“Former Rugby Player Accused of Strangling Girlfriend, Dumping Tied-Up Body in Nation River: Canadian Authorities”

By | August 18, 2023

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Canadian authorities are seeking the extradition of 81-year-old Rodney Nichols, a former rugby player and Florida resident, for the murder of his girlfriend, Jewell Parchman Langford, in 1975. Langford’s body was found in the Nation River in Ontario, and Nichols allegedly confessed to the crime during an interview in 2022. Nichols’ lawyer claims his client suffers from dementia and disputes the validity of his alleged confession. The extradition request was filed in September 2022, and Nichols is currently awaiting trial in Florida. If convicted, he could face life in prison. CBC reported

Canadian authorities assert that a former rugby player is believed to have strangled his girlfriend in Montreal and disposed of her body in the Nation River in eastern Ontario in 1975. Court documents filed in Florida claim that Rodney Nichols, the defendant, allegedly committed the murder after discovering that Jewell Parchman Langford had lied to him about her age. At the time of her death, Langford, a native of Tennessee, was 48 years old, while Nichols, based in Montreal, was 32. For nearly five decades, she was known only as the “Nation River Lady” as law enforcement authorities struggled to identify her. Now, Canadian authorities are urging the US government to extradite the 81-year-old Florida resident, hoping that he will face justice in Ontario. The case has frustrated law enforcement authorities for almost 50 years.

As part of the extradition proceedings in the United States, affidavits from the Ontario Crown prosecutor and the lead investigator from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have been submitted. These documents, which have not been proven in court, allege that Nichols confessed to the murder during an interview with OPP investigators at his home last year, stating that it was time for him “to come clean.” Nichols also agreed to provide a DNA sample, which was later linked to a trace of blood found on a cloth tied around Langford’s head when her body was discovered.

Furthermore, investigators believe that Nichols knowingly deceived Montreal police in June 1975 to conceal his involvement in his girlfriend’s disappearance. He falsely claimed to have spoken to Langford and stated that she was in Vancouver, while her body had been found a month earlier in the Nation River. Traces of blood were discovered on the bridge over the river at the time. The coroner’s findings determined that Langford died from strangulation.

Nichols’ lawyer disputes the validity of the actions taken by the OPP, citing his client’s advanced dementia. The lawyer argues that Nichols’ alleged confession was obtained without considering his mental state and is therefore unreliable. Additionally, questions have been raised about the procedure used to obtain Nichols’ DNA sample. Despite these arguments, Nichols’ request for release on bail during the extradition proceedings was unsuccessful.

The extradition request was filed in September 2022, shortly after Nichols was formally charged with murder in Ontario. The case is currently being heard in a Florida court, where Nichols has resided for several years. He was arrested at the request of Canadian authorities last month. Nichols has not yet entered a plea, and if extradited, the case will be scheduled for court in Ontario.

The breakthrough in the case came in 2020 when the OPP identified the woman whose body was discovered in 1975 through advancements in DNA technology and genetic genealogy. This led Montreal police to join the investigation since Langford’s family reported her disappearance in Montreal in 1975. At the time, the connection between her reported disappearance and the unidentified woman’s body found in Ontario was not made.

According to affidavits submitted to US authorities, Nichols and Langford met in Florida in January 1975. They purchased a house in Westmount, Montreal and moved in together in April. However, Langford’s family lost contact with her after April 22, and her body was discovered in the Nation River on May 3. Her hands and wrists were bound with neckties, and towels were wrapped around her head and tied around her neck.

During an interview with police in 2022, Nichols claimed that Langford lied about her age in 1975, which led to a heated argument between them. When confronted with evidence of Langford’s tied-up body, Nichols identified the neckties as belonging to him. Nichols was informed of his right to a lawyer but chose to speak to police regardless. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 to 20 years. The extradition matter will return to court in Florida in September..