Foto: Oleg the Great
A dentist with experience in hunting big game is accused of killing his wife during a trip hunting to Zambia, in order to collect millions of dollars in life insurance benefits.
Lawrence Rudolph, aged 67, is accused of murder abroad and mail fraud for the death in 2016 of his wife, Bianca Finizio Rudolph, as confirmed PEOPLE.
In a federal criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE, prosecutors allege that Lawrence, owner of dental offices known as Three Rivers Dental en Pensilvania, killed his wife, quickly cremated her in Africa, and then, once back in the United States, collected nearly $ 5 million in life insurance, claiming his wife’s shooting death was accidental.
“This is an outrageous prosecution against Dr. Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife for 34 years and did not kill her,” Lawrence’s attorney David Oscar Markus said in a statement.
“In 2016, his wife had a terrible accident while on a hunting trip in Zambia. Investigators at the scene concluded it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed, “he added.
“Now, more than five years later, the government is trying to build a case against this highly respected and law-abiding dentist. Dr. Rudolph is looking forward to his trial, where he will prove his innocence, “he concluded.
How the alleged murder occurred
According to the criminal complaint, the couple traveled to Zambia in late September 2016 so that Bianca, also a big hunter, could hunt a leopard. They were preparing to leave their hunting camp in Kafue National Park on the morning of October 11, 2016, when Bianca was shot in the chest with a Browning shotgun.
Lawrence allegedly told local police that he heard the gunshot while showering and that he found his wife on the bedroom floor bleeding from her chest.
“Lawrence told Zambian police that he suspected the shotgun had been left loaded during the hunt the day before and that the discharge occurred while she was trying to put the shotgun in its case,” the complaint alleges.
Zambian police ruled his death an accidental discharge, but federal authorities were unconvinced.
According to the complaint, the consular chief at the US embassy in Zambia told the FBI that he had spoken with Lawrence about the cremation of his wife’s body.
“I had a bad feeling about the situation, that I thought it was moving too fast. As a result, he traveled to [la funeraria] with two other people from the embassy to take photographs of the body and preserve any potential evidence, ”said the official.
He told investigators that Lawrence was “furious” when he discovered that the consular chief had gone to see his wife’s body and had taken photographs.
A friend of Bianca’s told authorities on October 27, 2016 that she wanted the FBI to investigate her friend’s death because she suspected foul play, claiming that Lawrence had cheated on his wife and had an affair at the time of her death.
Bianca’s friend added that Lawrence had been verbally abusive in the past and that the two had fought over money. He added that he believed the cremation had been against Bianca’s wishes, because she was a strict Catholic.
Authorities said Bianca could not have fired that type of shotgun because of its long barrel. A Colorado coroner opined that “it would be physically impossible to accidentally fire this shotgun in its holster and produce the input defect seen on Ms. Rudolph’s body.”
“Furthermore, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Ms. Rudolph to reach the trigger of this weapon even if it were placed in the holster with the barrel pressed against her chest,” they added.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.