Fugitive sightings still unconfirmed by police

By Bill Schwingel

Another alleged sighting of former NIU student Richard Church, charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of his former girlfriend’s parents, was reported Sunday in McHenry County.

Church is accused of the Aug. 21, 1988 slayings of Woodstock residents Raymond and Ruth Ann Ritter and the attempted murders of Colleen and Mathew Ritter.

A 32-year-old McHenry resident claimed he spotted Church in a Jewel/Osco Food Store parking lot at about 5:45 p.m., said Lt. Raymond Donahue of the McHenry County Police Department.

The McHenry resident, requesting to remain anonymous, described Church as wearing black jeans, a gray short-sleeve shirt and white hightop shoes, Donahue said.

Church allegedly was driving a gray four-door Cadillac Seville, the resident said. At the time of the alleged NIU Church sighting Sept. 12, the two NIU students reported Church was driving a dark blue Chevrolet Citation. In both sightings, a license plate was not identified.

When the police arrived at the scene of the McHenry sighting, there was no sign of Church, although the police “believe he (the resident) thinks he saw Church,” Donahue said.

Church also was spotted Sunday in Mundelein, Il., and New York City within a couple hours of the McHenry sighting, Donahue added.

Even though the sightings are contradictory, each one needs to be investigated, and any actual sightings could be discovered through a process of elimination, said NIU University Police Lt. Ken Kaiser. Every sighting must “be taken very seriously.”

McHenry County State’s Attorney Thomas Baker claimed the sighting was just one of many. Whether Church was spotted has not yet been proven, and has not led to anything new in the search for Church, he added.