You may recall just over a year ago when we reported a Pasco man who had been missing for some time was declared a homicide victim.

Now, his girlfried and another man have formally been charged with a variety of ID theft and fraud charges related to his EBT welfare card.

December 13th 2018, then 24-year-old Nathan Rich was arrested on a warrant. He was later released December 15th, and has not been seen since. His girlfriend, 41-year-old  Mira F. Fitzhugh and 34-year-old Corey G. Silva began to use his EBT welfare card around three months later; that was about the time Rich did not show up for a court case in Spokane. That was March 2019. His family reported him missing, saying it was unusual because attorneys said there was evidence he would have won the case.

A friend had told a Pasco Detective, Julie Lee, that Rich had packed up and headed off to Nevada on foot to visit relatives, this story was corroborated by Fitzhugh and Silva. But Dectective Lee didn't believe that, because Rich had no car or other means to get there.

Fitzhugh and Silva were found to have fraudulently re-activated Rich's dormant EBT card, and made a number of purchases with it before state officials discovered the fraud and shut it down in September 2019.

Fast forward to 2020, when Lee and Pasco Police declared Rich to be a homicide victim. Due to the still ongoing investigation, they did not reveal a lot of information, but believe he never left the area. They believe he is buried somewhere, but use of cadaver dogs have not turned up any evidence.

Fitzhugh and Silva are now formally facing Second Degree ID theft, financial fraud, unlawful possession of payment instruments (the card) and first degree welfare theft by fraud. All are felony charges.

Rich's EBT card was found in Fitzhugh's possession one year after she reported him missing. Fitzhugh has admitted to reactivating the benefits and using all the money on the card, and Silva has admitted helping her. But he lawyered up when asked what name he used when he called DSHS to reactivate the benefits.

From what Police have said, it appears no evidence (or not enough) tying fraud suspects to man vanishing (PPD)
From what Police have said, it appears no evidence (or not enough) tying fraud suspects to man vanishing (PPD)

In addition, video surveillance shows Fitzhugh using the card at various area grocery stores. Rich was never seen using his card after his disappearance.

The two have both denied any part in Rich's disappearance. Anyone who may have any information is urged to call (509)-628-0333.

To read the original story about Rich being declared a homicide victim, click on the button below.

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