What do we know about the wife of a dentist hunter killed on safari when charged with murder

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Bianca Rudolph, a game hunter, went to Africa kill the leopard. She came home in a grill, dead from an inadvertent shot from a rifle.

At least that’s what her husband, Dr. Lawrence Rudolf. Federal investigators disagree.

Dr. Rudolph is a 67-year-old dentist. He founded the Three Rivers Dental Group, which operates in Pittsburgh. He is also accused of murdering his wife.

Accusations

The dentist was detained on January 4 and charged with fatigue and fraud following the death of his wife in 2016.

Federal investigators claim that Dr. Rudolph intended to “cheat life insurance companies” by presenting his wife’s death as an accident and collecting the payout.

This was said by the lawyers representing dr. Rudolpha The Daily Beast the allegations were “outrageous” and that he “loved his wife for 34 years and did not kill her.”

After the couple’s deadly trip to Zambia in 2016, Dr. Rudolph demanded nearly $ 5 million in insurance. Federal investigators said he was able to secure a multi-million payout with claims through seven life insurance companies.

Travel

In the fall of 2016, the Rudolphs traveled to Zambia to hunt large game. The couple were avid hunters, with membership in major hunting organizations and several trips to Africa.

On October 11, at 5:30 a.m., Mrs. Rudolph was shot in the chest. The shot came from her personal hunting rifle.

Dr. Rudolph told Zambian police he was in the bathroom of their cabin when he heard a shot from the couple’s bedroom. He said he went to investigate the noise and found Mrs. Rudolph lying on the floor and bleeding from her chest.

He told police he believed the gun was still loaded from the hunt the day before and that he shot himself while trying to pack it back into his purse.

According to court documents, one of the hunting guides who lived in the area said he “remembered seeing a rifle and a worn-out rifle on the ground. The rifle was inside a partially torn suitcase.”

After talking to local authorities, dr. Rudolph called the U.S. Embassy in Zambia around 4.30pm to discuss the possibility of burying his wife. During that call, he told U.S. officials he wanted her body cremated.

The head of the consulate of the embassy, ​​who spoke with dr. Rudolphom, the FBI warned, saying he “had a bad feeling about a situation he thought was moving too fast”.

The head, along with two embassy officials, traveled to a local funeral home where Mrs. Rudolph’s body was kept to be photographed to preserve evidence. This is supposed to anger dr. Rudolph, who was also in the funeral home at the time.

During the visit to the funeral home, dr. Rudolph told embassy officials he wanted to wait to inform family members of Ms. Rudolph’s death, saying his children were from another marriage. During that conversation, the dentist hinted that his wife may have committed suicide.

The visit made embassy officials feel even more uncomfortable. The head of the consulate is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and told investigators the wound was “naturally at the heart”, not at an angle, as one would expect from a self-inflicted long-range shot. He further noted that the wound did not appear to have been caused by a “close group of pellets”. When the shotgun fires, the bullets come out of the firearm in a tight bouquet before expanding as they travel toward the target.

The commander also found that there were no gas burns on the body, which are characteristic of gunshot wounds at close range or close range. He estimated that Ms. Rudolph was shot from a distance of 6.5 to 8 meters.

There are questions about the story of dr. Rudolpha

After Ms. Rudolph’s death, a “friend” contacted the FBI in Pretoria, South Africa, and told them they had to continue the investigation into the death because she suspected “unfair play.”

She claimed that Mr Rudolph was “involved in previous extramarital affairs and had an affair at the time of Bianca’s death.” The woman claimed that dr. Rudolph “verbally abusive” and that the couple quarreled over money.

The woman also told the FBI that Mr. Rudolph’s children learned of her stepmother’s death only a week after she was killed, and that other friends close to Mrs. Rudolph only found out on the day of her funeral. She also claimed that Ms. Rudolph was a “strict Catholic” and would not want to be cremated.

“Larry will never separate from her because he doesn’t want to lose money, and she will never separate from him because of her Catholicism,” a friend told investigators. Other friends confirmed stories of infidelity to investigators.

The legal team of dr. Rudolpha rejected claims that their party would have committed the murder with monetary motivation. As proof that he had no financial motive for the murder, he points to his dental activity, which is estimated at nearly $ 8 million, noting that he signed a prenuptial agreement that would prevent him from making significant losses in the event of a divorce.

A friend claimed that dr. Rudolph’s girlfriend moved in with him a year after his wife’s death. Investigators also found financial records showing that dr. Rudolph and his girlfriend took part in a number of trips to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, including a trip that took place a month after Mrs. Rudolph’s death.

The dentist’s theory that his wife died of suicide was also called into question after a Colorado medical investigator reviewed photographs of Ms. Rudolph’s wound. A medical expert concluded that it would be “physically impossible to accidentally shoot with this rifle in a purse and cause an entrance defect found on Ms. Rudolph’s body,” the statement said.

“The tip of the bag was most likely at least two meters away from Ms. Randolph when the weapon was unloaded, whether it was on a cylinder or on a full choke,” a medical investigator said in a statement. “Furthermore, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Ms. Rudolph to reach the trigger of this weapon, even if it were housed in a casing with a muzzle pressed to her chest.”

The Daily Beast obtained transcripts of mobile phones showing numerous large payments to a hunting guide who confirmed the story of dr. Rudolph, which raised suspicions about the incident.

After analyzing the publication, dr. Rudolph paid the hunting guide $ 30,000 in January 2017, just three months after the woman’s death. Two months later, dr. Rudolph paid the guide another $ 23,000.

What’s next

Dr. Rudolph is being held at a state institution in Colorado awaiting trial.

His legal team is advocating for his provisional release, claiming he is at risk of covid-19 infection due to closure, and opposes his detention in Colorado, which is not his home state.

Lawyers said Colorado is “a jurisdiction that is foreign to him – where he has no support from friends or family who could visit him and help organize his affairs to strengthen his defenses.” Prosecutors were further accused of “intentionally” isolating the dentist in order to “gain an unfair advantage”.

“If you allow such naked play in the case of such serious allegations, you run the risk that the final trial will be a hollow process and a mockery of the judiciary and the justice system itself,” the bail lawyer’s request said.

Prosecutors rejected the request on Monday, noting that the legal team of dr. Rudolpha is headquartered in Miami and not Phoenix, where he hoped to be relocated. They argued that the jurisdiction where he was detained would not affect his defense, as he would not be in Miami with his team of attorneys.

“Regarding health problems, the accused did not offer vaccination status,” prosecutors wrote in a motion responding to a bail request. “If he is vaccinated, this court and others have found that this is an important factor in assessing the risk of COVID.”

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