Lawrence Gaudenzi: Where is Lisa Gaudenzi’s Killer Now?

In 1995, Lisa Gaudenzi did not show up for her duty, her family members were afraid something terrible had happened to the 30-year-old mother. More than a decade-long search for the truth and justice led the authorities across counties and states while Lisa’s loved ones tried to keep hope alive. A&E’s ‘Cold Case Files: Vanished in Virginia’ profiles the entire case in a detailed manner, from the circumstances that led to her disappearance to the conviction of the perpetrator, her husband, Lawrence Gaudenzi.

Lawrence Gaudenzi Got Married to Lisa and Gave Birth to Shelby

Around 1990, fresh off of her divorce from Jim Burdette, Lisa moved to Virginia along with her daughter, Lea, who had several medical complications. Shortly after the relocation, she crosses paths with a truck driver named Lawrence Gaudenzi. He had the right ideologies and notions surrounding family values and had faith in the church. Moreover, he also showed no hesitance in taking care of Lisa’s daughter. Finding him to be the ideal partner for her, she began dating him, and as one thing led to another, they started living together. Given his connections to the church at the time, the bishop offered to rent him and his partner a massive house.

Image Credit: Oxygen

In November 1993, the love birds welcomed their daughter into the world and named her Shelby. Not long after that, they decided to make their relationship official in the eyes of the law by tying the knot. With the responsibility of running his family, pressure mounted on Lawrence as he was struggling to find work in the new area. Meanwhile, in 1944, Lisa kept pursuing her dreams and enlisted in the army, sending Lea to Florida to live with her grandmother and leaving Shelby under the care of her husband, Lawrence, in Virginia. However, money problems were still prevalent in the family, and it was one of the primary reasons for most of their arguments, which turned physical soon.

Since Lisa could not be accessible when she was in the military, Lawrence did not like the fact that he could not just call her whenever he wanted to. So, throughout her course, he tried to interrupt his wife’s progression, but she still ended up graduating in January 1995. In the same month, when she failed to show up for officer training school on January 29, Lawrence reported her missing. When the authorities questioned him, he claimed that he had dropped her off at the bus station from where she was supposed to take a bus to the training school on the day of her disappearance. Several months later, the police got in touch with Lawrence and demanded him to do a polygraph test. But after agreeing to do it without hesitation, he vanished into the thin air with his 3-year-old daughter, Shelby.

Lawrence Gaudenzi Assumed the Identity of Randy Evans

For the next five years, the suspect managed to stay hidden from the authorities until a news station featured his photo and asked for the public’s help in locating him. Soon, the investigators received a tip, which led them to a discount retailer in Harrisonburg, Virginia. However, Lawrence had not only changed cities but also his identity after his move. He had taken the identity of Randy Lee Evans while changing Shelby’s name to Logan Evans Derenzo. In his defense, he claimed that he did so because Lisa’s father had put a hit out on him. Although he could not be arrested in connection to Lisa’s disappearance and potential homicide, he was arrested for identity theft and violating his probation on a weapon charge.

The police also learned that he had married Linda May, who helped him raise Shelby. She said that he told her that Lisa had run away with somebody else. In October 2002, Lawrence pled guilty to forgery and was sentenced to two years in prison. He was released in 2004, and he could still not be linked with the case of Lisa. Reportedly, Lawrence had met up with Lisa’s ex-husband, Jim, just a couple of days after her disappearance. In the spring of 2008, the police were able to locate and interview Jim, who was in possession of various tape recordings, which also included a conversation he had with Lawrence that day they met. Jim remembered that Lawrence had asked for his help to move something.

When he felt that Lawrence’s actions were off for a man whose wife had been missing, he decided to record their conversations. The detectives also interviewed Diane, Shelby’s babysitter at the time of Lisa’s disappearance. She claimed that Lisa had shared her desire to get divorced from the former tow truck driver. She also recounted the time when she witnessed a heated argument between the couple, after which Lawrence walked out and returned to order Diane to clean up the house but not to set foot in the bathroom. More developments were made in the case as the authorities reached out to the tenant living in the basement of Lawrence and Lisa’s apartment at the time.

In May 2008, the former tenant testified against Lawrence and claimed that she saw him pull a big green bag out of the house on the fateful night. As per her claims, he disappeared into the woods for about 10 minutes and returned without the bag. Meanwhile, she and her friend checked the bedroom and bathroom of the couple and found evidence of blood. As the fear took over her, she was not able to come out with her claims until she did. Thus, with enough evidence against him, the police arrested Lawrence on May 16, 2008, and charged him with the murder of Lisa.

Lawrence Gaudenzi is Behind Bars at a Virginia Prison Facility

In May 2009, Lawrence Gaudenzi stood trial for the murder case of his former wife, Lisa Gaudenzi. Just a couple of days into the trial, he pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder charge and received a 25-year imprisonment sentence. In hopes of having his sentence reduced, he made a plea deal with the police in exchange for information about his ex-wife’s whereabouts. On June 9, 2010, he led them to the burial site of Lisa’s body, which was in a remote area in Spotsylvania County. Upon some investigation, the only thing they could excavate was her porcelain dental bridge.

Moreover, Lawrence also told the detectives his version of the night of the murder and said that it was an accident. He claimed that he and Lisa had been arguing at the top of the staircase. According to Lawrence, when he grabbed her, she tried to pull away from him, and in the process, she stumbled down the steps and broke her neck. Afraid that he would be charged with murder, he decided to get rid of the body by wrapping it up in a sleeping bag, putting her in a metal drum, and using muriatic acid. Currently, he is serving his sentence at Haynesville Correctional Center in Haynesville, Virginia, while awaiting his release date set in 2030.

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