Officials on the scene of homicide investigation - KCTV5


Small town in shock after single mom found dead in home

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Photo Courtesy: KCTV5's Betsy Webster Photo Courtesy: KCTV5's Betsy Webster

Neighbors and family are heartbroken after learning a Richmond woman was killed in her home.

One of the neighbors, who lives up the hill from the victim's house on Farris Avenue, heard the first sounds about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday when the victim's teenaged son came home to find her dead.

"I heard a lot of screaming," Jessica Viles said. "It sounded absolutely devastating, and I looked out my window and I could see a young man run from the house there screaming and crying. I was just getting ready to call 911 myself when all the police and ambulances came."

What she saw as the day wore on told the story of a homicide, the first homicide Richmond has seen since 1996.

The Missouri Highway Patrol said they are assisting Richmond police as they investigate.

Sgt. Collin Stosberg said shortly after 7 a.m. the 17-year-old son found 40-year-old Michelle Rheuport dead in her home and called police.

Investigators are leaving a lot of details private, concerned about any impropriety that could hurt eventual prosecution. But they have already notified the victim's family.

Based on evidence found in the home, authorities are calling Rheuport's death a homicide and are currently conducting interviews with neighbors to get more information. They said they are making swift progress toward solving the homicide.

Rheuport was a single mom with two sons, the 17-year-old and a 13-year-old, as well as a 21-year-old daughter. Officials said none of them were home at the time of the homicide.

Officials said nobody has been arrested yet.

Authorities believe the incident was isolated and are reassuring residents that there is no need to fear that this is a pattern.

"It's a safe community. It's a quiet community. Our residents here have no reason to fear. This is an isolated incident," Stosberg said.

Isolated, but very close to Viles and her children, ages 1 and 4.

Viles said it is extremely frightening, which makes it hard to rest easy despite what law enforcement says.

"For something like that to be able to happen while me and my children are just feet away sleeping in oblivion, it's mind-boggling. I can't believe it," Viles said. "I don't think I will be sleeping very much for a long time."

Some of Rheuport's family members live in a home right behind her. Stosberg said she and her family have been established in Richmond long enough to be known about town. Richmond is a tight-knit town, so safety risk or not, it's going to be difficult news to hear for a lot of people.

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