Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
15 years later: Gaudenzi remains found in Spotsy
By PORTSIA SMITH
It has been a mystery for 15 years, but authorities say they have located the remains of a missing Caroline County woman.
Lisa Gaudenzi’s remains were found in Spotsylvania County, authorities said in a press conference today in Richmond.
Police say her estranged husband, Lawrence Gaudenzi, led investigators last Wednesday to a remote area of Massaponax Church Road, where the remains were discovered. The site was about 30 miles from the couple’s home in Lake Land’Or.
Investigators were still able to find remnants of the sleeping bag he used to wrap her body in after he killed her at their house in Caroline on Jan. 26, 1995.
Investigators also found several plastic bottles of brick washing acid that he discarded at the scene. He had put the sleeping bag inside a metal drum and then filled the drum with the powerful acid, investigators say.
A porcelain dental bridge was all that was left.
Her remains were sent to her parents in New Jersey on Friday.
Lawrence Gaudenzi, now 46, pleaded guilty to second degree murder last May and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Authorities say the convicted murderer realized he wasn’t getting out of prison and wanted to make a deal, but that no deal will be given to him.
No cause of death was determined, other than homicide by violent means.
Lawrence Gaudenzi told investigators his wife fell and broke her neck by accident.
“Despite the age of this case and the considerable obstacles encountered throughout the investigation, the special agents of the Virginia State Police Richmond Field Office remained committed not only to bringing a murderer to justice, but to also making sure a family had the closure they so desperately needed and deserved.” Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent said.
“This investigation exemplifies the tremendous tenacity and skill it takes to solve a violent crime.”
Gaudenzi is currently being held in Augusta Correctional Center in Augusta County.
According to court records, he has a long criminal history in both Virginia and New Jersey that includes multiple convictions for forgery, perjury and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Lisa Gaudenzi’s disappearance had been a cold case for 13 years until Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer announced in 2008 that he would be prosecuting Gaudenzi for murder following a Virginia State Police investigation.
Lisa Gaudenzi was last seen with her husband on Jan. 26, 1995, in Ruther Glen. She was reported missing when she failed to show up for scheduled officer training school with the Army.
Originally, the Caroline Sheriff’s Office handled the case. State police began investigating in 1997.
According to online missing-person reports, Lawrence Gaudenzi told police he dropped his wife off at a Greyhound bus station in Richmond for a trip to Fort Lee. Police later determined, however, that there was no bus that took that route, according to the reports.
Lisa Gaudenzi’s father and stepmother have been active in the search. They started a Web site, findinglisa.com, and posted information to the Doe Network, an online database of missing persons.