The family of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich has continued to investigate his murder for over a year — unsatisfied by the conclusion of the D.C. police that he died in a botched robbery. There have long been rumors that Rich may have been the source of embarrassing emails given to Wikileaks and that he was murdered by someone in power. Now, almost a year after he was shot and killed, the family’s investigator has revealed that Rich was in contact with Wikileaks shortly before his death. [UPDATED: The family reportedly denies that it hired the investigator, Wheeler, and also denies that there is evidence lending credibility to these theories of a Wikileak connection] [SECOND UPDATE: Fox has now withdrawn its story on Rich]
The murder occurred around 4 am and was quickly declared an attempted robbery. The police noted that the neighborhood had been plagued by robberies. Yet he was shot in the back and nothing was stolen. There was also sighs of a struggle. It is possible that an assailant panicked in the struggle after shooting Rich and simply ran, but family and friends have alleged that it might have been a murder designed to look like a robbery.
Investigator Rod Wheeler said that there is evidence on Rich’s laptop connecting him to Wikileaks. The former D.C. detective has said that he believes that there was a cover up and that the authorities are still holding on to the computer which could establish the truth.
He is quoted as saying “I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you.’”
It is hard to really judge the basis for this allegations without a review of that computer. Given the ongoing conspiracy theories and the unresolved murder, it would make sense for the computer to be made available for review. The family however does not support the account of Wheeler. It is often said that the most obvious explanation for a crime is often the true one. In a city with a high level of crime, it is perfectly plausible that Rich was the victim of a street crime. However, given his position, the public should have a greater level of information on the evidence gathered at the scene — particularly since there is no apparent leads on the culprits. In the end, the police account could well be sustained, but the family has raised good-faith concerns over the investigation.