True crime series airs show about local mother who killed son’s ex-girlfriend

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A St. Paris woman who was convicted of murdering her son’s ex-girlfriend is the center of a newly released episode of a true crime documentary.

Valerie Rider, then 52, was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison in April 2021 and a $2,500 fine in the death of Whitney Hostler, 25, her son’s ex-girlfriend who was reported missing shortly before her body was found.

During her trial, Rider was found guilty of 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.

Hostler’s father, Charles Hostler, mother, Kim Long, and sister, Chelsea, all attended Rider’s trial in February 2021.

A TV docu-series called “Snapped” on the Oxygen Network aired episode 10 of season 33 about Rider on Sunday.

The series, which has been on the air for 19 years, explores cases usually of women who have been convicted of murder or attempted murder.

The bio of the episode on Rider reads, “When a young mother goes missing in rural Ohio, it’s a race against time to uncover the truth behind her disappearance. As evidence begins pointing to foul play, investigators fear she may have been the victim of a toxic family dynamic.”

The episode features interviews with Hostler’s family such as her mother Kim and sister Chelsea; law enforcement from Champaign County including sheriff’s deputy Daniel Fischer and Brandon Fenwick, chief deputy Eric Holmes and detective sergeant Scott Curnutte; as well as photos, body camera footage and interviews of the family in the investigation room from the sheriff’s office.

Hostler, 25, was reported missing Oct. 1, 2020, after she had not been in contact with family or friends, and had last been seen 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 shortly after she was reported missing. The investigation into Hostler’s death led to Rider and her husband, Rodney Rider, who were arrested Oct. 2, 2020.

Hostler lived with the Rider family and shared a 2-year-old daughter with Randy Rider, the couple’s son and her ex-boyfriend.

Rodney, then 54, Valerie’s husband, pleaded guilty in November 2020 to tampering with evidence, obstructing justice and possession of criminal tools, court records show.

He was sentenced in April 2021 to 36 months in prison, with 158 days of jail credit, and a $750 fine. After prison, he will be on post-release control supervision, same as parole, for up to three years.

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

Rodney Rider testified 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.

Rodney Rider testified that after disposing of Hostler’s body, the couple returned home between midnight and 1 a.m. Oct. 1. Deputies were there looking for them and Hostler. They questioned the couple first at home and then later at the sheriff’s office. They were questioned again later that day and arrested around 4:30 a.m. Oct. 2.

Randy Rider testified he and Hostler got into an argument on Sept. 30 and his father advised him to leave because Hostler didn’t want him there. He testified 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.

The Oxygen episode about Valerie Rider’s case can be watched on the Oxygen website or NBC website by creating a profile or linking your cable TV provider and on Peacock starting Tuesday.

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