The murder of an Ohio woman is revisited 35 years later by a crime scene investigator in the Caylee Anthony case: Doc

Alina Burroughs hopes a single mother of two young children who was murdered 35 years ago will not be forgotten.

In January 1988, the body of Marjorie “Margie” Coffey was found in an icy creek in Ohio. She was spotted by a group of Boy Scouts who initially thought they had stumbled upon a mannequin. Her winter scarf was wrapped tightly around her neck, leaving no doubt that she was being strangled. Most traces at the crime scene, such as hair and fingerprints, were long gone.

Her death will be investigated in Investigation Discovery (ID)’s true crime series Crime Scene Confidential, hosted by Burroughs. It examines how forensic science is used to solve high-profile cases across the country. It includes interviews with relatives, investigators associated with the cases presented, and other key stakeholders.

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Alina Burroughs studies photos

Alina Burroughs is the host of the true crime series Crime Scene Confidential. (ID)

Burroughs, a forensic scientist, notably served as the CSI in the investigation into Caylee Anthony’s death. In each episode, she uses modern science to revisit the high-profile cases. Fox News Digital received a preview of the episode, which is scheduled to premiere on September 6th.

A closeup of Caylee Anthony

Burroughs worked as a crime scene investigator in the aforementioned Caylee Anthony case. Her mother, Casey Anthony, was accused of killing the two-year-old in 2008. She was found not guilty of murder. (Orlando Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“If you look at gun violence, it’s a very distant type of crime,” Burroughs told Fox News Digital. “Then we look at things like stabbings, which are closer and more personal. But if you look at the crime of strangulation, whether it’s manual strangulation or ligature strangulation, it says something about the relationship between the victim and the suspect.”

“You have to be very close to your victim to physically strangle them,” she shared. “When you put yourself in the suspect’s shoes and physically put your hands on someone, you have to be mentally willing to watch life leave your body. That’s very personal. There’s a connection, a kind of hatred. You have to be okay with that. And that’s the kind of person we need to be looking for, someone who’s physically okay with seeing the end of a human life.”

Margie Coffey wears a bright blue dress and glasses

Margie Coffey, mother of two, died on January 21, 1988. (ID)

Coffey was reportedly the fifth of six children in a farming family. During her short life, Coffey struggled to find her way. In 1974 and 1975, she was arrested for promoting prostitution, a local outlet revealed.

“Like many people, Margie took some time to understand life,” Burroughs explained. “It’s certainly not something her ending deserved. She has worked very hard in her life. She went to school. She had found that she could give her children a better life and she did everything she could to achieve it.” Those children. She went to church. She had friends and family who loved her dearly. She was described as a hard worker… She was trying to create a better life for herself and her family.”

David Messmore in a dark blazer and light blue shirt

Commenting on the series was David Messmore, a former detective with the Mansfield Police Department in Ohio. (ID)

Towards the end of her life, Coffey reportedly spent her time studying the Bible, gardening, and cleaning houses to earn a living. She was a frequent visitor to Mr. T’s Coffee Shop, a popular law enforcement hangout in Mansfield, Ohio.

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Alina Burroughs with tools in winter

Burroughs revisited the crime scene where Margie Coffey was found. (ID)

At the time of her death, investigators were wondering if Coffey’s past had caught up with her. Her family mourned and anxiously awaited justice.

John Allen wears a gray blazer and a blue shirt

Prosecutor John Allen commented on the case. (ID)

“I think especially in small towns we’re seeing these deaths have a tremendous impact, not just on the families,” Burroughs said. “If we look at Margie, she’s done her best to give her children a better life on the waves of murder… and they’re reaching far. And it’s affecting a small community, now gripped by a new fear that someone living among them capable of such horrific strangulation and then dumping a corpse in an attempt to hide this crime.

Burroughs traveled to Mansfield in the dead of winter to revisit the crime scene.

Alina Burroughs is talking to a man near a blue table

For Crime Scene Confidential, Burroughs spoke to people connected to the Margie Coffey case. (ID)

“The first thing I teach people is that as an investigator, you have to become a victim and a suspect,” she said. “Who would know how to get to a place like this? Who would know that this is a good place to leave someone where they won’t be found? We’re talking about 1988 when there was no GPS. If you you know how to get there because you’ve traveled there before and knew how to get back on your own.

Bambi Couch-Page wears a black blazer and a red shirt

Bambi Couch-Page, Margie Coffey’s friend and attorney, also commented on Crime Scene Confidential. (ID)

“In all of these cases, getting to the actual crime scene is very important to me [in the series]” she continued. “That meant flying to Ohio and physically getting into the water where Margie’s body was found … And driving down that winding road you can see how far this place is in the middle of nowhere.”

It was previously reported that Coffey was dating two Mansfield police officers. One of them was Robert Lemon. He shared that the relationship was short-lived and they hadn’t been in touch. And then there was Lieutenant Charles Oswalt.

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A black and white closeup photo of Margie Coffey

At the time of her death, family said Margie Coffey was focused on creating a better life for herself and her children. (ID)

According to the special, Coffey and the married father of three had a sexual relationship. A friend of Coffey’s said she may have believed the two could have had a long-term relationship but knew it wasn’t going to work out. It is believed that Coffey was keen to continue.

The special also revealed that Coffey was involved in a paternity suit. She named Oswalt as her younger son’s father, making him the prime suspect. When prosecutors asked Oswalt to take a paternity test, the results showed that Oswalt had a 99 percent chance of being the child’s father.

While most traces had been washed away, two red carpet fibers remained. They were spotted on Coffey’s leg warmers and coat. The fibers matched the specific cruiser Oswalt was using at the time. It was also reportedly the only patrol car that had carpet instead of rubber mats.

Charles Oswalt in a plaid shirt

Charles Oswalt, who appeared in Crime Scene Confidential, maintains his innocence. (ID)

Oswalt, who spoke on the special, has maintained his innocence.

“I had a sexual experience with Margie Coffey in October 1979,” Oswalt told Burroughs. “It was a one-off sexual event. I didn’t see Margie again until 1986. At the time, she asked me how I would feel if she told me that I was the father of her child. And I said, ‘Me.’ do not believe it.’ She said, “Well, I’m going to file a paternity suit.” I said, ‘File what you need to archive.'”

According to Oswalt, he last saw Coffey at Mr. T’s. He stressed that he never saw her again after that. Oswalt said he was checking drug activity elsewhere at the time of Coffey’s disappearance.

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Mugshot of suspected perpetrator Charles Oswalt

Charles Oswalt’s mug shot. (ID)

Prosecutors said Oswalt used knowledge of the crime scene to his advantage, so no further evidence was found in this case. The defense insisted it was a cover-up.

Oswalt was convicted of premeditated murder and gross mistreatment of a corpse, the Mansfield News Journal reported. According to the outlet, he served nearly 16 years of a 10- to 25-year sentence. He was paroled in 2004.

When asked if he killed Coffey in the episode, Oswalt insisted, “Absolutely not.”

A black and white photograph of Charles Oswalt at trial

Charles Oswalt was paroled in 2004. (ID)

Burroughs said it was important to get Oswalt’s side on the special.

“In that case, as always, we’re reaching out to everyone involved,” Burroughs said. “We want to make it possible for everyone to tell their side of the story. And someone like Charles Oswalt, who’s done his sentence, is out, living his life, might have a story he wants to tell. Was I surprised he wanted to tell his side of the story? I think people have many reasons to speak out. Certainly people interested in maintaining some kind of perception of who they are. And I think viewers will be very interested in the conversation I had with him and what he was trying to say.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Oswalt for comment on his appearance on Crime Scene Confidential.


Alina Burroughs looks away from the microscope

Burroughs told Fox News Digital it was important to include all perspectives in the special. (ID)

Today, Coffey’s loved ones want to remember the mother they lost.

“If you google the name of a murder victim like Margie Coffey, you can usually find the details of her death,” Burroughs said. “And that’s not how anyone wants to be remembered… So we want to allow friends and family to talk to us about who Margie was.” What did she like to do? What made her happy? What was she most proud of?”

“We want people to remember that she was someone,” Burroughs continued. “She studied hard. She enjoyed a late-night cup of coffee between studies. And she studied so hard because her children were so important to her. She thought about their future and wanted to give them a better life. We want.” People should know that she was loved. And she is still missed.”

Crime Scene Confidential airs September 6th at 9/8c on ID.

Rick Schindler

Rick Schindler is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Rick Schindler joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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