‘Does Murder Sleep?’ is an investigation series on Investigation Discovery. ‘Kill Her in the Night’ tells the story of Wendy DiRodio, 61, who was murdered inside her parents’ Ventura, California, home in early June 2009. For several years, the case remained unsolved until an unexpected break broke it open. If you’re curious in how the homicide was solved, as well as the killer’s name and current whereabouts, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started, shall we?
How Did Wendy DiRodio Die?
Wendy Jo DiRodio was born on June 1, 1948, in Ventura, California, to the late David and Florence Silver. The Silvers lived in the city’s upscale Ventura Keys district, and Wendy, their youngest daughter, moved in with them after her divorce.
In June 2009, she moved in to care for her 91-year-old father and lived on the bottom level of her parents’ home in the 2800 block of Sailor Avenue, according to her acquaintances. Wendy’s niece, Talia Beal, mentioned that her grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and Wendy was delighted to care for her aging parents.
Wendy’s Santa Barbara acquaintances remembered her as a fun-loving woman who taught swing dancing at a public recreation center. “She loved to laugh,” Rick Harmon, her dance partner for the last many years, recalled.
We conducted a beginners’ session before the Friday night dances, and I requested her to assist me in keeping it light and relaxing. She was a fun dance partner who loved to do things to confuse me.” Wendy, a psychologist, had apparently been seeing someone recently and had even acquired a property in Goleta, according to Rick.
Wendy had two dogs, and Talia remembered how much her aunt adored them, referring to them as “the apples of her eyes.” The peaceful and cozy family atmosphere was shattered permanently, however, when Florence knocked on her 61-year-old daughter’s bedroom door on June 3, 2009, and discovered it locked from the inside. Wendy was found dead in her bed from multiple stab wounds on her head, neck, and upper torso, after the woman brought her extra keys and went inside.
What happened to Gina Drake
She pleaded guilty to killing her aunt almost six years after her arrest in 2012. In February 2018, she pleaded guilty to the offense at the age of 51.
Gina Drake had been released on bond since her first arrest in 2012, according to NBC News. She also first claimed her innocence, and her trial was repeatedly postponed. Under a plea agreement in the Ventura County Superior Courthouse on February 20, 2018, she admits to committing the offense in 2009.
According to the conditions of the plea agreement, Gina Drake was sentenced to 11 years in state prison, according to NBC News. The sentencing occurred on March 29, 2018.
Who Killed Wendy DiRodio
When the investigators came, there were no traces of forced entry, and nothing was reported missing. One of the detectives discovered an injured dog beneath Wendy DiRodio’s bed and was brought to the hospital with a knife wound to the neck.
While they were unable to locate the murder weapon, they did notice a case on a bedside table. The case did not belong to anyone in the Silver family, and the officers suspected it carried the missing blade. Wendy was slain while she was sleeping, according to the detectives.
They contacted Florence and discovered that she had been awakened by the sound of barking dogs at 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. the night before. Wendy’s cats may have gotten loose in the backyard and may be bothering the neighbors, thus
When she looked out the window, she noticed a figure going quickly around the corner. Investigators speculated that she may have accidentally witnessed her daughter’s murderer fleeing after performing the horrible act. They also went over the crime site and discovered several blood samples that belonged to the victim.
Detectives first suspected Wendy’s murder was connected to the double killing of Brock and Davina Husted, both 42, less than two weeks earlier, on May 20. Just nine miles up the coast, the Husted couple had been stabbed inside their home.
The proximity of the two crimes, as well as certain striking parallels, led officials to believe that they were committed by the same person. Other suspects investigated were a former Brazilian boyfriend, an internet lover, and an accused stalker.
According to the show, Wendy’s Brazilian boyfriend held the keys to the Silver home since he had assisted in the care of Wendy’s father. He had just attempted to reunite with Wendy, but according to family sources, she was not interested.
Wendy, a psychotherapist and marriage counselor by trade, had filed stalking charges against a former client and obtained a restraining order. Despite the fact that the authorities pursued all of the suspects, they were all eventually ruled out due to concrete alibis. The case fell cold due to a lack of evidence and suspects.
Authorities called Wendy’s family about 10 months after her murder and invited them to come in for a routine cheek swab. Except for Wendy’s niece, Gina Drake, who promptly hired a lawyer, all of the relatives complied. While this made her a person of interest in the killing, there was no physical evidence linking her to the slaying, thus she could not be arrested.
Gina made a breakthrough in November 2010 when she attempted suicide but survived. She made multiple incriminating remarks to a law enforcement official while in the hospital.
Gina was arrested in May 2012 and charged with first-degree murder. She pleaded not guilty, and her defense attorney alleged Gina’s ex-husband, former Ventura police officer Aaron Drake, was involved in her detention.
According to news accounts, the two were married when police began examining her as a suspect in the 2009 murder, but he filed for divorce soon after the investigation brought them to her. Gina’s attorneys alleged in court records that Aaron wore a wire, made calls, and gave investigators statements.
Where is Gina Drake Now
According to accounts, both the prosecution and defense intended to call Aaron to testify, but that changed when he attempted suicide at the Ventura police station in July 2017.
Though he survived the attack, court records reveal that in his suicide note, he made some assertions that could jeopardize his credibility as a witness. In a court document, the defense argued that he admitted to activity that was “potentially criminal in nature.” Gina, aged 51, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and acknowledged to wielding a knife in February 2018.
Gina may have committed the crime out of resentment because Florence was assisting Wendy in purchasing a home by loaning her a considerable amount, according to the program. According to family members, Wendy and Gina had a falling out over providing care for a sick David.
While the victim’s friends were disappointed with the plea deal, Gina was sentenced to 11 years in prison in late March 2018. She may have been freed on parole now that she is in her mid-50s because her name is not on the state prison roster.