Police probe ties between victim, killer
By DAVID L. TEIBEL and BLAKE MORLOCK
A woman found murdered in a near North Side apartment this weekend may have helped raise her killer in the structure of a rigid religious organization, Tucson police said.
Police have identified the victim as Angela Smith, 51, and the suspect as Richard Rodriguez, 29, both of Tucson.
Rodriguez was found dead over the weekend in his car near Blythe, Calif., where investigators say he took his own life hours after killing Smith.
Rodriguez grew up as the son of the leader of The Family International, a global religious group of about 8,000 members, said Celeste Jones, who met him in 1997, when both lived in Portugal as part of the group.
Jones had an ominous phone conversation with Rodriguez last week, she said.
"He was feeling a lot of rage," she said. "He said he couldn't go on and that he wasn't strong."
Rodriguez was born into the Family International and left it in 2000. The Family International's Web site describes the organization as a worldwide Christian fellowship of 12,000, preaching "separation from the world."
Its founder, David Brandt Berg was the father figure in Rodriguez's life, Jones said.
His mother Maria David, now serves as the head of The Family International, Jones said.
Detectives in Tucson are still trying to piece together the details of Smith and Rodriguez's relationship.
Smith may have helped raise Rodriguez, said TPD Sgt. Carlos Valdez, adding that detectives are working with family member to try to develop a history of the two people. Both lived here only briefly, he said.
source: Tucson Citizen