December 13, 2022

Florida Man Arrested in Nurses’ 42 Year Cold Case Murder

Florida Man Arrested in Nurses’ 42 Year Cold Case Murder

Image Source: Miramar Police Department/Facebook / WPLG Local 10 YouTube / WSVN

Trigger warning: sexual assault and graphic depictions of murder. 

Thanks to advances in DNA technology, a Florida man who had broken into the home of nurse Evelyn Marie Fisher-Bamforth, 32, in Miramar, FL on January 22, 1980, to brutally rape and murder her has been arrested. Fisher-Bamforth had been relaxing at home after her shift at a local hospital when she was assaulted.

Image Source: Miramar Police Department/Facebook

Despite the fact that the tragic killing happened nearly 42 years ago, the murderer, Ronald E. Richards, has finally been identified. Richards was Fisher-Bamforth’s neighbor who lived in their mobile home park and was initially suspected of the crime, but at the time, there was not enough evidence to indict him of the murder. He reportedly lived 12 houses down from the nurse at the time. 

The Crime

Evelyn Marie Fisher-Bamforth worked as a licensed psychiatric nurse and at the time of the murder, was married to her husband, John Bamforth. A series of moves brought the couple to their home in a mobile home park, now called Haven Lake Estates. Bamforth explained that he fell for his wife the first time he met her. “She was just great to be around,” he said in an interview.

At the time of her death, Fisher-Bamforth’s husband had been at work himself, so he arrived home after his own shift to find police tape on the front door. "And that's when I saw what I saw — which was furniture disturbed, cushions disturbed, and then I walked back to the bedroom, half the bed at least was soaked with blood," Bamforth told the station. “She was raped and she was also bludgeoned to death.”

Despite the fact that violence towards nurses is an ever-present and sadly, increasing threat, police do not believe that Richards knew Fisher-Bamforth before he murdered her. No motive for the crime has been identified. 

Image Source: WSVN

The Killer

Not a lot of information about the killer is known, but police revealed that DNA evidence was used to officially pinpoint him to the scene of the crime over 40 years ago. At the time, Miramar Police Detective Johnathan Zeller explained that Richards was a person of interest, but there was no firm evidence. 

“An arrest warrant for rape and attempted murder, and it was the same MO as our case as well, and that’s how he became a person of interest,” he said. 

Over the years, Miramar Police Department has revisited the case from time to time, hoping to finally solve this tragic crime. And finally, this year, the widow of Fisher-Bamforth is getting some sort of closure and the assurance that justice will be served for his wife. 

Youtube video

“Due to advancements in DNA technology and the diligence and hard work of Detective Johnathan Zeller, Ronald Eugène Richards has been indicted for sexual battery and murder,” Tania Rues, spokesperson for Miramar PD told a local news station. “We are one step closer to obtain justice for Evelyn.”

Richards is now 75 years old and is currently already in prison in Ohio for voluntary manslaughter and has more crimes in his past, including another case of sexual battery and attempted murder in Florida in 1981. He was transferred from Florida to an Ohio prison. The detective who worked on the case, Jonathan Zeller, even thinks Richards may actually be a serial killer. 

“I think this is a serial killer,” Zeller told News Channel 8. “There could be potentially other cases out there, and that’s what we are trying to find out if there are any.”

Image Source: WSVN

Comments poured in on social media in response to the Miramar police department announcing that Richard had been charged with the murder. “This case dates back to a time when I was just graduating from university as a young nurse,” wrote Sue Donovan in the post. “If life were fair, she’d be enjoying her golden years now. Instead, her life was cut short just when she was embarking on a new adventure. I don’t remember how I heard about this case in the Northeast, but I recognize her photo. Kudos to you investigators for not giving up until her friends & loved ones got the answers they deserved.”

The case of who killed the Florida nurse that night was Miramar’s oldest cold case and his widower expressed that while he will never be over her death, he is relieved justice will be served.

“You never have closure, as you can tell, but certainly justice for Evelyn is the most important thing,” Bamforth said in an interview.

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