Lori Roberts Murder: Where is Jeff Silvernail Now?

Image Credit: Jay Skelton/Find a Grave

The episode titled ‘Broken People’ of Investigation Discovery’s ‘American Monster’ covers the murder case of mother of three Lori Roberts and the investigation that followed. The breaking of the news shocked the entire community while the loved ones of the 49-year-old were in disbelief. Although engulfed in grief, the family was focused on finding justice for Lori and expressed their suspicion about one individual in her life to the authorities. The episode also consists of interviews with several loved ones who provide insightful details into the life of the victim and the impact of her death on their lives.

Lori Roberts Was Discovered Dead in Her Bedroom

On May 18, 1960, Larry and Beverly Bartsch welcomed a little bundle of joy into their lives in the form of Lori Bartsch Roberts. Born and raised in Nevada County, California, she shared a close-knit bond with her parents and her brother, Larry Lloyd Bartsch Jr. After passing out from Union Hill Elementary School, she joined Nevada Joint Union High School and formed many friendships with her peers. For higher studies, she went to Jon et Dees Beauty College in Lodi, California. After spending about four decades of her life on the West Coast, she moved to Doran, Minnesota, with her family in 2000.

Image Credit: Detroit Lakes Tribune

In her free time, she used to indulge in one of her many hobbies, including vacationing, motorcycle riding, listening to Johnny Cash, reading Betty Boop comics, and gold panning. As an adult, she had become fond of the outdoors and liked to keep up her garden. Being a social person, Lori liked to host parties for her loved ones on holidays or other special occasions, welcoming them with open arms. She was also a devoted mother whose love never fell short for her daughters — Misty Roberts, Angela “Angie” Roberts, and Stephanie Odgers Holding Eagle III. Later in her life, she was employed at Primewood in Wahpeton, North Dakota, as a senior machine operator.

Having so many things to look forward to, the 49-year-old woman’s life was brought to a halt on October 2, 2009. When the police received a call about the gruesome murder of Lori Roberts, they rushed to the crime scene and found her dead on the floor of her Doran apartment. After taping the crime scene, the investigators closely inspected the body and house to find any clue or evidence that could take them to the killer/s. The autopsy report suggested that the gunshot wounds to her neck and chest emerged from a 9mm handgun. Those gunshot wounds were declared to be the cause of her demise.

Former Lover of Lori Roberts Turned Into a Killer

The distressed 911 call was made by Lori Roberts’ ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey “Jeff” Allen Silvernail, who had been dating her since 2005. However, at the time, he was in the process of moving out from her place, having broken up with her just a few days earlier. Given these dynamics between the two, and since Jeff was the last person to see Lori alive and the first one to find her dead, the police and the victims’ loved ones were soon to point the finger at him, suspecting him to be responsible for the murder. When he was brought in for questioning, Jeff claimed that he could never hurt her as she was his heart and soul. As per him, the reason for their break up was that Lori had fallen for another man.

When asked about his alibi, Jeff told the detectives that he had left the house between 3 and 3:30 am. Then, he returned in the morning around the time of the 911 call to pack his belongings, and that was when he discovered Lori’s body on the floor. He owned four firearms, out of which a 9mm gun was missing. In his defense, he claimed that it was stolen. The investigators also found a small spot of blood on the pants he had worn on the fateful day and in his 1991 GMC pickup truck and sent it for forensic examination. When the reports came in, it revealed that the blood matched Lori’s DNA profile.

In light of all the incriminating evidence against Jeff, the police arrested him in the Wilkin County Courthouse on May 24, 2010, and charged him with second-degree homicide of her former girlfriend, Lori Roberts. Upon the arrest, the victim’s family was relieved as the process of her receiving justice had begun. One of Lori’s daughters, Angie, stated, “It’s been frustrating at points, but it’s good that the investigation took longer, and they’re covering their bases.”

Jeff Silvernail is Behind Bars at a Minnesota Prison Facility

Nearly two years after Lori Roberts’ murder, the accused, Jeff Silvernail, stood on trial for the same around October 2011. During the trial, the defense asserted that Jeff was innocent and claimed that the prosecutors targeted the defendant from the get-go, ignoring any other potential leads or suspects. On the other hand, the prosecution argued that the accused had a strong motive to commit murder, and the text messages between the two showcased the volatile emotions Jeff held for Lori. Following a seven-day trial, the jury returned with a guilty verdict for him and convicted him of first-degree murder on October 6, 2011.

Later, he received a life imprisonment sentence without the possibility of parole. Lori’s daughter, Stephanie Odgers Holding Eagle, passed a statement after his sentencing. She said, “I haven’t really given myself time to really think about her because I’ve been so focused on him. He walked free for eight months, which seemed like years after he did what he did. All my energy has been focused on him and making sure he gets the conviction he deserves.” Currently, he is serving his life sentence at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights at 5329 North Osgood Avenue in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.

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