Rhonda Casto joked that her boyfriend would push her of a cliff before falling to her death during a hike.
An aspiring model who fell to her death while hiking with her boyfriend in Oregon in 2009, joked with the family members before her death that her partner would give her a ring, or “throw me in a ditch.”
Rhonda Casto, 23, was discovered dead at the bottom of a ravine in March 2009. She was hiking on the Eagle Creek Trail in Oregon with her friend, Steve Nichols. The young mother’s death turned out to be an accident, but an investigation was launched after Castos’ family felt Nichols had something to do with her family.
Casto, the family also said the young mother made a cryptic explanation for her death Nichols, who is the father of their daughter, Ava.
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“They told my mother and my sister” and he is, or give me a call or throw me in a ditch, ha ha ha,'” Julia Simmons, Casto’s mother, told Maria Elena Salinas on her show “The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas.” “They made a joke of.”
Simmons does not believe that her daughter was a joke about Nichols. Following Casto’s death her family went to the police and said she believed Nichols pushed the young woman.
“We told him [the detective] we believe that Steve pushed her,” Simmons told Salinas. “This is not a coincidence.”
Steve Nichols was hiking with Rhonda Casto at the time of her death.
(Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities )
Simmons said authorities listened to the family’s account, but excluded them see Nichols.
“The police would not let me see him, because she knew I was furious,” Simmons said.
Nichols was arrested in February of 2015, nearly six years after Casto’s death, charged with murder in connection with his girlfriend’s death. The Oregonian reported Nichols increased the term of the insurance on Casto $1 million months before her death.
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However, the Oregon Supreme court an interview with Nichols after his arrest was inadmissible. A lead detective also destroyed the crime scene and the autopsy photos. The indictment against Nichols was dropped in May 2017. As part of a plea deal, Nichols pled guilty to criminal negligence murder and coercion. Under the plea deal, Nichols received three years of probation, with credit for 19 months of jail time.
Nichols claimed that he had nothing to do with his girlfriend’s death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.