Marcia Ann Forsberg, OC Homicide No. 39: Authorities Say Hubby Did It
Richard and Marcia Forsberg were said by friends to be the perfect couple. They met in a Ventura College journalism class and were looking forward to their 40th wedding anniversary at the end of this month.
The pair of 61-year-olds, who had no children, were often seen holding hands and stealing kisses, happy as clams. Richard at one point brought his wife, a cancer survivor, dinner every night.
|Richard and Marcia Forsberg|
Marcia used to write features at the Daily Pilot, later worked at Modern Maturity and attained her master's in art. She had friends all over the place.
Yet, no one could reach her on her cell phone.
Richard told his neighbors on Cascada that Marcia was ill with allergies and could not come to the door. Next came a story about her visiting friends in Arizona. After a day he'd said she'd return came and went, he said the couple was suffering marital problems and contemplating a separation.
He told one neighbor his wife would be back later this month to celebrate their 40th anniversary. He told another, with almost giddy delight, Marcia had left him for good.
When a childhood friend of Marcia's told neighbors she was concerned for Marcia's well-being because she had not sent her a birthday card as usual, Richard's answers about her Arizona whereabouts first appeased her. But then things did not add up.
The friend filed a missing person's report with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which patrols Rancho Santa Margarita, on Aug. 24.
Deputies went to Richard's home to question him. He reportedly told investigators he had not seen or heard from his wife since she left March 13 for Arizona.
And yet, he never filed a missing person report.
Detectives could not verify Marcia was ever in Arizona or that she'd used her cell phone or credit cards since February. So they returned to the Cascada condo, this time with a search warrant.
But Richard was gone, as was Marcia's car. He had not been to work.
Richard was identified as a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance, based on undisclosed evidence uncovered after deputies broke into the couple's condo.
Authorities were now dealing with two missing people. DMV photos of the couple were splashed across television screens throughout Southern California.
Have you seen this couple?
A nurse at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs had seen Richard. She recognized him from a photo shown on a KTLA/Channel 5 newscast.
Richard was a patient being treated at the hospital after he tried to overdose on sleeping pills following a night of gambling.
|Courtesy of Orange County Sheriff's Department|
|Richard Forsberg was booked on one count of murder.|
The charge: murder.
According to authorities, Marcia Ann Forsberg had been dead since neighbors first noticed her missing in February.
They say during an argument in her home on Feb. 9, she turned her back on her college sweetheart and he hit her several times in the head with the statue, killing her.
He is then alleged to have kept the body in the home until he could rent the RV and drive her to a Lake Piru area campground.
Deputies confined their search for Marcia's remains to a fire pit there. They have not confirmed that Richard is believed to have burned her body, but searchers were sifting through ashes for hours this week.
The department claims to have uncovered "interesting" items in the pit that are now being examined in the Orange County crime lab.
Richard was arraigned Wednesday for one felony count of special circumstances murder by lying in wait.
He faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
He is being held in Men's Central Jail without bail.
Here is a link to our previous version of this post. The Orange County District Attorney's Office issued a statement on the charges against Richard Gustav Forsberg, which is on the next page.