Cold case update: suspect arrested in missing person’s case; detectives seeking info
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help regarding a 2007 missing person’s case with strong indications of foul play.
The victim, Lawrence “Larry” J. Powers, who was 58 years old at the time, has been missing since April 9, 2007, when he was last seen with Anthony Richards, who was 44 in 2007. The two men were seen together in Salome and Wickenburg on that day at two different gold mining stores, according to a news release.
Powers and Richards were also seen the day before at the LDMA (Lost Dutchman's Mining Association's) camp in Stanton, Arizona. Powers and Richards were partners in the Big Nugget mining claim near Bagdad, Arizona, at the time Powers went missing.
Powers, also known as “Larry” or “LP”, would be 67 years old today. He was 5-foot-6 and weighed about 135 pounds. Richards is currently 53 years old and is 6-foot-1, weighing about 200 pounds.
In June 2007, friends of Powers reported him missing. Deputies learned that Powers had a joint mining claim outside of Bagdad with Richards. A missing person’s report had also been filed by Powers’ family members in California with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, as Powers’ home is located in the town of Murphys, California. Purchases were discovered on Powers’ credit card that directly benefitted Richards.
Powers’ family members expressed concerned about his wellbeing and suspected Richards of foul play. In the weeks that followed, more claims from Powers’ friends concerning his safety in light of his relationship with Richards were documented.
The investigation was eventually turned over to YCSO detectives and Cold Case investigators, who developed a timeline of activity for the pair. Part of the timeline involved the criminal use of Powers’ identity by Richards to buy merchandise using Power’s credit card. Powers was declared as presumed dead by the California Superior Court in 2012.
A lengthy investigation over the next period of years involving YCSO detectives and Cold Case volunteers resulted in a 23-count indictment against Richards for charges including trafficking in stolen property belonging to Powers, theft of a handgun belonging to Powers, theft of Powers’ credit card, forgery, and 19 counts of identity theft for use of Powers’ credit to complete purchases in three different states. A majority of the charges were made after Powers’ reported disappearance. A warrant was issued and Richards was recently arrested in the area of Terrebonne, Oregon. On May 5, YCSO detectives transported him from Oregon to the Camp Verde jail where he remains in custody on a $100,000 bond.
YCSO investigators are seeking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Powers and/or anyone who has any knowledge of what lead to Powers’ disappearance as well those who have knowledge of Powers’ relationship with Richards. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective John McDormett at 928-777-7334 or Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.