Richter’s father found dead in his Chicago home


November 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A retired Chicago police detective was found dead outside his rural Iowa home Tuesday, a day after his daughter was convicted of murder in a 2001 shooting death she had claimed was self-defense, a death investigator said. Bernard Richter, 69, was found dead about 11:50 a.m. on his property in Rembrandt by sheriff’s deputies sent to check on him after relatives said they had not heard from him since Sunday morning, according to Buena Vista County death investigator Matt Imming.

Imming said it appeared Richter had died of natural causes, but that the state medical examiner’s office would conduct an autopsy Wednesday. Imming said the discovery of the body a day after his daughter’s conviction appears to be “purely coincidental.” “We’re still trying to piece together the timeline,” he said. “The investigation is still ongoing.”

Sheriff Gary Launderville said investigators on the scene Tuesday could not positively identify the elderly male body as being Richter because of blood pooled around his face and chest and that his office would leave the final determination to the state medical examiner’s autopsy. Launderville said it appeared the body had been where it was found face down on the ground for 24 to 36 hours before deputies arrived. “We are not ruling out anything at this point,” he said. “We’re way too early in this thing.”

A Fort Dodge jury on Monday convicted Tracey Richter of first-degree murder in the Dec. 13, 2001, shooting of Dustin Wehde, 20. Bernard Richter supported his daughter, but family members said he did not attend her murder trial because he been ill in recent months. Tracey Richter had claimed she killed Wehde after he and another man broke into her Early home and choked her with pantyhose. Jurors, however, sided with prosecutors who said she killed Wehde as part of a plot to frame her ex-husband.

During a September interview, Bernard Richter said he had retired after working for 27 years as a homicide detective in Chicago and indicated that the allegations against his daughter were taking a toll. “I see what they put in the paper,” he said. “They don’t put nothing about the poor family.”