Lawrence “Larry” Rudolph and his wife, Bianca, were getting ready to head back to the United States after a safari vacation in Zambia, Africa, in October 2016 when tragedy struck.
Larry, a Pittsburgh-area dentist, said he was in the bathroom, heard a gunshot, and found his wife bleeding, dead on the bedroom floor. He said while Bianca was packing the shotgun, it must have accidentally fired.
Larry’s description raises questions, says retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent and CBS News consultant James Gagliano. “It boggles the mind that two experienced hunters, for this to have been an accident,” he tells “48 Hours.”
Game scout Spencer Kakoma says he also has questions. He insists after the hunt, the guns were emptied of ammunition.
Larry had his wife’s body quickly cremated in Zambia, which led a friend of Bianca’s to doubt this was an accident. Soon after Bianca’s death, the friend called the FBI. According to an FBI complaint, she also said Lawrence was having an affair and had been verbally abusive to Bianca. The friend also told the FBI that the couple fought over money.
Investigators spent five years working the case. Larry was arrested in December 2021 for the murder of his wife. He maintains that he is innocent, and his attorneys write in a statement to “48 Hours” that the case is built “… without any real evidence, no eyewitnesses, no forensics, no anything …”
So, what happened to Bianca Rudolph?
DEATH ON SAFARI
Nearly two weeks after Bianca Rudolph’s death while on a hunting trip in Zambia, family and friends in Arizona gathered to remember her at her funeral. But at husband Larry Rudolph’s Pennsylvania dental practice, there was a hush in the air.
Sherry Houck: Larry never talked about Bianca’s death ever. … he was saying to everyone not to talk about it. … it made it, sort of, suspicious.
Sherry Houck worked as a dental assistant in Dr. Rudolph’s Three Rivers Dental Group for nearly eight years. The lucrative practice, with five offices in the Pittsburgh area, specializes in sedation dentistry, providing anesthesia for fearful patients.
Sherry Houck: I liked everything about how we treated our patients … And I really believed in everything we did and — how he did it.
After years building his successful practice, Dr. Rudolph, says Sherry, was now spending limited time in the office. He and Bianca had lived in homes in Pittsburgh and Arizona. The couple had met while Larry was in dental school and Bianca was at the University of Pittsburgh.
Meghan Schiller: Larry and Bianca got married in the early ’80s, shortly after … she graduated from college.
Meghan Schiller is a reporter at Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate, KDKA.
Meghan Schiller: They proceeded to have two kids. They had Julian, who is their son, who’s now an attorney in Florida, and they had a daughter, Ana, who is now following in her father’s footsteps.
Ana, a friend of Sherry’s, is also a dentist at the practice.
Sherry Houck: Ana described her mom as, like, an angel. She loved her mom. … People that knew Bianca Rudolph described her as a very kind, caring person.
Sherry never met Bianca, and there may have been a reason why: she says Larry was having an affair with the woman who managed the offices, Lori Milliron.
Sherry Houck: Larry and Lori’s affair just seemed like it was just very open … as far as I know, it was probably going on for 20 years. … it was just — uncomfortable and you just didn’t talk about it.
In the office, Sherry saw different sides of Larry.
Sherry Houck: Larry could be very nice, and he could change — attitude within, a matter of minutes.
That erratic behavior, Sherry says, was one of the reasons she left her job.
Sherry Houck: He could … throw tempers. And we would, sort of, just call it like he was … going Rudolph.
Something Larry did enjoy talking about in the office, and took pride in, was his hobby: big game hunting.
Sherry Houck: Larry Rudolph and Bianca Rudolph were avid hunters. That was a huge part of their life. … They were both, like, very well known for it.
Rudolph served for several years as the President of Safari Club International, a group that promotes hunting. He traveled the world, recording messages for members.
LARRY RUDOLPH [Safari Club International video]: “I’m here on the banks of the Kafue River in Zambia – I’ve been doing some lion hunting … and just having a great adventure.”
His term, though, would be tainted by claims he’d damaged the club’s reputation through alleged misconduct, including supposed adultery. Larry denied the claims and sued for defamation. The case was ultimately settled, but Larry was ousted as a club member.
But his passion for hunting endured and in 2016, he and Bianca headed to a favorite location: Kafue National Park in Zambia.
Meghan Schiller: Kafue National Park is considered a big game paradise. … the oldest and the most prestigious national park in that area of southern Africa. Just to put it in scale, it’s the size of New Jersey.
The park has one section that is a protected wildlife sanctuary —and an adjacent area, referred to as game management, that allows hunting. On the trip, the Rudolphs stayed in a two-room cabin consisting of a bedroom and a bathroom.
Meghan Schiller: Bianca wants to finally hunt a leopard. … She’d been trying for years to hunt a leopard.
The trip lasted about 10 days. A time that was happy, according to Spencer Kakoma, the local game scout accompanying the couple.
Spencer Kakoma: They were laughing at each other, kissing each other, hugging each other
Debora Patta: Did you think they were a happily married couple?
Spencer Kakoma: I — I was even — admiring that ’cause I’m also married.
Debora Patta: And did you see any tension between Larry and Bianca Rudolph?
Spencer Kakoma: No, I didn’t see any tension
Bianca never did shoot a leopard. And on the final day of the safari, before the Rudolphs went to their cabin, Spencer says, as is daily protocol, the guns were emptied of all ammunition.
Debora Patta: And you saw Bianca Rudolph cleaning her gun of live ammunition?
Spencer Kakoma: I saw — Bianca Rudolph doing that. … It was cleaned, or it was clear. There was no — ammunition which was there.
Debora Patta: You saw it with your own eyes?
Spencer Kakoma: Yes
It was the end of the Rudolphs’ Zambian hunting trip. They were supposedly packing up and getting ready to fly home. But then, Bianca Rudolph suffered a fatal gunshot wound.
Spencer was working about 30 yards away when he heard the gun shot and ran to the cabin, finding 56-year-old Bianca Rudolph dead on the floor, shot in the heart. The weapon was a 12-gauge shot gun. Spencer says the gun, partially in a soft-sided case, was next to her. And Larry Rudolph seemed inconsolable, sobbing.
Spencer Kakoma: He’s crying, crying, “Let me just kill myself because my wife, she has committed suicide. She has killed herself. Want to kill myself also.”
Spencer says Larry first claimed Bianca died by suicide, shooting herself intentionally, while he was in the bathroom. And he says Larry was so distraught, that he ran to a nearby river saying he wanted to jump in and drown himself. Spencer says he calmed Larry down and they went back to the cabin. But now, Larry had a different version of events. It was no longer a suicide, but that Bianca accidentally shot herself packing up the gun.
Debora Patta: Were you surprised that a shot had gone off?
Spencer Kakoma: Yeah. That’s one of the thing which — made me to suspect. … I saw Bianca Rudolph removing the ammunition from the — their guns.
Debora Patta: So, how do you think ammunition got into the shotgun?
Spencer Kakoma: I think there must be just someone who loaded it.
Debora Patta: Somebody loaded that gun …
Spencer Kakoma: Yes.
Things were not adding up for Spencer. He and Larry Rudolph went to the local police station. Rudolph was interviewed for about 30 minutes by now retired Police Commander Roston Yeyenga, and Larry told him Bianca accidentally shot herself while packing the gun.
Roston Yeyenga: He heard the gunshot and a scream… he said he rushed to the bedroom, and then he found the wife lying down in a pool of blood. [was it face down?]
Debora Patta: Did you believe him?
Roston Yeyenga: I believed him because I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there.
Commander Yeyenga sent his investigators to the scene, who told him it matched Dr. Rudolph’s description of events. They believed the shotgun, found approximately 3 feet from Bianca’s body, was discharged while inside its case, and reported that Dr. Rudolph had tried to resuscitate his wife.
Debora Patta: It was decided that this was an accident?
Roston Yeyenga: Yes — this is the report that we received.
The police report, dated two days after Bianca’s death concluded:
“Dr. Lawrence Rudolph rushed to the bedroom only to find his wife lying on the floor bleeding.” … “The findings further suggested that the firearm was loaded from the previous hunting activities … causing the firearm to accidentally fire.”
James Gagliano: This is to me a little bit astounding that they would’ve made that conclusive, declarative statement that — this was absolutely an accident, so soon after Ms. Rudolph died.
WHAT HAPPENED TO BIANCA?
Bianca Rudolph’s death in Zambia was devastating for her daughter Ana.
Sherry Houck: Ana always said Bianca was, like, the best mom and just did everything — was, like, a very good person and was very — wholesome and kind.
Dental assistant Sherry Houck says Larry Rudolph didn’t tell Ana or her brother Julian about their mother’s passing for nearly a week. Ana had troubling questions about what had happened.
Sherry Houck: She had no idea whether her mom got shot in the face or the chest or anywhere … She just would say, “I want to know what happened to my mom.”
And at the Kafue National Park there were doubts too … from the moment the gunshot rang out early that October morning.
David Katz: It’s a loud boom.
David Katz is a ballistics expert and former Special Agent at the Drug Enforcement Agency. “48 Hours” asked him to review documents in this case. He says the blast from the Rudolph’s 12-gauge shotgun would have been ferocious.
Spencer Kakoma: Bianca Rudolph screamed after the gunshot.
Game scout Spencer Kakoma instantly knew that sound meant trouble.
Spencer Kakoma: — she didn’t scream “help” or — she screamed — “ah!” Then that’s how we rushed there. Within 15 seconds, we reached there. She was dead already.
From the beginning, Spencer says he had questions about Larry’s version of events, including when Larry told him he was in the bath when he heard the gunshot, and raced out to find Bianca dead.
Debora Patta: But when you saw him, he was fully dressed?
Spencer Kakoma: Dressed, with – with – with — shoes.
Spencer Kakoma: … it confused me.
Debora Patta: Fifteen seconds to be fully clothed with shoes is pretty quick.
Spencer Kakoma: Exactly.
But local police say Larry told them he was wrapped in a towel when Spencer arrived.
Kafue National Park Investigator Masuwa Musese also had questions about what he saw in the couple’s cabin. He says he observed the wound on Bianca’s chest, the gun nearby, and wondered how she could have accidently shot herself in the heart while handling the long-barreled weapon.
Debora Patta: What did you think? What was your theory?
Masuwa Musese: To me … I suspected this to be a foul play. Because the way the firearm was lying. The way the deceased was lying. The way the bullet went through. Because to me to say that she shot herself — I doubt it.
Debora Patta: So, Mr. Musese, did you ever voice your suspicions of foul play to the Zambian police?
Masuwa Musese: I voiced my suspicion to the police.
Debora Patta: And what did they say in response?
Masuwa Musese: In respond, the Zambia Police told me that … the police will really investigate at the bottom of the issue.
Debora Patta: But did they?
Masuwa Musese: They didn’t.
Within days, says KDKA reporter Meghan Schiller, local officials allowed Bianca’s remains to be cremated in Zambia.
Meghan Schiller: Even the paper over there reported what had happened as an accidental shooting.
And the comments on social media were people saying … that it seemed suspicious to them.
One reader suggested, “This doesn’t sound right. Something’s fishy here.”
And it was suspicious to one of Bianca’s friends. Certain Bianca was opposed to cremation for religious reasons, the friend made a call about two weeks later… and set a chain of events in motion.
Mary Fulginiti: There was one point when this case became an active international investigation, and that is when Bianca’s friend called the attaché of the FBI in South Africa and said that she suspected foul play.
Mary Fulginiti is a former federal prosecutor and CBS News consultant. She says Bianca’s friend told the FBI about Larry’s affair — said Larry had been verbally abusive to Bianca and reported that Larry and Bianca had fights about money.
Mary Fulginiti: She opened up a Pandora’s box as to why Lawrence would want to kill his wife.
Even the consular chief at the U.S. Embassy in Zambia had suspicions. He spoke on the phone with Larry Rudolph just hours after Bianca’s death.
Mary Fulginiti: The consular chief had a bad feeling … he said, because Lawrence quickly turned to cremation and getting out of the country, which he thought was highly suspect.
The consular chief was a former Marine, with decades of experience with weapons. Unbeknownst to Larry, he decided to inspect Bianca’s body before it was cremated. He measured the shotgun wound and took photos.
Meghan Schiller: The consular chief said based on looking at Bianca’s body, he didn’t think there was any way that she could’ve done this to herself … that she could’ve been leaning on the shotgun. He said it looked like someone was holding the shotgun several feet away and fired it at her.
The consular chief turned his photos and notes over to the FBI. An inquiry into Bianca’s death was underway. Retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent and CBS News consultant James Gagliano says international investigations take time.
James Gagliano: This case is being investigated outside of the United States. It presents a ton of different problems that you have to deal with.
Back home, life went on for Larry. The FBI kept working the case both in the U.S. and in Zambia. And investigators eventually made their way back to game scout Spencer Kakoma.
Debora Patta: So, five years later –
Spencer Kakoma: That’s when they called –
Debora Patta: — you heard from the FBI?
Spencer Kakoma: Yes. That’s when they called me.
Debora Patta: Were you surprised?
Spencer Kakoma: Yes, I was surprised.
Over the course of five years, FBI investigators interviewed numerous people, reviewed documents, photos and conducted forensics tests – eventually filing a complaint – listing evidence of possible foul play in Bianca Rudolph’s death.
James Gagliano: The … complaint lays out a neat road map of a lot of circumstantial evidence that points in the direction of Lawrence Rudolph as the murderer of his wife, Bianca.
ACCIDENT OR MURDER?
Zambia’s Kafue National Park is vast, stunning … serene. But retired Police Commander Roston Yeyenga will never forget the day back in 2016 when that gunshot rang out from the Rudolph’s cabin, killing Bianca Rudolph.
Debora Patta: When your officers went to the scene … what did they see?
Roston Yeyenga: What they told me was that they found a dead body, lying facing upwards.
And years later he still recalls his conversation with Dr. Rudolph.
Roston Yeyenga: He seemed to be sorrowful, you know?
Debora Patta: He was very sorrowful?
Roston Yeyenga: Yeah, you know, when you lose your beloved one, you can be in that mood, yeah. I could even see some tears in his eyes.
Yeyenga says the initial investigation was not rushed and says at the time no one told him they suspected Larry had anything to do with his wife’s death.
Debora Patta: What is the most powerful thing that he said to you that convinced you this man is innocent?
Roston Yeyenga: To say he was innocent. That was his story.
Debora Patta: You’re so easily convinced. I just have to tell you a story and you believe me.
Roston Yeyenga: It’s coming from your own mouth. I can believe you. Whatever story you tell me, I can believe it.
But could an experienced hunter like Bianca accidentally shoot herself in the heart while placing a long-barreled shotgun into a gun case?
David Katz: For the shooters out in the audience, everyone’s gonna understand immediately. … There’s a visceral feeling, no, don’t do it.
Ballistics expert David Katz says if that happened Bianca would have been pointing the muzzle at herself, ignoring safety protocol.
David Katz: Whether the gun is loaded or unloaded … if you know your way around guns, you would never under any circumstances point that weapon toward you or another human being.
Katz often works with firearms at the company he owns, Global Security Group. At our request he reviewed the initial FBI complaint.
David Katz: The complaint, in fairness to — to Larry Rudolph … it’s just the government’s version of events. … It’s a one-sided document. So, I want, I want to be completely fair to Larry Rudolph.
According to the complaint, the FBI interviewed a Zambian ballistics expert who performed what’s called a drop test to determine if the gun could have accidentally misfired if Bianca dropped it on the ground.
David Katz: So, the question is … if you slam the weapon hard enough, if you drop it, if you bang it on the — on the ground, will that weapon discharge?
The Zambian ballistics expert repeatedly dropped the Rudolph’s gun – most likely loaded with a dummy round – about four-and-a-half feet onto cement and reported the gun “did not misfire.”
The complaint lists some of the other FBI findings, including the results of a series of tests using a 12-gauge shotgun of the same make and model as the gun that killed Bianca, and a soft-sided gun case like the Rudolph’s.
Meghan Schiller: They did gun tests. They did a study with people who were about the same height as Bianca and had similar arm lengths.
The FBI performed a reach study which Katz says would determine if Bianca could have reached the trigger while packing the shotgun into a gun bag. Fifteen women who were near Bianca’s height were tested. None was able to reach the trigger of the shotgun while zipping the case.
“48 Hours” asked Katz to demonstrate how the test might have been done, with the help of a woman who is 5’4 ½”. Bianca was 5’4″.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: This is not a live weapon …
DAVID KATZ [demo]: So, I’m going to measure your arm…
FBI analysts used a photo of Bianca to measure her arm length. They estimated Bianca’s longest possible right arm length at 28.75 inches.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: 29 inches. So, your reach is slightly longer than the maximum reach as estimated by the FBI.
The gun used in this demonstration is not the same make and model as the Rudolph’s gun.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: It is not a weapon; it just looks like one.
It’s a prop gun — non-functional and not capable of holding a bullet. According to the FBI, the model of gun the Rudolphs had was approximately 31.1875 inches from trigger to muzzle. We attached a wooden dowel to the barrel of the prop gun to make it match that length.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: So, I’m gonna take this weapon. I’m gonna point it at your chest right where the wound on the victim was placed. … the idea is that somehow the weapon could be discharged accidentally as if it was being pushed into a gun case. So, let’s bend over … Keep goin’, keep goin’. Can you — if you — if you can touch the ground even with it. Now try to stretch out and touch the trigger.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: You’re not on the trigger. You’re close to the trigger.
Next, Katz added a gun case similar to the one the Rudolph’s owned.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: All right, let’s say you were zipping … can you reach your hand in and touch the trigger?
WOMAN: Not under this angle.
DAVID KATZ: Almost, you can almost get there.
The woman in our demonstration was able to reach the trigger.
DAVID KATZ [demo]: Just about, just about.
WOMAN: It’s very difficult.
DAVID KATZ: Yeah.
DAVID KATZ: I guess what I’m left with is this conclusion: … Possible. Unlikely, but, you know, with a sufficient leaning forward. … But that would — then suggest without — without any doubt a contact shot.
A contact shot is a gunshot wound occurring when the muzzle of the gun is in direct contact with the body at the moment the gun fires.
David Katz: This is a 12-gauge shotgun shell. … it contains … pellets … of double-aught buckshot.
In a contact shot, there is no time for the pellets to spread – instead they go straight into the tissue in one tight group the same diameter as the gun barrel.
David Katz: A contact shot, you’re gonna get this [his hands touching]. Further away you’re gonna get this [his hands separate], further away you’re gonna get this [his hands separate further].
Katz says those photos of Bianca’s body taken by the consular chief in Zambia may rule out death by a contact shot.
David Katz: The most critically important issue in this case is how far from her body was the muzzle of that shotgun when the rounds were fired?
When the consular chief took those photos, he also measured Bianca’s shotgun wound – and noted the pellets covered approximately 6 centimeters in diameter – roughly 2-and-a-half inches.
David Katz: That — pattern would be impossible if the muzzle had been pressed against the victim’s body.
So, from what distance would a weapon have to be fired to cause a 2-and-a-half-inch wound?
We asked Katz to use a real shotgun to show “48 Hours” how rounds fired from different distances can make different sized wounds. We didn’t have access to key information about the Rudolph’s gun, but the long barrel of this gun measures the same distance from trigger to muzzle – approximately 31.1875 inches.
Katz fired into a block made of ballistic gelatin designed to simulate the effects of bullet wounds in human tissue.
SAFETY OFFICER: Fire!
David Katz [pointing to bullet holes in the gelatin]: When I fired the last round that was from 10 feet, there are discernible pellet wounds here. Here. Here. This is why the consular chief was suspicious when he saw the wound. Because he saw a wound that was more like this.
FBI investigators also compared shot patterns created by firing from various distances and estimated that Bianca’s wound depicted in the photographs was “created by a shot from a distance of between 2 and 3-and-one-half feet.” The complaint’s conclusion: “Bianca Rudolph was not killed by an accidental discharge …” And it wasn’t just ballistics catching the attention of the FBI.
James Gagliano: This is — a case that’s gonna be made on the totality of the circumstances.
Sherry Houck: Ana always said … how she … wished she had more time with her mom.
Sherry Houck says Bianca’s death continues to haunt the Rudolphs’ daughter, Ana.
Sherry Houck: She was devastated that she couldn’t even say goodbye to her.
It appears Larry Rudolph wasted no time setting up house with his longtime rumored girlfriend Lori Milliron in Paradise Valley.
Meghan Schiller: Within weeks she had moved into their home in Arizona.
Rudolph’s business continued to thrive. He and Lori split their time between Pittsburgh, Arizona and a vacation home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Sherry Houck: After a while, I thought, well, if it wasn’t an accident, wouldn’t he have been arrested by now? … Nothing’s really happened.
But in December 2021, more than five years after Bianca’s death, Rudolph’s new life with Lori was about to change. And that FBI complaint would turn out to be the key.
Meghan Schiller: The federal prosecutors and the FBI agents had decided that they had enough information to essentially charge Larry with crimes.
Lori Milliron’s attorney John Dill says the pair was at the Cabo home.
John Dill: They were going down there for a vacation and having a return flight. … He wasn’t fleeing or disappearing, or anything like that.
But their holiday came to a sudden and surprising end when local authorities arrested Rudolph.
John Dill: Lori’s reaction when he was arrested, obviously … she was shocked.
Mexican police executed a warrant for Lawrence Rudolph’s arrest for the foreign murder of Bianca Rudolph and for mail fraud relating to Rudolph collecting Bianca’s life insurance. The FBI said the insurance never should have been paid because it believed Rudolph murdered Bianca.
Meghan Schiller: Larry Rudolph was the beneficiary, and he was the recipient of nearly $5 million of insurance money.
Those millions were spread out over nine separate policies. One of the insurance companies where Larry mailed a claim is located in Colorado, so that’s where the case will be tried.
Meghan Schiller: Bianca died on October 11th, and the first claim was submitted on October 31st.
John Dill: I’m not sure if there’s a time period when there’s an accidental death that somebody’s supposed to wait so it doesn’t look wrong.
In a court filing, the defense claims there was no financial motive for the alleged crime, asserting that Rudolph’s dental practice alone was worth $8 million. What’s more, Dill says the fact that all nine policies were paid proves Bianca’s death was as Rudolph described and Zambian officials ruled: an accident.
John Dill: You’ll see insurance companies went through a full investigation, including goin’ to Africa.
But Mary Fulginiti says not so fast. For one thing, the FBI’s resources would have allowed for a much more thorough investigation into Bianca’s cause of death.
Mary Fulginiti: They just have access to more things. They have ballistic experts, … access to the consular chief, and other witnesses in Africa that I’m not sure the — insurance firm had access to, to talk to.
Within days of his arrest, Rudolph was extradited to Denver. A grand jury was convened there to hear evidence about his case.
Meghan Schiller: Everyone in Pittsburgh was talking about how this dentist, who was a well-known, respected dentist, could possibly be accused by the FBI.
Sherry says word of Rudolph’s arrest hit Ana hard.
Sherry Houck: She was just devastated. … I called to check on her and … she would not talk about her dad being arrested. She just talked to me about anything but that.
Lori Milliron followed Rudolph to Denver. She was about to become involved in the case as well by way of a subpoena.
John Dill: She was called to go before the grand jury.
John Dill: And she was in town for his bond hearing and went and testified.
About two weeks after Rudolph’s arrest in Mexico, that grand jury handed down their indictment.
NEWS REPORT: FBI agents believe their investigation will prove he killed his wife while on vacation before allegedly collecting millions in insurance money.
It seems that the multimillion-dollar windfall of insurance money Rudolph received wasn’t the only motive the FBI believes was behind Bianca’s murder. In the complaint, it says Lori Milliron had given Rudolph an ultimatum.
Meghan Schiller: “You have one year to get rid of the practice and leave your wife.”
Dill says there was no ultimatum. That allegation came from a disgruntled employee according to a defense motion.
John Dill: All we can say is that’s not what the evidence is gonna be.
As for the speed of Bianca’s cremation, Rudolph’s attorney says that’s no attempt at a cover-up — that both he and Bianca had expressed their final wishes.
Mary Fulginiti: The defense is gonna argue … Well, they have a will, and in the will, it was the directive of both parties to be cremated.
Murders on foreign soil are difficult to prove. And the length of the investigation might actually be a liability.
Mary Fulginiti: What the defense is gonna do is try to make it look like this case, which is five-plus years old, has stale testimony, stale witnesses, stale everything.
But it turns out that years after Bianca Rudolph died, there would be something new after all: another arrest that no one saw coming.
A SURPRISING ARREST
The truth about the death of Bianca Rudolph, wife and mother, has remained as elusive as the Zambian leopard she hunted. Her husband stood charged with murder and mail fraud. Then come February 2022 this case would grow even more complex, when Lori Milliron was charged.
Meghan Schiller: As if the story couldn’t get any stranger, now we know that his alleged longtime girlfriend Lori Milliron … is now facing federal charges.
Seven federal counts alleging she provided false and misleading testimony to a grand jury sitting in the District of Colorado. Just over a month after that testimony Lori Milliron was arrested.
Meghan Schiller: She’s accused of lying about her relationship with Larry. She’s accused of lying about what Larry said in the days and months following Bianca’s sudden death.
John Dill: I think she was shocked. … She did not expect this to happen.
A 64-year-old woman, she faces as much as 30 years in prison for those charges. But her attorney John Dill emphasizes …
John Dill: There’s no allegations by the government that she was somehow involved or had anything to do with what happened to Bianca Rudolph in 2016.
Dill says that the speculation and the charges against his client are all false.
John Dill: The truth is Lori Milliron is not a criminal. She didn’t perjure herself. Didn’t lie to the grand jury.
But former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti says there may be another reason the government filed those seven counts against Lori Milliron.
Mary Fulginiti: They might have also charged her because they would like to put some pressure on her to cooperate.
Pressuring Rudolph’s longtime girlfriend to be the star witness against him.
Mary Fulginiti: If I was the prosecutor in this case, I would absolutely be hoping that she was gonna come forward, and possibly cooperate against him, and she’s the one witness that could possibly do him in.
For now, from home detention in Arizona, Lori Milliron is still connected with Rudolph, running his multimillion-dollar dentistry practice, but forbidden to contact him.
John Dill: Still attempting to work, yeah, from where she is. It’s a lot more difficult, obviously.
The government plans to try them together in the same courtroom — an outcome their lawyers fought against and lost. The two on trial together – a powerful image that could impact Lori Milliron.
Mary Fulginiti: Lori Milliron does not want to be sitting next to Lawrence Rudolph at trial, because he’s charged with murder … and she wants nothing to do with that, and she doesn’t want any of that prejudice to spill over to her, which will ultimately say, “Oh well she was a part of it.” I mean she’s the lover.
And in a pre-trial affidavit filed by Rudolph’s attorneys, and signed by Lori, she wrote that, “Larry and I were romantically involved and Mrs. Bianca Rudolph was aware of that.” The suggestion: the affair was an open secret, not a motive for murder. But the prosecution may soon test the loyalties of Lori Milliron and Larry Rudolph.
Mary Fulginiti: And see if they stay aligned. Or if at the end of the day she does ultimately cooperate.
John Dill: Our defense is basically that what the government is saying, not only can’t they prove it, that’s not the facts.
Over the years, and across an ocean, facts have been hard to come by in this case. Retired FBI special agent James Gagliano knows time can be a prosecution’s toughest challenge.
James Gagliano: Memories get rusty and cloudy. Documents get lost or destroyed. With every day that passes, it gets more and more difficult to close a loop here, get the evidence you need, and make a conviction.
Mary Fulginiti: There’s a lot of hurdles that have to be overcome here, so it’s by no means an easy prosecution.
Seven-thousand miles and a world away, Bianca Rudolph’s death has impacted those who barely knew her. Former police commander Roston Yeyenga still thinks it was all a terrible accident.
Roston Yeyenga: There will be no evidence connecting him to the murder.
Debora Patta: There’ll be no evidence connecting Dr. Rudolph to the murder?
Roston Yeyenga: I don’t think so. From the experience that I had, no.
But one-time scout Spencer Kakoma was so shaken by this experience that he quit his job. He believes that in his beautiful country, as Bianca Rudolph hunted, she became the prey.
Spencer Kakoma: Yes, I’m just happy with the American investigation. He wanted to escape, but they have managed to corner him.
Larry Rudolph and his legal team declined to speak with “48 Hours” at this time. His lawyers provided the following statement:
“Dr. Rudolph is innocent. The Zambian authorities who were there and investigated said so. The insurance companies who paid the claim after they investigated said so. Strangely, five years later, the feds brought charges without any real evidence — no eye-witnesses, no forensics, no anything. — except for some speculation sprinkled into a chasm of conjecture.”
Ana and Julian have lost their mother. Sources tell us they have expressed support for their father. And now what really happened in the country Bianca Rudolph cherished, will be decided in a Colorado courtroom.
The joint trial of Lawrence Rudolph and Lori Milliron is scheduled to begin in July.
Produced by Ruth Chenetz, Mary Ann Rotondi, Susan Mallie and Jamie Stolz. Tamara Weitzman, Elena DiFiore and Michelle Fanucci are the development producers. Sarah Carter is the producer in Zambia. Richard Barber is the producer-editor. Jud Johnston, Marlon Disla, Mike Baluzy and Phil Tangel are the editors. Jen Terker and Chelsea Narvaez are the associate producers. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.