48 Hours: Lady in the Pool

A Funeral Director's Wife Drowns in Their Pool… The Truth Lies Beneath the Surface

Lancaster County is best known for its Amish heritage and peaceful Pennsylvania lifestyle. It's also home to the quiet town of Denver, Pa., where nothing much ever happens… and folks here like it that way.

Michael Roseboro and his family all grew up here.

"Everyone knows everyone else. And it's a great place to raise your children," according to Michael's younger sister, Melissa Voler.

"He was a typical boy. He liked sports," Michael's mother, Ann Roseboro, explained. "He was loveable, worried about other people's feelings."

That empathy naturally drew Michael into the family enterprise - a funeral home the Roseboro family has run for more than a century.

"He decided in 11th grade, that he, too, would like to be a part of the family business," Ann told "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Harold Dow. "He was just so great in the business, people loved him. We've had so many people tell us what a caring, compassionate person he is…"

"Michael was always very gregarious, always had a lot of friends," Voler added. "Everyone always loved him."

In this town of only 3,000, Michael didn't have to look far to fall in love.

"Well, we knew Jan's family for many years. They dated about a year before they were married," said Ann.

That was 1989, when local girl Jan Binkley became Mrs. Michael Roseboro. Friends who got to know Jan and Michael as a couple say they shared similar qualities.

"He had a good heart. He just liked doing things for people and he made a lot of money so he shared it," said Mark Bansner.

"She was truly one of the kindest, giving souls I've ever met," said Becky Donahue, one of Jan's closest friends. "And she did it without the need or the want for acknowledgment."

Jan and Michael settled down and started raising a family. Their four children were the center of their lives.

"She truly did live for the kids," Donahue explained. "She was involved in all their activities, their sports."

Michael also found time for sports like lacrosse, sharing a passion for coaching with two other dads: Mark Bansner and Frank Tobias.

"We knew Mike as a family man, being with Jan. Every time we'd go out, we went as couples," said Bansner.

Added Tobias, "The family we knew and the time we spent with Mike and Jan they were all good times."

In fact, to anyone in their tight circle of friends, the Roseboros seemed pretty near perfect.

Said close friend Ros Bansner, "I never saw him belittle her. He never really put her down in front of us."

With the funeral business thriving, Mike and Jan were able to expand their home in 2008. Their brand new swimming pool was just opened for the summer season.

"We were just together all the time" said Mark Bansner.

But everything suddenly changed the night of July 22, 2008. Michael Roseboro placed an emergency call to 911:


911: OK, is she breathing?
Michael Roseboro: No, she's not.
911: Is she still in the water?
Michael Roseboro: No, I pulled her out.
911: OK, do you want to try to start CPR on her?
Michael Roseboro: I will, I will, yeah.

Listen to the 911 call


Sgt. Larry Martin of the East Cocalico Police Department was one of the first detectives at the scene. Police got to the house just after 11 p.m.

"At least three of the children were asleep in the house at that time," Sgt. Martin explained. "[Michael Roseboro] told us he'd gone to bed, his wife stayed out by the pool. He woke up - approximately an hour later, noticed the lights were on around the pool. Went out to extinguish the lights and found Jan in the pool, got her out and did CPR."

Jan Roseboro, 45, was rushed to the hospital as Michael stayed with the kids. But it was too late; she was pronounced dead just before midnight.

Donahue heard the surprising news from Jan's sister. "Suzie Van Zant came to my house and got me… Suzie had to grab me and tell me that - that she was dead and that she had fallen in the pool and Suzie thought she had a heart attack and was dead."

Other friends were equally stunned.

"We got a phone call and found out that Jan had an accident and drowned in the pool. Extremely tough to take," Mark Bansner said. "I couldn't believe anything else happened other than the way it was presented as an accident."

"It has touched all our families," said Ros Bansner. "We had a pool party there two days before. I had slipped on the side of the pool, caught myself. I can see where she would have slipped and fallen into the pool."

Michael's sister rushed over to be at her brother's side.

"Every time some else arrives at the house, Michael would start to cry and then in typical Michael fashion, he would pull it together. He would hold his composure. He was a funeral director," Voler explained.

Michael Roseboro wasn't only composed; he could not have been more cooperative. Sgt. Martin said he came to the police station "voluntarily and willingly" and never asked for a lawyer.

"When he initially came, yes, he came and spoke with us," Sgt. Martin told Dow.

Later, around 3 a.m., Michael even allowed detectives inside his home where his three youngest children were still asleep.

"We were there by Michael's invitation," Sgt. Martin explained. "We did not have a search warrant at that time."

Police found nothing unusual in their first walkthrough. Said Martin, "I did not see anything suspicious."
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