Evidence in the Lori Slesinski murder case
On Saturday, June 10, 2006, Lori Ann Slesinski, 24, disappeared from Auburn, Alabama.
Lori Slesinski was a recent Auburn University graduate. Lindsay Braun was her best friend and she had planned to visit her home that night.
A final conversation
“We were going to have drinks at my house … and watch a movie,” Lindsay Braun told “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant.
Braun says Lori called around 6: 30 p.m. that night and said she had to stop at the store and then she would head over.
Lori Slesinski had company
Lindsay Braun says she could hear another friend of Lori’s in the background of that call – Rick Ennis. She didn’t think much about it at the time. Braun stated, “They were friends.” Braun said, “They were friends.” “
What happened to Lori Slesinski?
Police would later recover this Walmart surveillance – the last known image of Lori Slesinski. It proved Lori made it to the store. Lindsay Braun claims Lori didn’t make it to her home after that.
Lindsay Braun says her worry grew the next day. “I called her several times that weekend, leaving voicemails on her answering machine. “
Then on Monday, June 12, Lori was a no-show at work. At the time, Lori Slesinski and Braun were both employed at a local mental health facility
A no-show at work
When Lori Slesinski failed to show up to work for a second day, on Tuesday, June 13, Lindsay Braun and another coworker went to Lori’s home to check on her.
Checking on Lori Slesinski
Lori Slesinski lived in a manicured trailer park that was popular with students. Lindsay Braun noticed that Lori was not there when she arrived. Lori’s car was also missing.
A strange scene
Lindsay Braun also noticed that Lori’s dog Peanut was in his crate. She said that he seemed happy and well fed, as if someone was taking care of him. She claims that his crate wasn’t soiled, even though Lori had been absent for several days. This is even more remarkable. Lindsay felt something was wrong because Lori would never have
According to Lindsay Braun, Lori had three rugs on the floor of her kitchen, which she had set down because her dog wouldn’t walk on tile. Braun claims that the rugs were now gone. She also noticed that Lori was missing her outside trash can.
Lori Slesinski’s worried mother arrives
Lori’s mother, Arlene Slesinski, says on June 13 day another one of Lori’s coworkers made her aware of the situation. She immediately left work and went to Auburn. Casey, her husband, was also informed that their daughter was missing. Lori’s trailer was her first stop. She noticed that the long cord for her phone was missing from Lori’s bedroom.
Lori Slesinski officially reported missing
On Tuesday, June 13, Arlene Slesinski reported her daughter missing. Auburn Police responded to Lori’s trailer and interviewed several Lori’s friends.
Police question Rick Ennis
Rick Ennis was a friend who met Lori Slesinski when she was still a student.
He confirmed that he was at her trailer the day she disappeared but insisted she was fine when he left her.
Ennis told detectives that he and Lori grew marijuana together. Ennis suggested Lori might have sold her share of marijuana and that she may have been dealing in unsavory characters.
Police searched Lori’s trailer but found no evidence at all that Lori was dealing drugs.
Lori’s car explodes
On Wednesday, June 14, 2006 – four days after Lori went missing – at around 4: 40 a.m., her car was found fully engulfed in flames on a deserted cul-de-sac, close to the bowling alley where Rick Ennis had formerly worked.
The investigation now shifted from a missing persons case to a possible homicide.
Investigators say the blaze destroyed any evidence that may have been in the car, but Lori was not in the vehicle.
A cigarette butt
Investigators report that a hand-rolled cigarette was found on the ground near Lori’ Slesinski’s burned car. It was taken but not tested at first.
The gas can
Investigators also found a gas can in the woods close by. They say it looked similar to one of the gas cans which was missing from the bowling alley whereRick Ennis had worked
When detectives re-interviewed Rick Ennis later that day on June 14, they noticed scratches on his arms and hands. Investigators claim Ennis did not explain the scratches and that he made inconsistent statements to police.
A love letter
Lindsay Braun told investigators that before she disappeared, Lori had confided in her that she received a love letter from Rick Ennis. Braun claimed that Lori told Braun she was not interested in Rick romantically, and that she was going to talk with him about it. Ennis confessed to police that he had written that letter. Investigators also claim that he told friends that Lori had rejected his proposal.
Searching Rick Ennis’ car
Investigators turned their focus to Rick Ennis. They found this knife when they searched Rick Ennis’ car.
They also collected these handcuffs from Rick Ennis’ vehicle.
Bleach and cleaning products found
Rick Ennis also had these cleaning supplies in a box in his car.
Digging deeper into Rick Ennis
Investigators continued collecting evidence from Lori’ Slesinskis trailer. They also discovered something that was unimaginable about Rick Ennis’ past.
A deadly encounter
On March 3, 1993, when Rick Ennis was 12 years old, he murdered his mother and stepfather. Investigators claim Rick shot his mother in her face and beat her with a baseball bat in their trailer in Montgomery, Alabama. Investigators claim Rick covered his mother’s face in a velvet blanket and placed one rose on her chest after she died.
A second victim
When his stepfather, Eddie Joe Flowers, came home from work, investigators say Rick Ennis shot him in the face using a shotgun.
Rick Ennis then took the family car for a drive and crashed into a fence on the side of the highway. Alabama State Trooper John Clark (pictured), spotted a young boy walking on the highway and stopped him.
“I asked him ‘where are your parents?'” Clark said. Clark said, “He said, ‘I killed them.
At the time, Rick Ennis told investigators he was mad at his mother, Dolly Flowers, because she wanted to move to another town and Rick did not want to leave his school.
However, when “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant spoke to Ennis in 2022, Ennis said that there was a deeper reason why he killed his parents. Rick claims his mother molested Rick and he snapped. “48 Hours” could not corroborate Rick’s abuse allegation.
Rick Ennis serves time
Because Rick Ennis was a minor, he was held in juvenile detention for the murders for nine years. He was released after he turned 21 years old. He was released after he turned years.
Lori Slesinski’s case goes cold
After Lori Slesinski disappeared, Rick Ennis became the prime suspect. Despite what Ennis knew about his past, the police did not have enough evidence to charge him for Lori’s death. Ennis fled Auburn shortly after being interviewed by police.
Lori’s case went cold.
Re-investigating the case
A decade later, in 2016, Mark Whitaker, a special agent with the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, started a cold case unit and began to investigate Lori Slesinski’s disappearance. After reviewing the evidence, Rick Ennis was identified as his main suspect.
“His inconsistencies in his statements made no sense whatsoever. We knew Lori was not a drug dealer,” Whitaker told “48 Hours.” “She disappeared from the face of the Earth when he was the last to see her. “
Critical evidence found
Looking through the case files, Agent Whitaker’s partner, Agent JW Barnes, found an important piece of evidence. The results of a forensic report from 2007 showed that Ennis’ DNA had been identified in semen found on Lori’ Slesinsks bedsheet, and in blood on the interior of Lori’s front door
The missing rugs
Investigators say they also recovered the three rugs that were missing from Lori’ Slesinski’s trailer when a former roommate of Rick Ennis’ turned them over to police. The rugs were sent for testing and Ennis’ blood was found on one.
Where was Rick Ennis?
Prosecutors built their case against Rick Ennis and indicted him for Lori’ Slesinski’s murder in August 2018.
Investigators located Ennis where he was living in Pilot, Virginia. He worked for a company that made portable living structures called “yurts”. Rick was also engaged as a school librarian.
Rick Ennis arrested
On August 6, 2018 – 12 years after Lori Slesinski went missing – a taskforce of U.S. Marshals arrested Rick Ennis.
Agent Whitaker told “48 Hours”: “It was the highlight of my career to make the phone call to Arlene Slesinski that morning to tell them … ‘We just took Rick Ennis in custody in Virginia for Lori’s murder. ‘”
For Arlene Slesinski, the moment was bittersweet because she says, it meant she had to finally accept that Lori was never coming home.
A new witness comes forward
Terry Booth, a man who says he was friends with Rick Ennis, called Agent Whitaker’s task force after reading about Rick’s arrest. Correspondent Peter Van Sant also interviewed Booth, who told “48 Hours” that the arrest brought back a conversation he’d had with Ennis years earlier at a bar. “He [Rick] said mainly that he had to get rid a b Booth. Booth says he thought Ennis was messing with him then but now he realized Ennis was serious
New leads in the case
Agent Whitaker’s team continued submitting evidence to the forensic lab for testing – including that cigarette butt investigators had reported finding near Lori’s scorched car. The results showed that the cigarette bitt was identical to Rick Ennis’ DNA. Investigators say this evidence was critical because it tied Ennis to the burn scene
More loss in the Slesinski family
In 2020, Arlene’s son (Lori’s brother) Paul Slesinski, succumbed to cancer. Casey, Arlene’s husband, died from COVID later that year.
Rick Ennis’ trial begins
The pandemic temporarily ground the courts to a halt. But the trial of Rick Ennis finally began in March 2022.
Making a case
Lee County district attorney and prosecutor Jessica Ventiere called Lori’ Slesinski’s mother and friends to the stand, and they testified that Lori was reliable and would never take off unannounced. Terry Booth testified as well, saying that Rick told him to strangle a .. “
Blood on the door
The jury also heard testimony that Ric Ennis’ DNA was found in blood on the door of Lori Slesinski’s trailer.
Blood drop on the rug
Forensic experts testified that Rick Ennis’ blood was found on one of the rugs investigators believed were originally Lori Slesinski’s kitchen.
More forensic evidence
There was also testimony that Rick Ennis’ semen was found on Lori Slesinski’s bedsheet and that his DNA was found on the cigarette butt investigators said they found near Lori’s burned car.
Rick Ennis’ defense
Rick Ennis’ defense said that cigarette butt didn’t come from the burn scene. William Whatley, the defense attorney, argued that the police could have taken Ennis’ cigarette and placed it at the crime scene. The defense also attempted to portray Lori Slesinski, a drug dealer.
Rick Ennis takes the stand
Rick Ennis testified in his own defense, insisting he had nothing to do with Lori Slesinski’s disappearance. He admitted to sending Lori a love note, but said that he was still in touch with her.
As for those items in his car, Ennis explained that had nothing to do with Lori – he said he was moving and packing. He also explained that the scratches he had back in 2006 were caused by his dog. Ennis stated that he purchased the rugs at Target. Ennis said that he didn’t know why Lori’s DNA was found in his DNA.
The jury deliberated for two days and came back with their verdict. Rick Ennis was found guilty of the murder of Lori Slesinski. He was sentenced to death. Arlene Slesinski and DA agreed to remove the death penalty from the table.
Arlene says she felt agreeing to a life without parole sentence for Ennis would save her from years of potential appeal hearings and would ensure Ennis would never be free. On April 14, 2022, Judge Walker sentenced Ennis to life without parole.
Despite the long-awaited victory, DA Jessica Ventiere says it was bittersweet because Lori’ Slesinsk’s remains were not found.
“I didn’t find Lori,” Ventiere told “48 Hours”. “It’s one piece of the puzzle, but… Lori was not part of the deal. I wish I could have brought that to them. “
Justice for Lori Slesinski
After the sentencing, Arlene Slesinski went home and spent time in Lori’s trailer, which she now keeps on her property in her backyard. Arlene told “48 Hours” that she had a conversation with Lori that day. She said, “Lori! Justice has finally come.” This is what we’ve been waiting for for a long while. “
Far from over
Rick Ennis maintains that he is innocent. He appeals his conviction.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.