The Tina Ricca Murder
Excerpted from the CentreView (Centreville, Va.) 8/11/94
Right from the start, said John Ricca, the investigation into his daughter's Nov. 6 murder at the construction site of the Rockwell International building
in Westfields was "shrouded in secrecy."
He received little information about how she died and nine months after her murder the police have still not found her killer.
Now, says Ricca, it all makes sense.
It was revealed this week that the Rockwell site where his daughter Tina worked as a security guard was actually a front for the headquarters of the
super-secret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The CIA and the Defense Department jointly oversee the NRO-which manages America's spy satellites-and its existence was kept top secret until two years ago.
On Monday, President Clinton declassified the NRO headquarters' existence, after many senators complained no one had told them of the project's
magnitude and cost. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was upset to discover the building was estimated to cost $350 million-nearly twice what they'd been told it would.
Ricca has little sympathy for them, saying they "only lost money-I lost a daughter."
Fairfax County Police Lt. Dennis Wilson with the homicide squad said Ricca's body was found in a temporary construction trailer not part of the NRO
complex. He said police didn't know then that the complex was anything but a Rockwell facility, but said that fact has no bearing on the investigation.
But to Ricca, of Falls Church, it does have bearing, and "makes it even more believable why things have gone the way they have. It's making more sense by the minute why I haven't gotten any information."
Tina Ricca, 27, was employed as a security guard by Vance International of Oakton and had worked at the Rockwell site on Chantilly's Lee Road almost two years. She'd just been offered a job by Rockwell in Australia and was looking forward to beginning it.
She'd already finished her own eight-hour shift and was filling in for a co-worker away on National Guard duty when her life was ended by a bullet to the upper part of her body.
Police decline to reveal the type or caliber of weapon used or specify exactly where she was shot. But she wasn't wearing the bullet proof vest she usually
wore, and both her gun and radio were missing.
Police have not ascribed a motive for her murder, but the ClA's involvement in the building, Ricca said, brings possible scenarios to mind. Perhaps, he
said, his daughter saw something she shouldn't have. It also might explain, he said, why there was an approximately 2 1/2-hour gap between the time she
was shot and the time Vance reported it.
"It gave the CIA plenty of time to destroy whatever evidence there was before the police got on the scene," said Ricca.
CIA spokeswoman Suzanne Wheeler Klein said Wednesday, "We don't have any information and don't have any comment on it."
There's also a question whether the FBI was involved in the murder investigation. Although FBI officials have denied they're a part of it, Ricca said he understands the FBI was on the scene before the police and later questioned some possible suspects. After the murder, he said, both the police and Vance had difficulty getting into the site.
If you've got the CIA and a real top-secret thing like the NRO," he said, "why in the world did they have one guard out there? There was only one guard
on duty besides her, and there was supposed to be four. They should have had more." He also plans to contact the Senate, Congress and President Clinton,
but doubts if, ultimately it'll get him anywhere.
Ricca said "If [the CIA] doesn't want Congress and the Ways and Means Committee to know what happened," he said, "they're surely not going to tell
me─especially if they're involved in it."
Although police are saying the slain guard’s body was found in a construction trailer, Ricca said they told him she was actually found in a blue, modular
building. If she was in the trailer, he said, the other guard would have been with her.
He also said the room she was in had working computers in it, and he believes, "at the very minimum, those computers contained the drawings of the building, and that was top secret." Yet, he said, police told him when the FBI let them in, there was nothing on the computers.
To get through each day, he focuses on his job (ironically, he's a general manager for a construction company that's a prime contractor to the federal government), his wife and his children….
The murder is still unsolved, and the Post is yet to write a word about it. The building complex, by the way, has a quite high, secure fence around it. It
would not have been easy for an intruder to make it in over the fence.
David Martin, September 26, 1998