Orleans man accused of killing wife

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ORLEANS, Vt. (WCAX) Police say a woman is dead and her husband, who is hospitalized, will be charged with second-degree murder.

It happened during an apparent domestic dispute Tuesday night in Orleans.

Investigators say they got a call around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday from Thea Swartz who claimed her husband, Randall Swartz, was drinking and aiming a gun at her.

"Shortly after this on a 911 call, a gunshot was heard. And approximately four minutes after, another gunshot was heard," Vt. State Police Capt. Dan Trudeau said.

Police forced their way into the home, finding Randall Swartz, 58, alive on the floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the torso. Soon after, they identified Thea Swartz, 54, dead on the floor.

Reporter Ike Bendavid: Was there any history of abuse leading up to this?
Capt. Dan Trudeau: There is no documented abuse that we have located between these two persons.

Wednesday evening, police said an arrest warrant was issued for Randall Swartz on suspicion of second-degree murder in his wife's death.

Police say no one else was in the home at the time.

"They were common, everyday people like us, going in and out of their homes, doing this and that," said Trella Legacy, a neighbor.

The quiet neighborhood woke up to crime scene tape. Legacy lives just two houses away. Her daughter told her what happened.

"She said, 'Mom, we got a crime scene next door,'" Legacy said. "I said, 'What are you talking about?' She said, 'We got neighbors that just got murdered.' I went, 'Oh, my god.'"

Police said Randall Swartz was reported to be stable at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and he is expected to survive.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thea Swartz.

Randall Swartz is no stranger to authorities. The former long-time Cabot cheese employee was investigated by the FBI last year for allegedly stealing machine parts from the company and using them in a side business selling maple syrup production equipment.

Here are previous WCAX News reports on Randall Swartz:

May 12, 2017

We have learned new details about accusations of embezzlement at the Cabot Creamery. In March, we told you the FBI was investigating an employee at the world-famous cheesemaker. Now, Investigative Reporter Jennifer Costa has dug up court documents revealing more about the case.

The scheme involves a longtime manager at Cabot who allegedly used his power and access to company money to prop up his own maple syrup side business. According to court documents, a whistleblower who worked for him was key to unraveling this seven-year swindle.

The federal court document wasn't easy to find. It was listed under an address rather than a name. It is an application for a search warrant for Randy Swartz's home. WCAX News has learned Swartz is the employee Cabot fired in February for allegedly stealing from the company. He's now the subject of an FBI investigation. We found out the feds raided his Orleans home in March. They were looking for evidence of fraud.

Swartz was the maintenance manager at Cabot, in charge of all construction projects, site work and machinery at the creamery. He worked there for more than 20 years.

Court papers reveal that in January one of his employees filed a complaint accusing his boss of ordering machine parts to make reverse osmosis machines for his personal sugaring business. Records show these purchases were made with Cabot's money. Reverse osmosis machines are pricey, selling for $30,000-$60,000 apiece. The machines purify raw maple sap, turning it into concentrated syrup.

A whistleblower told the feds that since 2010, Swartz directed some Cabot employees to build the RO machines for him while they were on the clock. Sometimes the work took place at Cabot; other times, they left to work in Swartz's garage where the machines were installed and maintained. His business is Kingdom Reverse Osmosis.

Informants told the FBI Swartz has allegedly built eight RO machines on Cabot's dime. Banking receipts show he even sold one of them back to Cabot for almost $20,000.

We obtained records that show police seized related machine parts, tools, memory cards, computers and business financial documents from his home, evidence the FBI will likely use to build its fraud case.

A criminal complaint has not been filed in federal court. That means, right now, Swartz is not facing any criminal charges.

Cabot declined to comment for our story and our calls to Randy Swartz and his lawyer were not returned before this story was published.

March 2, 2017

There are accusations of embezzlement at the Cabot Creamery and tonight we've learned the FBI is involved.

Vermont State Police got the case two weeks ago. Officials at the world-famous cheesemaker tell us it's an ongoing investigation based on information Cabot provided to authorities. The company isn't commenting further.

State Police would not tell us who is being investigated or how much money may have been stolen, in part, because they're trying to get a handle on the scope of this alleged embezzlement scheme.