"You shouldn't have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh."
It was the 22nd of October 2012. A Monday. Katrina Smith was at home in Machesney Park, Illinois, United States with her husband Todd. They had just returned home from a vacation in Washington. They were celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary. Thirty year old Katrina spent that evening doing a few chores and preparing for an interview she had the following morning. She worked in human resources and was hoping to get a promotion. But the next morning, the 23rd of October, Katrina never made it to the interview.
Katrina and Todd
Todd had no idea why she didn't go to the interview as he knew how excited she was. He saw her at their home the previous night but she left to look after a friend's condo. He sent her a text message that night:
"Sweet dreams, I love you."
He sent her another text message the following morning:
"Good luck at your interview. You're gonna be awesome."
He received no reply which was strange. Todd discovered Katrina had not only missed the interview but she wasn't at work at all that day. Todd called the police and reported her missing. They checked his computer as he told them Katrina was using it the night before. They saw she had sent emails to the company in relation to her interview so it seemed that at that point she planned to go to the interview.
Police and Katrina's friends and family searched the area for her. Around two miles from her home, at the intersection of Obispo Road and Ventura Boulevard, Katrina's Chevrolet Cruze is found. It looked like it had been cleaned.
Police used Luminol in the car and found blood inside the car. There were traces of blood in the boot, on the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. The blood DNA matched Katrina's DNA.
Two days after Katrina's car was found, some of her items were found close to where the car was. Her wallet, phone and bloodied paper towels were discovered. Todd gave numerous media statements and made appeals for his wife to return home.
Over the course of the investigation police made a stunning discovery. It transpired that Katrina was not madly in love with her husband of seven years. She was in fact having an affair. Katrina was in a relationship with her married co worker Guy Gabriel. And some troubling revelations about him came to light. He was arrested for alleged domestic battery against his wife. Police needed to speak to him urgently.
Police looked through Katrina's phone and discovered that the night she went missing, she received a number of text messages from Guy. Those text messages seemed to become more frequent and agitated throughout the night but also revealed that Katrina had told Guy that she wanted to divorce Todd. Guy had an alibi for the night Katrina went missing though and it was solid. He was working that night.
As police looked further into Katrina's life and activities, they discovered that she feared she was being followed. Her coworkers told police that just two weeks before she went missing, a person drove to her work parking lot. Nobody knew who it was as they were in disguise but they distributed several x rated fliers about her affair with Guy.
Police began to look more closely at Todd. Todd was slightly older than Katrina. He was forty four years old and worked as an Insurance Broker. He wanted Katrina's friends and family to believe he was the one who made the money and supported the family but in reality it was Katrina. Katrina supported him and his three daughters. He had been indicted on seven counts of mail fraud and ten counts of wire fraud in connection with alleged charges based on client funds in his business. He pleaded not guilty.
It seemed that Todd's description of the perfect marriage was not true. In fact, it was clear that Katrina was not looking after a friend's condo. She had moved out of the house she lived in with Todd by October 2012. She wanted a divorce from Todd and had even spoken to her step father about getting a gun. Police found appointments with a divorce attorney in her purse.
In Katrina's car, police found a card from Todd:
"I will do whatever it takes.I want to grow old with you. I love you and cherish you Katrina. Love Todd."
It was clear that while Katrina had moved on and wanted a divorce, Todd had not.
Police believed that the night Katrina went missing, she was indeed at the house with Todd for a period, like he had said. But they believed she went there to do laundry and discuss the divorce. But while police believed he was involved in Katrina's disappearance, they did not know what happened to her and did not have enough to charge him with anything.
Police searched Todd's computer and looked into his background. Todd Smith was actually called Todd Raprager. He changed his name after he was convicted of arson as a teenager. When he was seventeen years old, he tried to burn down his family home with his family inside. Katrina had no idea about that crime.
On Todd's computer, police found a folder related to the x rated fliers that had been made and a folder called "Super Trackstick."
A Super Trackstick is a device or a GPS device that is used to track a movement of a person or on a vehicle. Katrina believed she was being followed and it turned out she was correct. Todd was tracking her for around three years.
Police located the tracking log from the night Katrina went missing. The GPS device appeared to move from Katrina's vehicle to a person's body and then moved with the person all the way back to Todd's house.
Almost three weeks after Katrina went missing, a fireman fishing on Illinois' Rock River found a woman's body. Using dental records, it was confirmed that the body was that of Katrina Smith. Her body was found twenty five miles from her home.
An Autopsy was carried out. Katrina's death was determined as a homicide by blunt force trauma. Katrina had been savagely beaten to death. She was struck twenty four times over the head and body and she was struck at least seven times on the head. Police found the murder weapon. A Louisville Slugger aluminium baseball bat. Katrina's blood was found on the bat. The bat was found in Todd's home.
Todd Smith was charged with murder, aggravated battery, aggravated domestic battery and concealment of a homicide. He entered a plea of not guilty.
It was the Prosecution's case that Todd's life was falling apart. He was facing Trial for his business activities and relied on Katrina for financial support. He had been tracking her for some time and knew she was having an affair and when she asked for a divorce, he begged her to stay. When that didn't work, he beat her to death with a bat, drove her body in her own car and dumped her body in Illinois' Rock River.
The Defense claimed Todd was innocent. They highlighted that there was no direct physical evidence against him. His fingerprints and his DNA were not found on the bat or inside Katrina's car. They asked the Jury to look at Guy Gabriel and the alleged domestic abuse instead.
The Jury found Todd guilty and he was sentenced to fifty nine years in prison.
At his sentencing, Todd said:
"Although I am not guilty of the acts the state portrayed, I harbour no ill will towards any one. I’m sorry for failing in my role as husband and protector."
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- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
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