When Seth Rich was in high school in Nebraska, he was a member of the student Democrats. And while pursuing his college degree at Creighton University, he was into political science, earning his B.A. in 2011.
His career – he was working in IT for the Democratic National Committee in Washington – might have just been taking off when he was gunned down in July 2016 on a street not far from his home.
Authorities at the time suspected robbery – though his watch, wallet and credit cards were not taken – and establishment media discounted as “conspiracy theory” evidence he was the WikiLeaks source for tens of thousands of Democratic Party insider emails that hit the headlines with a thunderclap that same month.
His life erupted into the headlines again this week when an investigator declared evidence from Rich’s computer showed he had been forwarding DNC data to WikiLeaks when he died.
Rich, who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, in a prominent Jewish family, was the voter expansion data director at the DNC, at the age of only 27, when he died.
He was working on a computer application that would help voters find polling stations.
A report in People magazine noted friends described him as “honest” and “self-sacrificing.”
Authorities say the case remains under investigation. WND reported Rich was shot in the back at 4:18 a.m. on July 10, 2016, near his home. He had been at Lou’s City Bar a couple of miles from home until about 1:15 a.m. There, a worker offered Rich a ride home because he appeared intoxicated. But Rich instead said he was going to Wonderland Ballroom, another bar a few blocks away.
A London Daily Mail report described him as being upset about his relationship with his girlfriend on the last evening of his life.
However, there were no witnesses to his whereabouts from the time he left Lou’s until police on patrol heard gunfire and found him wounded on the street.
The Daily Mail, which researched the case, confirmed an extended period, probably at least an hour and a half, passed without evidence of where he was or what he was doing.
In People, Corey Lynch, who had known Rich since they were children, described him as “self-deprecating and always willing to be the butt of a joke.”
“He liked that. He wanted that. He wanted other people to feel comfortable. He was self-sacrificing in that he was totally willing to be the goofball, and the purpose of that was just to make us all smile … to make us laugh.
“He was a very supportive friend, and I think that was just in his nature to be that way,” Lynch told the magazine. “He was very fun and very lighthearted. Even when we spoke about politics, he somehow remained balanced. He’d take a step back and see both sides. He was also really good at connecting with people. If he was in a room, by the end of the night, everyone in that place would know who he was.”
The report continued with words from another friend, Miles Mawby, who wrote on Facebook, “It’s not the same without you, but recounting your endless stories makes it a little better.”
The Jewish Federation of Omaha posted a eulogy of Rich by Rabbi Steven Abraham given at a July 13 service at Beth El Synagogue in Omaha.
“There are no answers for a young man gunned down in the prime of his life. All we have is questions of what could have been, what should have been and talk of potential greatness for which we will never bear witness. Yet in only 27 years, Seth Rich made a difference in the lives of many, and we honor his memory this morning,” he said. “We are here today to remember a young man who loved his family, his community and his faith. A young man who believed in our country, who believed that our best days as a nation are still in our future. A man who was willing to wear a panda outfit or dress up in red, white and blue when the time called for it. And perhaps most importantly, a man who believed that everyone in our country, no matter their economics, religion or the color of their skin had the right to vote.”
Rich was born Jan. 3, 1989, to Mary and Joel Rich. He worked for the U.S. Census Bureau and the Nebraska Democratic Party while in school.
Then-Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said at that time of his death: “Our hearts are broken with the loss of one of our DNC family members over the weekend. Seth Rich was a dedicated, selfless public servant who worked tirelessly to protect the most sacred right we share as Americans – the right to vote. He saw the great potential of our nation and believed that, together, we can make the world a better place.”
He was shot only a block from his home in Washington. Police officers found him breathing and conscious, but he died shortly later in the hospital.
Police reported he died from two shots to the back, and despite offers of rewards, police have yet to identify a suspect or motive.
The Gateway Pundit Tuesday reported Guccifer 2.0, a pseudonym for a prominent hacker, said the leaker who provided DNC emails to WikiLeaks was named “Seth.”
His family, however, said the investigator who reported the connection between Rich and WikiLeaks, Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective, was not authorized to speak for the family.
The family said Wheeler’s conclusions were “unsubstantiated.”
Fox News reported, citing a federal source, an “FBI forensic report of Rich’s computer – generated within 96 hours after Rich’s murder – showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.”