Murder of Roxanne Wood by Patrick Gilham highlighted by On the Case with Paula Zahn

Patrick Gilham mugshot
Patrick Gilham was convicted of murdering Roxanne Wood. Pic credit: Michigan State Police Department

On the Case with Paula Zahn is featuring the murder of Roxanne Wood, whose killer, Patrick Gilham, was apprehended nearly four decades after her body was found in her Michigan home.

In the early hours of Feb. 20, 1987, Terry Wood left the bowling alley about 45 minutes after his wife, Roxanne, left in her vehicle.

When he arrived at their Niles Township home on Tam-O-Shanter Lane, he found the 30-year-old dead on the kitchen floor.

She had been stabbed to death before she was hit on the head with a frying pan and had her throat slit.

She was also sexually assaulted.

Terry called 911 at 1:15 a.m. and said, “My wife has been murdered. She is dead. She has been cut.”

Terry Wood became a person of interest in his wife’s murder

DNA evidence was collected from the scene, but due to limited technology, they weren’t able to identify Roxanne’s killer. They did, however, suspect her husband.

Police officials said when emergency responders arrived at his home, he was acting “belligerent.”

When he was taken to the police station for questioning, Terry immediately asked to speak with an attorney, which raised suspicions.

They also found no evidence of forced entry.

Genealogists help solve Roxanne Wood’s murder  

In 2020, Identifinders International began working with law enforcement in Michigan to help bring Roxanne’s killer to justice.

Genealogists spent almost 10 months testing the DNA evidence collected from the crime scene. 

They then created a genetic profile of the killer’s family using his DNA, which led them to Gilham. 

He was living in South Bend, Indiana, at the time.

Detectives began surveilling Gilham, hoping to collect a sample of his DNA to link him to the murder.

DNA from a cigarette butt led to an arrest

In 2021, an undercover officer picked up a cigarette butt that Gilham had left behind at a laundromat.

Police sent the cigarette butt to the forensic lab for testing, and the results revealed that his DNA matched the DNA found at the crime scene.

During a police interview, they showed Gilham a photo of Roxanne, and he said he didn’t know her. When they told him that she was murdered and assaulted, he asked for a lawyer.

Gilham was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

He pleaded no contest.

On April 25, 2022, a judge sentenced Gilham to 23 years in prison.

On the Case with Paula Zahn airs Sundays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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