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News: Kristin's Murderer Formally Charged
Published Oct 17, 2006

The InvestigationMurderer is charged in '00 death at rest stop


Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2006


MORRILTON — Prosecutors charged convicted killer Ronald James Ward with first-degree murder, saying he raped and stabbed 25-year-old Kristin Laurite to death as she exercised her dogs at a rest stop here on an August afternoon six years ago.

Because he was not charged with the more serious crime of capital murder, Ward would not face the death penalty.

Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum Jr. said at a news conference Friday morning that he did not think he had 'sufficient evidence" to prove all the elements of capital murder but he feels confident about the case.

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America's Most Wanted
Published Aug 31, 2005

The InvestigationAmerica's Most Wanted (AMW) has helped so many victims and their families through their hard work and dedication to victims. Our family would like to thank all of the many people who work for AMW for their tireless help and tremendous work. We are eternally grateful - thank you.

Following is a piece they recently posted about Kristin:

"Brutal Rest Stop Murder A Mystery"

"Family and friends say Kristin loved adventure. When adventurous 25-year-old Kristin Laurite planned a trip across the country all alone, it didn't surprise or frighten her family -- they say it was in her nature to pursue adventure. But the cross country trip would end up breaking their hearts and changing their lives forever.
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5 Year Anniversary of Kristin's Murder
Published Aug 31, 2005

The InvestigationAugust 25 marks the 5th anniversary of my daughter's murder. It is of great relief to finally know that Kristin's suspected killer is behind bars and no longer a part of society. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the other victims of this predator, as well as to all victims of violent crimes.

Kristin's killer is a coward who preys upon those who are physically weaker than him. He has changed so many people's lives by his savage acts. There are no words to express the pain that you feel when you lose a loved one by a violent act. I am comforted to know that this murderer cannot harm another person.

This year I would like everyone to celebrate Kristin's enthusiasm for life. Her spirit encourages me to enjoy the wonderful things that life still has to offer. However, I will never again feel the joy that only a child can bring into your life. I cherish all the memories I have with my daughter.

Again, I would like to thank all the people who have supported me since Kristin's death, most notably my family and close friends. I credit you all with my survival. I am extremely fortunate to have a close and loving family who are always there for me. My sister, Renee, has worked closely with law enforcement since the beginning, in search of Kristin's killer. She has never wavered in her determination to find this predator, and it finally paid off. I admire and am forever grateful to the AR State Police, the FBI and the Morrilton Sheriff's office for their undaunted pursuit of Kristin's killer.

Kristin's friends have also given me great comfort and support throughout the years and I love being a part of their lives. I am also very fortunate to have co-workers who have shown me extraordinary compassion and understanding over the past five years. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank everyone who has written into Kristin's website, for their heartfelt and endearing messages. Your words have given me tremendous comfort and hope. I truly believe that there are more good people than evil people in this world, as evidenced by your genuine kindness.

My family and I are so grateful that justice will be served for my daughter's murder.

I love you, Kristin.

Gratefully yours,


Kristin's Mom

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News: Related Article About Kristin's Murderer
Published Jul 29, 2005

The InvestigationArticle By Amy Upshaw and Jim Brooks

The Democrat-Gazette

MORRILTON — Investigators say a father of six who was born to a prostitute has been linked by genetic evidence to the 2000 rest-stop killing of Kristin Laurite , as well as to the unsolved deaths of two women in California.

The man, 39-year-old Ronald James Ward, was sentenced in June 2001 to life in prison in Montana for murdering a male acquaintance there for money. Ward has not been charged in the deaths of Laurite or the other women, and as of Friday afternoon, Ward had not been told of the reported DNA match, Conway County Sheriff Mark Flowers said.

"This case is far from over," Flowers said at a news conference in Morrilton on Friday morning. "We've still got a lot of work to do."

For one thing, investigators must prove that Ward was in Arkansas when Laurite was murdered. He was not a suspect until this month, when a California crime laboratory linked his DNA to the genetic material left at the crime scenes in the cases of Laurite and a California woman.

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News: Update from Kristin's Mother
Published Jul 23, 2005

The InvestigationMy family and I are relieved and comforted that a suspect has been apprehended and incarcerated. We will be trully saddened if other people have suffered the same fate as Kristin.

We are grateful to know that this suspected predator can no longer take another life. Although this is the day we have long awaited, it opens the deep wounds with renewed intensity.

We are sincerely appreciative to all law enforment officals involved in my daughters case. Clive Keeling, who sadly passed away, was the first detective on the case. He showed profound compassion for our family and took a personal interest in Kristin's case.

Most notably, I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Sergeant Mark Hollingsworth, with the ASP, who has worked diligently and tirelessly for the past four years in pursuit of Kristin's killer. I credit Sgt. Hollingsworth for his extraordinary determination, dedication and persistence in locating this suspected serial murderer.

Lastly, I want to give my genuine thanks to the media who have kept my daughter's story alive.

Thank you - we look forward to justice being served.

Lynn Dibenedetto (Kristin's Mother), and Family

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