A man has confessed to murdering his girlfriend and her son seven years after their disappearance. Thomas Riffenburg reportedly decided to come forward with his confession only after he experienced a “smack on the head from God.” Riffenburg said he received a message from God that told him what he did was wrong, according to authorities.
Riffenburg, 31, is already serving a life sentence for stomping his cellmate to death during a previous prison sentence. He pleaded guilty and was convicted of Jason Gould’s murder in 2015.
A few months ago, Riffenburg penned a letter to a special agent with the Oregon Department of Justice offering to provide "dates, times and location of the missing persons,” according to CNN. Riffenburg met the agent in June and gave her hand-drawn maps of where he buried his ex-girlfriend and child: Jennifer Anne Walsh, 23, and 16-month-old Alexander. The mother and child were last seen in January 2009.
"I did it," Riffenburg confessed, according to court documents obtained by CNN. "They both suffocated to death."
Originally, Riffenburg told Walsh’s mother that Walsh had been caught with a bag of marijuana inside an unemployment office. Fearing she’d lose her child, Riffenburg claimed she fled and told Riffenburg to take Alexander. While Walsh’s mother was filling out a missing persons report at a police station for her daughter, Riffenburg and the child stayed at her home.
When the mother returned, Riffenburg and her grandson were gone. Money and jewelry were missing from her home and in place of them, a note stating that Riffenburg “and Jennifer were leaving for a better life."
In the grave sitemaps given to an agent earlier this year, Riffenburg revealed that he buried Walsh in a blanket in her sister’s backyard and buried Alexander in plastic in the backyard belonging to Alexander’s grandmother. Authorities obtained search warrants, and according to Walsh’s mother, Joanne Fern, human remains believed to be her daughter's were discovered. She is awaiting a DNA test. The remains of Alexander have yet to be found.
Riffenburg also sent a letter to Fern, in which he wrote, “Joanne, what do I say to you? [...] I told the authorities on 6-20-17 that I killed both of them, and I told them where to find the bodies. [...] I don't expect any of you to forgive me, I wouldn't, and don't. [...] When I go to court for this, I will simply tell them that I am guilty, and offer no excuses. I'm sorry, for what I did to them, and what I did [to] you."
[Photos: The Charley Project, Facebook]