On the first anniversary of their son’s killing, Seth Rich’s parents called on the public to “cease using Seth as a political football in predetermined partisan narratives.”
In a statement, the family noted the “futility of the request,” but said the false information surrounding the slaying last July and the subsequent harassment of their family and friends do “nothing to bring justice to his killers.”
Rich, a Nebraska native, was shot July 10, 2016, in Northwest Washington’s Bloomingdale neighborhood. D.C. police have repeatedly said they think Rich was killed in a random robbery attempt, but several conspiracy theories have emerged about his death. No arrests have been made.
Rich, 27, had worked at the Democratic National Committee. Fox News and right-wing commentators and activists have helped to promulgate conspiracy theories surrounding his death, including that he had leaked work emails to WikiLeaks before he was fatally shot near his home.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, for example, had latched on to the idea that Rich — not Russia — was the source of the massive DNC email hack and release last year.
Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary Ann Rich, have denied this claim and urged people to work with D.C. police, formally known as the Metropolitan Police Department, on the case.
“We are compelled to address those who are claiming to help by undertaking private ‘investigations,’ staging reenactments, or traveling to Seth’s old neighborhood to perform interviews,” reads the statement, which was signed by Rich’s parents and brother, Aaron. “Our request is that anyone with information about Seth’s murder share such information with MPD, which is the law enforcement agency authorized by law to perform this investigation.”
The family’s statement also draws attention to scholarships and memorials established in their son’s name. Scholarships have been set up at Rich’s summer camp in Wisconsin, Camp Ramah. The Seth Conrad Rich Memorial Scholarship Endowment will be awarded to a student at Rich’s alma mater, Creighton University.
The Nebraska Society of Washington, D.C. has established a fund in Rich’s name to provide financial assistance to an intern from Nebraska working in the District.
“All of this is to say that despite so much that our family has gone through this year, that Seth’s legacy of public service, his determination to make the world a better place and his genuine desire to foster engagement among Americans of all ages persists, and it serves as a comfort to our family in a dark time,” the statement said.