The Scales of Justice Worked Overtime When a Popular Reptile Breeder Was Murdered

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Mar. 24 2023, Updated 3:54 p.m. ET

Lynlee and Ben Renick
Source: Facebook /Ben Renick

Lynlee and Ben Renick

On June 8, 2017, Lynlee Renick called 911 after finding her husband, snake breeder Ben Renick, dead inside the breeding facility where he kept his snakes. Authorities first believed that one of Ben Renick's snakes was responsible for his tragic death, but the crime scene told a different story. During the 911 call, Lynlee sounds hysterical as she screams, "My husband's on the ground and there's blood everywhere." But, was it all a carefully crafted performance? Where is Lynlee Renick now? Dateline is set to examine the story.

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What happened to Ben Renick?

After Ben Renick was found dead inside his snake's breeding facility during the summer of 2017, authorities first suspected that he had been accidentally killed by one of his snakes. However when the coroner's report returned, it revealed that Ben Renick had actually died by gunshot, pivoting the case to a murder investigation.

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Authorities struggled to piece together what happened to him, because whoever killed him covered their tracks pretty well.

Then, on Jan.16, 2020, after almost three years of radio silence, the case picked up again. Per a news release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Ben Renick's wife, Lynlee Renick, and a man by the name of Michael Humphrey (who we later learn is Lynlee's ex-boyfriend), were arrested and taken into custody on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

On Dec. 9, 2021, the truth unraveled as a jury found Lynlee Renick guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action, according to the Colombia Missourian. She was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Jan. 24, 2022. Per the outlet, the prosecution claimed she killed her husband to benefit from his $1 million life insurance policy.

Humphrey had assisted her in the murder and was sentenced separately.

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Where is Lynlee Renick now?

As of the time of this writing, Lynlee is currently serving her sentence at the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Chillicothe, Mo. Despite being in prison, Lynlee still found the time to sue another ex-boyfriend. According to the Columbia Missourian, Lynlee filed a defamation suit against Brandon Blackwell in February 2022. Court documents obtained by the outlet said Blackwell spoke with Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators in January 2020 about Lynlee. He told them that she had confessed to murdering her husband, Ben.

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In this lawsuit, Lynlee claims that the statements he made were "false and were made maliciously for the purpose of causing injury" to her reputation. She believes they subjected her to arrest and eventual incarceration, criminal prosecution, and the loss of custody of her children.

Lynlee and Blackwell dated prior to her husband's death, as well as some time after. They share one child together, but do not have a good relationship anymore.

At the time that Blackwell tipped off investigators to Lynlee, he was serving time in jail for stalking charges against her. She also claims he violated an order of protection she had filed against him. The lawsuit is still pending but Lynlee almost had another day in court. The Columbia Missourian also reported that on Monday Jan. 9, 2023, Lynlee "dropped her appeal of the conviction and her 16-year sentence." There was no further explanation regarding this decision.

For more information on this story, tune into Dateline Friday, March 24, at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

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