Raymond Wright Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

Image Credit: CBS News

In ’48 Hours: Who Took Our Dad? The Abduction of Ray Wright,’ the mysterious and disturbing disappearance of Raymond Wright is covered. When the beloved family man was nowhere to be found, his family and friends went into a state of distress and notified the police about it. When the authorities launched an investigation, several secrets were untangled about the past of Raymond. The episode also consists of interviews with the loved ones of the vanished and the officials directly or indirectly involved in the case.

Raymond Went Missing From His Shop

A resident of Rocklin, California, Raymond Wright was born in the early 1960s. Although divorced, he was a family man with three children, including two daughters Kennedy Wright and Haley Kendall. He was particularly close with her brother, Dean Wright, whom he used to talk to on a regular basis. Professionally, he worked as an independent contractor and took on various construction projects across the Sacramento area.

Image Credit: ABC10

Raymond also had a passion for music, which he followed by playing drums in a local band. Moreover, he rented a shop in Rio Linda for professional purposes. All was going well in his life until he disappeared without any trace, which became a cause of concern for all his loved ones. When they tried to search for him at his house and the Rio Linda shop but failed to find any sign of him, they dreaded something unpleasant had happened to him and filed a missing persons report.

It was on January 11, 2018, that the 55-year-old man went missing. On the same day, his 2016 white Ford F-250 was seen near the intersection of 26th and I streets east of Rio Linda. A few days later, the vehicle reportedly appeared in an apartment complex near Watt Avenue and Elkhorn Boulevard. After weeks of no developments, the authorities extended the search for Raymond Wright across the state of California. Since the police could not find his body, he was presumed dead.

Killer Planned Revenge For About Seven Years

When the search for Raymond Wright was launched, the police interviewed his family members and friends in order to get an idea about his life and what was going on during the time of his disappearance. They managed to extract several crucial details and later, connected the dots. The detectives learned that a couple of days after Raymond’s disappearance, on January 13, 2018, his brother Dean decided to visit Raymond’s house where he came face to face with a stranger. When asked “Where is Ray?”, the intruder was caught by surprise and fled the scene in a hurry leaving behind a key piece of evidence — a used soda cup on the kitchen counter.

Dean called the police right away, and the authorities sent the straw from the cup for tests and uploaded the DNA data to the CODIS database. Thanks to the DNA data, they found a full profile match to Victor Merle Gray, a convicted felon, who was located by the police a few days later. While under the influence, on January 27, 2018, he led the authorities on a high-speed pursuit, which led to the crashing of his vehicle and injuries to innocent victims. The investigators searched the van then and there for any evidence linked to Raymond’s disappearance. They discovered a raincoat soaked in blood, the victim’s wallet, along with various other personal belongings. After some tests, it was found that the blood on the raincoat was of Raymond.

Upon further investigation, the detectives also came across a letter from Victor addressed to a man named Robert Manor. In the letter, the former had complained about not getting paid for “delivering dude” and delivering his revenge for him. Reportedly, Robert had hired Victor to kidnap or murder Raymond from his Rio Linda shop, due to a grudge he held against the victim. The revenge killing stemmed from a DUI crash incident that directly involved Raymond. Back in 2011, the victim was drinking and driving, and unfortunately, got into an accident with Robert Manor, causing serious injury to Robert as well as his wife.

For the DUI felony, Raymond served his sentence and completed his probation. However, it seemed like Robert still harbored feelings of resentment towards him for several years, resulting in him hiring Victor to carry out the act of revenge on his part in 2018. Finally, in March 2023, about three years after the disappearance of Raymond, 54-year-old Robert and 53-year-old Victor were arrested and remained in custody at the Sacramento County Jail before standing for trial. The same month on the 17th, the jury found both of them guilty of the first-degree murder and kidnapping for ransom that caused the death of Raymond Wright.

On top of that, the court made sure to include a special circumstance attached to the murder charge for Robert and Victor for committing murder during an abduction. A month after their conviction, on April 28, 2023, the two guilty parties were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Following the sentence, Raymond’s family members addressed the killers in their statements. Kennedy Wright stated, “I said, ‘My dad will be in heaven.’ Like amongst the angels, like where he belongs, and you’ll be in prison for life…where you belong.”

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