Victims of Dangerous House Calls: Ramona Jean Williamson
“Ramona Jean Williamson, 66, of Crestview Hills, died Thursday at her residence. She was a retired advertising word- processor for the Cincinnati Enquirer. She was a member of Lakeside Presbyterian Church, Lakeside Park, and Ohio Valley Quilt Guild, and she was a volunteer at Erlanger-Elsmere United Ministries. Her husband, Andrew Williamson, died in 1993.”
Ramona Jean Williamson was strangled to death by Fred Furnish, an employee of Tech Dry, on June 25, 1998. After killing Mrs. Williamson, Furnish used her debit cards to withdraw money from her bank accounts. Furnish had several convictions in Kentucky and Indiana for theft, burglary, and receiving stolen money by fraud. There was no background check done on Furnish which allowed him access to more than one victim. He was sentenced to death in July 1999.
Before the 1998 crime Furnish already had several convictions for theft and burglary and had spent nearly a dozen years behind bars in Kentucky and Indiana. Each time he was released, he soon returned to prison for another burglary. By the time he was released in April 1997, he had hit a prison guard, adding an assault charge to his record.
In addition, in November of 1997, Furnish was robbing a home of Doris Bertsch. She returned home while the robbery was taking place, and Furnish strangled and murdered her. The conclusions of this crime had not been made at the time of Williamson’s murder, and often times crimes such as these can take years to solve. However, had tech dry conducted a background check on Furnish they would have easily noticed his prior convictions for theft and burglary, and that should have kept him out of consumers homes.
While this case is dated compared to others, it’s important to note that this still occurs. There are still companies that do not care enough to pay for proper background checks, and we hear from them often. The flip side of this is that we, as consumers, often assume that a company is sending a safe and screened worker. While they should be doing just that, we can no longer assume that all companies recognize this moral obligation.
Ask the right questions:
- Who are you sending to my home?
- Have you screened this technician?
- Which screens have been done on him/her? (note that there is NO national all-encompassing background check)
- When did you last screen him/her?
- What do they look like/ who am I expecting?
Service companies should be able to give sound responses to each of these. You could also suggest CAUSE Certification (as this program essentially answers all of these questions and more without you ever having to ask them)
It’s time for consumers to ask the right questions so they can make smart choices. Assuming when it comes to your safety or the safety of your loved ones is simply ignorance.
Previous Posts in this series:
Post : + Intro
Post: Ask a friend over for coffee
Post: Trust is earned
Post: Protect yourself in the workplace
Post: Beware of referral services
Post: Violent crimes can happen in any type of neighborhood
Post: Conducting business with service providers outside of your home
Post: Apartment maintenance can be just as dangerous