Wrongful Death Search Continues For Killer of WKU Teacher

Police in Bowling Green said they’re still getting tips five years after a Western Kentucky University professor’s slaying in her family’s van.

Detective Melinda Jones told The Daily News (http://bit.ly/1zVduxF ) that the department has gotten tips about the death of 51-year-old Martha “Bettina” Richmond as recently as May.

Jones said every piece of evidence sent off for forensic examination at the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab has been tested with the exception of one item. Now, Jones said, police are ready to conduct more extensive testing.


“It was just a senseless crime,” Jones said. “I do think about it every day. It’s very frustrating. There comes a lot of guilt with not being able to solve it.”

Family members found Richmond’s body inside the family’s Honda Odyessy at about 11:30 p.m. CDT Nov. 22, 2009 in the parking lot of the Bowling Green parks and recreation building.

Surveillance footage from the parks and recreation building showed Bettina Richmond leaving the facility a few hours earlier carrying a gray and black duffel bag. There was no video surveillance in the area of the parking lot where she had parked. Her duffel bag and cellphone have never been found.

Security has since been enhanced at all Bowling Green parks and recreation facilities, parks Director Brent Belcher said.

“We’ve got surveillance throughout the entire property,” Belcher said of the parks and recreation building and outside grounds. “We have added video surveillance in a number of our locations.”

The city also has a park ranger system of people who are not law enforcement personnel but who monitor parks property and provide escorts to park patrons from facilities to their cars, Belcher said.

“We want to make sure we’re doing all we can to provide a safe environment,” Belcher said. “It (the Richmond case) probably instigated some of our surveillance increases.”

An autopsy showed that Richmond, a Western Kentucky University mathematics professor, died from multiple stab wounds. She was not sexually assaulted. Days later, on Dec. 4, 2009, a postal carrier found her WKU identification badge inside a mailbox.

Evidence at the crime scene suggested she attempted to fight off her attacker, police spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said.

Richmond was considered by her colleagues a gifted mathematician at WKU, where she and her husband, Tom Richmond, met.

At the time of her death, she was on leave from WKU – she had been flying back and forth between the United States and her native Germany to help care for her sick father.

Interest in solving the case is two-fold for police.

“We ultimately want closure for the family,” Ward said. “So not only are we looking to find her killer to solve the case, we want to give her family some rest.”

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