Missoula residents Kate Walker and Randy Smith mentioned that they had hosted foreign exchange students from all around the world. However, Diren Dede, who came to them from Hamburg, Germany, was someone special. Even though he came to Missoula for just a semester, Diren developed a close bond with his host parents and almost felt like their own son. Hence, Kate and Randy were devastated when a shocking tragedy ended his life for good. ‘Dateline NBC: Deadly Exchange’ chronicles his murder and follows the investigation that brought the perpetrator to justice. But for now, let’s just delve into the details and find out where Kate and Randy are at present, shall we?
Who Are Kate Walker and Randy Smith?
Kate Walker and Randy Smith had lived in Missoula, Montana, for most of their lives. They were pretty popular in the community and well-respected in the neighborhood. While neighbors described them as a sweet couple who loved taking part in community events and living a quiet life, they were also known for being host parents to several foreign exchange students. In fact, reports mention that Kate and Randy have been guardians to students from Italy, Spain, France, and even Ecuador. However, Diren proved to be special as he essentially accepted them as his second set of parents and built up a relationship they hadn’t experienced before.
Diren came to live with Kate and Randy in August of 2013 when he arrived at Missoula as a transfer student. Although the couple was supposed to host Diren for just a few days, they eventually became his host parents and even helped him get acquainted with the American way of life. In fact, the pair mentioned that the German student was excited to learn more about his dual heritage, and they even took Diren to famous places, including Yellowstone National Park and Fairmont Hot Springs.
Incidentally, at the time of Diren’s murder, he had been living with Kate and Randy for about eight months. At that time, Robby Pazmino, a foreign exchange student from Ecuador, was also staying with the German student under the same roof. In fact, on the night of April 27, 2017, Diren and Robby had gone out together when the former excused himself before walking in a different direction. However, shortly after, Robby heard gunshots and immediately ran back home. Once Kate and Randy heard about the incident from Robby, they set out to search for Diren before noticing police cars around their neighbor, Markus Hendrik Kaarma’s house. The law enforcement officers on the scene listened to what the couple had to say, and their description helped identify Diren, who was already dead by then. Later, the police revealed that Diren had entered Markus’s garage when the latter shot him twice with a shotgun, killing the foreign exchange student on the spot.
Where Are Kate Walker and Randy Smith Today?
When questioned, Markus insisted he shot Diren in self-defense, as the latter had broken into his garage. However, Kate and Randy insisted that the Diren they knew would never engage in criminal activity. On top of that, law enforcement officers discovered that the victim was about to return to Germany in two months, and he had no reason to put his career at risk by breaking in somewhere. Interestingly, Markus’ statement had a lot of discrepancies in it as he initially claimed that the garage was dark and he could not see what or who he was shooting at. While the police doubted this claim, as the second shot had hit Diren directly in the head, detectives also learned that Markus and his wife had been planning to bait burglars by planting a bag in the garage with the door open. Although the suspect insisted that he was paranoid as his home had been robbed several times in the recent past, there was enough evidence to warrant an arrest for deliberate homicide.
Kate Walker and Randy Smith regularly attended Markus’ trial, and they were relieved when the judge convicted him as charged before sentencing him to 70 years in prison in 2015. However, they claimed Diren had left a massive vacuum in their lives and were unsure about hosting foreign exchange students in the past. Nevertheless, Kate and Randy maintained an excellent bond with Diren’s real family and insisted that it was the only good that came out of the tragedy. Well, from the looks of it, Kate and Randy still reside in Missoula, Montana, where they have built a quiet life for themselves while surrounded by loved ones.