By Miriam Raftery
July 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Michael Eugene Richardson, whose wife and mother-in-law have been identified as homicide victims in a staged car crash in Lakeside, has an extensive criminal past, investigations reveal. Court records in North Carolina indicate Richardson was convicted of robbing and shooting a cab driver in 1976. He served six years of a 30 year sentence before escaping while out with a roadside work crew.
The convicted criminal spent 18 years as a fugitive, marrying, divorcing, then marrying again before he was arrested in San Diego in 2000, KFMB reports. He was extradited to North Carolina, where he served seven months before being paroled. He completed his parole in 2004.
Richardson and his wife, Thao Richardson, had a daughter who is now seven years old. Thao Richardson's mother, Than Lyi, and sister, Tuyet Thi Nguyen, along with a 17-year-old niece have been living with the family on Brook Trails Court in their Eastlake home since December.
Thao Richardson claimed to have caught her husband attempting to run off with their 17-year-old niece, with whom he was allegedly having a sexual relationship. The girl’s mother, Thao Richard’s sister, sought a restraining order in March to keep Richardson away from her daughter but a judge denied the request, citing insufficient evidence since the teenage girl did not cooperate, the Union-Tribune has reported. Richardson had been arrested on charges of having sex with a minor but charges were dropped.
On Thursday, July 1, a property owner along Highway 67 in the Slaughterhouse Canyon area of Lakeside discovered a blue Honda upside down on an embankment. The decomposing bodies of Richardson’s wife and mother-in-law were found at the scene; authorities indicated that they had been there for two or more days. The Union-Tribune reports that one of the victims had suffered a gunshot wound.
The autopsy report has been sealed at the request of the Sheriff, who has declined to disclose details on the causes of death. However the Sheriff’s office has confirmed that authorities believe the accident was staged and that the deaths are considered homicides. Richardson is described “the only person of interest” in the case.
Richardson was arrested late Thursday and charged with statutory rape of his 17-year-old niece, who is reportedly now living in northern California. His seven-year-old daughter is now in the care of child protective services and another relative is reportedly seeking custody.
Michael Richardson is slated for arraignment next week.