Little did Raymond “Ray” Merrill know that coming across and beginning a relationship with a stunning woman from Brazil would spell his doom. Although he believed to have found the perfect partner, things soon took a turn for the worse, leading to Ray’s sudden disappearance. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Web of Lies: Love Goes South’ chronicles the shocking murder and shows how the ensuing investigation managed to hone in on the perpetrators. Let’s dive into the details of this came and find out where Ray’s killers are at present, shall we?
How Did Raymond Merrill Die?
Once divorced, Raymond “Ray” Merrill resided in his San Bruno, California, home and was quite popular in the community. He made a living as a carpenter, construction worker, as well as a musician and was quite close to his family, especially his daughter. At 55 years of age, Raymond was still looking for love and was extremely excited when he came across Brazilian beauty Regina Rachid. However, his torrid love affair soon turned into a horror story as Ray vanished into thin air while in the foreign country.
Ray was supposed to leave for Brazil on March 21, 2006, and was supposed to be back by April 4. However, there was no sign of Ray on the date he was scheduled to return. After no contact with him for days, Ray’s sister, who was frantic with worry, reported the singer missing to the San Bruno Police Department in May. Soon, the police contacted the FBI and the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo also began looking into the matter. Authorities left no stones unturned in their search for the missing man, and family members held on to the hope of Ray’s safe return.
When Regina Rachid — the woman Ray went to Brazil to meet — was questioned, she claimed that although they met, Ray had traveled to the Brazilian city of Paraty in early April in order to visit another friend. Ultimately, several months after Ray’s disappearance, a suspect led authorities to human remains in an unmarked grave in Brazil. Subsequently, officers were able to match dental records and confirmed the remains did belong to Raymond Merrill. Besides, further medical examination determined that the victim was strangled to death.
Who Killed Raymond Merrill?
Ray Merrill met and befriended Brazilian Regina Rachid online; soon, the two began their online romance. They often exchanged photographs, and the show mentioned that Ray was smitten by Regina and believed she was the one for him. Although his close ones showed concern at the connection, Ray paid no heed and traveled to Brazil in November 2005 to meet her for the first time. The meeting left the singer extremely overjoyed, but he came back to find that his credit cards had fraudulent transactions of around $8000.
Although the hefty transaction was the first sign of trouble, love made Ray ignore the red flags. Reports claim that he spent lavishly when with Regina and showered her with gifts when he went back to Brazil on January 17, 2006. Yet, he was again faced with a massive fraudulent transaction on his credit card upon his return. Although Ray’s acquaintances urged him to consider if Regina was responsible for the transactions, he refused to do so.
On March 21, 2006, Ray flew to Brazil for the third and final time, with the idea of marriage on his mind. However, he did not return on his scheduled date, which led to a massive police investigation into possible foul play. Incidentally, between the months of February and May, a large amount of money was withdrawn from Ray’s bank account. Although the bank banned all further transactions, they received a suspicious letter in which Ray demanded reactivation and claimed to be restarting his life in Brazil.
Nevertheless, a chance encounter during a failed robbery at a mall in Brazil led to authorities discovering Ray’s credit card in the suspect’s bag. The suspect turned out to be Regina Rachid, who was promptly arrested but insisted on having nothing to do with Ray’s disappearance. Eventually, the investigation led to Regina’s boyfriend, Nelson de Sequeira Neves, but a black market dealer she was dealing with confirmed Evandro Augusto Ribeiro as Regina’s accomplice.
Authorities wasted no time apprehending Evandro, who buckled under pressure and confessed to helping Regina hide Raymond Merrill’s body. Although Evandro claimed he was not involved in the murder, he took authorities to the place where Ray was buried and helped recover his remains. Thus, armed with concrete evidence of murder and Evandro’s statement, the police finally charged Regina with Ray’s murder.
Where Are Regina Rachid and Evandro Ribeiro Now?
In May 2007, Regina Rachid was found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to 7 years in prison, while Evandro was sentenced to 5 years after being convicted of the same charge. The show mentions that in 2011, Regina was released on bail and was awaiting trial for Ray’s murder. The murder trial was postponed multiple times, and Regina, Evandro, and Nelson Neves were finally in court in November 2021.
Once in court, Regina insisted on her innocence and pleaded not guilty. However, the court did not agree, and Regina was judged to be guilty as charged. Thus, based on her conviction, she was handed a prison sentence of 33 years. On the other hand, Evandro was also found guilty, but his sentence is yet to be made public. Thus, with both offenders found guilty in late 2021, we can safely infer that they are still incarcerated in a Brazilian prison.