Sister of slain Durham woman found copy of accused husband’s laptop hard drive

jporter@newsobserver.comMay 9, 2013 

— The sister of Janet Abaroa, the Durham woman fatally stabbed April 26, 2005, told jurors she found a CD copy of Raven Abaroa’s laptop hard drive that appeared to have been made the day before Janet Abaroa’s slaying.

Sonja Flood said she looked through Raven Abaroa’s bags when he was staying with her family in Virginia for a short time after her sister’s death because she thought he was not fully cooperating with the police investigation.

“The date on the CD was handwritten, 4/25/05,” Flood said. It alarmed her, she said, because police had said the only things missing from the Abaroas’ house were Raven Abaroa’s laptop and some knives.

Raven Abaroa is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant wife. He says he found her body in an upstairs room at their home on Ferrand Drive upon returning from a soccer game in Orange County.

Flood looked at all the files on the disk she found, made copies of the disk and told police about it.

Steve Vaughn, the second Durham investigator assigned to the case in July 2005 after Bennie Bradley, retrieved the original disk from Flood that August.

Files on the disk were labeled “Tech Skills” and “Sports Endeavors,” companies Raven Abaroa had worked for; there was a file labeled “Bankruptcy” and links to, apparently a website he maintained with information about his family.

Vaughn said the disk contained photo files of “females in various states of undress,” including some of Janet Abaroa.

Prosecutors provided jurors with a 228-page printed stack of screenshots of computer files and website links.

In February 2006, Vaughn conducted a follow-up interview with Abaroa in Richmond, Va,. which he did not record.

Amos Tyndall, Abaroa’s defense attorney, asked Vaughn whether Tim Dowd, Janet Abaroa’s family’s friend and spokesman, was involved in setting up this interview, and Vaughn said he was. Vaughn had previously met with Dowd at Dowd’s Virginia lake house.

During the interview, Vaughn asked Abaroa about events that occurred on the evening of Janet Abaroa’s death, and other general questions about their relationship.

“He said, ‘(Janet) was not going to leave me,’ ” Vaughn said, after he had asked him about any problems the couple had. “He said he did not kill Janet, he would never do that to Janet because he loved her.”

Tyndall said Vaughn failed to collect the bloodstained clothes that the couple’s baby, Kaiden, was wearing on the night of the killing to be analyzed as evidence.

Tyndall asked Vaughn whether he followed up with several of the Abaroas’ neighbors who had reported crimes in the neighborhood near the time of Janet Abaroa’s killing, and Vaughn said he did not.

Porter: 919-593-7884

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