When one person plans and carries out a murder, their motives are personal to them, rarely discussed with others. When people band together, they push each other forward, feed off each other’s anger, and in the case of the Rideout family, plan and execute a cold-blooded murder to remove their father and ex-husband and ensure his body, if found, is never identified.
On 13 October 2017, Laura Rideout and her son Colin Rideout were sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for the murder of Craig Rideout. Alexander Rideout, Laura’s other son and Colin’s younger brother was acquitted of murder charges but convicted of criminal tampering with evidence and sentenced to up to 8 years behind bars. Three members of one family who teamed up to murder one of their own in the most brutal of ways.
During their murder trial in July 2017, details emerged of the dynamics of this family, their relationships, and just how far these three members were prepared to go to cover up their crime. The jury heard five weeks of evidence and testimony telling of the family’s cold and callous plan to get rid of Craig Rideout.
The IB Times reports that 46-year-old Laura Rideout and 50-year-old Craig Rideout separated in 2014 with Laura moving in with her boyfriend, Paul Tucci, soon after the split. The couple had seven children together, with the youngest children remaining with their father. By all accounts, the breakdown of their marriage was not amicable and by the summer of 2016, their divorce was still in process and somewhat messy.
Laura Rideout wanted to move to North Carolina with Paul Tucci from their home in New York and take her children with them. This caused a further rift between the ex-partners and a fierce custody battle over the youngest children. It is these two factors the police believe which motivated this wife and mother to plan to kill her ex-husband, solving all her problems in one go. If Craig Rideout simply disappeared without a trace, she would be free to do what she wanted.
Families teaming up together to commit murder is thankfully very rare, although there have been some shocking cases across history where not only have they jointly killed, they have done so repeatedly. The Bloody Benders are one of the most infamous, a family of four who lived in a cabin in Cherryvale, Texas in the 1870’s. Enticing travelers in for a meal they would club them from behind at the dinner table and drop their bodies through a custom-made trap-door leading into their cellar. The belongings and any monies in possession of the unfortunate travelers would be stolen and once the trap-door closed, the family turned their attention to their next victim. When the Bender’s finally came under suspicion from the locals, they fled never to be seen or heard of again. In total, 10 bodies were found on their land but it is believed they killed many more.
In a much more recent case, a Russian family is believed to have killed up to 30 people in a series of killings they approached like a business starting in 1998 and developing into gang activity in 2007. Many of their victims were serving police officers who were targeted in order to access their weapons. A well-off and well-educated couple, Inessa Tarverdiyeva and husband Roman Podkopaev along with their two daughters were unlikely serial killers. When they were caught in 2013, Roman Podkopaev was killed in a shootout during their arrest, and daughter Viktoria Tarverdiyeva seriously injured. Charged with multiple murder and gang activity for the purposes of robbery, they were found guilty in September 2017 and are now awaiting sentencing. Neither of these two families, however, turned their murderous attentions to one of their own.
On 19 July 2016, Craig Rideout was reported missing by his sister, Robbyn Drew, who was unable to locate him. Arriving at his home in an attempt to find him she was surprised to find Laura Rideout inside the townhouse in Penfield, New York. More surprising was that she was cleaning her brother’s house, unable to give any explanation other than the place was ‘dirty’. Laura Rideout, as part of the custody order over the children, was not allowed to be at the residence and Robbyn Drew quickly asked her to leave before she called the police.
The following day a body was found in woodland in Jerusalem, Yates County, almost 50 miles away from Craig Rideout’s residence. The body was of an adult male who had been wrapped in tarpaulin before being dumped. His skull showed signs of blunt force trauma and acid had been poured over his face and his hands, in an attempt, police assumed, to prevent the body being identified. He was identified, however, through dental records and matched to the missing person’s report of Craig Rideout.
The post-mortem revealed he had been strangled to death. It seems after he was murdered he had been taken to the field in Yates County and dragged from a vehicle into a wooded area. Near where his body was found, was a shovel and evidence in the ground suggestive that someone had tried to dig a grave to bury his body but was unsuccessful or abandoned the idea, leaving his body out in the open, reported the Tennessean in July 2016.
Acting on a tip-off, police investigated a report of two men dumping items into a pond at Mendon Ponds Park in Monroe County, New York. Two men who turned out to be Colin and Alexander Rideout trying to dispose of the acid-based drain cleaner which had been used to burn off their father’s face and fingertips. CCTV footage showed both Laura Rideout and her boyfriend Paul Tucci purchasing drain cleaner, tarpaulin, and work gloves, all believed to have been used in the murder and in the cover-up of the crime just 12 hours before Craig Rideout’s body was found.
Police believe Craig Rideout was murdered in the basement of his home before being wrapped in tarpaulin and transported to the dump site. Laura Rideout’s cleaning of the house was in order to remove blood, hair, and fibers along with any DNA evidence which could link them to the crime or highlight foul play had taken place inside Craig’s home, the prosecution argued.
In an email exchange in the days before the murder between Craig and his son Colin, the Tennessean reports tense and harsh words were exchanged with Colin Rideout telling his father, “You are a chronic liar and I’m sick of you dragging my mother through this contorted divorce while you abuse the court system to try and retain control over her life.”
It appears Colin Rideout supported his mother’s move to North Carolina with the youngest children and was equally unhappy with his father that his custody over the children and refusal to give that up was interfering with his mother’s plans.
A horrific example of just how far some are willing to go to resolve issues in their lives, choosing a route of cold-blooded murder to simply make their problems disappear. The master plan for this family to clean up and conceal their victim’s identity to protect themselves failed and they will now spend at least the next 26 years behind bars. “To see someone so horrendously murder their own flesh and blood is unbelievable,” said Monroe County Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn after the verdicts. “This was definitely one of the most heinous cases I’ve seen in my more than 30 years in law enforcement.”