On Your Side Investigators: Family of dead woman found

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The On Your Side Investigators have found the family of a woman who a former Richmond Police detective says was murdered. The death was ruled natural causes, but this detective says a serial killer confessed to it and he was ordered to cover it up.

The family saw our reports and reached out to us. It was their relative, Rachel Henshaw, who detective Ron Reed claims was murdered by the notorious Golden Years serial killer.

Henshaw's surviving family members have asked for privacy and not to be identified. They did want us to report that they are grateful Ron Reed came forward and they forgive him.

For 17 years, a shocking secret tormented former detective Reed.

"What he told me haunts me, and going to the scene of everyone of them haunts me," said Reed. He claims serial killer Leslie Leon Burchart confessed to more murders than he was ever charged with or convicted of back in 1996. There was one death that stuck with Reed: an elderly woman in an adult care facility called Kensington Gardens.

"I want to notify the people in Kensington Gardens that their mother was murdered. I want them to know the truth." Reed says he was ordered to keep quiet to keep the homicide rate down. He retired a year later, but what he heard Burchart tell him in that interrogation room never left him.

He says, "I should have told the guy the truth and let them fire me. Just give up my retirement and say alright I'm gone."

Reed says Burchart told him about a woman lying in a bed with an oxygen mask. Burchart described removing that mask, watching her suffocate, and then leaving the room. After our stories aired, Richmond Police finally revealed that the woman was 81 year old Rachel Henshaw. She died on June 20th 1996. Her death is still considered to be from natural causes, but Reed says Burchart admitted to killing her.

After we aired a story revealing Henshaw's name, her surviving relatives contacted us.

They gave us a picture of Rachel. It's from her younger days-- long before her death in 1996.

NBC12 met with one of the family members a few days ago. She told us she was absolutely stunned to hears Ron's confession. She says it's been painful-- but she also wants Ron to know they have forgiven him for any actions he may have taken at the time. They want him to put to rest any feelings of guilt.

Ron says his only goal in coming forward was to tell the family his truth.

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Golden Years cover up  investigation