December 10th, 1970
Eagle Scout Murders Four in Family - NEW CANAAN, Conn. (UPI) John Rice Jr., 18. was to be promoted to Eagle Scout Friday night, but the ceremony was not held. Nobody could find him. Friends said John was quiet, inquisitive, conscientious an outdoors and gun enthusiast and a good student at New Canaan High School. Lt. Walter Foley of the state police barracks at West port said John "is very dangerous." A nationwide alert has been issued for young Rice who has been missing since his mother, sister, brother and grandmother were found brutally slain in their suburban home Thursday. Police concentrated their search efforts on camping sites for the six-foot, 200-pound youth with a severe case of acne who was an avid outdoor sportsman. Police said the family car, a 1965 tan Chevrolet, was missing and that the youth was armed with a .22 caliber pistol and a 16 gauge shotgun. He had some money from his mother's purse, they said. "We've got to catch this guy," Police Chief Henry E. Keller said. He called young Rice the "missing link',' in the case and said "we want to question him." John Rice Sr., who left for work at 5 a.m. Thursday, found the bodies about 2 p.m. on returning from a concession he operates at a gun factory in Handen. His wife, Mrs. Janet Rice, 44, who worked from 3 p.m. to midnight as night supervisor at Greenwich Hospital, had been slain with an ax and dagger. Her mother, Mrs. Edith Fitzpatrick. 73, who died four hours later in a hospital, had her skull fractured by hammer blows. Stephen Rice, 16, was killed with an ax and hammer and Nancy Rice, 14, was strangled with a necktie. Nancy Rice also had been sexually assaulted and had deep bite marks on both of her breasts. John Rice Jr., who once said he wanted to become a geologist, was an honor student at New Canaan High School where teachers described him as 'conscientious," "quiet" and a "contributing member of the class." Neighbors said the Rices were a "quiet family" with Nancy and Stephen seeming to be the more outgoing. John Jr "stayed to himself a lot," one neighbor said. Rice Jr claimed to have no memory of what had happened to his family. He pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to killing his family and was sentenced to Whiting Forensic Institute for the Criminally Insane, in Middletown, CT for a period of only 5 years.