Nearly 50 years after his death, the family of a fallen New Mexico State Police officer is still fighting for justice. Officer Robert Rosenbloom was shot during a traffic stop in 1971, and his accused killer is still a free man.
“I heard banging on my door. I was in bed and I heard it and I knew. Before I got out of bed, I knew,” said Rosenbloom’s wife, Linda Rosenbloom.
In November 1971, Rosenbloom lost the man she fell in love with after a spur of the moment ride in a then stranger’s yellow convertible. “By the time the ride was over, we had made plans to see each other again,” said Rosenbloom.
They married and brought two kids into the world. A daughter, then a son, their birthdays just about a week apart. “We still had birthday cake on the kitchen counter when he left that night,” said Rosenbloom.
Rosenbloom’s daughter, Tammy Manicki, was just barely 3 years old. “I try to remember his face. I’ve even had dreams. I never can see his face,” said Manicki.
A New Mexico State Police Officer, Rosenbloom made a traffic stop on 9 Mile Hill just west of Albuquerque. Police say inside the car were three men part of a militant group transporting guns and bombs. “They all three decided when Bob pulled them over, they were going to kill him. And they did,” said Rosenbloom.
The men then hijacked a plane at the Sunport, flying it to Fidel Castro’s Cuba. One of the suspects, Charlie Hill, is still living there today. “Anger. A lot of hurt. A lot of anger,” said Rosenbloom.
As part of Police Memorial Week, the FBI is putting a new focus on Rosenbloom’s case, hoping to put pressure on Cuba and get Hill extradited back to the U.S. “We’re tired of seeing Charles Hill in the media. He doesn’t deserve it. It’s not about him,” said Manicki.
The Rosenbloom family wants to see Hill held accountable. However, it’s more important to them people realize the kind of man their husband and father was. “His wallet is untouched. It has everything in it,” said Manicki.
Rosenbloom died with a wallet full of pictures of his young children and his wife. “There’s stuff all over about him,” said Manicki.
They still have his uniform, boots, gun and the flags that were part of his burial. A memorial dedicated to her father sits on top of Manicki’s mantel.
“I want to remember him. I want everyone to remember him,” said Manicki, asking people to remember their hero as a devoted family man and someone they still love very much. “Charles did not kill that. He did not touch that,” said Rosenbloom.
Hill has both denied and admitted to killing Officer Rosenbloom to reporters, even admitting it to KRQE News 13’s Larry Barker when he tracked Hill down in Cuba in 1999. Hill has never spoken to law enforcement about the case.
A State Police office is named after Rosenbloom. The other two suspects in the case are believed to be dead.