What does it take to get an arrest of Ron Reynolds? Washington State Trooper Ronda Reynolds was murdered in 1998. Her death was previously ruled a suicide, but her mother Barbara Thompson didn’t buy it. She has fought for almost 13 years to get justice for her daughter.
Lewis County, WA got a new coroner, Warren McLeod. He kept his campaign promise to hold an inquest.
Yesterday, the coroner’s jury unanimously ruled that Ron Reynolds and his son Jonathan were responsible for Mrs. Reynolds’ death. Coroner McLeod said he would issue arrest warrants today. But, the sheriff immediately announced he has no plans to make an arrest. Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer says he needs to pull an all-nighter to research whether he can arrest Ron and Jonathan Reynolds.
The bizarre details of this case are the subject of best-selling crime writer Ann Rule’s In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth.
The lead detective on the case, Jerry Berry, believed it was murder rather than suicide. The Seattle Times reported that he quit the department after being demoted for refusing to give up on his investigation. He was joined in his quest by KOMO (Seattle’s ABC affiliate) and Ms. Rule.
Ron Reynolds is an elementary school principle in Toledo, WA.
Update: I’ve heard some reports that Mr. Reynolds is no longer the principle in Toledo. KING5 reported on their noon news broadcast on October 27 that the prosecutor has opted not to press charges because there isn’t enough evidence. He must not want to get elected again. Ms. Thompson apparently has accepted this decision because she wants a conviction. Murder doesn’t have a statute of limitations, but doubly jeopardy would attach if they are found innocent due to insufficient evidence.
Today’s post celebrates Ms. Thompson and her quest for justice. It also celebrates the people of integrity who stood tall beside her.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Please join me in wearing your purple and remembering today those who did not survive. May their loved ones find peace.
If the prosecutor decides to not charge Ron Reynolds and Jonathan Reynolds then I think a request that the FBI investigate the prosecutor, the sheriff and his office and the former coroner and his office. The attorney for Ron Reynolds, who pushed the original coroner to change from undetermined to suicide needs to be referred to the WSBA for unethical conduct of an attorney. It is time for justice to move forward. If the authorities won’t assume their roles than the citizens need to stand up for Ronda and force some action. Justice has been too long in coming. The Reynolds family along with Hutulla have skated free and clear for 13-years. It is time for them to understand actions have consequences. I applaud the inquest jury for their attention to detail and the strength to return a unanimous decision on both the cause of death and the suspects. RIP, Ronda and peace to Barb.
Your comment is so powerful and accurate that I have tears in my eyes. I totally agree. Thank you for your insights.
I have so much admiration for Mrs. Thompson. IMHO, the prosecutor and sheriff could use some of her strength of character and integrity.
Bravo to Ronda’s mom for her unwaivering pursuit of justice and to all those who helped support and defend the real truth. Stand tall, Barbara, you are one incredibly strong and inspiration lady.
May peace be with you…
This is such a travesty of justice. What does it say about our country and justice? Shame on Lewis County. I will hold my breath next time I drive to Seattle…….and always think of Ronda
Read the book just now……….I vote for Jerry Berry, Marty Hayes and Royce Ferguson to run the whole town now……….fire the rest.
Gina, I love your assessment. Thank you SO much for taking the time to write a comment.
Just read Ann Rule’s book – WOW!!! I can only hope for justice (and peace) in Barbara Thompson’s life!!! Thank heaven for people like: Jerry Berry, Marty Hayes and Royce Ferguson. Maybe there really willl be a time when the “good” people win!!!!!!!!!
I bought the book because I’m a huge Anne Rule fan but after the first several pages, my heart went out to Barb Thompson. As a parent myself, I understand the unconditional love a Mother has for her Child but this determined Mother has been in a nightmare that is like something out of a bad movie of the week. How can something like this happen in a society where there is so much scientific evidence that points to Ronda being murdered? The simple fact that her poor excuse for a Husband & his Sons who were present & supposedly asleep didn’t hear the gunshot? Come on! That alone should have been huge red flags. They lived in a modest ranch home, not a huge mansion. What really makes me sick is so called Coroner & his assistant who I believe went to the scene. They may as well have sent Joe Schmo off the streets to go to the scene of Ronda’s murder. I’m sure it’s obvious that I’m very angry at the lack of respect that was paid to Ronda at her death scene. It seems like when Ron Reynolds mentioned “suicide” to the 911 Dispatcher, the determination of how she died was accepted before anyone even went to the scene. I could spend hours letting out my anger on this site but I wanted to applaud Barb Thompson for not giving up & accepting the ruling. God put Dave Bell there for her when she needed someone the most. Kudos to Jerry Berry for standing up for what is obviously the truth & walking away from a corrupt police dept. And to Marty Hayes & Royce Ferguson, you’ve made me believe that there are people out there who believe in truth & justice & not the almighty dollar. All the work all of these men did without charging Barb a single penny is commendable. Thank you Anne Rule for making me feel as though I knew Ronda personally.
To Rhonda’s mom-
Hope you are at peace. Everyone out here can gain strength from your fight and persistance. I know Rhonda is resting in peace.
It is so obvious that Ronda was murdered, and I praise her mother for all the hard work she and her small circle of justice did, and achieved. Maybe now she can move on with her life and get some peace before she joins her mother and daughter in heaven.
I commend Barbara for never giving up and for knowing her daughter well enough to know that this was NOT a suicide. The information in the book is so detailed, it’s obvious this was a murder! I’ll be honest, I read the book because I’m going through a similar situation myself. It’s not my daughter who was murdered but my sister. In reading the book, the details are so similar to my sister’s death, it’s scary. She was found by her husband and she had been shot. He called 911 and when the paramedics and police officials arrived, he told them she shot herself and that was pretty much the end of it. We, however, knew that she would never have done anything like that. It’s a long, long story and a lot of conflicting information with red flags all over the place. My family needs answers for our own peace of mind and especially for our mother who has really went down hill since my sister’s death just 15 months ago. I would love to speak with Barbara personally as I have been trying to get an investigation going, trying to find out why there’s so many discrepancies…just a lot of unanswered questions and I need guidance on where to go next. Barbara, my heart goes out to you! Anne…please keep up the great job you’re doing! Both of you ladies have my deepest admiration!! God be with you both.
Thank you for leaving your comment. I am so sorry for your loss and the impact it has had on your family. I think one of the most absolutely difficult things in life is hearing someone impute our integrity. Often, these are the projections of someone with a malignant narcissistic personality disorder ~ they impute their own evil deeds onto innocent people.
You know your sister, and you know your former brother-in-law. You already know in your heart what happened. You may never know the details, but you know your sister didn’t kill herself.
If I wanted to contact Barbara to get tips, I would send an e-mail to a local reporter who wrote about the story. If the reporter is friendly and helpful, I’d ask for advice on how to get an investigative reporter in your area interested in doing the kind of digging that Ann Rule did.
Meanwhile, I would find a way to celebrate and honor my sister’s life and legacy. She deserves to be remembered for the wonderful person you all loved. I pray that you will find answers as well as peace.
I’ve just finished Ann Rule’s book and so admire Barbara – it’s a heartbreaking story and I pray that there will truly be justice for Ronda, with the arrest and conviction of her murderer. Ann Rule has written another amazing book.
Just completed reading the book, and felt as if someone was trying to protect Ron, rather than find the facts. Thank goodness for Barbs allies and their dogged determination to find the truth. There is no stronger love than that of a mother for her child. God Bless you Barb!!
He’s “holding up” the school district for an obscene amount of money for severance pay. The man knows no shame.
Ms. Thompson, on the other hand, is a paragon of virtue, grace, and dignity. I hear you, Jackie, and hope along with you that she will be blessed abundantly.
Tonight I watched the horrifying story about Rhonda Reynolds. I am the same age as Rhonda. None of this story makes sense. I do not believe for a second that Rhonda killed herself. No way! This beautiful woman did not take her life over that scum bag, cheating husband. Rhonda was victimized a second time by the keystone cops who did a pathetic investigation . I absolutely want to jump through the TV to stangle that dirtbag and his offspring . Too bad Rhonda didn’t get out sooner. The law may not have done the right thing, but God will! I am a mother. My hear breaks for Barbara Thompson. She had been her daughter’s greatest advocate.
I read the book and recently watched the show. I had no idea that Ron was such a hillbilly and his son’s teeth just scream out METH HEAD! I am so glad he is no longer the Principal in Toledo. I saw a comment on the CBS 48hrs website that said Barb was on Long Island Medium. Do you know if that is true? If so do you know what season/episode?
My heart goes out to Barb, what a strong women!! She could have given up so easy and just kept fighting, Good for her.
hello! my name is sheila, i am writing from ireland…i just seen 48 hours & i noticed right away that when they ask Ron Reynolds what he thought when he found her , he said that he was shocked & that he LIFTED THE PILLOW OFF HER HEAD, & seen that she had been shot.
now correct me if i am wrong, but i am pretty sure she did not shoot herself & then place the pillow over her own head!!
however this tells me that if the pillow was indeed on her head that someone she knew killed her, & i am positive that the son killed her!!. i can tell when someone is lieing 99 out of 100 times & it was VERY
CLEAR to me that Ron & the son were both lieing about several things.
Great point about the pillow! Oh, Sheila, you have NO idea how blessed I felt when I noticed that a visitor from Ireland had left a comment this week.
Bless you and thank you.
I just finished the book, and I see that I am a year or two behind everyone else. Any updates? What ever happened to Ron and his meth head son? I hope Barb and Freeman are doing well. She is a true inspiration.
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Daughter’s death ruled a homicide after overwhelming evidence presented in the coroner’s inquest, now the mother should sue the two named as the ones responsible for Ronda’s death. (If she hasn’t already)
Since the Prosecutor declined to charge them, there’s still ample evidence for a wrongful death action against the father & son.
Why did they not look at the first wife? There was a message written in lipstick “I love you, call me” She was at the house in Rhonda’s bed?????
I have just finished reading “In the Still of the Night” now, and I am curious as to whether anyone has been held accountable for Ronda’s death? Judy
A mother loves knows and she hopefully feels justice for her daughter. Her daughters killer is free but is paying every day because she exposed them. There is no doubt those two were involved and they can’t hide from who they are or what they did. Never give up!!!
Did they ever recheck Ronda’s clothes, underwear for other DNA ? What about prints or DNA on the blanket and plug,Who plugged it in ? To many unanswered questions ? To many mistakes were made. To bad she went home.Hope truth comes out.
The murderer of Rhonda Reynolds has been and still is protected by a coverup . It is difficult to fathom than Ron Reynolds’s and/or his son were not held accountable.
Travesty of Justice.