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Missing Christina Marchell Richart
Details of Disappearance Christina was last seen in Ozark, Arkansas during the summer of 1999. She was reported missing from Fordyce, Arkansas; her family moved there shortly after her disappearance. She never re-enrolled in school for the fall of that year and has never been heard from again.
Christina was born in DeQueen, Arkansas and lived in Fordyce and in Idabel, Oklahoma during her childhood. One of her younger brothers died in 1993, and her father died of cancer in 1999.
She and her two surviving younger brothers went to live with their father's brother, Charles Walter "Bubba" Richart and his wife, Wanda Faye Richart, in 1997 because their mother was unable to care for them. Later that year, one of Christina's brothers was removed from the home by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) after it was alleged that Wanda abused him.
Christina disappeared in 1999. In the spring of 2000, the DHS removed her other brother from Wanda and Charles's home due to abuse allegations. He was subsequently adopted by another family, and it was his adoptive mother that ultimately reported Christina missing in 2005.
Wanda and Charles told authorities Christina had gone to California voluntarily with a great-aunt. Charles said she had called them several times after her departure and sounded happy, but the calls stopped in April 2000. Investigators did not realize this story was untrue until 2005, six years after Christina's disappearance.
The Richarts continued to cash Social Security benefit checks for Christina for eighteen months after she went missing. In February 2008, authorities unsealed a federal indictment charging Wanda and Charles with making false statements to law enforcement about Christina's disappearance.
Early in 2008, Joann Holdman, who lived with the Richarts in 1999, came forward and told investigators that Christina was dead and she'd witnessed what happened. Holdman said Wanda and Christina had an argument that day. Wanda told Christina she needed a bath, forced her into the bathroom, shut the door and filled the tub.
Holdman heard splashing, crying and Wanda and Christina shouting at each other for about fifteen minutes. Then she heard a thud and Christina suddenly became silent. When the bathroom door opened, Christina was lying motionless in front of the bathtub. Holdman said she wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse, and had a "mushy spot" on her head.
Charles was held under house arrest awaiting trial and Wanda was incarcerated. In June 2008, Charles pleaded guilty to conspiring to make a false statement to the FBI and confessed he had buried Christina's body in the Ozark Forest.
Charles said he wasn't present when Christina died, wasn't aware Wanda had threatened other witnesses, and didn't conspire with Wanda to invent the story about Christina being in California. He admitted he had lied to FBI agents, however, and admitted he knew Wanda was lying to them.
Wanda was found guilty of two federal charges, including one count of conspiracy to make a false statement and one count of making a false statement, in December 2009 and sentenced to the maximum term of ten years in prison.
In January 2010, she pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, consecutive to her previous sentence. The court also found that Wanda Richart physically and sexually abused Christina and her brothers, and ordered her to participate in sex offender treatment and not have contact with minors after her release from prison.
Christina's body has never been recovered, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
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