- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This is the unfortunate story of the killing of a young man named Seth Conrad Rich, a Nebraska-born and -reared young man whose death by two gunshots has resulted in conspiracy theories of the worst kind.

Like a Hollywood political thriller with a really bad ending, the Seth Rich case is no typical urban whodunnit.

Rich reportedly was killed about 4:20 a.m. on Sunday, July 10, 2016, after leaving Lou’s City Bar in the popular Columbia Heights neighborhood. Found nearly a 30-minute walk away in the Bloomingdale neighborhood where he lived, Rich was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Rich was 27 years old, Jewish and a director of voter expansion data for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Metropolitan Police have said since the beginning that Rich’s killing was a botched robbery.

Rich’s family also has debunked comments by private investigator Rod Wheeler, a former D.C. homicide detective whose sleuthing has prompted unanswered questions:

What’s on Rich’s laptop?

Is there a Rich-DNC-Hillary Clinton-WikiLeaks connection?

Is there a Rich-Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch-James B. Comey connection?

Was Rich another victim of Washington’s routine street violence?

Neither his wallet nor watch was stolen.

He was shot in the back. Twice.

He was walking the streets alone at 4 in the morning.

At least three rewards are being offered in Rich’s murder — 1) $25,000 by D.C. police; 2) $20,000 by Julian Assange’s anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks; 3) $130,000 by Republican strategist Jack Burkman.

The plot thickens.

The Russians figure in all aforementioned scenarios, as if, like in the Kevin Costner-Gene Hackman film “No Way Out,” there’s a Soviet-type “Yuri” in the midst. A key difference, though, “Yuri” in the Seth Rich case is no single bogeyman.

That’s the way the plot has been twisting the past several days, because of four substantial events last summer, and in order of occurrence:

1) Seth Rich was murdered on July 10.

2) The DNC already had been hacked, and Wikileaks released details on July 22.

3) DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schulz resigned July 24.

4) The DNC convention for Hillary’s coming-out party was held July 25-28 in Philly.

5) Details about the hacking of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were released Aug. 12.

6) Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was hacked, and there were daily dumps of his emails throughout October.

What’s more, this past weekend the plot twisted yet again following this anonymous May 20 post to Kim DotCom:

“I work in D.C.

“I know for certain that the Seth Rich case has scared the [expletive] out of certain high ranking current and former Democratic Party officials.

“This is the reason why they have backed away from impeachment talk. They know the smoking gun is out there, and they’re terrified you will find it, because when you do it will bring the entire DNC, along with a couple of very big name politicians.

“It appears that certain DNC thugs were not thorough enough when it came time to cover their tracks. Podesta saying he wanted to ‘make an example of the leaker’ is a huge smoking gun.”

The Rich family hired a crisis management expert shortly after Rich was killed, and it seems they cannot steer clear of the political theater because not one suspect as been named, indicted or arrested in the Seth Rich case. For sure, those facts obscure potential closure for the family.

Here again, though, the strange case of Seth Rich has all the makings of a Hollywood political thriller — except it’s real life.

That’s the aspect that Joel and Mary Rich cannot shake. For them, no mere random thieves went home empty-handed. The robbers stole something all right. They stole their son’s life.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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