Ricardo "Rick" Taber
*** Before I start I want to point out that Taber was spelled also sometimes as Tabor, often even in the same article that I would read. However, I chose to go with Taber because this was the name used that I found on an obituary site as well as on Findagrave.com.***
This is a bit different than most murder/suicide cases you will read about. I believe this is the first one I have read in which the victims were found in different places. Ricardo “Rick” Taber's body was found inside his St. Peter Minnesota trailer on July 25, 2009. Police found him when they went there to question him about the disappearance of his neighbor, Michaela “Micky” Widmer. According to Mickey's finance', Darnell Mears the last he had heard from her she was with Rick the night before. Micky's four year old daughter, Kassandra, was with them also. Kassandra had been found late the night before about 11:30 alone at a boat ramp. Someone had pulled into the area to turn around and spotted the little girl. She was covered in mosquito bites but otherwise unharmed.
There was not a lot of information about how investigators came to the conclusion very quickly that Taber had been responsible for Micky's disappearance or how he had died but they seemed convinced. Toxicology results would later determine that Taber had either poisoned himself or had overdosed on medication. Whether he had left a note of any kind is unknown. However, when Rick was found, Micky was still missing. On the following day at around four in the morning Micky's body would be found in a cemetery. It appears that it may have been the same cemetery that Rick Taber would later be buried in. An autopsy would reveal that her cause of death had been a blow with a “sharp” object.
Micky and Darnell Mears had been together since Kassandra was about six months old and had planned to marry at the end of August. They had been neighbors with Rick for quite some time. They had also become friends with him but it was apparent to friends, and a few others that Rick, who was fifty-three at the time of his death, was romantically interested in Micky who was twenty-two. She was described as being very friendly and had a bubbly personality. It seems that Micky realized that Rick was interested in being more than friends with her but it appears that Micky thought she kept those feelings at bay and could maintain the friendship. Rick often bought things for Kassandra too which made the young mother feel good. It was said that Micky thought he was a bit odd, or strange, but no one ever thought he was dangerous.
On the night of July 24th Darnell was out with friends, that included Micky's brother, when he received a text from Micky stating that she was headed to a Mankato bank with Rick and Kassandra. According to the text Rick had told her he had won the lottery and gave her an $18,000 check. Many reports state that it was not long after that Darnell received another text indicating that she had been fooled by Rick. I could not determine just what that text entailed or what was said to give him that impression. At any rate, by the time he returned home neither Micky or Kassandra were home.
No one will ever know for certain just what happened on that late Friday night but this was not Rick's only issue at the time of his death. A week prior to the murder there had been a burglary at the movie theater that he worked at. On July 20th the police received a call that sometime during the night someone had broken into the theater through the back door. They then broke into the managers office and stole $1,500 from the safe. All of the employees were questioned. It was noted by an officer that Rick's interview was described as a “very poor interview” as he seemed “sketchy.” It does not seem as if this was ever resolved after his death, just as it was never resolved as to a motive for the murder of Michaela.
Michaela's daughter, Kassandra, was initially taken to foster care when she was found but then she was placed in the care of her grandfather. At some point Darnell Mears had indicated that he intended to file for custody and adoption of Kassandra as he was the only father she knew. Whether that took place is unknown.