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The bodies of a husband and wife were found behind a shed at their Carleton Heights home after their son allegedly confessed to killing his parents in a fit of a rage, the Citizen has learned.

Ottawa police major crime detectives are investigating the double homicide of former Citizen reporter Dave Rogers, 69, and his wife, Merrill Gleddie Rogers, 63. Their son Cameron Rogers, 22, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is in police custody in Montreal. He will appear in court in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Late Monday night, Montreal police contacted Ottawa police with information that a man in their custody had confessed to killing his parents. Ottawa patrol officers responded to the Rogers family home at 1614 Apeldoorn Ave. just after 10 p.m. and found the couple’s bodies behind a shed outside. One was covered by a tarp, the other appeared to be in a suitcase. Police believe both had been dead for some time.

The Rogers’ deaths mark the city’s 18th and 19th homicides of 2016.

Dave Rogers, an only child, was hired by the Citizen in the early ’70s. As a general assignment reporter, he wrote about death inquests, election results, murder trials, drug raids and development in Old Chelsea. He lent his touch to everything from a Gatineau man who twice used a teddy bear to sneak into the carpool lane to towing kick-backs and tax hikes. He left the Citizen in 2010.

His wife, Merrill, was one of four children and grew up in an Air Force family.

In 2012, she advocated for healthier snacks in school vending machines partly because of the effect unhealthy options were having on her son’s physical wellness, according to a report to the school board.

The Rogers’ house sits less than a block from the Carleton Heights Community Centre, near Carleton Heights Park, in a sleepy suburb of the city populated by single-family homes. The house was roped off with police tape Tuesday, closing Apeldoorn Avenue to vehicle traffic.

The Rogers’ neighbours remembered the family as “friendly” but “discreet.” Ehab Zahook, who has been the family’s neighbour for four years now, said Merrill was an avid gardener and he was constantly seeking her advice when it came to his backyard.

Zahook said he developed a relationship with the family shortly after moving in because the Rogers had some tension with the previous owner of Zahook’s home and were glad to see the house change hands.

Zahook said the Rogers were concerned about their son’s future and were thinking of how to get him into some sort of post-secondary school. They had asked Zahook about methods of teaching computer-assisted design on programs like AutoCAD, which is something Zahook knows quite a bit about.

Zahook believed the boy suffered from some sort of mental disorder, but the family never discussed it openly. He described the 22-year-old as a loner, who would often be seen outside kicking a soccer ball or riding his bike by himself. Last Halloween, he dressed in full costume to scare kids and hand out candy at the family’s home.

What happened to the Rogers has shaken Zahook and his family, leaving him pondering how to best explain the situation to his two young children. Zahook said there were never signs of fighting or any incidents to suggest unrest between the 22-year-old and his parents. He said he was actually wondering why things had been so quiet at the house over the past two days. Then, he said, he saw about six police cars descend on the address late Monday night.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

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