Man accused of killing wife and mother-in-law charged with murdering girlfriend
EL CAJON (CNS) – A Chula Vista man already facing murder charges for allegedly killing his wife and mother-in-law in a staged car wreck is also charged in the 1992 disappearance of his then-girlfriend, according to court documents unsealed Friday.
Michael Eugene Richardson, 57, was charged last month with the murder of 38-year-old Jovita Collazo, but Judge Peter Deddeh sealed the amended complaint until Friday.
Richardson was charged last year with two counts of murder in the deaths of his 39-year-old wife, Thao, and 72-year-old mother-in-law, Than Lyi.
Their bodies were discovered last June 29 in a wrecked car off state Route 67 north of Lakeside.
Richardson is also charged with carrying on a sexual relationship with his 17-year-old niece.
At Richardson's initial arraignment last July, prosecutor Chantal de Mauregne told a judge that the defendant escaped from a North Carolina prison in 1982 — where he served time for robbery — and remained on the lam for 18 years.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide after a May 24 preliminary hearing whether Richardson will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if he's convicted.
Collazo disappeared on April 30, 1992, prosecutor Enrique Camarena said today.
The victim, along with her 13-year-old daughter, had been living with Richardson in National City for several years when she went missing, the prosecutor said.
Collazo was separated from her husband but was on good terms with him, Camarena said.
The husband and their daughter — who now live out of state — reported Collazo missing, according to the prosecutor.
Collazo's body has never been found.
After witnesses were re-interviewed, prosecutors decided to charge Richardson with Collazo's murder, Camarena said.