A mother's plea after her son's suspicious disappearance - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

A mother's plea after her son's suspicious disappearance

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In Baldwin, a mother pleads for closure after he son suspiciously disappears.

Family members say Russell “Rusty” Richard Jr. was last seen in mid-December going Christmas shopping with his ex-wife Reynell Lockett Richard.

According to Baldwin Police, Russell “Rusty” Richard was last seen on December 18th. According to relatives, he went Christmas shopping that day with his ex-wife, Reynell Locket Richard.

Two days later, Lockett’s body was found off Highway 90 near the Baldwin Canal. Russell Richard’s car was found five miles away.

According to the initial report, Lockett’s death was being treated as a homicide. However, when we asked if that was still the case—or if foul play was suspected—deputies would only say the case in under investigation. They also wouldn’t say if Russell Richard is a suspect in Locket’s death.

Russell Richard’s mother, Marve Richard said she doesn’t know whether he son is innocent or guilty of Lockett’s murder, but the hardest part is not knowing for sure.

“It is really nerve-racking—you can barely sleep, you know. It’s so nerve-racking,” said Marve Richard.

Marve Richard and her family say they don’t know whether he Russell is dead or alive—whether he was killed or whether he killed.

“We just want closure. We want truth.  We want answers,” said Russell’s sister. “We just really want answers.”

Marve Richard wanted to give a message directly to her son:

“Son—if you’re alive—I wish you would give yourself up so I can get a rest and peace of mind. If you’re guilty you’re going to be miserable and if you hide you’re going to be miserable and the man upstairs knows what it’s all about. So give yourself up so I can get a peace of mind and everybody can be at peace…Closure is better than anything.”

Russell Richard’s criminal history adds further suspicion. KATC Investigates found that Russell Richard Jr. married his ex-wife Reynell Lockett Richard in 1995. Almost a decade later, Reynell filed the first protective order against her husband, stating that he came home, angry and drunk, and started throwing chairs at her because she didn't have food prepared for him. 

"I start to run and I fell on the rocks and start running under my trailer because that is my safety place from him so he won't find me," she wrote in the petition. 

Less than six months later, she filed another, stating that he gave her a black eye, stomped her in the stomach and kicked her breast. She noted that he'd previously beat her worth a belt and threw things at her. 

Reynell later signed paperwork stating she did not wish to pursue charges against her husband, although prosecutors still moved forward with the case, ultimately earning Russell a 90-day suspended jail sentence when he pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor domestic abuse battery. 

He was convicted of the same crime in the 2008--beating of Reynell and his son, then a teenager, according to court records.  One of the two charges of domestic abuse battery was dismissed when he entered a guilty plea. A judge gave him a suspended, 6-month prison sentence — one he soon served after violating probation by not reporting to his probation officer.

The couple divorced in 2009 after Reynell filed another protective order, stating her husband attacked her again. 

"Russell Richard has been abusing me for many years," she wrote, stating in addition to physical abuse, he'd threatened her life. 

Russell Richard was sentenced to four years in prison on a third conviction of domestic abuse battery, along with a conviction of simple burglary. He served a year-and-a-half of the sentence and was released on good time, but his parole was revoked when he was arrested and charged on a count of second-degree battery against a man in 2013. He was sentenced to six months.

Despite Russell’s past, Russell’s mother says it’s impossible to know whether her son is innocent or guilty until they have the facts—and without knowing the facts she can’t begin healing.

“The bottom line is closure,” said Marve Richard. 

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