St. Paris man pleads guilty to several charges related to death of missing Champaign County woman

Rodney Rider
Rodney Rider

A St. Paris man pleaded guilty in the Champaign County Common Pleas Court to several charges connected to the October death of a woman who had been reported missing.

Rodney Rider, 54, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and possession of criminal tools, according to court records. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 14. He remains in the Tri-County Regional Jail with a cash-only $500,000 bond.

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Whitney Hostler, 25, was reported missing Oct. 1, 2019, after she missed an appointment and had not been in contact with family or friends, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. She was last seen around 6 p.m. Sept. 30 leaving her residence in western Champaign County.

Whitney Hostler
Whitney Hostler

Hostler had not been in contact with any family members or friends, and they were concerned for her well-being after she missed an appointment, the sheriff’s office stated.

The sheriff’s office found Hostler’s body some time after she had been reported missing in a wooded ravine near Kiser Lake Road.

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The investigation into Hostler’s death led them to Rodney and Valerie Rider, who were both arrested around 4:30 a.m. Oct. 2.

Valerie Rider
Valerie Rider

Valerie Rider, 52, also was indicted on Oct. 5 on aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse, and three counts of possession of criminal tools, court records show. She remains in the Tri-County Regional Jail with a $1 million cash-only bond. Her final pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 11, and her jury trial is scheduled for the week of Feb. 22.

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