hallway floor and dug a hole to hide Ruvalcava's body. He then covered the torn floor with a piece of plywood and new carpet.
Denning said that the bodies were chopped up years after Clark and Ruvalcava died.
Some of Clark's body parts were burned to ashes; more intact pieces were hidden either in the chest freezer or under the house, said Bizzell.
The medical examiner confirmed Wednesday that some of the body parts belonged to Robin Clark. Her family said she vanished after August 1997. Technicians in a private laboratory will compare other human remains with DNA from Ruvalcava's mother once a sample arrives from Mexico.
Deputies scoured the Pollards' farmhouse for more than a week, looking for clues that would tell the story of the killing.
The warrant released Monday contains a list of the items seized. Among them: five firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun; an outdoor surveillance system rigged to a video monitor near the fireplace; wooden flooring, carpet and a plywood cover; nine saws, including a chain saw and a reciprocating saw stashed in the freezer; bags of human remains in various states of decomposition.
Staff writer Mandy Locke can be reached at 829-8927 or email@example.com.