By Alan J. Keays, VTDigger
POULTNEY — Police say as they searched for several days for a missing Fair Haven woman, Wayne Oddo knew where she was and never said a word.
Oddo, 53, has not been charged in the death of Alexandra Rooker, 26, though he is being questioned in her disappearance. Federal prosecutors, however, did charge Oddo on Thursday with being a drug user in possession of a firearm.
Police said they found Rooker’s body Wednesday evening on Oddo’s property on Morse Hollow Road in Poultney. She had been reported missing March 8 by family members who hadn’t heard from her since March 2.
Police said they discovered her remains in a shed a short distance from Oddo’s home when they raided the residence, armed with a federal search warrant.
Rooker reportedly was last seen March 3, when a friend dropped her off at Oddo’s home, federal prosecutors said in a statement late Thursday afternoon.
Preliminary autopsy results revealed no signs of trauma to Rooker’s body, with the cause and manner of her death still under investigation, prosecutors said. The time and date she died are still to be determined as well.
“This death is being treated as suspicious at this time and possibly related to a drug overdose,” prosecutors added in the statement.
During the past week, the statement said, Vermont State Police detectives interviewed Oddo as they tried to find Rooker. Oddo told detectives that Rooker had been at his residence but was no longer there.
“Perhaps most disturbing,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathanael Burris wrote in a court filing seeking to detain Oddo pending a trial, “the defendant was aware that the body of a deceased young female was wrapped in a tarp in a shed on the premises of his residence for approximately one full week, and yet took no action to alert law enforcement or medical personnel.
“The level of disregard for human life inherent in this behavior is indicative of his dangerousness and the degree to which drug use is a motivating factor for the defendant’s action,” the prosecutor added.
Oddo made an initial appearance Thursday afternoon in federal court in Burlington. Magistrate Judge John Conroy ordered him detained pending a hearing March 24. At that hearing, Conroy is expected to rule on the prosecutor’s motion to detain Oddo until trial.
Federal prosecutors described both Rooker and Oddo as heroin users. Burris alleged that Oddo also was providing housing to people who sell deadly drugs.
“In the midst of this, he was in possession of various firearms,” Burris wrote. “The combination of these drugs and firearms is dangerous.”
If convicted on the firearms charge, Oddo faces up to 10 years in prison.
Oddo’s 2½-story home is on a dirt road about four miles from Route 140. Two troopers were at the scene Thursday morning providing security — one blocking a long driveway leading to the home and the other on the road looking down on the residence.
A state police crime scene vehicle was also parked in the driveway Thursday morning. There was little activity outside the home at that time, and no one was inside.
Sap collection lines ran across maple trees in the front of the property, and posted signs warned against going onto the land.
Detectives with the state police crime scene search team continued to process the scene Thursday afternoon. Anyone with information about Rooker’s disappearance or death is asked to contact the VSP at 802-773-9101.