Hunting

Pennsylvania dentist, 67, denies murdering wife on hunting trip in Africa

The Pennsylvania dentist accused of murdering his wife on a hunting trip in Africa denied killing her and insisted to DailyMail.com that she died in a “tragic accident”.

Dr Lawrence Rudolph, 67, was charged in December with the murder of his wife Bianca in Zambia in 2016 and then fraudulently claiming $ 4.8 million in life insurance payments.

An FBI criminal complaint against him claims he was desperate to get out of his marriage so that he could be with his longtime mistress.

In a statement Tuesday night, his lawyer called the allegations “outrageous” and said Rudolph was anxious to prove his innocence.

“This is a scandalous lawsuit against Dr Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife for 34 years and did not kill her.

“In 2016, his wife had a terrible accident while on a hunting trip in Zambia. Investigators on the spot concluded that it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed.

“Now, more than five years later, the government is seeking to build a case against this respected, law-abiding dentist. Dr Rudolph is anxiously awaiting trial where he will demonstrate his innocence, ”said lawyer David Oscar Markus.

Dr Lawrence Rudolph, 67, was charged in December with murdering his wife Bianca in Zambia in 2016 and then fraudulently claiming $ 4.8 million in life insurance payments

Dr Lawrence Rudolph is pictured with one of the couple's children, his daughter Ana.  She works with him in his dental office in Pittsburgh

Dr Lawrence Rudolph is pictured with one of the couple’s children, his daughter Ana. She works with him in his dental office in Pittsburgh

Dr Lawrence Rudolph, 67, has been indicted in Colorado on charges of foreign murder and wire fraud, for allegedly shooting his wife Bianca while traveling in Zambia.  They are presented during a 2011 hunting trip with a guide.  Bianca died in Africa in 2016

Dr Lawrence Rudolph, 67, has been indicted in Colorado on charges of foreign murder and wire fraud, for allegedly shooting his wife Bianca while traveling in Zambia. They are presented during a 2011 hunting trip with a guide. Bianca died in Africa in 2016

Rudolph had nine life insurance policies with seven different companies in various states which he cashed after his wife’s death.

The couple were avid hunters and flew to Zambia in October 2016 so Bianca could kill a leopard. At around 5 a.m. on October 11, game wardens and scouts heard a gunshot coming from their hut.

When they got there, they found Bianca lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to her chest.

Her husband claimed he was in the bathroom at the time and that she herself accidentally shot a 12-gauge Browning shotgun as she was packing her gun for a day of hunting.

The Zambian police believed him, deeming the death an accident and allowing him to return to America, where the FBI agent says he quickly resumed his relationship with an unnamed “girlfriend”, with whom he. had an affair for years.

The FBI learned of the case in 2016 after one of Bianca’s friends called them to tell them that she was suspicious of Bianca’s death.

Bianca and Lawrence, or Larry, had been married since 1982 and although they enjoyed hunting together, the friend said he was inclined to adventure.

They were unhappy but would not get the divorce, the friend said, telling the agent: “Larry will never get a divorce because he doesn’t want to waste his money, and she will never get a divorce because of her Catholicism. ”

The couple had two children together, including a daughter who now works in the dental practice founded by Larry.

According to the criminal complaint, in the weeks following his wife’s murder, the dentist claimed seven payments from seven different insurance companies in several states. The total payment was $ 4.8 million.

The day after his wife’s funeral, he allegedly booked a plane ticket for his girlfriend to fly from Pittsburgh to Phoenix, but then canceled the ticket and booked a different flight for another woman, whom he met in Las Vegas. .

He had traveled to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico with the first wife in the months leading up to his wife’s death, according to the FBI agent.

Lawrence is pictured on another hunting trip.  He told game wardens in Africa that his wife accidentally shot herself with a 12 gauge shotgun in 2016, and Zambian police believed him.

Lawrence is pictured on another hunting trip. He told game wardens in Africa that his wife accidentally shot herself with a 12 gauge shotgun in 2016, and Zambian police believed him.

According to an FBI agent in a criminal complaint, Bianca - an avid hunter - wanted to kill a leopard on the trip to Zambia.  Her friends told the FBI that Lawrence was still unfaithful but would not divorce because she was a strict Catholic.

According to an FBI agent in a criminal complaint, Bianca – an avid hunter – wanted to kill a leopard on the trip to Zambia. Her friends told the FBI that Lawrence was still unfaithful but would not divorce because she was a strict Catholic.

In the year following his death, Lawrence took in $ 4.8 million in life insurance payments

In the year following his death, Lawrence took in $ 4.8 million in life insurance payments

Lawrence claimed his wife killed herself with a 12-gauge Browning shotgun - which forensic scientists said was impossible

Lawrence claimed his wife killed herself with a 12-gauge Browning shotgun – which forensic scientists said was impossible

As part of their five-year investigation, FBI agents interviewed the wife of one of the hunting guides on the trip to Zambia, who said Larry bribed officials to rush to cremate Bianca, even though she was a devout Catholic.

The woman also found it strange, she said, that he refused to answer calls from the couple’s children.

Three years after her death, a former employee at the dental office run by Larry told the FBI agent that a chief of staff told them that she was his girlfriend between 15 and 20 years old and had him. issued an ultimatum to leave. Bianca in the months leading up to her death.

As part of its investigation, the FBI performed a “range test” to determine whether or not it would have been physically possible for Bianca to accidentally shoot herself with the weapon – a Browning shotgun.

They discovered it was impossible, as did a Colorado medical examiner who was shown photos of Bianca’s body.

“In my opinion, it would be physically impossible to accidentally pull this shotgun from its carrying case and produce the entry defect noted on Ms. Rudolph’s body.

“The end of the carrying case was most likely at least two feet from Ms. Randolph when the gun was unloaded, whether on a cylinder or on a full choke.

“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 holster with the muzzle pressed to her chest,” the medical examiner said.

Lawrence was arrested in Cabo San Lucas in December.