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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Ronda Reynolds

‘48 Hours’ to feature Reynolds case

Ronald Reynolds, left, returns to his seat as his wife, Linda Reynolds, looks on and his son Jonathan Reynolds, right, steps up to speak during a news conference at an attorney's office Nov. 10, 2011, in Olympia. Jonathan and Ronald Reynolds say they did not kill Ronda Reynolds in 1998, disputing the conclusion of an inquest jury. They said the accusations against them have been wrecking their lives. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The TV show “48 Hours Mystery” on Saturday will feature the 1998 death of Cheney native Ronda Reynolds, who was found dead of a gunshot wound in her Toledo home.

The former state trooper's death was ruled a suicide, but her mother, Barb Thompson, (left) who lives near Spokane, never believed it. Last year, an inquest jury ruled it was a homcide, and her death certificate was changed.

That was after famed crime author Ann Rule released her book “In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth.”

Reynolds graduated from Cheney High School and Eastern Washington University before spending several years as a state trooper. She was considering transferring to a security position with a Spokane department store when she died.

For Reynolds, “Spokane was home,” Rule told The Spokesman-Review in October 2010.

“If she’d just gotten away that night, she was planning to fly to Spokane early in the morning, she would still be alive,” Rule said.

Jurors in October named Reynolds' husband, Ronald Reynolds, and her stepson, Jonathan Reynolds, as suspects, but authorties say there is not enough evidence to charge them. They deny involvement and are interviwed by CBS correspondent Peter Van Sant in the “48 Hours” episode, which airs Saturday at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Jury: Husband, stepson killed Reynolds

CHEHALIS, Wash. — The 1998 shooting death of a Washington state trooper was a homicide and the woman’s husband and stepson were responsible, an inquest jury concluded today.

The verdict drew gasps in a small Chehalis courtroom. It also ended a long campaign by Ronda Reynold’s mother, Barb Thompson, of Spokane, to prove her daughter’s death was not a suicide, as it was initially ruled.

Jurors did not specify why they suspected Ronda Reynolds’ husband, Ronald Reynolds, and her stepson, Jonathan Reynolds. The jury’s rulings were unanimous.

Read the rest of the story here.

Past coverage:

Jan. 4: Ruling changes in ex-trooper's death

Oct. 15, 2010: State trooper's death focus of Ann Rule book

Inquest set for ex-trooper’s ‘98 death

CHEHALIS, Wash. (AP) — The Lewis County coroner has scheduled an inquest in October in Chehalis to answer questions about the 1998 shooting death of former Washington State Trooper Ronda Reynolds, a Cheney High School graduate, at her home in Toledo. 

Coroner Warren McLeod says the inquest jury will be asked to determine the manner of death. Reynolds' death was initially ruled a suicide by the coroner at the time, Terry Wilson.

Reynolds' mother, Barb Thompson of Spokane, believes the death was a homicide. She sued, and in 2009 a jury found Wilson erred.

The coroner appealed, and the case is before a state appeals court, which decided to wait for the inquest.

When McLeod took office this year he reclassified the cause of death from suicide to undetermined.

Thompson says she won't be satisfied until it's homicide.

Best-selling author Ann Rule’s newest book, “In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth” looks at Reynolds’ death and what Rule calls a botched investigation by authorities too quick to believe an estranged husband’s claim of suicide.

Past coverage:

Oct. 15: State trooper's death focus of Ann Rule book

Ruling changes in ex-trooper’s death

A Spokane woman whose daughter's death is the focus of Ann Rule's latest book claimed a victory this week in Lewis County. 

The manner of death on Cheney High graduate Ronda Reynolds' death certificate will be changed to “undetermined” from “suicide” after Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod filed the necessary paperwork with the state Public Heath Department, which will formalize the ruling, the Chronicle of Centralia, Wash., reports.

A jury ruled in November 2009 that a Reynolds' death certificate was wrong, but the coroner at the time, Terry Wilson, refused to change. it. Wilson did not seek reelection last year, and McLeod told the Chronicle that he felt the new coroner had a duty to correct the certificate.

Reynolds, 33, was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head in her bedroom closet in Toledo, Wash., in 1998. Her death was ruled a suicide, but Thompson (left) never believed it.

Best-selling author Ann Rule’s newest book, “In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth” looks at Reynolds’ death and what Rule calls a botched investigation by authorities too quick to believe an estranged husband’s claim of suicide.

Read more from the Centralia Chronicle by clicking the link below.

Past coverage:

Oct. 15: State trooper's death focus of Ann Rule book

Ann Rule’s new book has Spokane ties

Ronda Reynolds graduated from Cheney High School in 1983 and enjoyed quick success as a State Patrol trooper in Western Washington.

But by 1998, her marriage was ending and she eagerly planned a trip to Spokane for Christmas to visit her mother and grandmother.  She bought a plane ticket and arranged a ride, but Reynolds, 33, (right) never arrived at the Spokane International Airport. She was found dead in her Toledo, Wash., home of a gunshot wound to the head. 

The Lewis County coroner ruled her death a suicide, but Reynolds’ mother, Spokane resident Barb Thompson, didn’t believe it. Thompson (pictured above) worked for years to get the case reopened, and in 2009, a Lewis County jury overturned the coroner’s decision.

Now one of the nation’s most prolific crime writers is telling the story.

Read my full story here.

Crime author Ann Rule to visit Spokane

True-crime author Ann Rule will introduce her new book Saturday at Auntie’s Bookstore in downtown Spokane. 

“In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds” chronicles the unsolved case of a Spokane native and Washington State Patrol trooper who died of a gunshot wound to the head in 1998.

Her death was ruled a suicide, but her mother, Spokane resident Barb Thompson, never believed it.

Thompson tried for years to reopen the case. Then last year, a Lewis County jury reviewew the coroner’s suicide ruling and judge ordered it reversed. Thompson is accompanying Rule on the book tour.

The event on Saturday is free and begins at 2 p.m. Look for a bigger story on Rule’s book later this week.

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