Every week for nine years, Robert Teichert called his friend Rich in Florida. The two had met while working at the Champions Golf Club in Stuart and become buddies over hours spent drinking beer and fishing. They stayed in touch when Robert moved away.
But this spring, Rich stopped answering his cell phone. After leaving dozens of messages, Teichert finally called the restaurant where Rich worked in Florida City.
"Oh, he's in jail," a waitress replied. And so Teichert found out that his buddy Richard Gamble was in fact Ronald Miranda, wanted by the FBI for allegedly killing his wife's lover.
"He was a great guy," remembers Teichert. "It's kind of mind blowing that he is a murderer."
We wrote about Miranda's near-complete escape from justice two months ago, but Teichert's account is worth an update.
The two spent a lot of time together, yet Teichert says that his buddy managed to keep his secret well hidden.
"I don't want to say that we were best friends, but we were pretty darn close," he says.
Gamble -- as he knew him -- was a lowly golf cart attendant, cleaning clubs and loading them on or off of carts for tips. Teichert was a manager. But the two only became fast friends after getting fired.
"We were both laid off from the golf course around the same time," Teichert says, "and we hung out afterward on an almost daily basis."
They would buy a case of beer and go fish, he says. Gamble helped Teichert fix the roof on his house, and Teichert invited Gamble to his wedding in 2004.
Only rarely did Gamble allude to a violent past.
"Every once in a while when he had too much to drink he would say: 'You have no idea what I've been through.'"
Sometimes Gamble would mention his supposed service in Vietnam. Other times, it was a gunfight with police over "some big drug deal."
"He didn't say where," Teichert remembers. "I always just shrugged it off."
In fact, so cool was Gamble's composure that he occasionally played golf with FBI agents, hitting 18 holes with the very men who were supposed to hunt him down.
Teichert moved to Ohio after his wedding, but kept in touch with his friend. Then, in March, Gamble stopped answering his phone. Teichert called the Captain's Restaurant in Florida City and learned the truth: Gamble had gone off the deep end, allegedly threatening to kill four of them and brandishing a handgun.
When police eventually arrested Gamble, they discovered that he was actually Ronald Miranda, wanted for the murder of his wife's lover in Los Banos, California, in November of 1980.
Teichert was stunned that his friend had hidden his identity from him.
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"It must have been a big burden to carry, murdering someone and keeping it secret for all those years," he says.
Miranda is currently being held in the Metro West Detention Center, awaiting trial on an aggravated assault charge from Captain's as well as extradition to California.