A Pennsylvania dentist has been charged with murdering his wife during a 2016 African hunting safari as part of an insurance scam and to get out of his marriage to be with his long-term mistress.
Dr. Lawrence Rudolph, 67, was charged in Colorado on charges of foreign murder and wire fraud, for allegedly shooting dead his wife Bianca during a trip to Zambia.
In the criminal complaint filed against him that was unsealed last week, an FBI agent describes how he had been having an affair for years beforehand, and had seven life insurance policies against his wife which were adjusted in the months before her death.
The pair were avid hunters and had flown to Zambia in October 2016 so that Bianca could kill a leopard. At around 5am on October 11, gamekeepers and scouts heard a gunshot coming from their cabin.
When they got there, they found Bianca lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Her husband claimed he was in the bathroom at the time and that she had accidentally shot with a Browning 12 gauge shot gun herself while packing up her gun for a day’s hunting.
Dr. Lawrence Rudolph, 67, was charged in Colorado on charges of foreign murder and wire fraud, for allegedly shooting dead his wife Bianca during a trip to Zambia. They are shown, during a 2011 hunting trip with a guide. Bianca died in Africa in 2016
Zambian Police believed him, ruling the death an accident and allowing him to travel back to America, where the FBI agent says he quickly resumed his relations with an unnamed ‘girlfriend’, who he’d been having an affair with for years.
The FBI was notified of the case in 2016 after one of Bianca’s friends called them to say she was suspicious about Bianca’s death.
Bianca and Lawrence, or Larry, had been married since 1982 and while they enjoyed hunting together, the friend said he was prone to affairs.
They were unhappy but would not get a divorce, the friend said, telling the agent: ‘Larry is never going to divorce her because he doesn’t want to lose his money, and she’s never going to divorce him because of her Catholicism.’
The couple had two children together, including a daughter who now works at the dental firm Larry founded.
According to the criminal complaint, in the weeks after murdering his wife, the dentist claimed seven payouts from seven different insurance companies in multiple states. The total payout was $4.8million.
The day after his wife’s funeral, he is said to have booked a plane ticket for his girlfriend to fly from Pittsburgh to Phoenix, but he then canceled the ticket and booked a different flight for a different woman, who he met up with in Las Vegas.
He had gone to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico with the first woman in the months before his wife’s death, according to the FBI agent.
Lawrence is shown during another hunting trip. He told game keepers in Africa that his wife accidentally shot herself with a 12 gauge shotgun in 2016, and the Zambian police believed him
According to an FBI agent in a criminal complaint, Bianca – a keen hunter – wanted to kill a leopard on the Zambia trip. Her friends told the FBI that Lawrence was always unfaithful but that she wouldn’t divorce him because she was a strict Catholic
In the year after her death, Lawrence cashed out $4.8million in life insurance payouts
Lawrence is shown with the couple’s adult daughter, Ana, who now works in his dental practice
Lawrence claimed his wife shot herself with a 12 gauge Browning shotgun – which medical examiners say would have been impossible
As part of their five-year investigation, FBI agents interviewed the wife of one of the hunting guides on the Zambia trip who said Larry bribed officials to rush cremating Bianca, even though she was a devout Catholic.
The wife also thought it was strange, she said, that he refused to answer calls from the pair’s children.
Three years after her death, a former employee of the dental practice run by Larry told the FBI agent that a manager at the practice confided in them that she was his girlfriend of 15-20 years, and that she had given him an ultimatum to leave Bianca in the months before her death.
As part of its investigation, the FBI carried out a ‘reach test’ to determine whether or not it would have been physically possible for Bianca to accidentally shoot herself with the gun – a Browning Shotgun.
They found 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 fire this shotgun in its carrying case and produce the entrance defect noted on the body of Ms. Rudolph.
‘The tip of the carrying case was most likely at least two feet from Ms. Randolph when the weapon was discharged regardless if it was on cylinder or full choke settings.
‘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 case with the muzzle pressed against her chest,’ the medical examiner ruled.
Lawrence was arrested in Cabo San Lucas in December.
He denies the allegations and claims it is a witch hunt by the FBI. He is currently being held in custody in Denver, Colorado.
‘This is an outrageous prosecution against Dr. Larry Rudolph, a man who loved his wife of 34 years and did not kill her,’ his counsel – David Oscar Markus, Margot Moss, and Lauren Doyle – told DailyMail.com on Tuesday.
‘Back in 2016, his wife had a terrible accident during a hunting trip in Zambia. The investigators on the scene concluded it was an accident. Several insurance companies also investigated and agreed. Now, more than five years later, the government is seeking to manufacture a case against this well-respected and law abiding dentist. Dr. Rudolph looks forward to his trial where he will demonstrate his innocence.’