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Only child of man brutally murdered posts $10K reward

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Only child of man  brutally murdered  posts $10K reward

Clayton "Cotton" Riggins


POSTED December 4, 2009 3:17 a.m.
LATHROP – Rhonda Rallios went before the Lathrop City Council this week to ask the public’s help in bringing justice to the pre-Thanksgiving brutal murder of her father in Tracy.

The Lathrop resident and mother of six was the only child of Clayton “Cotton” Riggins, 72, who was found beaten to death at his home in Tracy. Her father lived in Lathrop in a two-story house for many years before he went back to the family’s old one-story house in Tracy two years ago. Rallios, who is the daughter-in-law of French Camp Fire District Chief Richard Rallios, said her father had hip problems and was having trouble going up and down the stairs at his house in Lathrop so he moved back to Tracy.

The suspects in the beating death of her father are still at large.

Rallios has been distributing the reward flyers all over South San Joaquin County with the help of family and friends. The flyer is seeking “information that leads to the identification and arrest of the person or persons who brutally murdered Clayton ‘Cotton’ Riggins.”

Anyone who has information about the “brutal homicide” and wants to collect the reward is asked to call the Tracy Crime Stoppers at (209) 831-6847 or the Tracy Police Department.

Rallios said her father’s bloodied body was found by one of his neighbors who grew concerned because the hood of her father’s car was suspiciously up. The neighbor then “looked through the window and saw him.” That was Tuesday, Nov. 17. He was believed to have murdered between Nov. 15 and 17. Rallios said the last time she talked to her father was the Friday before his body was found.

“He called me and asked me to have lunch,” which they often did from time to time, she said.

Tracy police are following a number of leads as the investigation continues. Rallios said some guns and collectible coins were found stolen during the commission of the crime at her father’s home.

While the investigation continues, Rallios along with family and friends are continuing to distribute and post copies of the reward offer.

“I’m blessed with wonderful family and friends,” she said.

One of those friends, Tamara Edwards, was at the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Thursday night at the Lathrop Community Center helping distribute copies of the flyer.

The funeral for Rallios’ father was held last week. But that has not brought any “closure” to the family’s grief, she said.

“We want this behind us and begin our healing process, and until we know what happened, we can’t stop healing.”

During her address before the council, Rallios described his father as one who was a “staunch supporter of all nonprofits in town” during the years he lived in Lathrop. Her father lost his wife 20 years ago but he continued to live independently despite his hip problems. He was retired from the Southern Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific) where he worked as a brakeman and conductor.

Prior to his death, “he was very mobile, independent; he was fine,” Rallios said of her father at the council meeting.

“Please help us with the closure,” she pleaded.

Expressing her sympathies to the family, Mayor Kristy Sayles said, “No family should live through the trauma that you’ve had.”

Rallios said $1,000 in the reward money is from Crime Stoppers. The $10,000 was raised by family members and donations from various people.
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