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Jury seated in 35-year-old cold case homicide trial

Posted at 11:47 AM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 19:05:36-04

APPLETON (NBC 26) — Twelve jurors and three alternates were seated Monday in an Outagamie County homicide case that went cold for decades.

  • Gene Meyer was arrested in 2022 after DNA linked him to the sexual assault and murder of Betty Rolf in Grand Chute 1988
  • A jury has been selected in a trial that's been scheduled to last two weeks

According to a criminal complaint, Betty Rolf, 60, was reported missing by her family after she didn't show up to work on Nov. 6, 1988. Rolf had been working at the Country Aire Banquet Room and would often walk to work from her house, according to police.
Police found Rolf’s body on Nov. 7, 1988 near a railroad underpass on West Spencer Street in Grand Chute. The complaint says she had been sexually assaulted, beaten, and strangled.

The complaint says in 2019, investigators used a familial DNA search to track down potential relatives of the suspect. The search led investigators to the family of Gene Meyer.

"Based on Investigator Fitzpatrick’s inquiries, the only possible suspects in the DNA lineage of Meyer family were Gene Meyer and his brother," the complaint says.

Authorities ruled out Meyer's brother through a DNA test and focused on Meyer. He was arrested in Pierce County, Washington, in 2022 after DNA collected from the handle of his truck matched DNA found on Rolf's body.

Meyer was extradited to Wisconsin and placed in Outagamie County Jail. He is charged with one count of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and 1st Degree Sexual Assault.

If convicted, Meyer faces life in prison for the homicide as well as an additional twenty years for the assault.

Opening statements will begin on Tuesday morning at the Outagamie County Courthouse.