KEARNS, Utah, Dec. 26, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — Angela Morse Ricci, widow of the first suspect named in the 2002 Elizabeth Smart abduction case, has died of a drug overdose that has been ruled a suicide.
“My loving mother and grandmother to my boy T.J. passed away suddenly Dec. 18, 2015,” said Trevor Morse, Ricci’s son, on a GoFundMe page asking for funeral expense donations.
“The official cause of death was suicide, but I believe she died from a broken heart.”
Angela Ricci was married to Richard Ricci, who was named as a prime person of interest in the abduction of Smart, then 14, who was kidnapped from her Federal Heights area home in Salt Lake City as her parents slept.
Ricci, who had worked as a handyman for the Smarts, was arrested on an unrelated burglary, and died from a brain hemorrhage while in custody. Nine month’s after Smart’s kidnapping she was recovered while in the company of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, who were charged with her kidnapping and sexual assault.
Morse said his mother never got over her late husband’s false accusation.
“He was convicted by the police and the public, and was intensely interrogated, all the while trying to tell anyone who would listen that he was innocent,” Morse wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He died of a brain aneurysm while in state custody.
“Our lives changed drastically from the moment he was falsely accused. My mother stood by Richard as he continued to proclaim his innocence …. Richard Ricci had nothing to do with this crime. Since the day Richard Ricci died, my mother’s broken heart never healed.”
Morse praised his late mother for her support of family and friends.
“Her house was open to anyone who needed a place to stay. Her love for people knew no boundaries. She was so kind to everyone.”
Morse said any funds raised beyond those needed for funeral expenses would be used to raise Ricci’s grandson, T.J.
As of Saturday, Morris’ four-day-old GoFundMe page had raised $640, which came from 22 donors.