The long and painful journey into parenthood of former Medford High School football star Othar Richey II and his wife Miah will be told nationally this afternoon.
Their story will be seen today at 2:30 p.m. on The Learning Channel (Ch. 16) as part of the cable network's "Baby Story" series.
The show will picture the heroism of the couple as they're expecting their first son, Othar "Cole" Richey, while living through the brutal gang rape and murder of Miah's sister Dannie Kim, a Portland bank worker who was visiting them in Southern California, said Othar's mother, Medford financial adviser Sharon Richey. Kim was raped, tortured, shot five times, then set afire in her car.
"Overwhelmed with grief," the pregnant Miah then endured a grueling three-month trial of Kim's three killers, which ended in convictions, Sharon Richey said.
But the problems for the couple, who live in the Los Angeles area, were far from over.
Miah Richey was exposed to German measles in her work as a flight attendant for USAir, resulting in heart problems and open-heart surgery for 9-month-old Cole and over $1 million in medical bills. On May 6 of last year, 10 days after the surgery, Cole died.
The Richeys felt malpractice was behind their son's death, Sharon Richey said, but the family decided not to sue because they couldn't endure another trial and they didn't want to profit from their son's passing.
Faced with debt and post-traumatic stress, the Richeys prayed, found support coming from all directions, both in L.A. and the Rogue Valley and "just lived day by day, sometimes second by second," Othar Richey said. "After we lost Cole, it was pitch-black all the time. We couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel or even find the tunnel itself."
The Richeys had decisions to make. Othar had been making a living as an actor, moving from commercials and small movie parts to a good role on "General Hospital," but the pay and benefits were sketchy.
Othar Richey decided to become a police officer to establish financial security and benefits, to help people beset by crimes such as he'd experienced and "to do something my children would be proud of."
He entered the LAPD Academy, receiving seven of the nine awards given, including first in law, tactics, self-defense, physical fitness and "overall in class."
Now a cop in Devonshire section of Los Angeles, he said he loves the work, but finds it "a little dangerous." He will appear again on "General Hospital" after his probationary period is over in January.
Three months after Cole's death, the Richeys took the leap - deciding to become parents again - and, a year to the day after Cole's funeral, their second son, Chancellor Othar Richey, was born. They call him "Chance" because they feel God gave them a second chance, Sharon Richey said.
"He's awesome and all muscle and it's so wonderful to laugh, love and cry with him," said Othar Richey. As for how they got through the bad times, "Our inspiration came from God and from the people who rallied around to lift us when we needed it so much.
"We had such a hole in our hearts and it will never be completely filled, but having another child has really done a lot to revitalize our lives."
When she was pregnant, Miah Richey always drew inspiration from the "Baby Story" show, she added, and, after the birth of her second son, she wrote producers offering to share her experience.
The TLC crew were "fun and sensitive and tried to make things easy for us," Othar Richey said. He hopes the TV segment will help viewers in pain realize that bad times do eventually heal and life puts itself back together.
At Medford High, Othar played middle linebacker and fullback on the 1985 state championship team and made the state first team and Shriner's all-star team. He also made state in wrestling. After graduating in 1986, Richey went on to Linfield College. His father is Othar Richey, fifth-grade teacher at Sams Valley School.