WHEN Rhonda Casto’s damaged physique was discovered on the foot of a 30 metre cliff after a mountain climbing journey together with her boyfriend, authorities thought they had been coping with a tragic accident.
However Ms Casto’s household didn’t purchase the story advised by Steven Wagner Nichols, then 34 and the daddy of her child daughter Ava, who claimed the beautiful blonde merely slipped and fell to her loss of life on Could 16, 2009.
They relayed their suspicions to police and in 2015 — six years after the 23-year-old aspiring mannequin’s physique was discovered on a mountain climbing monitor in Oregon — Nichols was lastly charged with homicide.
Investigators found that he had tried and failed to gather on Ms Casto’s $US1 million life insurance coverage coverage and that he had been accused of trying to push one other girl off a balcony in China in 2003.
Then, in a bitter blow to her household, prosecutors made a plea cope with Nichols that noticed the homicide charged dropped in trade for him pleading responsible to criminally negligent murder and coercion.
The deal positioned Nichols, 43, on three years probation with credit score for the yr and 7 months he served in jail whereas awaiting trial.
However in a bombshell interview for an episode of Investigation Discovery’s Actual Tales, Nichols admits to having had intercourse with Ms Casto’s little sister Melanie whereas she was underage.
Ms Casto’s mom Julia Simmons has lengthy suspected Nichols murdered her daughter in order that he could possibly be with Melanie, whom he groomed for intercourse when she was simply 15.
Till now, Nicols has all the time denied allegations that when he first began relationship Ms Casto, he was additionally interested in her youthful sister.
Within the episode, Investigation Discovery reporter Maria Salinas places it to Nichols that he had intercourse with Melanie.
“Right,” Nichols solutions.
“What had been you considering?” Salinas responds.
“I wasn’t,” Nichols says. “It was a really silly choice.”
“Do you know it was unlawful to have intercourse with a minor?’ Salinas asks.
“I do know it’s unlawful in Oregon,” Nichols says.
“And you probably did it, anyway,” Salinas says. In voiceover, she provides which may be “another potential motive for Rhonda’s loss of life”.
Salinas then places it to Nichols that “this sequence of occasions … would lead individuals to suppose that you just killed one sister to be with the opposite sister”.
“You’ll be able to consider no matter you need,” Nichols replies. “Some persons are going to consider that I’m harmless, some are going to suppose I’m responsible. So that you consider what you wish to consider.”
When requested by Salinas, Nichols denies that he had something to do with Ms Casto’s loss of life. “I didn’t kill Rhonda,” he says.
Ms Casto died whereas mountain climbing with Nicols alongside the favored Eagle Creek Path within the US state of Oregon, on the nation’s west coast.
Ms Simmons advised Investigation Discovery that she was nervous from the second her daughter advised her Nichols was taking her on the path, which runs alongside the steep Columbia Gorge.
Simply earlier than setting off, Ms Casto made a casual comment that turned out to be a chilling premonition of her personal loss of life.
“She advised my mom and my sister that ‘he’s both going to provide me a hoop or throw me off a cliff, ha ha ha,’” Ms Simmons tells Salinas.
“She made a joke of it.”
On the time, Nichols advised authorities Ms Castro was working with a towel over her shoulders “like Superwoman” when she misplaced her footing alongside the slender path and plunged down a steep ravine to her loss of life.
However Ms Simmons mentioned she knew instantly that Nichols was accountable.
“All of us advised him (the detective) we consider that Steve pushed her,” she inform Salinas. “This isn’t an accident.”
Ms Simmons says on the time, she didn’t confront Nichols together with her allegations as a result of “police wouldn’t let me see him, as a result of they knew I used to be enraged”.
In one other twist, Ms Simmons was sentenced to 30 days in a midway home and three years of probation final yr after pleading responsible to gathering $US39,124 ($AU52,000) in Social Safety advantages supposed for her granddaughter.
She has additionally been ordered to pay again the funds.
The Actual Story With Maria Elena Salinas: The Fall of Innocence airs 10pm (US time) tonight on Investigation Discovery.
Supply hyperlink – https://www.information.com.au/way of life/relationships/models-chilling-premonition-about-cliff-fall-hours-before-her-death/news-story/e2f0ba229cbc5bd17529f4dae9ee8512