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Unsolved Arkansas Bombing

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LITTLE ROCK -

By:  Jason Pederson

Little Rock  -  Later this month, Dr. Randeep Mann will be sentenced to prison after trying to kill the head of Arkansas' medical board with a bomb.

Excellent work by federal investigators and prosecutors helped get Mann convicted.

But there is another Arkansas bombing…one that killed a man…that remains a mystery.  

"Emergency."

"Help!"

"What's the problem?"

"9-1-1.there's a bomb! We just opened it and it exploded! I think my husband is dead!"

"O.K."

The day was June 10th, 1998. A Wednesday.  

It was late in the afternoon and John Rauch's wife minutes earlier had found a package addressed to her husband left inside the car port of their East End home.

It exploded…and 16 agonizing days later Rauch was dead.

It remains Arkansas' only unsolved mail bomb murder.

"We cannot close that case out…ever," says Grover Crossland, the current Resident Agent in Charge of Little Rock's ATF field office.  "We have evidence in that case, and as long as we have evidence you cannot close out a case."

When an explosive incident occurs, it is the duty of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents to investigate.

Grover Crossland heads up the agency's Little Rock field office.

Crossland wasn't here when Rauch was murdered, but he and others are giving the case a new look with fresh eyes.

"We have set down last week…we got the file out and we're going through in detail every piece of information that we have conducted."

And after nearly 13 years, there is plenty to look at.

John Rauch was 52 years old when he was murdered.  He loved riding horses and loved spending time with his grandchildren.  He served as best man at his son's wedding right before his death.

While his personal life was in order, his professional life was not.

Rauch was a builder with a knack for well-meaning but often unsuccessful business ventures.

Suspects are scarce following some crimes, but investigators looking at Rauch's murder were finding plenty of people with motive.

There was the businessman who carried a half-a-million dollar life insurance policy on Rauch…and collected after his death.

The businessman's uncle: a man with a history of collecting insurance money under suspicious circumstances.

A father-in-law estranged from his daughter because she chose her husband over him.

A business partner targeted by several lawsuits because of that partnership.

The boss who was owed money and was highly upset about it.

The two employees fired in the days leading up to the bombing.

Maybe even the county employee injured several years earlier when Rauch's truck hit him.

It is important to note that while many of these people were questioned by ATF agents, no one has been named as a suspect and no one has been charged with a crime. And there may be others with motive that we are unaware of.

"It could be financial," says Crossland.  "It could be hate. It could be revenge. It could be an extramarital affair. I mean…it is unlimited in a motive in these types of cases."

Despite the passage of time, there is hope.

Michael Toney was convicted 12 years after three people in Texas were killed by a briefcase bomb.

Pam Phillips and her lover Ron Young were also convicted of using a bomb to commit murder 12 years after the fact.  Phillips husband was the target.  Insurance money was the motive.

Theodore Kacyzynski…the Unabomber…killed three and injured two dozen over an 18 year span before he was caught.  His brother turned him in.

And it took 22 years to crack a bombing murder in West Virginia.  Two suspects were convicted.  Again, it was the brother of one of the suspect's who broke the case.

"We're working hard in this office to solve these crimes," assures Crossland.  "And hopefully by you presenting this it might spark some interest. Maybe we will have somebody come forward. And we're going to continue to do work on this case."

This case has so many twists and turns that we are going to do something a little unusual.

We have written a long-form story…more like a newspaper story…and posted it here

If you want to learn more about Johnny Rauch the man, his murder, and learn about the people who have caught the interest of investigators we encourage you to check it out.

It is a very interesting read.

Air Date:  February 4th, 2011