When he had the chance to work on the telescope and remote observatory in Antarctica in the late 1990s, Australian astrophysicist Rodney Marks felt it was the chance of a lifetime. He had just gotten engaged and his career was going well. But on May 11, 2000, he suddenly fell ill. He was taken with severe stomach pain, fever and nausea. In less than 36 hours, the man died. While it was initially believed that Marks died of natural causes, an investigation rejected this hypothesis.
1. That was in the late 1990s.
The life and career of the young Australian astrophysicist Rodney Marks had just begun. Marks, who was barely 30 years old, had been assigned to a scientific base in Antarctica.
2. He was also engaged.
In fact, this one was engaged to Sonja Wolter. She was also working on the Antarctic base.
3. On May 11, 2000, Rodney became seriously ill.
In 36 hours he was dead. At first, it was thought he had died of natural causes, but gradually the circumstances of his death began to look suspicious.
4. It was impossible to seek medical care.
Since the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station was located in Antarctica, receiving appropriate medical care was not feasible. In addition, the flights had been canceled for several months due to the weather.
5. The investigators did not have an easy task.
Rodney’s colleagues had to put his body in a freezer for 6 months because no flights were leaving Antarctica. This probably hurt the investigators when it came time to look for clues.
6. Who could have murdered Rodney?
No one at the base ever imagined that Rodney could have been murdered. He was much appreciated and had no enemies.
7. The authorities have published a misleading death notice…
The National Science Foundation issued a statement stating that Rodney died of natural causes due to alcohol abuse.
8. The real cause of his death was finally discovered.
Rodney’s body was brought to Christchurch, New Zealand, 6 months later and it was there that the autopsy revealed the real cause of Rodney’s death: someone had intentionally poisoned the astrophysicist with methanol.
9. Suddenly, everyone was afraid.
A series of needle marks were then discovered on Rodney’s two arms, but no illegal drugs were detected in his system.
10. As people sought answers, theories emerged.
The authorities assumed that Rodney had attempted suicide by ingesting methanol because of alcohol dependence and the desolate Antarctic environment.
11. According to another theory, Rodney escaped methanol in his alcohol while trying to distill it.
However, this theory makes no sense. There was a lot of alcohol on the base and Rodney was a scientist. He was therefore aware that putting methanol in his drink was dangerous.
12. That’s when the authorities started investigating methanol.
They discovered that this product was kept on the base to clean the facilities. Everyone could, therefore, have access to methanol on the way to the supply.
13. Rodney’s colleagues are under suspicion.
The investigators began to suspect Rodney’s colleagues. It was suspected that one of the scientists had poured methanol into his drink.
14. The investigators thought they had an easy task.
With only 49 employees at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, this was not too much of a task for investigators. Or at least that’s what they thought…
15. Finally, the authorities encountered an unexpected obstacle: the United States government.
The Amundsen-Scott station was located on a territory legally divided between New Zealand and the United States….
16. The territory belonged to New Zealand, even if it was an American base.
Only 13 of the 49 people agreed to participate in the New Zealand Police Service’s Grant Wormald investigation.
17. The obstacles increased when Wormald asked the American government for help.
The authorities did not answer his questions because they were themselves starting an investigation.
18. The two investigations have been detrimental.
The investigations did not share information with each other, leading to problems in resolving the Rodney Mark’s case.
19. The family, on the other hand, has lost hope.
“I don’t think we’re going to try to find out more about how Rodney died. I would see it as an unsuccessful exercise,” his father said at the time.
20. To date, Rodney’s tragic murder has not yet been solved.
The murder has still not been solved. To date, this is the only assassination that has taken place in the South Pole.