Wendy and Randall were the kind of neighbors that you’d want. They could always be found walking their dogs round the neighborhood and just being as pleasant as they could.
They had unbelievable patience with the other children of the neighborhood as well. And it’s a good thing too, because when they agreed to adopt their wayward 16-year-old granddaughter, they had no idea what they were getting into…
Wendy and Randall were some of the best people you could ever meet. The elderly pair were respectful, pleasant to interact with, and always willing to lend a hand when it came to their friends or family. They could often be spotted in their neighborhood, walking their dogs or chatting with their neighbors. They even took in their good-for-nothing teenage granddaughter out of the goodness of their heart.
If you knew 16-year-old Cassie, you’d know why this was such an altruistic move on her grandparent’s behalf. Not only was Cassie a notorious problem child, she was also prone to running away…fairly frequently in fact. Over the course of several months in 2016, Cassie was reported missing more than once by her very worried grandmother…
Cassie on the Run
On December 18, 2016, Wendy took to Facebook with an impassioned plea. Cassie had run away from home. She was only 16 and was ill-prepared for a life on the streets. By January of 2017, she was back at home and safe. It would not last. It seemed that despite the kindness and fairness of her grandparents, Cassie was not about to stick around to deal with their rules.
On April 1 of that year, Wendy was back on Facebook asking friends and family to, “Please spread the word…Please be on the lookout for Cassie.” One friend replied, “I’m so sorry to hear this Wendy. Stay strong.” She eventually returned home, but Gwinnett County Police now considered her a habitual runaway. Though, if you asked her grandparents, that wasn’t all her fault…
Wendy and Randall blamed their granddaughter’s 19-year-old boyfriend, Johnny Rider, for Cassie’s bad behavior. Johnny was also from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and was a “bad seed” according to the elderly couple. One time, he and Cassie even threw a drug-fuelled house party at the grandparents’
One Killer Party
The party was one of the most destructive and wild the neighborhood had ever seen. There were drugs, seemingly endless amounts of booze, and underage drinking all over the place. The guests were having the time of their lives, but they had no idea that just upstairs, Cassie’s grandparents were still home…sort of…
No one at the party knew, but Wendy and Randall were still upstairs the whole time the party was going on…or at least their bodies were. It seemed that sometime between when Cassie had returned from her most recent escape and the day of the party, somebody had killed the elderly couple in their beds. Those somebodies, as it happened, were Cassie Bjorge and Johnny Rider.
The party came and went and several days passed where the bodies remained undiscovered. Meanwhile, the teenage killers lived in the house as if nothing was wrong. They lived without restraint and soon, with the help of the confidence they’d gained in the double murder, began to create even more evil schemes. Including taking revenge on Johnny’s mother and sister…
The next Saturday, Rider and Bjorge traveled to his mother’s home on Rambling Woods Drive. They had one thought on their minds: kill anyone who got in their way. His sister soon arrived home from working at a nearby restaurant. She and her boyfriend came into the house and found that her room had been torn apart, and several items were now missing.
She knew who was responsible and when she found Johnny and Cassie downstairs, accused them of the vandalism and thievery in no uncertain terms. Before she could finish, Johnny Rider grabbed a can of pepper spray and let loose on his sister and her boyfriend. While the two were writhing in pain, he yelled for Cassie to grab a baseball bat…
Cassie grabbed the bat and came at both of them, beating them savagely before turning the weapon over to Johnny. The sister and her boyfriend managed to escape and once the stinging in their eyes had subsided, called 911. The police and ambulance arrived soon enough, though not soon enough to catch the perpetrators.
On the Run
As soon as the sister and boyfriend escaped, Bjorge and Ryder made a run for it. They were long gone by the time the cops arrived at the house, but they did happen to leave Cassie’s grandparents’ car at the scene. The police tracked the vehicle over to Wendy and Randall’s house. There, they found a must unwelcome scene…one they had apparently failed to notice when they had visited the home beforehand…
You see, the Gwinnet County Police had previously been to Randall and Wendy Bjorge’s home on several occasions earlier that week in order to perform welfare checks, which had been requested by some out-of-state relatives who hadn’t heard from them in a while. Unfortunately, no officer entered the house during any of those visits because there was no probable cause and they wanted to respect the couple’s privacy.
The assault and discovery of the car changed all that, however. The police arrived for a welfare check and discovered them dead inside their home. Detective D.C. Smith spoke about the check saying, “This time we did force entry to the home where we located Wendy and Randall Bjorge deceased upstairs in their home in an obvious homicide…”
How They Died?
Though police didn’t release how the couple died right away, it was obvious they had not died of their own accord. One of the two victims was found in a bathroom and the other in a hallway, but neither had been shot. Based on the circumstances surrounding the most recent welfare check, they were reasonably sure they knew who was responsible.
Police officers tracked Cassandra Bjorge and Johnny Rider to an apartment complex, the Residences at McGinnis Ferry Apartments, on McGinnis Ferry Road in Suwanee, Georgia. The two teens had apparently barricaded themselves in one of Rider’s friend’s apartments and were not planning on going quietly…
The standoff lasted about an hour until, with no other options, SWAT officers were called in to swarm the complex. They sent a robotic device into the apartment first in order to avoid any undue violence. As soon as it drove into the bathroom, they discovered both suspects were severely injured.
It was soon discovered that the wounds that Cassie Bjorge and Johnny Rider had suffered were self-inflicted. The two killers were taken to a hospital and once they were stabilized and it was clear they were going to make a complete recovery, were taken into police custody. The question that was on everybody’s lips was simply: why had they done it?
Johnny Rider is facing charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, credit card theft, possession of a tool for the commission of a crime, entering an automobile and theft by taking, and very likely, homicide. Meanwhile, the still 16-year-old Cassie Bjorge has not been charged yet due to some problems with arrest warrants.
The murders only happened about a year ago, so the two criminals are still awaiting sentencing, but as of yet, neither of them has come forward to talk about why they did what they did. One can only assume that killing the grandparents was the most extreme act of rebellion Cassandra Bjorge could engage in. And truly it was, albeit short sighted.