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Death of Bianca Rudolph: How a Denver jury determined an ‘accident’ on safari in Africa was murder

This story was originally published on April 15, 2022. It was updated on September 7, 2022.

Larry Rudolph, who ran a multi-million dollar dental empire in Pittsburgh, and his wife Bianca, both skilled big game hunters, traveled to a favorite spot – Kafue National Park in Zambia in 2016. would have imagined that Bianca would never make it. home, or that journey would end years later in front of a jury in Denver federal court where they heard allegations of a cover-up, fraud, and an affair Dr. Rudolph had had with his office manager , Lori Milliron.

Death of Bianca Rudolph: How a Denver jury determined an ‘accident’ on safari in Africa was murder
Bianca and Larry Rudolph

Larry Rudolph/Facebook

CBS News correspondent Debora Patta, on assignment for “48 Hours,” explores this complex investigation in an encore presentation of “Death on Safari” airing Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 10/9c on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Rudolph claims that Bianca accidentally shot herself when the gun she was loading in a holster discharged. At the time, Zambian police described his death as accidental.

On August 1, 2022, jurors found Guilty Rudolf of the murder of his wife. He was found guilty of one count of murdering a US national in a foreign country and one count of mail fraud, for collecting more than $4.8 million in life insurance claims .

The jury also found his longtime lover Lori Milliron guilty of being an afterthought accessory to the murder, obstruction of justice and two counts of perjury before the grand jury.

According to Zambian police, on the last day of their safari, October 11, Rudolph claimed Bianca was packing a gun in their cabin bedroom when he heard a shotgun blast coming from the bathroom. He said he found his wife bleeding, lying face down with a gunshot wound to her heart. Spencer Kakoma, a hunting scout on that safari, also heard the shot and said he ran to the cabin within 15 seconds.

Kakoma said he saw Bianca clean the gun of live ammunition the night before. He says Rudolph first claimed that Bianca died by suicide, intentionally shooting herself while in the bathroom. Later, Rudolph had a different version of events, no longer claiming it was a suicide, but instead saying that Bianca had accidentally killed herself while putting the gun away.

Things weren’t adding up for Kakoma. He says Rudolph was fully dressed when he rushed to the cabin after hearing the gunshot. But local police say Rudolph told them he was wrapped in a towel.

Local authorities attended the scene and photographed the body, which was then moved to a funeral home awaiting cremation. A US Embassy official decided to go to the funeral home to investigate. Unbeknownst to Rudolph, the official, a former Marine with decades of weapons experience, inspected Bianca’s body, measuring the bullet wound and taking pictures.

This is where the story could have ended if it hadn’t been for Bianca’s friend. According to an FBI criminal complaint, when the friend learned that Bianca had been cremated, it raised suspicion as she believed “the cremation had been against Bianca’s wishes because Bianca was a strict Catholic.”

The FBI complaint says Bianca’s friend told an FBI agent that Rudolph had had an extramarital affair and “had been verbally abusive in the past and the two argued about money.”

But in a document filed by Rudolph’s attorneys, they claim Bianca’s will “expressly ordered the cremation.” They also say Bianca knew about her husband’s affair, indicating that it would not have been grounds for murder.

The friend also told the FBI agent, “Larry will never divorce because he doesn’t want to lose his money and she will never divorce because of her Catholicism.”

“She opened a Pandora’s box as to why Lawrence Rudolph would want to kill his wife,” said former federal prosecutor and CBS News consultant Mary Fulginiti.

Less than a month after returning to the United States, the FBI says Rudolph began filing charges against his wife’s life. Insurance conditionsworth nearly $5 million.

Rudolph was arrested in December 2021, more than five years after Bianca’s death. At his trial Larry Rudolph denied shoot his wife for insurance or to be with Lori Milliron

Rudolph’s attorneys declined to speak to “48 hours” before trial, but did provide the following statement:

“Dr Rudolph is innocent. Zambian authorities who were there and investigated said so. Insurance companies who paid the claim after investigating said so. Strangely, five years later, federal authorities have brought charges without any real evidence – no eyewitnesses, no forensics, nothing – except some speculation sprinkled in an abyss of conjecture.”

Rudolph, who remains in custody, could face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the murder charge. The mail fraud charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Milliron remains free with an ankle monitor until both are sentenced in February 2023.


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