The father of Ryan Smith has made some revelations as to his son’s political plans before he was found murdered. The news is certainly shocking and unexpected. Do you believe the dad?
The heartbroken father of Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee analyst murdered near his Washington, DC, apartment on July 10, says he has been left with a hole in his life forever and begged for those with information on the killer to come forward to the police.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Mail Online, Joel Rich said: ‘We want to get this solved, that’s the number one thing.
‘We can’t bring Seth back but we can try to make the city safer and take away the person who wanted to go after someone just for a cellphone.
‘We don’t know if there’s one person or two people – all we know is that there was a scuffle. Seth’s watchband was torn, so somebody had tried to grab that.
He added: ‘We need more help – somebody was bruised, somebody’s clothes are torn. Think about who that person is.’
Joel, 68, also revealed to Daily Mail Online that four days before his death, Seth learned he had been chosen to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign – a career triumph for a young man who spent his life dedicated to politics.
He said: ‘He’d worked on senate and house campaigns but he’d always wanted to work on a presidential campaign.
‘He had just found out they wanted him and he was probably going to be moving up to Brooklyn through the election. He was really excited about that.’
Days later, on July 10, the 27-year-old was fatally shot in the back at 4:19am, a block from his home in the quiet Bloomingdale neighborhood of DC.
Authorities have offered a $25,000 reward for information to help solve the crime.
Last week, Wikileaks offered a separate $20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the murder, generating speculation that Rich was responsible for the leak of DNC emails. Seth’s friends say that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Joel Rich also shared the difficult information he had received of his son’s injuries and details which could help solve the crime.
He said: ‘He was in a scuffle, is what they can tell from bruises he had. He was shot in the back, I don’t know if it was high back or low back. I didn’t ask.
‘Bullets in bodies don’t match well, they bounce around and tear up things you need. They recovered one bullet fragment from his body and one from the scene.
‘It was revolver, there were no shell casings, and it wasn’t a fancy weapon.
‘Police are telling us is that it’s the scientific evidence that will help them solve it. Either DNA or from Seth’s clothes.
‘I know they have looked at surveillance but there not a lot of cameras in that area. They are talking to people, if there are any other arrests, they are trying to see if there’s any link.’
The corner on which Rich was shot has had a number of attacks recently and police are looking into whether the murder and recent crime spree are linked.
Seth had everything going for him, not only his career but his personal life as well.
It was through work that Seth had met his girlfriend, Kelsey Mulka. They worked at the same polling company together in DC several years ago.
Joel Rich said that the family had loved getting to know her.
He said: ‘She grew up in Michigan then moved to DC, she and Seth started dating when he was working at a polling company.
‘She had come to Nebraska when Seth went to a college fraternity brother’s wedding last summer. Then we had a chance to meet her again at Aaron’s wedding last October. We spent more time with her there.
‘They seemed to fit very well together. She was very quiet and Seth was a talker.
‘To see them together, they each had a sparkle in their eye. It could have gone some place, maybe developed into a marriage.’
Seth Rich had been on his cellphone to Kelsey Mulka when he was attacked on July 10 on the 2100 block of Flagler Place NW, one block away from the house he shared with three roommates.
Earlier this month Joel and his wife Mary Ann, 59, attended a tribute to their son in DC, where friends packed into his favorite spot, Lou’s City Bar.
Joel said: ‘It wasn’t a memorial, it wasn’t that we’re sad that Seth’s gone, it was really that we’re glad Seth was here.’
The father said he had learned a lot about his son from the stories shared during that emotional night.
He said: ‘The bar put a plaque at the seat which he always sat. We started at 5pm and the stories didn’t stop until 11pm.
‘Usually it’s the bartender who listens to the customer’s problems. Well, Seth listened to the bartender’s problems – and the other people in the bar.
‘No one was a stranger around Seth and if they had a problem he was going to try to solve it.
Joel carries print-outs with him in a folder of messages he has received from many of Seth’s friends.
‘One kid sent a note about when he and Seth were in high school and worked as greeters at a restaurant downtown,’ Joel said.
‘The guy had a crush on Miley Cyrus and then all of sudden, she shows up unannounced – and Seth is the one who seats her.
‘Seth isn’t shy so he asks if his friend can come over to meet her. The guy wrote to us that this is the one and only time he’d met a celebrity.’
Another story Seth’s father heard came from a friend he had reunited with in college.
‘We heard from a girl who went to school with Seth,’ Joel said. ‘She sent us a picture of Seth, around seven years old at her birthday party, where he had fallen asleep next to his food.
‘They reconnected when she went to law school in DC then she moved up to Philly.
‘Seth had gone to visit her and saw her diplomas lying on a counter. He asked why didn’t she have them displayed, and she said she didn’t think they were that important.
‘As he was leaving to go back to DC, he ran back into the house, saying he forgot something.
‘When she got home, her diplomas were standing up around her room because he felt that was important for her.’
Mr Rich added: ‘We heard so many stories on him caring about people.
‘He wasn’t the center of attention but kids would congregate around him. Making sure everyone was included was a thing that carried on throughout his whole life.’
Seth was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on January 3, 1989. As soon as he was talking, he wanted to get to know other people, his father said.
Joel said: ‘I remember a wedding of a cousin of mine where we took Seth who was around six at the time.
‘He goes around introducing himself and someone came over and said, “This kid’s going to be a politician”.’