I invite you to join me in this riveting episode of Pushing Up Lilies, where we peel back the layers of complex human emotions and the deadly consequences of tangled affairs. From clandestine affairs to the shattered remnants of trust, we navigate the dark corners of these entangled relationships, shedding light on the motives that drive individuals to the brink of violence. This episode serves as a stark reminder of the potent cocktail of love, jealousy, and betrayal, where the boundaries of passion blur into the chilling realm of homicide. Join me in this journey through the murkiest depths of human relationships, where love transforms into a deadly force. * Listener discretion is advised.
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0:06 Welcome to Pushing Up Lilies.
0:08 I'm your host, Julie Mattson.
0:10 Pushing Up Lilies is a weekly True crime podcast with spine tingling, unusual and terrifyingly true stories from my perspective as a forensic death investigator and a sexual assault nurse examiner.
0:24 Do I have some stories for you?
0:26 Are you ready?
0:30 Ok, I have to share my struggles with y'all.
0:33 I literally go through this a lot where I'll record an episode and when I go to upload it onto my computer, it is completely gone.
0:43 That happened today.
0:45 Here we go again.
0:46 We're going to try this take two and sometimes when I redo it, it actually sounds better the second time.
0:53 I'm going to count on that being the case today.
0:56 So aggravating.
0:57 But you know what?
0:58 It's kind of like a test run.
1:01 I'm going to look at it that way and hopefully the second time will be better.
1:05 Just want to share my struggle with y'all.
1:08 I'm not going to make it always look like it's perfect because it is definitely not.
1:12 Anyway, here we go again.
1:15 I know that I have talked to y'all about how my husband is from North Dakota.
1:23 And so we are here this week visiting his family and also came to my stepson's graduation from University of North Dakota and so proud of him.
1:36 Congratulations Wesley.
1:38 And so we are still here.
1:40 We will be going home in the next couple of days, and it was 21 degrees today.
1:48 Whopping 21 degrees.
1:50 And I went to the mall across the street just for a few hours to look around and a lady that held the door open for me, she goes, isn't it great to not have to wear a coat?
2:01 And of course I didn't have a coat on because I run from the car to wherever I'm going because I don't like big bulky jackets.
2:08 And in Texas we rarely have to wear them.
2:10 But anyway, as she held the door open, she's like, isn't it great to not have to wear a coat?
2:14 And I was like, well, I'm from Texas.
2:15 Technically, like, 21 degrees is still freaking cold to me.
2:21 She just laughed because right now 21 degrees is beautiful to them.
2:27 It's been a very mild winter here apparently.
2:29 And I've heard that from more than one person.
2:33 It snowed quite a bit yesterday, but the sun was out.
2:37 There are little patches of ice, but it's really not bad.
2:41 Actually drove my brother in law's truck.
2:43 I was a little bit nervous but there's not a lot of ice patches and it's four-wheel drive.
2:47 I survived, but it makes me very nervous.
2:50 We all know that Texans do not know how to drive on us.
2:53 We never have it.
2:54 I mean, we have it once a year, maybe around February.
2:58 But I think the last couple of years we had a little ice storm the first week in February, but we still do not know how to drive on it.
3:05 And I'll be the first one to admit that I know that we have all talked about cases where bones are found in storage buildings and whatnot.
3:19 I know I had seen in the news the other day that a gentleman was cleaning out his mother's house after she passed away and found a child's bones in his mother's freezer.
3:34 I don't know where this was.
3:35 I didn't really research the story, but I found it fascinating that, you know, mom had something in the freezer for years and years and years that was wrapped in foil and he was forbidden to open it to look at it.
3:50 I think she told him it was a piece of cake that she was saving.
3:54 He didn't know, I mean, he had no reason not to believe her.
3:59 He left it there and after she passed away as he's cleaning out her house, he finds the bones of, I guess, his sibling, who knows what happened.
4:13 But of course he had to call the police and an investigation ensued.
4:19 And again, I didn't look into it that much.
4:21 I just found it interesting because I had a case in Houston where a family, same thing was going through someone's belongings after they passed away and found a child's bones in a Rubbermaid container in the attic.
4:37 And it was the same situation I think mom had told the kids that they had a young sister that went to move in with an aunt and for some reason later became estranged with the family.
4:50 There were really not a lot of questions asked and lo and behold, her bones were in a Rubbermaid container in the attic and there were no signs of trauma.
4:58 It did not appear that she had been killed or murdered.
5:02 But apparently that story was just believed for years and years and years by the family and was never questioned.
5:09 And of course, you know, now here's the bones who knows?
5:13 I mean that mom that had put the child in the freezer probably didn't kill her either, but she probably had just hoped that because she had forbidden her son to look in the foil that he was just going to throw it away and not look, but that's not the case.
5:30 That's not what happened.
5:33 We've talked about cases before where bones are found in storage facilities and storage units.
5:42 I know a couple of weeks ago we talked about a man who had put his mother's body in a storage unit and then stopped paying the rent.
5:51 And so when the person who bid on it at the auction when it went up for auction, found this guy's mom's bones in the storage facility and of course, he was already dead, so he couldn't be charged with her murder.
6:03 And there were really no signs of trauma on her body either.
6:08 She could have very well died of natural causes, but he would have definitely had charges brought against him.
6:14 Had he been alive because he had been taking her Social Security and her pension checks for 10 years.
6:20 And also because he put her body in the storage building.
6:23 I find it fascinating that people don't think that these bones are going to eventually be found.
6:32 Of course, we all know that when bodies are left somewhere for an extended period of time, they're going to start smelling bad.
6:39 And that's the case in the case that we're going to talk about this week, the smell of a decomposed body.
6:48 And I'm sure I've mentioned this to y'all before is something like you'll never smell before.
6:53 And once you smell it, you really don't forget it.
6:56 Now, we as death investigators will go on scenes and be exposed to these smells that just permeate our clothes and our hair.
7:05 And then we forget because we're so used to it.
7:08 We're so accustomed to being exposed to that, that it's not abnormal.
7:13 We'll go to a restaurant or a store, you know, after we leave these scenes and then realize that we reek.
7:22 No one's going to say anything to us necessarily, but we do get some funny looks because we smell terrible and I mean, we just forget about it and that's all.
7:32 And in no means do we ever mean to be disrespectful to families or to expose people to those smells?
7:40 Those god-awful smells on purpose.
7:43 But it happens.
7:45 We apologize for that if you are ever in a situation where I'm around and I smell bad.
7:54 I apologize.
7:55 But this that we're going to talk about this week is a very recent case and this case happened in November of this year.
8:05 Shakira Yvonne Rucker was reported missing after her family.
8:10 She had four Children, her family reported that they had last seen her on November 11th.
8:19 She reportedly left her home on November 11th with her estranged husband, Corey Hill and they left at approximately 7:30 at night.
8:30 Police searched over four counties and her body was eventually found at a storage facility in Apopka, Florida.
8:40 Apopka is about 20 miles north of Orlando, but police received a call about a smell coming from one of the storage units.
8:49 And again, here we are surprisingly, Corey Hill didn't really think that the smell was going to be a thing, I guess maybe he thought that it was going to be covered up somehow and that no one would notice it, but it's relatively warm in Florida, I believe even in November, they later found a woman identified as Shakira Yvonne Rucker dead from apparent gunshot wounds.
9:18 Corey Hill who was 51 years old again was the estranged husband of Rucker and he was named as the suspect because guess what the unit was registered to him.
9:32 Now, Hill killed Rucker in the storage unit.
9:35 And then three hours later, he drove to his ex-girlfriend’s house and shot her.
9:41 We're going to rewind a little bit because Hill is not a newbie.
9:47 This is not his first rodeo back in 1992 in Suffolk, Virginia.
9:53 Hill was featured in a news story after his car was stolen and his 23-month-old daughter who was in the car was thrown out the window by the person who stole the vehicle.
10:05 Are you going to be pissed if someone not only steals your car but throws your child out the window?
10:11 I think so, you know, Hill is no different and he seeks revenge against the suspect who was Dwine Everett and Hill went to his home armed and argued with him.
10:27 We all know that this is not the ideal way to solve a problem is to go to the home armed, but Hill fired and killed Everett and he was given a prison sentence of 20 years.
10:40 This was in December of 1992.
10:43 He was released in 05.
10:47 I mean, if he went to prison immediately, which we know he probably didn't.
10:53 He served less than half of his sentence.
10:56 But who knows what kind of crimes he may have committed between 05 when he was released and when he was in Orlando, but he moved to Orlando in 2016, Rucker and the ex-girlfriend discovered that he was in a relationship with both of them.
11:19 Given that, of course, Hill is going to feel threatened and under pressure, it's going to be difficult for him to explain this away.
11:30 Rucker and Hill were seen together on the night of November 11th, and this is this year 2023 they went to a restaurant and a store together.
11:41 The next morning they were seen entering a storage facility and then that is where Rucker's body was found.
11:49 When her body was found, she was wearing the same blue outfit that she had on in surveillance cameras when they were at the store and the restaurant.
12:00 She had the same thing on when her body was found.
12:03 Surveillance footage showed them entering the storage facility at about 6:30 a.m. and that's on November 12th.
12:15 I want to say a little bit about surveillance footage because it is so important in many of our death investigations.
12:24 I had a scene recently where someone was hit by a vehicle and all the businesses lining the highway had surveillance cameras, but none of them were working.
12:35 The accident was not caught on video.
12:39 That complicates things and what also complicated things is that the camera in the cab of the truck that struck.
12:49 The gentleman also had a camera which was not working.
12:54 There's difficulty sometimes in determining if an auto pedestrian case is an accident or a suicide.
13:02 We had somebody who was homicidal and at times suicidal who according to the driver of the truck ran out in front of him and it appeared as if he was attempting to get struck by a vehicle.
13:19 But because we don't have a camera anywhere in the truck or in any of the businesses nearby, this is just the opinion of the truck driver and not knowing him and not knowing his integrity.
13:34 It's really hard for our doctors to make a decision as to whether or not deaths like this are truly accidental or if they are a suicide because we don't have cameras, there are no cameras and I know recently I had a homicide and the cameras in the pawn shop were not working.
13:55 I mean, they were planted there.
13:57 They were intended to scare people, but obviously they didn't.
14:02 And luckily there was a camera at a convenience store across the street from the pawn shop that caught the suspects pulling into the facility and driving away quickly at the time of the shooting.
14:17 They were able to get the license plate and the make and model of the vehicle off of the surveillance camera across the street.
14:26 I have had, it's kind of funny because friends will contact me when they drive past a crime scene or whatnot.
14:32 I have a friend who lives in a nearby neighborhood where there was a homicide that I worked on recently.
14:38 And she said it's not uncommon for the police to come to her house and ask if her cameras picked up any suspicious people driving through her neighborhood because it's a dead end.
14:50 They would come down the street believing that they could get out that way and then have to turn around and come right back out.
14:56 They were checking to see if there was any surveillance footage on anybody's camera in the neighborhood.
15:02 I just want to mention because I do try to use this as an educational opportunity as well and encourage people to, you know, get surveillance cameras if you don't have them because they do help our investigations and the police investigations greatly.
15:22 But if you do already have them, especially make sure that the batteries are in them and make sure they're working.
15:32 It's just so important.
15:33 I mean, you would never sometimes think that your camera would pick up a crime, but it can, I mean, it truly can.
15:43 There are a lot of opportunities to help the police if you have these outside your residence, if you live in an area where a crime has been committed, just encourage you to get that thing working anyway off my soap box.
15:57 When Rucker and Hill went into the storage facility.
16:01 Seven minutes later, Rucker's family got a text message saying that she was on her way home, but it wasn't her.
16:08 I mean, it was Corey Hill obviously.
16:10 And less than 20 minutes after Hill and Rucker entered the storage facility again, surveillance cameras spotted Hill leaving the facility alone and he told Rucker's family that she wasn't with him when he went there and that he hadn't seen her since 630 that morning when he left the house a liar.
16:32 I mean, thank God for the surveillance cameras at the facility.
16:36 It also helps with a timeline.
16:39 It helps so much to batch up the timeline with what these cameras are catching.
16:44 November 18th, when police arrived at the storage unit.
16:48 After someone reported a foul odor, they found Rucker in a blue outfit and a shell casing was found in her hair and three other shell casings were on the ground.
16:59 There was blood on the ground near her and also on the walls, which crime show enthusiasts y'all are all going to know that's going to indicate that she was shot in the storage facility, Corey Hill being above average intelligent. And I'm kidding when I say that. He tried to hide her body by placing two tires in front of her.
17:21 We all know, you know, that's not going to work.
17:24 First of all, you know, the police aren't going to open the storage building when they smell this foul odor and be like, oh you know, who knows what it is.
17:32 You know, they're going to go in there and they're going to look around.
17:34 I mean, a dead body smell, especially decomposed in the heat in Florida.
17:40 You know, they're going to do a little bit more of an investigation.
17:43 I mean, he was hoping that they would just open the door, see the tires and whatever, but he had to know she would eventually be discovered at 10:13 a.m. on November 12th, which is just a few short hours after he left the storage facility without Rucker, he arrived at Milligan's house, who was his ex-girlfriend and attempted to kill her.
18:08 The reason for this is because Rucker of course, and Milligan had recently discovered that, you know, he was in a relationship with both of them knowing that they had been deceived.
18:20 I'm sure that one or both of them had actually confronted him.
18:24 And this basically made him feel like the best way out, which is crazy is to try to kill both of them.
18:34 Hill fired several shots into Milligan's home and then when he gained entry to try and find her, his intent was to kill her and there were several nine-millimeter casings found in her home.
18:49 The casings at the scene were a match to the ones that were found at the storage facility where Rucker was killed.
18:57 Hill's car was seen at both crime scenes.
19:01 Again, this could be by neighbors, but most likely it's going to be by video surveillance.
19:08 Hill and Milligan had dated for about four months, and they separated in September.
19:16 And surprisingly, although he had been violent with her in the past and she had a domestic violence injunction against him, she had no idea of his criminal record.
19:29 She had no idea that he had been arrested in 92.
19:33 No idea that he had served time in prison.
19:37 But again, he had been violent against her and that was the reason for them separating in September was because of his violence.
19:47 And then that's when she took the injunction out.
19:50 Hill was arrested after he attempted to shoot Milligan before Rucker's body was found.
19:59 He was already in jail.
20:01 Thank God.
20:02 And on November 16th, deputies filed additional charges against him accusing him of shooting into an occupied dwelling criminal mischief, possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon and violation of a domestic violence injunction.
20:22 We are still kind of waiting to see what happens with this guy.
20:26 It hasn't been that long.
20:28 He remains in jail.
20:31 You know, another thing that we can be thankful for our cell phones.
20:36 Sometimes we hate them, but we have to love them when they actually pinging cell towers to help us indicate where somebody's at.
20:45 It's a great resource to help the police collect data as well.
20:51 He remains in jail, and he will not be able to get out on bond.
20:57 They're still investigating this.
20:59 Shakira Rucker was only 37 and had four Children.
21:07 Her GoFundMe page raised about $35,000 it looks like.
21:15 And this was posted by her sister Deidra Shakira's Children were 79, 16 and 18.
21:24 This is senseless violence.
21:27 We all know that these love triangles do not turn out well in most cases.
21:35 But there was another case that actually occurred in Pennsylvania where Jan Gerardo who was 48 years old broke into the home of Meredith Chapman who was 33 and ambushed her when she returned home.
21:53 And this was back in April of 2018.
21:58 They think that Gerardo may have worn a disguise, but she sent her husband text messages kind of revealing her revenge plan.
22:08 Both women were found dead when police arrived.
22:12 In response to 911 calls, the gunwoman’s body was found in the kitchen not far from Mrs. Chapman's body and two bullets had been fired.
22:23 There was a lot of blood and Mr. Gerardo was outside of the property because he received the disturbing text from his wife.
22:34 He knew that she would be inside.
22:36 He had planned to meet his lover for dinner that evening, but she didn't arrive; Mrs. Gerardo was lying in wait for her victim.
22:49 Meredith Chapman was married to Luke Chapman, but they were not together at the time of her death.
22:56 She was living alone.
22:58 She was seeing Mr. Gerardo who was married, and the wife knew about it and had calculated and planned this attack.
23:07 They suspect that Mrs. Gerardo broke through Chapman's front door and cleaned up the glass so that when Chapman got home, she wouldn't suspect that her home had been broken into Gerardo who was armed with a Taurus 357 revolver.
23:23 You know, they said may have been wearing a wig as a disguise, kind of just waited for her and shot her when she got home.
23:30 Police responded to the residents after numerous calls, Gerardo had a rental car that she had taken over there, and investigators found binoculars and ammunition and rubber gloves and ear plugs and different things in the rental car.
23:48 You know, indicating that she was up to no good.
23:52 Chapman was a senior marketing director at the University of Delaware where she'd been Gerardo supervisor for Mr. Gerardo.
24:03 She had recently been hired as assistant Vice President of Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
24:09 She posted on Instagram a couple of hours before her death that she was excited about starting her new job.
24:16 Chapman was married to Luke Chapman, a former city council member in Newark Delaware but was not living with him again at the time, Mr. Gerardo would sometimes post pictures of his wife on his Instagram and would make comments that he was a lucky guy all the time.
24:33 He was cheating on her.
24:35 This reminds me of a lot of stories that we see on Instagram of influencers who not only influencers but just people in general, we only see the good things on Facebook.
24:49 No one wants to hear that someone's depressed or of course they tell us their dog died.
24:54 I get a lot of my dog died messages on Facebook, but no one really wants to tell the bad things about their life.
25:03 They don't want to mention those things.
25:06 We don't want people to think that we're imperfect even though we all are perfectly imperfect.
25:12 But again, you know, things aren't always as they seem, a lot of people who appear happy on the internet are truly having problems and are not as happy as they make themselves out to be.
25:26 But we all know that's the case.
25:28 We all know that everybody's life is not good and perfect all the time.
25:33 That was the case with the Gerardo’s.
25:37 It's not surprising the love triangles never turn out good.
25:41 I found that interesting and of course, Mr. Gerardo didn't commit a crime.
25:45 I mean, he was cheating on his wife and I'm sure he didn't make any new friends because of this incident.
25:51 He basically is free to start over.
25:55 I don't know, sometimes it's not fair, sometimes it's just not fair.
25:58 But anyway, there's nothing we can do about it.
26:01 I will be here in North Dakota for a couple more days and I think the weather is supposed to remain beautiful as it has been according to residents supposed to be in the twenties.
26:13 I don't think they're supposed to get any more snow.
26:15 We'll be here a couple more days.
26:17 I know that Christmas is right around the corner.
26:19 My next episode is going to air on the 27th, which is the Wednesday after Christmas.
26:25 We won't see y'all again until after the holidays.
26:30 I hope everyone tries to stay warm.
26:32 Most importantly, enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, and have a very safe holiday season.
26:41 I have decided while we're on this trip that I'm going to do stockings again.
26:47 This year, I had kind of gotten away from it because I'm very bad at finding items small enough to put in a stocking.
26:54 But this year I am going to concentrate on doing that because I feel like when I was a child, I loved getting my stocking.
27:03 I wanted to open it before I opened my gifts that were wrapped because I always had the cutest little knickknacks in my stocking, and I may not have even used them most of the time. I loved Hello Kitty when I was a kid and my granddaughter loves Hello Kitty.
27:19 It's just kind of fun.
27:20 It's fun shopping for stocking stuffers and for small things that people can use.
27:26 And hopefully this year I won't end up dumping my stocking into a box because all the items are too big to fit in it.
27:33 But that's my plan.
27:35 I just think that's fun.
27:37 And we have seen so many cool fun games on Tik Tok and Instagram and Facebook reels that we are going to play as well.
27:47 I think that's kind of fun.
27:49 We did one yesterday and it was really enjoyable.
27:51 And even for adults, it is just a blast.
27:54 Anyway, I hope everyone just has a very enjoyable holiday season.
27:59 Stay safe, and I look forward to talking to y'all next week.
28:04 Thank you so much for joining me today on Pushing Up Lilies.
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28:15 This helps to make the podcast more visible to the public.
28:19 Thanks again for spending your time with me and be sure to visit me at PushingUpLilies.com for merchandise and past episodes.