Murder Evidence Found on Back Porch, Police Say

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RICHMOND, Mo. -- Police arrested three people Thursday for the murder of a 40-year-old woman in the small town of Richmond, about 45 minutes northeast of Kansas City.

There are only about 6,000 people who live in Richmond, Missouri, but police say the suspects are Richmond residents who allegedly killed and robbed Michelle Rheuport Wednesday at her home near Farris Ave and South Whitmer Street.

The suspects are:

Lauren Gabbard, 23, charged with Murder in the Second Degree and Burglary First Degree

James Gant, 25, charged with Murder in the Second Degree and Burglary in the First Degree

Brandon Scott Simpson, 25, charged with Murder in the First Degree and Burglary in the First Degree

"Under the circumstances, I think we're doing rather well," said Lucille Park, Michelle's mother. "I have times when I go out, but we're doing rather well. We really are."

Learning the details of what happened to Michelle is difficult for all the family, although they're relieved police think they've caught the killers.

"It's great 'cause now I know I can live in peace and my sister will be in peace knowing that they've caught them," said Shari Miller.

Police say Michelle was strangled to death when the three broke into her home to rob it; they didn't expect her to be home. According to the probable cause statement, Simpson sent text messages to the other two earlier in the day hatching the plan to break in and steal drugs and electronics. Police say during their investigation, they found evidence on Gabbard's back porch-video game systems from Rheuport's home and prescription bottles with her name on them.

All three are being held at the Ray County Jail on a one million dollar cash bond.

Related: Family Mourns Loss of Single Mom, Found Dead in Home

Investigators said this murder is only the second one in 15 years in Richmond.

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