1 year since DNC staffer’s killing, police, family seek tips, end of ‘partisan narratives’

WASHINGTON — One year after Seth Rich was shot and killed as he walked about a block from his Bloomingdale apartment, D.C. police are asking for the tip that will break the case, and his family is asking conspiracy theorists to “cease using Seth as a political football in predetermined partisan narratives.”

Rich was a 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer. He was returning home after an evening of socializing when he was shot in the back, at approximately 4:19 a.m., on July 10, 2016.

The unsolved murder has been the focus of several conspiracy theories that suggested he was killed because of his work at the DNC, theories that police and Rich’s family have declared unfounded.

“We don’t have a lot of information on this particular case, unfortunately,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told WTOP. “We believe he was the victim of a robbery.”

After a year of investigation, Newsham said evidence of value has been difficult to come by.

“There was some video we had, but the only thing the video showed was the legs of what we believe were two suspects,” said Newsham. “There’s no identifying characteristics in that particular video.”

“I can tell you from personally seeing the video, it really is of no value, and does not assist in identifying the suspects in the case.”

Newsham is hopeful that the crime will be solved by a tip from the public.

“There were two folks we believe were involved in this incident,” said Newsham. “Hopefully they have said something to somebody, or somebody has seen some behavior by these two people, that could lead to closure in this case.”

In a statement, Rich’s parents and brother said several scholarships and programs have been established to honor his dedication to public service.

“Seth’s legacy of public service, his determination to make the world a better place and his genuine desire to foster engagement among Americans of all ages persists, and it serves as a comfort to our family at a dark time,” said Mary, Joel and Aaron Rich, in the statement.

The Rich family thanked police for their work, and said they’re “hopeful” the efforts “will allow the case to be solved and justice to be delivered.”

In a final paragraph, the family alluded to conspiracy theories which have perpetuated online and on the air.

“We are compelled to address those who are claiming to help by undertaking private ‘investigations,’ staging re-enactments, or traveling to Seth’s old neighborhood to perform citizen interviews,” wrote the family.

“While we recognize the futility of this request, we make it anyway: please cease using Seth as a political football in predetermined partisan narratives,” the family wrote. “The continual push of false and inaccurate information about Seth’s death, along with the harassment of Seth’s friends, family and co-workers, hurts those who were closest to Seth, and does nothing to bring justice to his killers.”

“When I see stuff like that, I really feel for the family,” said Newsham. “There seems to be a small group of folks out there that’s not really being respectful of the family and their wishes, and they continue to do those kinds of things.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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