Dentist accused of killing wife during Africa hunting trip

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A Pennsylvania dentist is accused of killing his wife of 34 years whereas on an African big-game hunting trip — in a scheme to gather tens of millions in life insurance coverage funds.

A Pennsylvania dentist and big-game hunter is accused of killing his wife of 34 years whereas on a hunting trip in Zambia in 2016 in a scheme to gather tens of millions of {dollars} in life insurance coverage cash.

Big-game hunter Lawrence Rudolph, 67, allegedly shot and killed his wife Bianca Finizio Rudolph on a trip to Zambia in 2016, then claimed practically $5 million in insurance coverage advantages, in keeping with a federal prison grievance obtained by CBS 2.

Rudolph, who based and operates the Three Rivers Dental in Pittsburgh, allegedly rushed to have his wife’s stays cremated in Africa simply days after her loss of life, officers mentioned.

Lawrence Rudolph
Lawrence Rudolph allegedly shot and killed his wife Bianca Finizio Rudolph on a trip to Zambia in 2016, then claimed practically $5 million in insurance coverage advantages.

He has now been charged with overseas homicide and mail fraud, officers mentioned.

According to federal investigators, Rudolph made life insurance coverage claims by way of seven completely different life insurance coverage firms for a $4.8 million payout for his wife’s loss of life, which was dominated as unintentional by Zambian regulation enforcement officers.

On Oct. 11, 2016 at 5:30 a.m. native time, Bianca was shot within the chest with a shotgun.

Rudolph advised Zambian police that he was within the toilet of their cabin and Bianca within the bed room space when he heard a gunshot. The dentist claimed he got here out of the toilet and located his wife mendacity on the bottom and bleeding from her chest. He advised police he believed that the shotgun had been left loaded from a hunt the day prior and it had discharged as she tried to pack it in its case.

Knowledgeable hunting information on scene allegedly “recalled seeing the shotgun and an expanded shotshell on the ground. The shotgun was inside a partially zipped gun case.”

Rudolph and his wife – each apparently completed big-game hunters – had continuously traveled to Africa for hunting excursions. On this specific trip, Bianca’s purpose was to kill a leopard. She by no means bought her leopard, however killed “numerous other animals.” Rudolph was on the trip, however didn’t hunt. 

Officials mentioned later that afternoon at round 4:30 p.m., Rudolph phoned the US Embassy to debate his wife’s funeral choices, and his want to have her physique cremated whereas her physique was held in a neighborhood funeral house. He spoke with the consular chief, who after their chat “told the FBI he had a bad feeling about the situation, which he thought was moving too quickly.” The chief traveled with two others from the embassy to the funeral to take pictures of Bianca’s physique to protect proof.

The consular chief, a 20 yr veteran in US Marines,  described the wound as “straight on the heart” and mentioned the wound was not brought on by a “tight group of pellets.” He discovered no gasoline burns typical to a contact wound, and estimated that Bianca had been shot from 6.5 to eight ft away.

Lawrence Rudolph
Friends of Bianca don’t imagine she would have needed to be cremated as a “strict Catholic”.
Larry Rudolph/Facebook

Rudolph referred to as the consular chief and was “livid” that he had photographed his wife’s lifeless physique. They met on the funeral house and mentioned notifying relations, officers mentioned. Rudolph allegedly advised him that needed to personally inform his household in regards to the loss of life, saying the kids had been from a unique marriage and weren’t Bianca’s. At one level, Rudolph recommended that Bianca might have dedicated suicide, in keeping with the allegations towards him.

Bianca had filed her first life insurance coverage coverage in 1987, in keeping with investigators, and up to date the coverage in 2016, when she died.

Four of the seven firms employed a personal investigation agency to look into Bianca’s loss of life. All of the insurance coverage insurance policies decided that Rudolph ought to obtain his fee from the coverage.

After her loss of life, a  “friend” contacted the FBI in Pretoria, South Africa and mentioned she needed the FBI to analyze additional. The buddy mentioned that she “suspected foul play” as a result of Rudolph “had been involved in prior extramarital affairs and had been having an affair at the time of Bianca’s death.” She allegedly mentioned Rudolph was “verbally abusive” and the 2 had fought over cash.

The buddy mentioned that Rudolph’s children didn’t discover out about Bianca’s loss of life till every week after she died, and different family and friends didn’t know till the funeral. She allegedly mentioned she believed Bianca, a “strict Catholic”, wouldn’t have needed to be cremated, regardless of Rudolph’s claims that’s what she had all the time deliberate.

The acquaintance advised federal investigators: “Larry is never going to divorce her because he doesn’t want to lose his money, and she’s never going to divorce him because of her Catholicism.” Other acquaintances corroborated suspicions of an affair.

Another buddy, the ex-wife of a pro-hunting information who was current on the time of Bianca’s loss of life and who’d recognized Bianca since 2010, mentioned the gun might have been personalized and repeatedly jammed. She additionally raised issues over the selection of cremation and Bianca’s non secular beliefs, the report mentioned.

Three Rivers Dental
Lawrence Rudolph based and operates the Three Rivers Dental workplace in Pittsburgh.
Google Maps

Investigators interviewed a former worker at Three Rivers Dental who’d labored there from February 2015 to February 2016, when she mentioned Rudolph’s “girlfriend” was the supervisor. The ex-employee mentioned the alleged girlfriend had advised her she had been in a relationship with Rudolph for 15-20 years. The mistress allegedly advised the worker that she had given him “an ultimatum of one year to sell his dental offices and leave Bianca.”

Investigators mentioned that by January 2017, Rudolph was dwelling with the girlfriend. Records confirmed the couple traveled collectively to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico in 2010, twice in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, July 2016, and in 2017 proper after Bianca’s loss of life.

Financial data confirmed that on Oct. 23, 2016 — the day of Bianca’s funeral — Rudolph bought a aircraft ticket for the girlfriend to journey to his house in Arizona, in keeping with the affidavit. The buy was canceled later that day. However, three days later he bought one other ticket to fly a unique girl to Las Vegas on Oct. 26, investigators claimed.

During the FBI’s investigation, the Zambia consular chief’s photographs of the physique had been reviewed by the Colorado Medical Examiner, who mentioned in an announcement: “In my opinion, it might be bodily unattainable to by accident fireplace this shotgun in its carrying case and produce the doorway defect famous on the physique of Ms. Rudolph. 

Rudolph’s legal professional filed motions on Tuesday to get him out of a Colorado detention heart to Arizona, the place he owns a house. His attorneys have allegedly argued that he and Bianca signed a prenuptial settlement, and he wouldn’t have misplaced a lot in a divorce. They’ve additional mentioned that he has no monetary motive to kill her, along with his dental practices valued at $8 million, in keeping with studies.

“This is an outrageous prosecution against Dr. Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife of 34 years and did not kill her,” Lawrence’s legal professional, David Oscar Markus, mentioned in an announcement obtained by People. “Back in 2016, his wife had a terrible accident during a hunting trip in Zambia. The investigators on the scene concluded it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed.”

“Now, more than five years later, the government is seeking to manufacture a case against this well-respected and law-abiding dentist. Dr. Rudolph looks forward to his trial, where he will demonstrate his innocence.”

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