February 24, 2024

The Conviction and Sentencing of Richard Curtis Lange: A Cold Case Finally Solved

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The Conviction and Sentencing of Richard Curtis Lange: A Cold Case Finally Solved


In a significant breakthrough, after nearly four decades, justice has been served for the heinous crimes committed by Richard Curtis Lange. Lange, now 62 years old, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, kidnapping, and rape of 78-year-old Mildred Matheny in 1985. This article delves into the details of the case, the long road to justice, and the impact it has had on the victim’s family and the community.

Justice Served

The Crime and Investigation

On April 27, 1985, a passerby made a horrifying discovery along Old Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Florida. Mildred Matheny, 78, was found naked and unconscious. She was rushed to Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart, where she fought for her life for 11 days before succumbing to her injuries. A medical examination revealed that Matheny had been sexually assaulted and brutally beaten.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) launched an investigation into Matheny’s disappearance, rape, and subsequent murder. However, despite their efforts, the case quickly went cold, leaving the victim’s family in anguish and the community gripped by fear.

A Break in the Case

Decades passed, but the determination to bring Matheny’s killer to justice never waned. In 2021, a breakthrough occurred when advances in DNA technology allowed investigators to reexamine evidence collected from the crime scene. The DNA analysis led investigators straight to Richard Curtis Lange, who was 25 years old at the time of the murder.

This breakthrough gave new hope to the victim’s family and reignited the investigation. The PBSO, in collaboration with forensic experts, worked tirelessly to build a solid case against Lange.

The Trial and Sentencing

Finally, in a court of law, Lange faced the consequences of his heinous actions. The trial commenced, and the prosecution presented irrefutable evidence tying Lange to the crime. The DNA evidence, linking Lange to the rape and murder, left no room for doubt.

Throughout the trial, Lange’s defense attorney argued that he was a standup father and uncle who had lived a life of virtue. However, the victim’s family, in a heartfelt impact statement, pleaded with the judge to impose the severest penalty under the law.

After careful consideration of the evidence and the emotional impact on the victim’s family, the judge sentenced Richard Curtis Lange to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The conviction brought a sense of closure to the victim’s family, who had waited patiently for justice for nearly four decades.

The Impact on the Community

The arrest and conviction of Richard Curtis Lange for the brutal rape and murder of Mildred Matheny had a profound impact on the community. The case served as a reminder that justice, although sometimes delayed, can be achieved through perseverance and advancements in forensic technology.

Lange’s crimes shook the community to its core, leaving a lasting sense of fear and vulnerability. However, the resolution of the case provided a sense of relief and restored faith in the criminal justice system. The closure offered by Lange’s conviction allows the community to heal and move forward, knowing that justice has been served.


The conviction and life sentence of Richard Curtis Lange for the 1985 murder, kidnapping, and rape of Mildred Matheny mark a significant milestone in the pursuit of justice. After years of investigation and advancements in DNA technology, Lange was finally held accountable for his heinous crimes. The resolution of this cold case brings closure to the victim’s family and instills a renewed sense of security within the community. May this conviction serve as a reminder that justice can prevail, even after decades of waiting.

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