Randal Wright

March 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Randal Wright sat quietly in an orange jumpsuit during a video hearing to determine if his million dollar bail should be reduced.The 58 year old is facing a perjury charge after authorities said he filed a false stolen vehicle report. But the deputy district attorney told the judge there is an ongoing investigation into his wife's disappearance and that Wright could potentially be named a suspect. He also said Wright's two homes in Mexico make him a flight risk. Defense attorney tom Pfeiff argued Wright has strong ties in Merced as the owner of RTS towing, and has only been charged with a low level felony.

The judge ultimately reduced the bail to $350,000, saying Karen Wright's disappearance did influence his decision. The 50 year old was reported missing February 12th. Randal Wright told deputies he had last seen her at one of their vacation homes in San Felipe, Mexico three days earlier.

Detectives are also investigating the disappearance of two of Wright's employees. Steven Lombard and Paul Armstrong went missing in 1993, but no suspects have ever been named in what's now considered a double homicide. Sergeant Jason Goins said the sheriff's department is once again aggressively working their case, as well as Karen Wright's disappearance. Deputies have served several recent search warrants for both cases.

That includes searches of Wright's home, his business, and a relative's house on Yosemite Parkway

The sheriff's department dive team also searched Don Pedro Lake using this sonar and video camera-equipped robot, seen here in a training exercise. However detectives could not say what they were looking for or whether they found anything due to the ongoing investigation.

Following Wednesday's hearing, sergeant Goins said he was disappointed Wright's bail was lowered, but respected the judge's decision. Pfeiff echoed that sentiment, but for the opposite reason.

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