Who is Lawrence Rudolph? How dentist killed wife on African hunting safari and covered it up
The crime was part of an insurance scam and also Rudolph's attempt to leave the marriage and be with his long-term mistress
DENVER, COLORADO: Pennsylvania-based dentist Dr Lawrence Rudolph has been charged for murdering his wife during an African hunting safari in 2016. The crime was part of an insurance scam and also his attempt to leave the marriage and be with his long-term mistress. Rudolph, 67, who founded the Three Rivers Dental Group, was charged in Colorado on charges of foreign murder and wire fraud. During their trip to Zambia, he had shot his wife Bianca dead.
A criminal complaint that was filed against Rudolph was unsealed last week. The complaint states that Rudolph, who had been in a relationship for years beforehand, had seven life insurance policies against his wife. These were adjusted months before her murder.
Both Rudolph and Bianca were avid hunters. In October 2016, the duo had flown to Zambia because Bianca wanted to kill a leopard. On October 11, gamekeepers and scouts heard a gunshot coming from their cabin and subsequently found her on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Rudolph claimed that he was in the bathroom when the incident took place. He said that Bianca had accidentally shot herslef with a Browning 12 gauge shotgun. Local investigators intially believed that she had indeed killed herself accidentally.
Feds, however, noted that she could have possibly shot herself with such a long barrel gun. "In my opinion, it would be physically impossible to accidentally fire this shotgun in its carrying case and produce the entrance defect noted on the body of Ms Rudolph," a Colorado Medical Examiner who saw photos of Bianca's body said. "The tip of the carrying case was most likely at least two feet from Ms Randolph when the weapon was discharged regardless if it was on cylinder or full choke settings. Further, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Ms Rudolph to reach the trigger of this weapon even if it was placed in the case with the muzzle pressed against her chest," the medical examiner ruled.
The FBI was alerted when one of Bianca's friends notified them about the incident and said she was suspicious about her death. Bianca and Lawrence, or Larry, had been married since 1982. Bianca's friend said that although the couple was unhappy, they would not get a divorce. "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," she said.
Rudolph and Bianca had two children together. One of them, a daughter, now works at the dental firm Rudolph founded. The criminal complaint against Rudolph claims that she claimed seven payouts from seven different insurance companies in multiple states after carrying out the murder. The total payout was reportedly $4.8million.
Rudolph allegedly booked a plane ticket for his girlfriend to fly from Pittsburgh to Phoenix the day after Bianca's funeral, but he canceled the ticket and booked another flight for a different woman who he went to see in Las Vegas.
Following the murder, the FBI interviewed the wife of one of the hunting guides on the Zambia trip. They learned upon interviewing her that Rudolph bribed officials to rush cremating Bianca despite the woman being a devout Catholic.
Three years after Bianca's death, a former employee of the dental practice that Rudolph ran informed the FBI that a manager at the practice had told them that she was Rudolph's girlfriend of over 15 years. She confided in them that she had given him an ultimatum to leave Bianca in the months before she died.
Rudolph, who was arrested in Cabo San Lucas in December, denied the allegations. At present, he is being held in custody in Denver, Colorado. The three attorneys representing Rudolph are David Oscar Markus, Margot Moss, and Lauren Doyle. "This is an outrageous prosecution against Dr Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife of 34 years and did not kill her," they told Daily Mail. "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."