81-Year-Old Florida Resident Forced to Return to Canada to Face a 50-Year-Old Murder Charge

By: Lauren | Last updated: Nov 02, 2023

In a wild turn of events, an 81-year-old Florida resident is being extradited to Canada after confessing to the murder of a young woman 50 years ago in Ontario.

Finally identified, justice may be served for the woman who was strangled and left in the Nation River in 1975.

The “Nation River Lady”

In 1975, the Ontario police found a woman’s body in the Nation River, and for almost 50 years, they had no idea who it belonged to.


Source: YouTube

Her hands and ankles were tied with neckties, her head was covered with a towel and tablecloth, and a cable wire was tied around her neck, but authorities could not figure out who the woman was or who had done this to her.


Finally, Technology Allowed for a Breakthrough in the Case

But finally, in 2021, new DNA technology led the Ontario police department to exhume the victim’s body and analyze hers as well as any residual DNA.


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And fortunately, they were able to use this DNA testing to identify the woman who has been considered a Jane Doe for 50 years.

Lalla Jewel Langford: The Nation River Lady

Now identified as Lalla Jewel Langford, the woman killed and left in the Nation River in 1975, was a beloved member of her community in Jackson, Tennessee before she moved to Canada just a few weeks before she was murdered.


Source: YouTube

Thanks to the new DNA technology available, Langford’s body was able to be identified, stressing the importance of forensic science in criminal cases.

DNA Technology Truly Solved the Case

While the police certainly wanted to identify who this woman was after all these years, they also hoped that the DNA technology would lead them to her killer.


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And according to the police, they found the DNA of one man on Langford’s body: Rodney Mervyn Nichols.

The Ontario Police Headed to Florida

With this new information, the Canadian police headed to Florida where Nichols was residing at the North-Lake Retirement Home, an assisted living facility for the elderly.

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During their conversation, Nichols apparently confessed to the murder by identifying that the neckties used to bind the victim were in fact his.


How Did Nichols and Langford Know Each Other?

While the confession and the DNA evidence are certainly enough to charge Nichols with the murder of Lalla Jewel Langford, it’s also important to understand that these two people were not strangers.

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In fact, Nichols and Langford were dating and even living together in Montreal at the time of her disappearance.


Why Didn’t the Police Pursue Nichols as a Suspect?

It’s widely understood that when it comes to missing women, their romantic partner is the first suspect. However, in this case, the police didn’t assume that Nichols was responsible for Langford’s disappearance.

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Apparently, in 1975, after Langford was reported missing, they questioned Nichols and he reported that his girlfriend had moved to Vancouver, and that was that.


What Police Now Believe Happened in 1975

The police now believe that Langford moved in with Nichols in April of 1975, and he murdered her within just a few weeks.

Source: Wikipedia

According to the autopsy, Langford suffered from “two fracture injuries to [her] larynx” and as there was no water in her lungs, they assume she was strangled before being dumped haphazardly in the Nation River.


Some Argue That Nichols’ Dementia Negates His Confession

Although all signs are pointing to Nichols as the murderer, his lawyers as well as some people following the story argue that his confession should not be considered as evidence.

Source: YouTube

Because Nichols suffers from dementia, they’re claiming that his identification of the neckties used to tie up Langford is not a valid confession.


Still, Police Have Requested Nichols Be Extradited and Tried in Canada

There is obviously enough evidence even without the confession as Nichols’ DNA was found on Langford’s exhumed body for him to be tried for murder.

Source: Sirachai Arungrugstichai/Getty Images

So the Canadian government has requested that the US send Nichols back to Ontario in order to do so.


Many Hope That Langford Will Finally See Justice

Even though Rodney Mervyn Nichols is now 81 years old, those who knew and loved Lalla Jewel Langford are hoping that he will soon be officially charged and tried for her murder.

Source: YouTube

While he got away with his crime for almost 50 years, many are hoping that justice will finally be served.