When Juanita Richardson decided to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, she was expecting for a calm and restful holiday. Juanita, on the other hand, died on June 22, 2006, after a 140-foot fall that was ultimately ruled to be a homicide.
If this case has piqued your interest and you’d like to know where Juanita’s killer is right now, we’ve got you covered.
What Caused Juanita Richardson’s Death?
Juanita, a loving mother of three, lived in McBain, Michigan, with her husband, Thomas (Tom). According to acquaintances, the couple was initially happy and worked hard to provide for their children.
Juanita worked as a secretary at the local school and was well-liked in the neighbourhood. Juanita was described as friendly and cheery, and she enjoyed making new friends. She was also a member of the local church choir.
Juanita and her husband had just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary by planning a trip to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan around the time of her death.
It was the first location they went to after getting married, and the national park had a special place in their hearts.
The pair arrived at their favourite area in the national park about 10:30 a.m. on June 22, 2006, and decided to spend some time on the cliffs. Tom had a toilet break a few minutes later, but when he returned, Juanita was nowhere to be found.
According to reports, park officials searched for the missing woman for about 45 minutes before discovering her dead at the base of the cliffs. She had fallen 140 feet and died as a result of the impact of the fall, according to an autopsy.
Who Killed Juanita Richardson And Why?
According to the show, the police initially thought Juanita’s death was an accident. Besides, Tom appeared to be in a state of shock, as if his wife’s death had utterly crushed him. Despite this, officials became sceptical of Tom because he kept altering his storey about the incident.
When questioned at the start of the investigation, Tom said he went to the bathroom and then reported his wife missing because he couldn’t locate her when he returned. However, he quickly changed his mind and reported that Juanita had jumped to her death when he returned from the bathroom.
Tom, on the other hand, did not stick to this storey and later claimed that his wife’s death was an accident and that she slipped and fell while attempting to show him something in another statement.
While Tom’s contradicting explanations made him a person of interest in Juanita’s death, detectives’ suspicions grew when they found that Juanita was preparing for a divorce.
Juanita and Tom had frequent verbal altercations just before her murder, according to the victim’s family, which seriously affected their relationship.
Furthermore, according to the episode, there were rumours that Tom was growing close to a female acquaintance named Kelli Brophy. However, the suspect swore that the two were not romantically involved.
But that’s not all; due to cancer, he warned Kelli that his wife “wouldn’t be living by Christmas.” Despite the fact that Juanita had a bump, her condition was not malignant.
Authorities were aware, however, that Thomas had previously cheated on his wife, albeit the two had reconciled. Tom was also accused of domestic abuse by police, but he passionately disputed the allegations, and the couple’s adult children supported their father’s innocence.
Even so, the evidence against Tom Richardson continued to mount, and officers arrested him and charged him with Juanita’s murder once they were persuaded of his involvement.
What Has Happened to Thomas Richardson And Where Is He Now?
When Thomas was brought before the court, he maintained his innocence and pled not guilty. He stated that he adored his wife and that her death was a result of a tragic accident.
The jury, however, did not appear to agree and found him guilty of first-degree murder. As a result, in 2008, he was sentenced to life in jail without the possibility of parole. Tom attempted to appeal his conviction after his sentencing, but his pleas were denied, and he remains confined at the Kinross Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan.