Ben Renick case: World-renowned snake breeder murdered


Ben Renick, a “rock star” of the reptile world, was found dead in June 2017. Initial suspicions were that one of the prized serpents had murdered him. But investigators soon realized there was more.

June 8, 2017:

A deadly snake bite?

renick-snakes.jpg
On a hot Missouri summer day in June 2017, Montgomery County, Missouri, sheriff’s deputies were called to a unique and potentially dangerous death scene — a literal snake pit — a building with more than 3,000 exotic serpents.

Photo evidence


Montgomery County, Missouri, sheriff’s deputies were called to a snake breeding facility with more than 3,000 snakes and a man lying in blood. The deputies believed that a dangerous snake was at large.

Ben Renick

Ben Renick
Ben Renick

Ben Renick/Facebook


Renowned Missouri snake breeder Ben Renick was 29 years old when he was found dead at his breeding facility.

Lynlee Renick

Lynlee Renick
Lynlee Renick

Ben Renick/Facebook


Ben’s wife, Lynlee Renick, found Ben dead and called his brother, Sam Renick, for help. Sam had previously told investigators that the snake could have been involved.

“More heinous”

Ben Renick murder shell casing
“When I saw that shell casing on the shelf just above his head, I knew this was not from a snake,” said Coroner Dave Colbert.

The Evidencec


When Coroner Dave Colbert arrived and took a closer look around, he found shell casings. He said, “When I noticed the shell casing just above my head, I was certain that this wasn’t a snake.” This was much worse. The investigation into Ben Renick’s death began with Lynlee Renick being the focus.

2010: Renick Reptiles Inc.

Renick Reptiles snake

Renick Reptiles Inc.


Ben Renick had an interest in snakes at an early age. He started Renick Reptiles Inc. in 2010 and sold his snakes to buyers all over the world, from the UK to Japan.

2011: Lovers and business owners

Lynlee Renick
Lynlee Renick helped her husband Ben at his snake breeding facility. Here she is holding snake eggs.

Ben Renick/Facebook


Ben and Lynlee met as teenagers and reconnected in 2011. The couple got married in 2014 and eventually had a child together. Lynlee helped Ben in the snake breeding facility.

April 21, 2017: Snakes and the spa

Ben and Lynlee Renick
Ben and Lynlee Renick

Ben Renick/Facebook


By 2017, Ben Renick made a million-dollar deal to sell some of his pythons and anacondas. Lynlee opened another business with Ben. The business was called Ascensia spa Inc. but Lynlee was responsible for its financial problems. Lynlee and Ben argued over finances in Facebook messages. Lynlee was told by him that he had problems with loan and rent payments.

May 17, 2017: Marriage troubles

Ben and Lynlee Renick
Ben and Lynlee Renick

Sam Renick/Facebook


About three years into the marriage, Lynlee was unfaithful to Ben with at least two other men. The couple have been communicating suspicions through messages. It was difficult for the couple to be together.

May 23, 2017: Poisonous shake

Ben Renick
Investigators say an earlier attempt by Lynlee Renick to kill Ben failed.

Ben Renick/Facebook


Investigators would later learn that a month before Ben Renick’s murder, Lynlee had made her first attempt to kill him. Lynlee told an employee at a spa that Ben was abusive. Lynlee did not file any reports to police about the physical abuse. Later, Lynlee’s colleague told police that she was sorry and wanted to do something for Lynlee. They plotted to kill Ben by giving him a poisonous protein shake laced with 15 Percocet pills. Ben survived despite being very sick. He didn’t know he had been poisoned.

June 8, 2017: Suspicion

Lynlee Renick police questioning
In the days after Ben Renick’s murder, police questioned his wife, Lynlee.

Do you have evidence?


Investigators would learn about that first murder attempt via Percocet smoothie much later in the investigation. Lynlee was questioned by police in the days following Ben Renick’s death. Police tested Lynlee’s hands for gun residue. The results came back negative.

June 2017: Family, snakes and deals

Renick Reptiles snake

Do you have evidence?


The reptile community was left shaken by Ben Renick’s death and wanted to help. They donated and raised money for Ben’s family. Ben’s valuable snakes were sold to many reptile enthusiasts and experts.

June 21, 2017: Widow life

Lynlee Renick
Lynlee Renick

Ben Renick/Facebook


Almost two weeks after Ben Renick’s death, Lynlee was prepared to sell the 72-acre Renick property. A million-dollar insurance policy was to be hers. Lynlee was identified as the beneficiary in that policy. Police were told by witnesses that Lynlee called life insurance company to inquire when she could cash out.

October 5, 2017: Cold scales

Lynlee Renick police questioning
Lynlee Renick was questioned by investigators six times.

Do you have evidence?


Lynlee Renick was interviewed by investigators six times. On October 5, 2017, the Missouri State Highway Patrol administered a polygraph test. Lynlee was informed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that Lynlee failed. Investigators did not have any hard evidence to prove that Lynlee had killed Ben. She then walked off and was free for nearly three years.

January 14, 2020: A jailhouse tip

renick-jail.jpg

CBS News


A tip comes in from a jailhouse. A witness says he has information on Ben Renick’s death. Missouri State Highway Patrol Investigators are told by the witness that Lynlee shot Ben, and she also claimed that Lynlee plotted to kill Ben.

January 16, 2020: Snake breeder’s wife arrested

renick-lynlee-humphrey.jpg
Lynlee Renick and ex-boyfriend Michael Humphrey were arrested for the murder of Ben Renick.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office


Almost three years after Ben Renick’s murder, Lynlee Renick and her ex-boyfriend, Michael Humphrey, were arrested for Ben’s murder. Lynlee Renick and Michael Humphrey were both arrested for Ben’s murder. Which one pulled the trigger?

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