Monday, November 12, 2001

Murder suspect held

Victim was a Butler County native

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        About a month before the five-year anniversary of Sgt. Laura E. Cecere's disappearance, her former husband sits in a Tennessee jail awaiting trial on charges that he murdered her.

        Max P. Roybal was arrested July 5 in Fort Campbell and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his former wife, Sgt. Cecere, and his former fiancee, Karen C. Anderson of nearby Clarksville, Tenn.

        A hearing on a defense motion to try each count of murder separately is scheduled for Nov. 30, said John Carney, district attorney for Montgomery County, Tenn. No trial date has been set. A judge has denied Mr. Roybal's request for bond.

        Sgt. Cecere was the only female instructor at Fort Campbell's Sabalauski Air Assault School when she vanished December 1996. She was last seen alive in surveillance video at a Wal-Mart in Clarksville. Sgt. Cecere's truck was found three weeks later at a nearby apartment complex.

        Her death was confirmed when her jawbone was mailed in a Tupperware bowl to a Hopkinsville television station in July 1997. The rest of her remains have not been found.

        Police said that bowl belonged to a Tupperware set owned by Mr. Roybal.

        Sgt. Cecere grew up in Seven Mile in Butler County and attended Talawanda High School, but moved to Fountain City, Ind., during her senior year. She graduated from high school there in 1988, and joined the Army in 1989.

        Ms. Anderson died in November 1994. Her death initially raised no suspicions. An autopsy led police to believe she had suffered a seizure and died of natural causes. But after learning of Ms. Anderson's connection with Mr. Roybal, investigators became suspicious. Her body was exhumed from a rural Montgomery County cemetery in March 1998.


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