In 1988, Elaine Schaffer was murdered in Colorado Springs. Murder, serial killers, and psychopaths who kill people for no reason are all issues that frequently appear in the news, and Richard is said to be one of them. Richard Cronin, his assailant, was apprehended by the police squad not long after.
When Elaine Schaffer vanished from her Colorado Springs home in January 1988, her daughter called the cops right away. The missing person case was quickly upgraded to a homicide inquiry after officials discovered Elaine’s body in a field, shot to death.
‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Gut Instinct,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, chronicles the horrible murder and demonstrates how the police tracked a trail of similar instances right to the offender.
If you’re intrigued by this case and want to know where Elaine’s killer is right now, we’ve got you covered.
What Caused Elaine Schaffer’s Death?
Elaine, a loving mother of five, shared her Colorado Springs home with her pregnant daughter. She had just divorced and was looking forward to a brighter future, according to the episode.
Elaine was regarded as a nice person who loved to serve others and was often seen with a grin on her face by her neighbours and loved ones. All of her children were really close to her.
Elaine worked late into the night on a regular basis, and she was doing so on January 20, 1988. Elaine received a call from her daughter shortly before she left work, asking if she wanted some ice cream.
Despite Elaine’s assurances that she would be home with the ice cream shortly, the soon-to-be-grandmother did not return that evening. Her daughter tried unsuccessfully to contact Elaine, who was anxious and worried. That’s when she went to the cops and reported her mother missing.
The cops got into action right away and began searching the surrounding areas for Elaine. Despite the fact that her car was recovered in the parking lot of a nearby supermarket, the missing woman was never found.
Things quickly came to a head when officials discovered Elaine’s death in a field along the side of a road. She appeared to have been hurt near the road and dragged out into the field before being shot with a shotgun to death.
Shotgun shells were found all over her body, and while an autopsy established that the gunshot wounds were the cause of death, it also revealed that Elaine had been sexually molested prior to her murder.
Who Killed Elaine Schaffer and Why?
The initial inquiry was difficult since, although having multiple leads to explore, the majority of them came to a halt. However, there was little forensic evidence linking a person of interest to the crime, forcing investigators to delve more profound for proof.
Officers sat through a slew of interviews, attempting to cobble together a suspect list, and even exhausted most of their investigative tools, but to no avail.
However, throughout the course of the inquiry, one of the police learnt about a kidnapping attempt that appeared to be quite similar to Elaine’s death, as depicted in the show. During their investigation into that incident, officials learned about a third effort in the same vein.
Single women were targeted in the parking lots of grocery shops in each occurrence, leading investigators to believe that this was the individual responsible for Elaine’s murder.
According to the episode, the kidnapping suspect was detained on an unrelated crime, which gave detectives a significant break. Richard Cronin was named as the person of interest, and the show claimed that he had lately lost his job and had turned to drug and alcohol misuse.
In addition, his wife went to the cops and gave in her husband’s 12 gauge shotgun, which was later confirmed to be the identical one used in Elaine’s murder.
According to the episode, the weapon was a police issue shotgun that was reported stolen from Richard’s prior employer. Furthermore, as the final nail in the coffin, pubic hair found on Elaine’s body tested positive for Richard’s DNA, proving his identity as the murderer.
As a result of the concrete evidence against Richard Cronin, the police detained him and charged him with murder.
What Has Happened to Richard Cronin?
Richard Cronin pleaded guilty to felony murder and was sentenced to life in prison in 1988 after being brought before the court. Unfortunately, he has faded from view since then and appears to prefer a secluded existence.
Richard’s current whereabouts are also a complete mystery, as neither the show nor state jail records have any information about him.
On Directv, you can watch Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Season 7 Episode 18: Gut Instinct.