The murder of Cynthia Roth by her husband, Randolph “Randy” Roth, is spotlighted in the latest episode of Diabolical on Investigation Discovery.
On July 23, 1991, Randy took his fourth wife and their two sons from previous marriages to Lake Sammamish, about eight miles from Seattle, Washington. When they got there, Randy and Cynthia got on an inflatable raft and headed out, leaving their children playing in the lake.
When they returned, Randy was paddling while Cynthia laid lifeless at the bottom of the raft. He told lifeguards that while she was swimming, she developed a leg cramp and was unable to get back onto the boat.
Randy said as he tried to help her onto the raft, a powerboat sped by and knocked the raft over and causing Cynthia to drown.
Once they reached the shore, lifeguards and paramedics tried desperately to revive Cynthia but to no avail. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her body was transported to a local medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. The results did not suggest foul play, but investigators were suspicious as her $385,000 life insurance policy listed Randy as the beneficiary.
Not only that, but police said Cynthia wasn’t the only wife to die under mysterious circumstances. In 1981, Randy’s second wife, Janis, died after falling off a cliff while hiking. He told authorities that she slipped and fell.
Her death was ruled an accident, and he later collected a $100,000 life insurance policy.
An investigation revealed that there were inconsistencies in Randy’s account of what happened to Cynthia. When investigators tried to reenact the events that up to the drowning, they determined that her death could not have happened the way Randy claimed it did.
He was arrested on October 10, 1991, on charges of first-degree murder and theft to which he pled not guilty.
Following a trial, Randy was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
He appealed his conviction, but it was denied.
Diabolical — Murder Is No Accident, airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.