Missing Merced Woman's Husband Arrested

March 19, 2009 11:47:26 PM PDT
Merced County Sheriff's Detectives investigating the disappearance of a Merced woman have arrested her husband on perjury charges.50 year old Karen Wright has been missing since early February. Detectives looking into her disappearance say they discovered her husband made a false stolen vehicle report. Now he's in jail while her family continues to look for answers.

Detectives from the Merced County Sheriff's Department arrested Randal Wright at his home early Wednesday morning.

Wright lives on the same property where his company, R.T.S Towing, is based. Detectives say they discovered Wright had filed a false stolen vehicle report while they were investigating his wife's disappearance.

Sgt. Jason Goins said "In fact the car was in Butte County since December of 08, and he was aware of that, but he did report the car stolen."

Sgt. Jason Goins says Wright made the false report one day after reporting his wife missing on February 12th. The 58 year old told authorities he had last seen his wife Karen at their vacation home in San Felipe, Mexico on February 9th. Karen's sisters say she also called their mother that day, but that's the last time they ever heard from her.

Kim Stewart said, "It's been horrible dealing with wondering where she is and we can't go down there ourselves to find her."

Marcia Stewart said, "I want somebody to find Karen, find out what is going on with Karen, and I just want everybody to work, work really hard to find her."

Karen disappeared just months after she filed a petition for divorce. In court documents, she claims her husband had abused her and threatened to kill her several times. She writes, quote, "He always tells me he could kill me and nobody would know...he has joined a motorcycle club now and says if I do any harm to him - like divorce the gang will take care of me so he won't have blood on his hands."

Detectives say they have interviewed Wright about his wife's disappearance, but he has not been named a suspect.

Deputy Tom Mackenzie said, "Right now we're not discounting anyone as a suspect. We're keeping all leads open still an ongoing investigation. We're looking at it from every angle."

Karen Wright is not the first person with ties to R-T-S to go missing. Two drivers for the company mysteriously disappeared in December of 1993. Their case is now considered a double homicide, but the bodies of Steven Lombard and Paul Armstrong have never been found. Wright was also questioned following their disappearance, but neither he, nor anyone else was ever named as a suspect.

Wright is now being held in jail on a one million dollar bail. Detectives say one reason that amount is so high is because the property he owns in Mexico makes him a flight risk.

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