EXCLUSIVE: Lawsuit Suggests Connections Between Kristi Richardson Disappearance, Mick McMurry Suicide; DCI Is Reviewing Both Cases
A Sheridan radio and internet company has questioned whether the Casper Police Department did all it could to investigate the disappearance of Kristi Richardson in October 2014, the suicide of Mick McMurry in March 2015, and any possible relationship between the two cases.
Lovcom, Inc., known as Sheridan Media, earlier this year unsuccessfully asked the city and police department for the public records about the cases, so it filed a petition through its attorney Bruce Moats in Natrona County District Court on May 30.
"Information regarding the potential connections between McMurry and Richardson are not cited to prove any such connections exist, but to explain the public interest in determining whether law enforcement officials have turned over every 'stone' in investigating this long unsolved disappearance," Moats wrote.
On June 15, the city responded that is not possible to turn over the records of Richardson's disappearance because they are now in the hands of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, according to Interim Police Chief Steve Schulz's letter to the DCI on May 18.
"Through the almost 3 years since the disappearance of Kristi Richardson the Casper Police Department has diligently worked the case following up on a multitude of leads none of which have brought us closer to a resolution of the case," Schulz wrote.
It subsequently asked the DCI to review the McMurry suicide investigation, according to a letter from Schulz on June 7. "In light of the Kristi Richardson missing person investigation reported six months prior and the assumption of an alleged connection. I believe at this juncture in time, it's wise to have the case looked at with a new perspective."
On June 14, Schulz told Assistant City Attorney Will Chambers the DCI has indicated it will begin investigating the cases.
Tuesday, Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins authorized the release of Lovcom's petition and the city's response.
The records request may be on hold now that the DCI has the cases.
But Lovcom's petition raises questions about former Police Chief Jim Wetzel's denial of requests for the records of the Richardson and McMurry cases.
Wetzel said releasing those records, especially those about the Richardson case because it was an ongoing investigation, would be contrary to the public interest, according to the petition. Wetzel was fired on May 5.
However, Lovcom responded the McMurry case was closed and releasing those records would not interfere with an investigation or prosecution.
Likewise, the police department should have released the Richardson records, especially the log of the records as required by law, according to Lovcom.
The police department had already released information about the case with search warrants, press conferences and especially Detective John Hatcher's discussion on the cable news show "Crime Watch Daily." Hatcher talked about the crime scene in Richardson's house, the discovery of her cell phone that was necessary in running her trucking business, and the love letters an employee sent to her and her rejection of him.
Lovcom cited two unresolved issues about the case, the first about her possible relationship with McMurry:
- "Upon information and belief, the city's attorney's office and the police department were aware of information alleging a relationship between McMurry and Richardson. It is unknown if law enforcement officials investigated whether the information was accurate, or they interviewed McMurry or others about the information."
The second are concerns about the conduct of the investigation of her disappearance:
- Her disappearance was reported about 9 a.m. on Oct. 7, but the scene at her house was not secured until about 2 p.m. that day.
- Not all employees of her company were interviewed.
- None of her vehicles was processed for evidence.
Lovcom's petition notes that after Richardson's family decided to sell her home, but before it was listed, their real estate agent received a call from McMurry's widow, Susie McMurry, who wanted to buy it. "She purchased and remodeled the home, and she now lives there. Upon information and belief, Mick McMurry may have instructed his wife to purchase the home."
Lovcom realizes certain information may need to be withheld, but that cannot be known without seeing a log of the records of the cases.
Releasing information about both cases, the station says, will allow the public to have information about crime in the community, the performance of authorities investigating the case, and the possibility that more leads may surface "that may finally allow the Richardson family to know what happened to their loved one," according to the petition.
The Richardson family has offered a reward of $250,000 for information leading to the conviction of persons or persons involved in her disappearance.
Anyone with any information about the Richardson case is urged to call Casper police at 235-8202.