When Ann Racz disappeared from Valencia, California, while on her way to a local fast food restaurant, her loved ones suspected her estranged husband, John Racz, was involved in the incident. However, the case soon turned cold due to the lack of evidence and the absence of a body. ‘Dateline: Prime Suspect’ takes the viewer through Ann’s horrifying death and follows the investigation that led straight to John. Still, with him insisting on his innocence to this day, let’s study the details surrounding the case and find out where he is at present, shall we?
Who is John Racz?
John Racz, a former Sheriff’s Deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, resided in Valencia, California, at the time of Ann’s disappearance. Although they had been married for a long time and even shared three children, their relationship had gotten quite rocky in the days leading up to the incident. In fact, neighbors talked about how the couple got into frequent altercations until Ann took their children and moved to a house in Newhall, California, just four days before she disappeared.
Nevertheless, apart from the domestic issues, John was described as a quiet man who mostly kept to himself and worked as a Teacher at a public school in Compton. On April 22, 1991, Ann drove her kids to her estranged husband’s house in Valencia before putting them in his care. She then got into her minivan and traveled to a local fast-food restaurant to get some food for their children. Sadly, that was the last time anyone ever saw the mother of three, as she never returned home, and her vehicle was nowhere to be found.
When questioned, John mentioned that his estranged wife might have gone off on vacation since he had called her that morning to offer her $25000 for a trip if she allowed him to spend a few days with the children. Naturally, this explanation was refuted by Ann’s loved ones, who insisted that she would never leave her kids alone in such a manner. Yet, even with law enforcement officers and local volunteers searching far and wide, there was no news of the mother of three, and her acquaintances feared the worst. During the investigation, the cops learned about Ann’s rocky relationship with John and how they were in the middle of divorce proceedings.
Besides, reports mention that the couple was also fighting a custody battle, and the latter openly resented his wife for leaving him for her high school sweetheart. Still, without a body or evidence, it was impossible to tie him to the crime. That was when one of John’s neighbors approached the authorities and insisted that the former deputy had followed his wife moments after she drove off to the fast-food restaurant on April 22. On the other hand, one of Ann’s friends insisted that the mother of three was terrified of her husband and even chose to keep her van hidden as she did not want John to discover her address in Newhall.
Where is John Racz Now?
In the meantime, police officers in Los Angeles, California, found an abandoned minivan parked inside a park and drove a lot at the Van Nuys Airport. While the vehicle was confirmed to be Ann’s, and investigators even found some of her belongings inside, her name wasn’t present on any flight manifests. Hence, detectives were confident the murderer had placed the van there to create a diversion. Unfortunately, the investigators could not develop any additional leads in the case, and Ann’s body was never found. Regardless, they believed they had enough circumstantial evidence to arrest John and take him to trial.
When produced in court, John pled not guilty and insisted on his innocence. However, the prosecution used his children as witnesses, and the jury eventually convicted the former deputy of first-degree murder. Subsequently, the judge sentenced John to 205 years to life in prison in August 2007. Interestingly, he became eligible for his first parole hearing in January 2023 but remains incarcerated at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California. On top of that, readers should know that John remains firm on his claim of innocence to this day.