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Daughter claims mom was murdered by partner who operated as con man

Daughter claims mom was murdered by partner who operated as con man

Terri Bowersock has been speaking about her mom's death as a new Oxygen documentary launches

A devastated daughter has claimed her mom was murdered by her partner who acted as a con man.

In 1986, Loretta Bowersock had money and local fame, but one big thing was missing in her life... love.

That is before she met Taw Benderly, a Scottish entrepreneur who was interested in the room in her house Loretta had put for lease.

Loretta quickly fell for Taw, though it all ended in tragedy, with the case the subject of a new episode of Oxygen's Buried in the Backyard.

Loretta's daughter, Terri Bowersock, told Fox News Digital: "My mother was a very classy lady — she was successful and smart.

"It was important for me to speak out and warn women of these charming predators and how these con men operate. It’s not always like you think. They don’t just walk in, and they’re suddenly the bad guy."

Loretta quickly fell for Taw.

It all started so positive for Loretta though, as Terri explained: "I think it gets harder to find somebody as you get older. I remember she was talking to me about it and feeling sad.

"I said, ‘You remember "Three’s Company"?’ They ran an ad to get a roommate, and they were really looking for a boyfriend.’ I thought it would be a good idea. So we ran an ad."

This is when Taw showed up, and the initial signs were encouraging.

"He was pulling out all these inventions. He always had these grandiose ideas of making money," Terri said.

"He had a certain type of chair for businesspeople, he had a lawnmower blade that would cut sideways — he had all sorts of ideas. And me being an entrepreneur — and a Virgo — I just jumped right in."

Taw moved in after just four days, quickly settling into home life alongside Loretta.

They became a proper family.

Terri claims Taw was always keen to make their wealth grow, convincing Loretta to give him large sums of money to fund his projects.

However, family and friends soon became suspicious, and in December 2004, Terri received a call from Taw where he explained her mom was missing.

After reporting her absence, Taw told police he dropped Loretta off at the shops while he embarked on a short trip.

But when he returned, Loretta was nowhere to be seen - leading to Taw believing she was kidnapped.

However, when police checked CCTV footage from the mall, they found Loretta was nowhere to be seen.

Officials' attentions quickly turned to Loretta's home, where her purse, including her ID and chequebook, were found.

Terri was determined to find her mom.

The police did not have enough evidence to charge Taw, and he was later found having taken his own life at his home.

"It was very confusing," said Terri. "I liked him. He and I were both Virgos. He was always eager to help. And my mother really liked him… I wondered, did he ever love her? Did he ever love me? I know in the beginning, I tried to look him up online, but we just never found anything… I guess I just didn’t see the signs as well as I should have… And I think my mother stayed as long as she did because she was the old-fashioned, stand-by-your-man type of person… And I just didn’t want to go there. That the man I knew as my stepfather could commit something so horrible."

Police later discovered that Taw had actually been released from prison around the time he met Loretta. Not only this, but he also wasn’t Scottish and it was allegedly not the first time he'd defrauded a woman.

Terri was determined to find her mother, and a breakthrough came over a year later in January 2006.

That is when hikers came across skeleton remains behind an abandoned motel in the Arizona desert, with the remains wrapped in a bag.

The cause of death was asphyxiation, with Taw believed to have placed the bag over Loretta's head until she suffocated to death.

Featured Image Credit: Oxygen

Topics: Crime, US News