CALLOWAY COUNTY Mo – After 36 years, the cold case of Ricky Ridings has finally been solved, thanks to the efforts of the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office. In 1981, the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting death of Ricky Ridings, whose body was discovered near Portland, Missouri. 

Despite their efforts in 1981, the case went cold. However, a breakthrough occurred in 2017 when they received information from Conrad Schmitt III.

Conrad Schmitt III, photo by Missouri Department of Corrections

Schmitt III, who had been serving a life sentence since 1995 for an unrelated murder, confessed to the killing of Ricky Ridings during a recorded prison phone call. 

In 2018, Ridings’ body was exhumed to reevaluate the evidence. The Ridings’ family was notified of the new developments in their case, and further witnesses were interviewed. 

The case reached its conclusion on August 20, 2023, when Schmitt III pleaded guilty to murder. As part of the plea deal, he provided specific details and answered the family’s questions, granting them the closure they had long sought. 

Prosecuting Attorney Ben Miller said, “This case presented a rare opportunity to offer the closure the Ridings family rightfully deserved—closure in comprehending the circumstances surrounding Ricky’s tragic fate. At the end of the sentencing, the Ridings family thanked Mr. Schmitt for his candor regarding his role in Ricky’s murder, demonstrating a remarkable and extremely unique instance of restorative justice.