PITTSBURGH (TNS) — A former Greensburg dentist and big-game hunter killed his wife with a shotgun on an African safari in 2016 to collect $4.8 million on life insurance policies and carry on his affair with a longtime girlfriend, according to federal prosecutors in Colorado.

Lawrence Rudolph, 67, owner of Three Rivers Dental, is charged with foreign murder and mail fraud.

The complaint was filed Dec. 16 and unsealed last week in U.S. District Court in Denver. Rudolph, who lives in Arizona but had been traveling back to Greensburg for business at the time of the alleged crime, was ordered detained this week pending trial.

His Miami lawyer, David Oscar Markus, on Wednesday called the case an “outrageous prosecution” against a man who loved his wife of 34 years and didn’t kill her.

An affidavit by FBI Agent Donald Peterson of the Denver office, however, says Rudolph “murdered his wife, Bianca Rudolph, with premeditation, while the two were on a hunting trip in Zambia on October 11, 2016, in such a manner that he could falsely claim the death was the result of an accident.”

The affidavit also says that a woman who had worked in Rudolph’s dental office in Greensburg had been having an affair with him for many years and had demanded that he sell the practice and leave his wife. That woman has been living with Rudolph since 2017, the affidavit says.

The Rudolphs were both big-game hunters who traveled often to Zambia. They took their last trip from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11, 2016; they were packing up at 5:30 a.m. in Kafue National Park when Bianca was shot in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Zambian police interviewed Rudolph, who said he was in the bathroom of their cabin and Bianca in the bedroom when he heard a gunshot.

He said he came out and found her lying on the floor bleeding from the chest. He said he tried to revive her but couldn’t. He said he suspected the shotgun had been left loaded from the previous day’s hunt and that it went off when she was packing it into its case.

Zambian authorities determined that the gun was loaded from the previous day and that Bianca didn’t follow safety precautions in packing the weapon, causing it to fire accidentally.

The consular chief at the U.S. embassy in Lusaka told the FBI that Rudolph called the embassy after his wife’s death and said she had died that morning of an accidental gunshot.

But the chief was suspicious. He said Rudolph “quickly turned the conversation to the issue of cremating Bianca’s body and leaving the country,” according to the affidavit.

The chief, a former U.S. Marine who is familiar with guns and gunshot wounds, told the FBI that he “had a bad feeling about the situation, which he thought was moving too quickly,” according to the affidavit, so he decided to travel to the funeral home with two other embassy employees to take photos of the body and preserve evidence.

The chief took photos of the body and measured the chest wound. He said the wound was six centimeters in diameter. He also didn’t see burns or tissue expansion as would be expected from a contact wound, and he saw what he believed was a second wound caused by the wadding from the shotgun cartridge.

Based on those observations, he believed Bianca was shot at a distance of 6 1/2 to 8 feet.

The consular chief also told the FBI that Rudolph had told him that Bianca may have committed suicide.

Agents reviewed Bianca’s nine life insurance policies. The beneficiary was a trust established by the Rudolphs with Lawrence as the beneficiary. Starting in 2017, Rudolph began filing claims on those policies totaling $4.8 million, according to the affidavit.

A private investigation firm hired by one of the insurance companies interviewed Rudolph and the hunting guide about Bianca’s death. The guide said Rudolph carried the shotgun for Bianca during the hunt and unloaded it and cleaned it the night before her death.

The guide also said it would have been difficult for someone of Bianca’s small stature, about 5-foot-5, to reach the trigger of a shotgun and shoot herself in the chest. He did say, however, that she could have accidentally pulled the trigger while packing the gun if she had hit the butt of the gun on the ground to try to push it into the case.

The FBI affidavit also includes details from a friend of Bianca’s who called the FBI’s legal attache in Pretoria, South Africa, on Oct. 27 to ask the bureau to investigate Bianca’s death because she suspected Rudolph killed her.

The witness said Rudolph had cheated on his wife in the past and was involved in an affair at the time of Bianca’s death. The friend also said Rudolph had been verbally abusive and the two fought over money. In addition, she said, Rudolph’s children didn’t find out about the death until a week after the shooting.

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