Confessions of an 8-year-old Case: Allison Tornensis Murder

When a case grows cold, it's sometimes hard to get it warm again. Until the suspect walks into the police station ready to talk. Find out more about the Tornensis case.
Allison Tornensis

On the afternoon of July 7, 2000, a man would walk into one of Oregon’s police stations to confess to a murder that he was involved in almost a decade ago in 1992. He would confess that he was the murderer of a case that they oversaw that had since grown cold, because the local authorities and investigators had no leads on who it could be where to look throughout the years.


Allison Tornensis, 15 would be found in Quilcene Washington on August 1, 1992. Allison Tornensis was missing from her home since July 29, 1992.

When a medical examiner looked over her dead body, it was discovered that Allison was stabbed over 20 times.

Allison’s case would be aired on America’s Most Wanted a few years later in 1995, but still, no strong leads came from that airing.


On August 1, 1992, the body of Alisson Tornensis would be discovered lying face down in a river in the town of Quilcene, Washington. Quilcene is a pretty rural town that is nestled in Jefferson County.

Despite a thorough investigation, local authorities could never pinpoint a suspect in the case against Tornensis.

This is when in 1995, the case of Allison Tornensis would be aired on America’s Most Wanted. While, this gave some tips and leads to the local authorities, none of the tips or leads panned out into anything that the local authorities could use to help find who did this to this young 15-year-old.

However, one of the more notable leads after Allison’s case aired on America’s Most Wanted television show was that Froehlich would contact the local police and give them two names of men who may or may not have committed the murder. But after a thorough investigation, the local police found that this tip was completely bogus.

It would not be for another 5 years until the case heated up again. During the evening hours on July 4, 2000, Froehlich would contact the police yet again in Curry County, Oregon, where he was visiting his brother. It would not be until a few hours later where he would admit to committing to the crime that happened 8 years prior.

Sergeant Sevey would be the one to go out and pick up Froehlich at his brothers’ home and let Froehlich that he was going to come with him down to the local police station, but he was not under any arrest.

When they would arrive back to the police station, Froehlich would invoke his Miranda rights, and this is when Sergeant Sevey would stop questioning him.

However, when Sergeant Sevey was filling out some personal information forms about his sheriff’s office contacts, this is when Froehlich would state that he wanted to talk to either Dale Wurtsmith or Pete Piccini who worked in the Jefferson County Police Department.

Sergeant Sevey obliged and allowed Froehlich to speak with Dale Wurtsmith over the telephone while David Gardiner, Curry County Detective and himself listened along.

Froehlich would provide more details about the murder of Allison Tornensis in so much detail only the killer would know. These descriptions would go right down to her clothing and the places where Allison was stabbed. This is when Froehlich would confess to being involved in Allison Tornensis murder.

Froehlich would be on the phone with Dale Wurtsmith for nearly two hours.

Froehlich would then go on to making two videotaped confessions for Gardiner. Each of these videotaped confessions would start with Froehlich waiving his Miranda rights.

During the same time that Froehlich was making his confessions on videotape, the Curry County police would come to arrest him for a warrant all the way from Montana. Then just a few hours later, the Jefferson County police would send the Curry county a fax stating that the Jefferson County police also had an arrest warrant for Froehlich on a burglary charge.

Then on July 6, Detective Nole and Dale Wurtsmith from Jefferson County would go out to the Curry County Sheriff’s Office to pick up Froehlich. The two authorities would advise Froehlich of his Miranda rights once again. Froehlich would then sign a written waiver as they were heading back to Jefferson County to further talk about the murder of Allison Tornensis.

Upon their arrival in Jefferson County, Froehlich would enter a guilty plea to his burglary charge in which the county had his arrest warrant on. Froehlich would get fifty-one days in jail.

When Froehlich was serving his sentence for his burglary charge, Froehlich would send the Jefferson police a letter that included specific details of Allison Tornensis’s murder including very specific information on the wounds that Allison received and the location in the river in which she was ultimately found.

The Jefferson police could confirm most of these details since the media did not cover these said details, however, there were a few pieces of information that the police could not check out.

During this time, two doctors would evaluate Froehlich on behalf of the state of Oregon to ensure Froehlich was competent enough to stand trial. Both doctors would find that Froehlich was competent enough to stand trial and understood all his confessions.

However, the defense team would dispute both doctor’s expert opinions.

The state of Oregon would charge Froehlich with second-degree murder for the 1992 murder of Allison Tornensis. Froehlich was competent enough to stand trial.

At the end of the CrR 3.5 hearing, the trial ended up ruling that Froehlich’s statements to both the Jefferson County police and the Curry County police would be admissible in court. Both parties agreed to have a bench trial, and the court would ultimately find Froehlich guilty for the death of Allison Tornensis.


Robert Froehlich the man who was guilty of the 1992 murder of Allison Tornensis from Quilcene, Washington was given a 16-year prison sentence.

Tom Majhan, Jefferson County Superior Court Judge would ultimately sentence Robert Froehlich, a former Quilcene resident to the maximum penalty allowed under the state law for the murder of Allison Tornensis in 1992.

Many people do not agree that 16 years is enough time for the crime committed, while Judge Majhan agrees, he says it is time for the community to start moving on from this horrible chapter.