Metro-East News

An unraveling family led to murder charges in Jersey County

Bonnie Woodward
Bonnie Woodward Provided

Roger Carroll beat, tasered and pinned his estranged wife to the laundry room floor for 20 minutes, alternating between cursing her and apologizing for hurting other people.

Monica Carroll made those allegations in a petition for an order of protection filed the afternoon of March 2 — just hours after the altercation at 20758 Creek Road in Jerseyville. She escaped by kicking, punching and scratching him.

Just a little more than a month later, Roger Carroll would be charged with the murder of an Alton woman who had been missing for 10 years.

Roger Carroll was facing unlawful restraint and domestic battery charges for the attack on his wife when his son, Nathan, was subpoenaed by a grand jury investigating the death of his former girlfriend’s stepmother, Bonnie Woodward, in 2010.

Carroll’s family unraveled as Nathan told the grand jury about the events on June 25, 2010 — the day Woodward went missing — and the days that followed.

Retired Alton police Chief Scott Golike detailed Nathan Carroll’s testimony during a preliminary hearing Monday in Jerseyville. The chief recounted that Nathan Carroll, who was 16 at the time, testified that Roger Carroll:

  • Lured Woodward using her runaway daughter, Heather, as bait. Allowed Heather to travel with the Carroll family on a trip to Goreville, in Southern Illinois.
  • Left Goreville early in the morning on June 25.
  • Said on the trip home that Bonnie Woodward was a “bad person” and he was going to kill her.
  • Took his then 16-year-old son, Nathan, to check out Woodward's home and the nursing home where she worked.
  • Dropped Nathan Carroll off at home and got a gun.

Later, Nathan Carroll told the grand jury that he heard gunshots and when he went outside he saw Woodward’s body. Roger Carroll used a tractor to move Woodward’s body to a brush pile. Nathan and Roger Carroll burned the body, according to Golike.

Bonnie Woodward was named Heather's legal guardian after the girl's father died unexpectedly from a cerebral hemorrhage on July 24, 2000, when Heather was 8 years old. Court documents stated that Heather had little contact with her mother before her father died. Bonnie Woodward was the mother of two of her own children.

Heather Woodward, who could not be reached for comment, was 17 when she ran away on about June 10, 2010. She moved in with her math teacher Christine Scheffel. On or about June 17, 2010, Heather Woodward went to stay with her boyfriend Nathan Carroll’s family, according to court records. Bonnie Woodward reported her missing to police, but then Bonnie went missing eight days later.

Woodward's car was found abandoned on the parking lot of the Eunice Smith Nursing Home in Alton, where she worked. Witnesses reported seeing her talking to a man in his 40s in the parking lot, according to press accounts at the time.

On Oct. 1, 2010, Joseph Pool, Bonnie Woodward’s son, asked the courts to make him guardian of her estate as a missing person. Her disappearance remained a mystery for eight years.

On July 3, 2010, Heather Woodward, who turned 18 the day before, walked into the East Alton Public Library. She had been listed as a missing person up to then.

After Bonnie Woodward’s disappearance, Monica and Roger Carroll were charged with obstruction of justice and harboring a runaway in 2010. Madison County prosecutors dismissed the charges against Monica Carroll in 2015. Those charges were still pending against Roger on March 2 when Monica Carroll said her husband used a Taser to coerce her into a divorce settlement.

When Jersey County prosecutors filed felony unlawful restraint and domestic battery charges against Roger Carroll, Madison County prosecutors asked that his bond on the obstruction of justice and harboring a runaway charges be revoked.

Nathan Carroll’s grand jury testimony then lead to the charred remains on the Carrolls' property.

Madison County Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Mudge was named a special prosecutor in the murder case against Roger Carroll.

Nathan Carroll was given immunity in exchange for his testimony before the grand jury.

Monica Carroll, a radiology tech at Jersey County hospital, won’t face charges.

As for Roger Carroll’s laundry room apology to his wife for hurting her and “other people," prosecutors believe he’s responsible only for Bonnie Woodward’s murder.

Jersey County Prosecutor Ben Goetten said, “As far as missing persons go, Bonnie Woodward has been and continues to be the primary focus of this investigation.”