St. Paris man sentenced to 36 months in prison in connection to death of son’s ex-girlfriend

A St. Paris man was sentenced Monday afternoon in connection to the October death of a missing Champaign County woman.

Rodney Rider, 54, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and a $750 fine in the death of Whitney Hostler, his son’s ex-girlfriend, during his sentencing hearing before Champaign County Common Pleas Court Judge Nick Selvaggio.

Rider was also sentenced to post release control supervision of up to three years, which is the same as parole, and will be determined by the parole board. He is subject to 18 additional months in prison if he violates that post release.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Rider pleaded guilty in November to tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and possession of criminal tools, court records show. Since then, he has remained in the Tri-County Regional Jail for 158 days with a cash-only $500,000 bond.

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Hostler, 25, was reported missing on Oct. 1 after she had not been in contact with family or friends, and was last seen on Sept. 30, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies found Hostler’s body in a wooded ravine near Kiser Lake Road. The investigation into Hostler’s death led them to Valerie and Rodney Rider, who were arrested Oct. 2.

Hostler shared a two-year-old child with the couple’s son, Randy Rider.

Valerie Rider, 52, was found guilty on Feb. 25 following her trial for murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse and three counts of possession of criminal tools. She was found not guilty of aggravated murder.

She is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. on April 1.

Rodney Rider and Randy Rider testified during Valerie Rider’s trial, as well as the couple’s other three children.

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Rodney Rider testified that he saw his wife dragging a duffle bag, with Hostler inside, across the floor of their house after he woke up from a nap. When he asked what she was doing, she said she and Whitney had an argument and she was dead. The couple later put the duffle bag in their truck and drove around for hours until they found a place to dispose of it, according to his testimony.

Randy Rider testified that he and Hostler got into an argument on Sept. 30 and that his father advised him to leave because Hostler didn’t want him there. The younger Rider testified that he left and went to a friend’s house before they went to the Urbana Police Department and requested a wellness check on Hostler after no one had heard from her during the day.

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