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Free Background Check Resources: Missouri News

The Wholesome Couple

Richard Davis and Dena Riley were a nice, quiet, hard-working couple. According to the neighbors, they seemed very well suited and attached to each other. They never got drunk, had angry fights, or noisy parties. Although they didn't talk much, they were always together in a supportive manner. To the neighbors, they seemed to have some kind of special connection. It was a pity they didn't have children ...

In May of 2006, a rural Missouri witness found a shallow grave with the body of 41-year-old Marsha Spicer. When investigators spoke to Marsha's friends and family, they quickly zeroed in on the suspects, Richard Davis and Dena Riley. No background checks were necessary here - Davis had just been released from prison a year earlier, serving time for a brutal 1987 rape.

When investigators questioned Davis and Riley, both denied involvement, but when police returned with a search warrant, the couple was gone. However, police had more than sufficient evidence to charge them with a long list of crimes: they discovered a videotape of the crime in progress. The scene was particularly gruesome, with both Davis and Riley torturing, raping and sodomizing the bound and gagged victim.

Catching this dangerous pair became a top priority, and police feared there were more victims. During the search police found a photo of Michelle Ricci, a woman also reported missing early in May, 2006. A video of her torture and murder was also found in the apartment. A month later police found the body. The DNA samples submitted by the Ricci family members confirmed her identity.

Davis and Riley were arrested on May 25, 2006. They visited Davis' sister and brother-in-law, who had no idea they were wanted by police, and kidnapped Davis' 5-year-old niece. They pretended to take the child to McDonald's, which they never reached, taking off with the little girl instead. The local police, immediately notified, alerted the troupers and operators in the surrounding states. Then a man called 9-1-1 and reported overdosing on drugs and wanting to drop off a child. Davis could no longer talk and passed the phone to Riley, subsequently crashing the car and injuring the passengers. A task force of deputies headed by the Sheriff quickly dispatched after them. They located the accident after Riley finally divulged the name of the road where they crashed. Unfortunately, by then the little girl had been sexually assaulted and as a result had to undergo surgery.

The attempted suicide via drug overdose didn't work for Davis and Riley. The criminals were both treated at the hospital and released into police custody. Held without bond, Davis and Riley faced charges of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, kidnapping, forcible rape and forcible sodomy in the death of Marsha Spicer, and later - Michelle Ricci.