Thursday, December 31, 2015

Widow of man wrongly accused dies from drug overdose

THE widow of the man wrongly accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart has died from a drug overdose — but her son says she “died from a broken heart”.

Angela Ricci was found dead in her Utah home on December 18, the Deseret News reported.

Her late husband, Richard Ricci, was arrested over the kidnapping of 14-year-old Smart in 2002 and died in prison before his name was cleared.

“The official cause of death was suicide, but I believe she (Angela Ricci) died from a broken heart,” Trevor Morse wrote on a fundraising page for his mother’s funeral expenses. “Since the day Richard Ricci died, my mother’s broken heart never healed.”

Richard Ricci, the Smart family handyman, was arrested on June 14, 2002, accused of kidnapping the young teen.  He was sent to Utah State Prison for a parole violation, suffered an aneurysm and died on August 30.

Although he maintained his innocence and was never charged, Richard Ricci remained the top suspect in Smart’s disappearance until her real kidnappers, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, were arrested on March 12, 2003. They are now behind bars.

“He (Richard Ricci) was convicted by the police and the public, and was intensely interrogated, all the while trying to tell anyone who would listen that he was innocent,” Trevor Morse, who was 11 when Richard Ricci was arrested, wrote on GoFundMe.

Trevor Morse said his mother never got over how her husband was treated. She sued various government entities claiming her husband’s civil rights were violated and received a $US150,000 settlement from the Utah Department of Corrections in 2004.

“Our lives changed drastically from the moment he was falsely accused,” Trevor Morse wrote. “Even through her many trials and tribulations, my mother would always make time for family and friends. Her house was open to anyone who needed a place to stay.”

Smart described her horrific abduction from her Utah home and her nine-month ordeal in her memoir,My Story, released in 2013.

She said she was repeatedly raped and denied food and water for days at a time.

Smart, now a married mother, said Mitchell believed that anything in the world was his for the taking, and that he was a man who never cared for anyone even as he ranted about God.

Original report here

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