Friday, January 16, 2009

Ten Years Later, Crime Scene Says Murder!

by Susan Murphy- Milano

"The crime scene was staged, rearranged to look like a suicide," according to forensic pathologist Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds.

Ronda Reynolds (pictured left) fulfilled her childhood dream by becoming a Washington State trooper and firearms instructor. She left the patrol a few months after she married to work in private security.

In early 1998, Ronda married Ron Reynolds, an elementary school principal in the small Lewis County town of Toledo, Washington. During their brief marriage, Ronda discovered her husband was having an affair. She confronted him. She told him the marriage was over and that she expected the $15,000 she put into the new marital home to be returned. That night, Ronda booked a flight to her mom's home in Spokane. She made arrangements just after midnight with a friend and veteran police officer to drive her early that morning to the airport. Crime Scene photos show she'd packed her bags and left a message to her husband on the bathroom mirror: "I love you, call me."

Within hours of leaving, Ronda was found dead on the floor of her master bedroom, in the closet,with the door open, just 15 feet away, where her husband claims to have been sound asleep. When Ron Reynolds was questioned, he told police Ronda was distraught and talked about killing herself.

The gruesome crime scene photo's tell a different story. (if you
go to the link, please be advised the photo's are on this site are graphic).

Jerry Berry was Lewis County's lead detective on the case and said "this appeared to have the earmarks of a staged homicide."But Berry faced serious evidence problems because he wasn't called to the scene until two hours after Ronda's body was found, and the crime scene had already been disturbed.

But, seven months after Ronda's death, Ron Reynolds' attorney wrote the department insisting they remove the cloud of suspicion and close the case. And "if you do not then we will." Berry says the sheriff's office caved, closing the case as a suicide over his objections. "They just basically wanted me to let it go,
leave it as a suicide, and move on and take on other cases and be done with it," Berry said.

Nearly 10 years after Ronda was found shot to death, a television station in Seattle took an interest in the case, launching their own investigation. The
ABC affiliate uncovered evidence and found experts who are convinced Ronda's murder was made to look like a suicide.

Her mother, Barb Thompson has fought to have her daughter's case re-opened. With more twists and turns than a tornado, a Washington court finally granted her motion for a judicial review. All she is asking is for the death certificate be changed to state the truth--homicide.

Detective Jerry Berry and Barb Thompson will also be guests on
Justice Interrupted radio, Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

17 comments:

Barb Thompson said...

Ronda's husband told not only the first arriving deputies buy also Ronda's mother that th closet door was closed -- He opened it wiggled her toe with no response and then opened the door and went in. Problem is the door opened in towards the closet and Ronda's feet were well over the threshold and there was no way the door could have been closed. There were no prints on the gun or shells spent & unspent and the gun had been emptied earlier. And the list goes on. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will answer as quickly and honestly as I can. BARB THOMPSON - Mother of Ronda Reynolds.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible the husband didn't hear the shots? When I watched the investigative video it convinced me the woman was murdered.

I'll tune in to the show next week, thanxs--

Anon said...

Those pics were gruesome. I hope the truth can be told. What ever happened to Ronda's husband??

Anonymous said...

Ronda's Death investigation is one of many that were mis-handled by the first offiers on scene. Ronda's husband is still free and working at the local school.

Jerry C. Berry

A Voice of Sanity said...

I have no doubt that many, many homicides are written off as accidents or suicides for a number of reasons, not always good. And in a number of cases accidents or suicides are inflated into supposed murders, often despite the evidence. Surely it is time that all cases of death were handled by the state police, and only by city police in very large cities, and only in cooperation with the state police. How often have we heard that the local police "hopelessly mishandled the crime scene and evidence"?

Jerry C. Berry said...

Unfortunately State police in many states are no better at death investigations. It depends on the detectives, their committment and their training. To many agencies practice the "Rotational Detective Program" and this is a huge mis-carriage of justice. Every agency should have a well trained and skilled homocide detective, with full support of their administration.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Thompson's interview with Todd Matthews on Missing Pieces - February 12, 2008

http://missingpiecesshow.homestead.com/MissingPiecesEpisode81Archive.html

FleaStiff said...

I've heard of this case before and although I've not followed it closely it has always reeked of murder. When will women learn not to stay that extra night in the home and then flee? When will women learn not to demand the 15 grand back but to have that be a demand letter sent by their lawyer once they are safely out of the house and have a restraining order in place?

Police competence? I've seen police photos of a "vandalism to lawn ornament" scene where the tire tracks clearly continued down an embankment but it was eight days later before the then-dead 19 year old girl and her car was found. I've heard of one Orange County (CA) police force that returned an overparked van to a woman who promptly found her blanket-covered daughter's corpse in the back seat. And I know one police department that classified a missing 12 year old boy as a runaway despite the fact that he was barefoot, wearing swimming trunks and had only 15 cents with him. Some rotational programs are simply means of transferring the deadweight somewhere else.

Anon said...

The State Police aren't staffed to handle all murder investigations and sadly, not all of them are competent. Making all LE accountable is about the only way to keep them honest. The "good old boy" network is the reason Drew Peterson was never charged with Salvio's murder.

Barb Thompson said...

I am convinced that if Ron Reynolds was asleep he would have been awekened by the shot. It would have awakened a normal person and I believe Ron was/is an exceptionally light sleeper. Ronda had made a comment to me that her dog couldn't come into the bedroom and lay down next to thier bed because just the movementand her walking woke Ron Reynolds up. She said he was a very light sleeper and this has been told to me by others also. I believe she was shot around 1:30 am to 2:00 a.m and it took Ron and at least one other person some 4 hours to first make sure she was dead and then to prepare her body to make it look like a suicide and go thru enough of her things to find an insurance conversion card -- complete it making himself the beneficiary, get his story in order and call 911. The Forensic Statement analysis done by Gary Aschenbach, leading forensic Statment Analysis Expert indicates that he kept going back to check on her which falls in place with Dr. John Demakas's expert opinion that it took a period of time for her heart to pump out the amount of blood that was at the scene and for her body to die and he had to keep going back to check until she was dead. Then you have to think about the time frame of when he said he got the boys up and how they had time to not only burn insence but to get things together and be able to leave by the time the first deputy was arriving already having everything in the car they took that was never checked. and the list of errors that were made at the very beginning goes on.

Barb Thompson said...

When will women learn not to stay that extra night in the home and then flee? When will women learn not to demand the 15 grand back but to have that be a demand letter sent by their lawyer once they are safely out of the house and have a restraining order in place? Ronda and I talked about this that night and I warned her not to take that action -- to just leave and let the attornies handle it. I couldn't convince her not to stay and I still don't have an answer. But I can put this tragedy out there to try to make people (especially women) understand the possible consequences of this type of thinking and try to make them realize their life and safety is more important that any amount of money much less the power feeling of having the last word. JUST GET OUT. JUST GET OUT...

A Voice of Sanity said...

Yes. There are few times more dangerous for a woman than exiting a relationship. I would recommend that any retrieval of personal property be undertaken only with the support of a number of male friends (or a couple of bounty hunters).

Susan Murphy Milano's Journal said...

My own mothers murder would become my best teacher. When I began to look at her life, I realized she made the mistake so many women have either just prior to leaving or after they have left. Once a decision is made in their minds and they begin to plan their move, a feeling of false safety occurs.

On their own they made the decision to finally go. Then they make arrangements to move someplace else, contact others, almost as if they have sounded a siren. They figure nothing will happen to them now because others are waiting for them. And theu trust a false instinct because they do not want to believe the person will harm them when everyone finally knows.

My own mother, did not move far enough away, remaing in the same neighborhood. Once she embraced that sence of freedom, she left her guard down . My father tricked her into believeing she had to sign some legal documents. through journals found after the muder-suicide severals legals pad were found, including a detaled plan of action to excute her.

Now, my partners in crime Stacy Dittrich, Robin Sax and I , forming Justice Interrupted have created information and tools from our unique professional and life experiences . Now women have a real chance at remaining alive.

cherry6905 said...

FleaStiff said..."When will women learn not to stay that extra night in the home and then flee?"

You should never blame the victim.

Anonymous said...

Barb have you had any backlash from speaking out about this? You have a lot of information on the internet. Have you been fearful for your life?

Barb Thompson said...

After leaving an emotional, verbal and mental abusive marriage and being stalked for almost 20 years I learned several things. Two very important are "Never let your guard down" and "There is nothing to fear but fear itself". The only backlash I have received are mostly verbal slams about, against Ronda and those have been few. I am not fearful for my life but I never take my safety for granted either. I always make sure I am aware of my surroundings and never let my pain or anger control my thoughts and decisions. AND most important -- I work within the framework of our laws and judicial system and always remind myself no one, not even myself, is indestructable.

Women will learn not to stay that extra night or forgive that one more time when we as parents show them by example that we are smart enough and strong enough to walk away and stay away. Ronda learned from me. I always thought I could out think, outsmart my husband and stay safe and one step ahead of him and I always felt I could teach her not to do what I did but by showing her by my actions-- by staying and going back myself -- I was showing her that was what to do. so if a woman won't walk away for themselves I ask them to walk away and stay away for their children -- to show their children that leaving and staying away is the right, the brave, the strong and the safe thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I'm appauled of how many are blaming women for staying the extra night? Seriously? So women have to be afraid to do what they feel is right bc their husband just might be a psycho! She had NO WAY of knowing what was going to happen to her, and asking for her money back didn't cause him to do what he did...