Suicide or homicide? Author Ann Rule helps mother search for justice in daughter's death
Produced by Susan Mallie, Dena Goldstein and Mead Stone
[This show was originally broadcast on April 21, 2012. It was updated on Dec. 22.]
(CBS News) Barb Thompson has lived on her farm in Spokane, Washington, breeding horses, for more than 30 years.
She was just 19 when Ronda was born. Barb's husband left three years later, leaving the newly-single mom with an energetic little girl to raise.
"We got her a pony. She was just hell on wheels. And then she went to the bigger horses and jumping," Thompson told "48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Peter Van Sant.
The farm is a place where Thompson draws strength, but a place she's had to leave over and over as she tries to unravel the mystery of her daughter's death.
It was on Dec, 16, 1998, in Toledo, Washington. Ronda Reynolds, then 33 years old, was discovered in her home on Twin Peaks Drive, dead of a gunshot wound to the head. Her death was ruled a suicide, but one person wasn't buying it.
"It was suicide from the beginning. They already had it labeled, but there is something inside of you that says something's wrong," Thompson cried. "I was going to find the truth, whatever that truth was."
On this particular day in October 2011, Thompson is stopping in Seattle to pick up an old friend: Best-selling true-crime writer Ann Rule.
They're an unlikely duo who never would have met had it not been for Ronda's troubling death.
"I remember hearing it on the radio that December in 1998. ...And it just hit me wrong then. I said, 'Uh-uh. This -- this isn't quite right,'" Rule told Van Sant. "Barb...called me in the first year."
"She just called you out of the blue?" Van Sant asked.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah."
Thompson convinced the world-famous author to join her in investigating Ronda's death.
It took 10 years of intense legal wrangling, but finally in 2011, a coroner's inquest was launched to decide once and for all if Ronda's death was a suicide or a homicide.
Thompson says the daughter she raised could never have taken her own life.
"I know my child. I know her zest for life," she said.
Ronda's zest for life would end up leading her down an unusual path.
"She must have been four or five years old when I realized her one dream in life was law enforcement," Thompson continued.
Ronda was 22 when she achieved her dream, becoming the youngest female state patrol trooper in Washington history. Just a year after joining, she a married ex-Marine and fellow trooper Mark Liburdi.
"Mark was a single parent with three children. And she fell in love with these three children," said Thompson.
But in 1994, Ronda Reynolds' life suddenly began to unravel. Injured on the job, she was accused of taking both disability and her regular pay. Ronda claimed it was all an innocent mistake.
"But sadly," Thompson explained, "it left a black mark on her name."
Ronda eventually resigned her dream job.
"During this time, her marriage was going downhill with Mark Liburdi," said Thompson.
Ronda and Liburdi sought counseling through their Jehovah's Witness church where the elder was none other than Ron Reynolds.
"And is it true you were a marriage counselor to them at one point?" Van Sant asked Ron Reynolds.
"I -- that's true," he replied.
Reynolds and his own wife, Catherine, were splitting up. And in the most unlikely of twists, counselor and counselee started their own romance.
"Ronda just called me up one day...telling me that she really liked me and she wanted to see me. And so from then on we started a relationship," he told Van Sant.
"You fell in love with her?"
"Uh huh, absolutely," Reynolds replied.
In January 1998, just five weeks after her divorce from Mark Liburdi was finalized, Ronda and Ron Reynolds were married. With her new husband came five stepsons.
Two of Reynolds' boys were full-blown teenagers, including 16-year-old Jonathan.
"It was a new mom, in our house and everything," he said. "There wasn't a lot of lovey-dovey stuff going on. But she was really friendly with us."
The family settled into a new home, with spectacular views of the twin peaks - Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. Reynolds was principal of the local elementary school. But just months after marrying, the relationship started to strain.
"She was running up a credit card bill, over $20,000, probably around $25,000," Reynolds told Van Sant.
"She'd used your credit card without your knowledge?"
"She took out the credit cards in my name without my knowledge. So it was actually a case of forgery," Reynolds replied.
Feeling betrayed, Reynolds demanded a divorce. But Ronda told her mom an entirely different story.
"Six or seven months into the new marriage that he was back seeing and having an affair with his ex-wife," said Thompson.
Asked if that was true, Reynolds told Van Sant, "Along about November...I did see Catherine a couple times."
By mid-December 1998, after just 11 months of marriage, Ron and Ronda were through. Ronda packed up her belongings and made plans to fly home to Spokane.
"What were her last words to you?" Van Sant asked Thompson.
"'I love you. See you tomorrow,'" she replied.
But the next day, instead of a visit from her daughter, Thompson received a chilling message to call the Lewis County Coroner's Office.
"She said, 'I need to inform you that your daughter has committed suicide,'" Thompson said. "So sadly, you put yourself in a mode of what you have to do."
Stunned by the news, Thompson raced to Ron Reynolds' house in Toledo.
"He started out telling me Ronda was a sadistic, cruel person," she said.
"Was he devastated by Ronda's death?" Van Sant asked Thompson.
"No, no," she replied.
"He's not showing any remorse to you. Are there any tears?"
And then out of the bedroom walked Reynolds' ex-wife... in a bathrobe.
"She spent the night with Ronda's husband in Ronda's bed, 12 feet away from where her body laid," said Thompson.
"You'd been told it was a suicide. What do you think to yourself at that moment?" Van Sant asked.
"At that point," Thompson replied, "I knew he had killed my child."
Starting almost from the moment she learned of her daughter's death, Barb Thompson set out on a mission.
"I had to become my own detective," she explained, "to meet with attorneys, to meet with members of the Sheriff's Department...looking for anything and everything to force them to reopen Ronda's case."
And helping her is Ann Rule, who has written a best-selling book about Ronda's case. They arrive together at the site of the inquest in Chehalis, Wash.
"We were like a slightly older Cagney and Lacey," Rule quipped to Peter Van Sant.
"CSI: Chehalis, right?" he added.
"Yeah. Yeah, CSI (chuckle) Chehalis. Yep."
"Was this suicide or homicide?" Van Sant asked Rule.
"It was homicide, absolutely homicide," she replied.
Given Ron Reynolds' troubled marriage to Ronda and the cheating he admits to with his ex-wife, both Ann Rule and Barb Thompson believe Ron Reynolds and his son, Jonathan, are hiding something.
"This is the pistol that Ronda killed herself with," Reynolds said, showing the handgun to Van Sant. "I think it's a .32 caliber."
"Did you murder your wife, Ronda Reynolds?" Van Sant asked Ron Reynolds.
"Absolutely not," he replied.
"Did you put a gun to her head, while she was sleeping -- pull the trigger?"
"Absolutely not," Reynolds replied. "And there's no evidence for these wild accusations."
"I want people to know that we're innocent. And we've been hurt by a suicide in our family," said Jonathan Reynolds.
Ron Reynolds says that on the morning Ronda was due to move out for good, he awakened in their bed alone. "I saw she wasn't there beside me."
Reynolds searched the house, making his way to a walk-in closet off the master bathroom.
"I found her. And it was just the biggest shock of my life," he said.
Asked what he saw, Reynolds told Van Sant, "Well I picked the pillow up and looked...and I saw that she had shot herself in the head."
"Ron Reynolds had called 911 that morning and advised them that his wife had committed suicide," said Detective Jerry Berry of the Lewis County Sheriff's Department.
Detective Berry was one of the first to see the unusual death scene.
"She was lying on her left side with her hands kinda pulled up...in what appeared to be a natural sleeping position. It was -- what I call a semi-fetal position. Her legs -- her knees were pulled up slightly. And she was covered with an electric blanket," he explained.
It appeared that at some point during the night, Ronda had gone off to sleep in the closet, something she would do, her mother says, when she was upset.
"I noticed that the bed appeared to have been slept in -- only on one side," Det. Berry continued. "I went into the bathroom and right to the right there was a large mirror and I observed -- a message written in lipstick that said, 'I love you. Please call me.'"
"That doesn't sound like a note that would be left by someone who's about to blow their brains out," Van Sant commented.
"That's absolutely not a suicide note at all," Det. Berry replied.
But Ron Reynolds says Ronda was depressed that night.
"He told me that he stayed awake and he tried to keep her awake so she wouldn't commit suicide," the detective said.
Exhausted, Reynolds told Detective Berry he fell asleep around 5 a.m. and never heard a gunshot.
"Ron, you know a lot of people simply do not believe you. That you didn't hear that gun shot," said Van Sant.
"Well, I'm not sure even what time I went to sleep, but I know I'd had a very long, trying day. And when I went to sleep, I probably slept hard," Reynolds replied.
Detective Berry noticed that the gun was positioned near Ronda's left hand. On a hunch, he had a deputy ask Reynolds if Ronda was right or left-handed.
"And he came back and he said he got really nervous when I asked him that question. And he said he didn't know," said Det. Berry.
In fact, Ronda was right-handed.
"I never had noticed for sure," Reynolds told Van Sant.
"You understand that's really odd?"
"Yeah, I understand that's odd," Reynolds replied. "But to tell you the truth, I was afraid to say the wrong thing...I was being made to feel like I was a big suspect."
Jonathan Reynolds was 17 years old when Ronda died. Barb Thompson says the two had a stormy relationship.
"Ronda caught Jonathan coming into the bathroom while she was showering, pulling open the curtain to look at her naked in the shower. About the third time he did that, she just came out of the shower, naked, took him down and took him in front of his father and said, 'This has got to stop,'" Thompson said. "Jonathan was extremely angry and threatening and -- threatened to kill her at that point."
"Yeah. That's lies. All of it," Jonathan told Van Sant.
"The shower incident never happened?"
"The shower incident never, never happened. It's ridiculous," he replied.
Jonathan and his two younger brothers lived with Ron and Ronda. They all say they learned of Ronda's death when they woke up that morning. Police sent all three to their mother's house a short time later without questioning them.
"How would you describe the investigation done after Ronda Reynolds' body was discovered?" Van Sant asked Ann Rule.
"Probably the worst crime scene investigation I know about that, you know, I really looked into," she replied.
Detective Sgt. Glade Austin was Det. Berry's boss at the time, and surprisingly agrees with Ann Rule's assessment.
"It was terrible, quite frankly," he said. "There was no video taken of this. ...And the next step would normally be to do a full diagram ... That wasn't done."
Even worse, one of the first policemen on the scene made an enormous mistake -- moving the gun before any photos were taken. Still, Det. Berry says that doesn't change what he observed.
"It was most likely a staged crime scene," he said. "That is, it had been murder, it had been made to look like a suicide by someone."
As for Ron Reynolds, Det. Berry said, "Throughout the investigation I never saw him display any emotions. I attended the funeral service -- he sat with his ex-wife -- at the funeral service. No emotions, none, whatsoever."
A divide was now growing between Det. Berry, who believed it was murder, and his boss, Det. Sgt. Glade Austin, who says Reynolds' demeanor wasn't strange at all.
"I picture that he might not have been as emotionally involved in that relationship at that point to show a lot of reaction," said Det. Sgt. Austin.
In spite of the mistakes made during the investigation, Austin says the final decision to close the case as a suicide was correct.
"I can only tell you what my instincts and my training and my years of experience tell me," he said.
Now the mystery of Ronda's death is finally going before a jury.
"Barb called me and said, 'There's gonna be a coroner's inquest.' And she was so excited. And I was excited," said Rule.
And Barb Thompson's questions will be answered once and for all.
In the 13 long years since her daughter's death, Barb Thompson had dedicated her life for this day.
Asked what her hopes are as the inquest gets set to begin, Thompson tells Van Sant, "That the jury gets to hear the evidence that's out there, they get to hear everything and the truth and they come to an honest verdict."
Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod presides over an inquest to determine, if possible, whether Ronda Reynolds' death was suicide or homicide.
Coroner McLeod: The standard of beyond a reasonable doubt that is required in criminal courts does not apply here at this inquest... There may be testimony that would be considered hearsay in a criminal proceeding, but will be allowed on a limited basis in this inquest.
A coroner's inquest is not a trial - there's no judge, no attorneys. The coroner presents evidence and questions the witnesses. A five-person jury then decides the manner of death, and if it's homicide, they can name who's responsible. An arrest warrant is then issued.
Coroner McLeod: You will hear from an array of expert witnesses that examined evidence collected from the scene.
But there are some key witnesses the jury won't be hearing from. Ron Reynolds and his three youngest sons have refused to testify.
Coroner McLeod: A person has a right to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights without having the jury see that as a sign of guilt.
"We talked considerably about what her plans would be and how she felt," Thompson told the coroner.
Thompson testifies that on Dec. 15, 1998, the final day of her daughter's life, she spoke with Ronda just hours after Ron Reynolds had declared that their marriage was over:
Barb Thompson: She was upbeat. She was ready to go on with her life.
Coroner Warren McLeod: Did she at all mention to you that she was suicidal?
Barb Thompson: No.
But Reynolds' mother, Laura, disagrees, testifying that Ronda was despondent:
Laura Reynolds: She called me three times that day.
Coroner Warren McLeod: What did she tell you when she talked to you?
Laura Reynolds: She just told me she could not go on living
Testimony about Ronda's state of mind goes back and forth. Police officer and friend Dave Bell says she did not appear depressed that night when he helped pack up her things. But he recalls Ronda did do one thing that was unusual.
"Ronda handed me a holstered, blue steel revolver and said, 'Here, take this,'" Bell testified.
When Bell asked why, Ronda didn't answer.
Coroner Warren McLeod: What did you do with the weapon then?
Dave Bell: I removed it from the holster...removed the ammunition that was in the cylinder...and asked her where she wanted me to put it. She indicated she wanted it put in a drawer. I placed it in a drawer by the bed.
"Those who believe a homicide took place in the home that night look at that passing of the gun to Dave Bell as Ronda fearing that gun might be used against her," Van Sant commented to Reynolds.
"In my mind, I think she might have been fearing she was gonna use it on herself," he replied.
On that fatal night, Reynolds insists he spent hours with Ronda, trying to calm her.
"She was emotional and depressed. She was saying she didn't want to break up the marriage," he told Van Sant.
Reynolds did more than console his wife on the night they'd agreed to break up. Autopsy testimony revealed they made love.
"Was that at her urging? Was this desperation sex?" Van Sant asked.
"It was probably just, you know, I don't know, desperation's not the right word. Maybe saying goodbye sex. I don't know," said Reynolds.
Shortly after midnight, Ronda made one last phone call to her friend, Dave Bell.
"I asked her if everything was OK down -- down there where she was. And she said, 'Yeah.' She'd gotten some things resolved and was gonna get some sleep. And -- and was fairly happy with what was going on," he told "48 Hours Mystery."
Investigators admit they will never know who fired the gun. Neither Ron nor Jonathan Reynolds was ever given a gunshot residue test.
Asked if there was gunshot residue on Ronda's hand, Det. Sgt. Glade Austin said, "There was." But there was not enough for the test to be conclusive.
What's more, fingerprint expert Jill Arwine testifies she found no prints on the gun - a .32 caliber S&W long hand. But that doesn't necessarily mean the gun was wiped clean.
"It's common to touch something and not leave a print," said Arwine.
While no photos were taken at the crime scene before the gun was moved, Detective Dave Neiser was among the first on the scene and his recollection is clear.
"Plainly visible...there was a gun resting on her right temple," Det. Neiser testified.
Firearms expert Marty Hayes says that would be impossible if Ronda shot herself. Hayes demonstrates for the jury that the recoil from the shot would have made the gun land away from Ronda's head.
"What it does is it basically recoils away from the head...and it doesn't recoil forward," Hayes testified.
And that's not all. Hayes believes that given the trajectory of the bullet, it would have been very difficult for Ronda to have held the gun herself.
"There, that's about how the shot was fired, about like that," Hayes demonstrates on Van Sant, positioning a fake gun.
"This is very awkward," Van Sant replied, holding the fake gun to his right temple.
"OK, but this is the only plausible way that a person could shoot themselves with the right hand," said Hayes.
Hayes' conclusion: "This wound is much more consistent with someone committing a murder than it is someone committing suicide."
The inquest also focuses on Ron Reynolds' behavior after Ronda's death.
"I asked him if I could take her body back to Spokane, if I could have her cremated and he said he didn't care as long as he didn't have to pay for it," Thompson testified in tears.
"I never said that," Reynolds laughed. "And I did pay for it."
But a friend of Ronda's, Laurie Hull, turns the inquest's attention to a different suspect.
"My opinion would have been Jonathan," Hull testified. "He wasn't a very nice kid. And...he... threatened to stab her."
Thompson says Ronda told her about another problem with Jonathan.
"She had told me she knew that Jonathan had a problem with controlled substances," she testified.
Ann Rule believes the incident when Ronda caught Jonathan spying on her in the shower truly happened, humiliating him and giving him a motive.
"She told girlfriends that he'd threatened to kill her. She told her mother he'd threatened to kill her," Rule told Van Sant.
"And you don't have any doubt that he did that?"
"And if today he says he never did?"
"I don't believe him," she said.
Van Sant asked Jonathan, "Did you walk into that closet with a gun in your hand, with your father's gun?"
"No," he replied.
"Shoot her in the side of the head?"
"That is -- no. I did not," he said.
The jury hears from Ron Reynolds' ex-wife, Catherine Huttula, who admitted she did more than just comfort her sons after Ronda was discovered dead.
Coroner Warren McLeod: And when you were in the house where did you sleep, which room?
Catherine Huttula: In Ron's room.
Coroner Warren McLeod: OK, with Ron?
Catherine Huttula: Yeah.
"The night that Ronda is over at the morgue you're in bed with your ex-wife?" Van Sant asked Reynolds.
"No," he replied.
"Your ex-wife did say to authorities that she had slept in the same bed with you that night," Van Sant noted.
"She didn't sleep in the same bed with me that night, I don't think. If she did, there wasn't anything goin' on. I don't think she did. But maybe she remembers it different," he said.
In all, more than 40 witnesses take the stand. The jury would take 11 hours before announcing its dramatic decision: "We, the jury, find that the manner of death of the subject of this inquest was homicide."
After 13 years, Barb Thompson had her victory. But even more drama was about to unfold. The coroner tells the jury: "You are now asked to retire once more to the jury room to deliberate to see if you can determine who is responsible for the death."
"Somebody out there is responsible for my daughter's death. At some point they will be held accountable," Thompson told reporters outside the court.
Barb Thompson now waits to see if the jurors take the next critical step and name who is responsible for her daughter's murder. In less than an hour comes a stunning announcement.
"We the jury have decided that the decedent died at the hand of the follow person or persons - Ronald A. Reynolds, Jonathan A. Reynolds," Coroner Warren McLeod said in court. "The jury's decision was representative of the citizens. ...They expect me to follow through with their decision."
Coroner McLeod issues an arrest warrant for Ron and Jonathan Reynolds.
But the warrants are held up after a surprising report of possible juror misconduct.
"A witness had seen a woman in the lobby of the courthouse with Ann Rule's book, putting it in her purse," said McLeod.
Jurors are not allowed to take outside materials into their deliberations.
"It wasn't sure -- at that point -- clear if that was a juror," he explained.
The coroner spends five days investigating. He pulls all the courthouse security tapes and personally reviews them. He finally discovers the woman carrying the book was in the lobby while the jury was deliberating.
"It was no way it could have been a juror, and I reissued the arrest warrant," said McLeod.
"It's unbelievable. It's-- it's overwhelming," Thompson said of the decision. But her joy is short lived when Lewis County prosecutor Jonathan Meyer holds a sudden news conference and announces he will not prosecute the Reynolds men.
Meyer said, "...my decision is to not charge either Ron or Jonathan Reynolds with murder at this time."
Why? Because most of the evidence was destroyed after Ronda's death was first ruled a suicide. And some investigators who'd be called to testify still believe Ronda killed herself. But the coroner issues the arrest warrants anyway. Within hours, father and son turn themselves in and are brought before a judge.
"What was that like to be brought into the courthouse? To walk in
front of the television cameras?" Van Sant asked.
"It was the most demeaning thing I've ever, ever experienced," Jonathan replied.
"The whole thing was unreal to me," said Ron.
The prosecutor then makes good on his promise. Neither Ron or Jonathan will be prosecuted.
"So then, my question is, why did they put us through that?" Ron Reynolds said. "Barb Thompson (sighs) in my estimation has made a Jerry Springer show out of this whole thing."
In less than three minutes, an investigation and inquest, which spanned 13 years, is over. The Reynolds men are released.
"As quickly as they came in, they left and were free to go. Does that trouble you?" Van Sant asked Thompson.
"No," she said. "'Cause they'll never forget that brief moment. And neither will I."
"Barbara Thompson is a disturbed lady. That's all I can say. She doesn't know me. She doesn't know my boys. She doesn't know our motivations, what kind of people we are. There's no way that any of us could ever do anything like we're accused of," said Reynolds.
The case remains an open investigation. But to Barb Thompson and Ann Rule, it's clear who's responsible.
Asked who she thinks pulled the trigger, Rule tells Van Sant, "Jonathan."
"Are you a killer, Jonathan?" Van Sant asked.
"Absolutely not. That's ridiculous, that that is even being said," he replied.
And why would Jonathan kill Ronda when she was about to walk out of his life forever?
"Jonathan has very deep hatred for Ronda," said Thompson.
Thompson and Ann Rule think they have the answer.
"So this was a drug-fueled?" Van Sant asked Rule.
"I think it was drug fueled," she replied.
"He just hated her?"
"I think it was spur of the moment. It was stupid. It was cruel. But I think that's what happened," said Rule.
Thompson says her daughter told her that Jonathan was using drugs at the time.
"At that point, his drug of choice was meth...crystal meth," she told Van Sant.
The highly-addictive drug is known to fuel irrational behavior.
"It's been suggested in the news media that you were a drug user at the time... You were a crystal meth user. Is that true?" Van Sant asked Jonathan.
"I wasn't at the time. I did do some, after," he said. Jonathan admits he did turn to drugs, but only because of Ronda's suicide.
"All this stuff happened and I kind of lost my head. And I went down a bad road," he said.
The Reynolds family is determined not to let Barb Thompson or Ann Rule have the last word in this story. They step from the shadows and hold a press conference.
"What's happened so far is, in no way, justice," said Ron Reynolds.
"It is easier to reach a conclusion that Ronda was murdered than it is to prove who killed her," author Ann Rule reads from her book about the Reynolds case.
"To tell you the truth, I haven't read the book and I haven't read a lotta the trash in the newspapers because my psyche can't stand that. And I know the truth. And I don't need to read all the-- all the lies," Ron Reynolds said at a press conference.
Asked why he waited 13 years to speak up, Reynolds told Peter Van Sant,
"Well, from the very beginning I started feeling like there were people trying to frame me for something I didn't do. ...And any information that did get out, it seemed like it was twisted. And so -- we were in a self-preservation mode."
"And you felt silence was better than standing up in front of people, and saying, 'I'm an innocent man,' because there's always the notion that if you are innocent, you want to shout that from the mountaintop," said Van Sant.
"But the problem with that is sometimes when a person shouts that too loud, it -- it gives the impression that you're guilty, too," Reynolds explained.
Reynolds says his family is the real victim in Ronda's death, fighting accusations in the media by Barb Thompson and in Ann Rule's book.
"They have done nothing but just try to hurt us. And try to put us into jail. Over something that we didn't do," said Jonathan Reynolds.
Reynolds' sons and his fourth wife, Linda, are combating what they say is a smear campaign against them.
"They raised some legitimate questions. But those questions turned into a crusade and a witch hunt that's all based on hearsay, rumors, and lies, lies that by design make my family out to be monsters," said Si, the eldest son.
"I would just like to...try to clear our name because this has been really hard to deal with. It's been a tragedy," said youngest son, Josh.
While they try to get back to a new version of normal, it's clear this ordeal has taken a toll on the family.
After the inquest, Ron Reynolds resigned from his job as elementary school principal in exchange for a buyout from the Toledo School District.
"Here I am, 60 years old. And now I'm unemployed. And with this over my head, I don't see how I can go back to my profession," Reynolds said.
Jonathan, 30, and living with his girlfriend and her son, worried he'd become an outcast.
"I can't tell you how many times this has come up in the middle of the job interview. And then it's, 'Oh, well, we'll give you a call.' OK, sure," he said.
Ann Rule isn't swayed by the family's protests. She has released a new edition of her book that includes the inquest's findings.
"Based on your investigation and your belief, there's a killer out there right now," said Van Sant.
"Yes," Rule said. "In my mind, with all my experience...there's no way that Ronda Reynolds killed herself. So if she didn't kill herself, she wasn't struck down with a gun that dropped from heaven. Somebody shot her. And nobody's in jail for it."
There is no clear ending to this story. All that is left are shattered lives and the haunting realization that perhaps justice is beyond reach.
"We are here because Ronda's mother cannot accept the fact that her daughter shot herself," said Jonathan.
"Is there a possibility maybe you didn't know your daughter as well as you did? Is there a possibility that she went to some dark place that she couldn't get out of?" Van Sant asked Thompson.
"There's always that possibility," she replied. "Anything's possible. Is it probable? No."
Thompson is back tending to her horses. It's been a long, painful journey.
"What do you want the world to know today about the death of Ronda Reynolds?" Van Sant asked.
"I want them to know that my daughter was murdered. But I also want them to know that...our judicial system is only as good as we make it," she said. "We can make a difference."
"I grew up believing in law and order. And -- that you're innocent until proven guilty. And I've learned that that's not really the case. You're guilty until proven innocent," said Ron Reynolds.
There is one certainty after all of the confusion in this case: Ronda Reynolds' death certificate now reads "homicide."
The Reynolds family is contemplating suing Barb Thompson, Ann Rule and the Lewis County Coroner.
"In the Still of the Night" is published by Simon and Schuster Inc., which is owned by CBS Corporation, the parent company of CBS News and CBSNews.com.
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