It was a cold case -- literally. The partially frozen body of a man was found slumped inside a Bronco, shot twice.
Steve Pacheco: It's the case that I'll never forget … I wish it was solved. I mean, it will never go away.
The suspect then is still the suspect today, more than 20 years later: the beautiful, enigmatic widow with seductive eyes and a string of hapless men on her charm bracelet.
Dennis Murphy: So, who is this woman?William Dear: The Black Widow. Her bite is fatal.
A black widow to some and a mystery to so many.
She's gone by several names over the decades, but most people have called her Sandra.
When they talked about the suspicious deaths and the murder, when they whispered about the coast-to-coast scams, the name on their lips was Sandra.
And right here is where the whispers started.
And not just plain old Dallas, but Highland Park, with its decorator magazine houses and expensive cars. Big D's answer to Beverly Hills.
And in 1984, that's where Alan Rehrig, a young Oklahoma guy new to town, found himself cruising pricey streets looking for a garage apartment.
Best old friends Phil Askew and Carl McKinney wish they could stop the movie of Alan's life right there. Fate.
Phil Askew: He's just driving down the street, on Lorraine here, where she lived and he stopped the car, she was out in the front yard.
She was Sandra Bridewell, a recently widowed mother of three. Dark-haired, helpful and to Alan, a major babe.
Carl McKinney: When he drove up and saw her, he was just mesmerized, I think, it [was] just, "Wow! Look at this lady." Barbara Nathan: She had a way. Men just sort of … were fascinated with her.
Barbara Nathan was one of Sandra's closest friends and she'd seen men drool that way before.
Barbara Nathan: She was a little flirty. So were some of the men, I might add.
An old-school Southern belle with a Mercedes convertible and a home in the best zip code.
Barbara Nathan: She oozed charm. She had a soft voice. She had a flourish.
Now, 29-year-old Rehrig had just moved down from Edmond, Okla., where he'd been a glory-days hero, a star athlete in high school and college.
He'd made a pass at professional golf and then tried the oil business, without having much success at either. So his longtime buddy Phil Askew invited him to Dallas with an offer at his mortgage company.
Phil Askew: We were looking at adding a few people so I said, "Why don't you come on down here and lets give it the try." And I think he was down here the next week.
Down checking out the possibility of renting a cheap apartment in Highland Park when he spotted that attractive woman on her front lawn.
Phil Askew: He saw her, got out of the car, went up to her, asked her if there was any garage apartments available in the area, if he knew anything. She said she'd check. And gave each other their name and number.
Soon the perfectly turned-out woman from Highland Park society was calling the jock from Oklahoma, inviting him to black-tie galas.
Mrs. Rehrig: He thought she was beautiful.
Gloria Rehrig is Alan's mother, and he couldn't believe that this woman was interested in him.
Back in Oklahoma, all she knew about the Dallas woman was that Sandra was 36 -- several years older than Alan. She'd been widowed twice with three children.
Mrs. Rehrig: We felt very sorry for her, and so did Al. And he felt like he had something to offer her with his family. And she just embraced us like we were going to be her saviors.
Gloria Rehrig thought the relationship would be a passing flirtation. But Alan's friends felt otherwise.
Carl McKinney: She was a very, very alluring woman, I have to tell you.Dennis Murphy: And the way they acted boyfriend-girlfriendish was what? Affectionate?Carl McKinney: Oh, yeah. He picked me up in a Mercedes Benz that she owned. Well, she sat on the console next to him. And hung on to him while he drove. I thought, you know, I said, "Man, all right Al, I think you-- you've done very well here.
Sandra's beauty and apparent wealth were pluses for Alan, for sure, but so were her children.
Phil Askew: She had three kids. So he got into the family. And he felt pretty strongly about that they needed a father figure.
Soon the friend remembers, the children began showing up at work.
Phil Askew: She was having the kids come up to the office and bring flowers to Alan. And the girls would say, "We're pulling for you Alan." So the pressure was starting to build.
It was building to a boil, as it turned out, to tie the knot. Alan and buddy Phil were driving to a basketball game when a distraught Alan broke some big news.
Phil Askew: And he was tearing up pretty good. And I go, "What's going on?" and he goes, "Well, she's pregnant." And I think my conversation with him went something like this. "Do you love her?" and he goes, "Yes, I do." And I go, "Well, there you have it."
Alan and Sandra were married Dec. 8, 1984, just 6 months after Alan had moved to Dallas.
Dennis Murphy: Alan did the right thing and married her?Mrs. Rehrig: Yes.Dennis Murphy: And was Alan happy?Mrs. Rehrig: He seemed very happy … and the children were just all over him.
The odd-coupling of the society woman and the good ol’ boy seemed to work for his buddies but on Sandra's side, one close friend, Barbara Nathan, wondered what Sandra could have been thinking.
Barbara Nathan: Well, he was just a guy. Didn't think he was particularly attractive and I didn't particularly like his personality. Dennis Murphy: What do you think was going on there?Barbara Nathan: Well, i'm not sure. I think she was lonely at that point probably. And here came this young guy and I guess she found him attractive … I think he was looking for a meal ticket.
Not even two months after they were married, Sandra called Al with devastating news. Phil Askew was with him.
Phil Askew: We got the call from Sandra saying that she'd had a miscarriage.Mrs. Rehrig: He grieved so badly. He really did want a family and want children.
And soon both Sandra and Alan were telling their friends that their marriage was hitting the rocks.
Phil Askew: He would talk about some of the things that went on at home. And he thought she was getting a little weird on him.Dennis Murphy: Weird how?Phil Askew: She's saying, “You need to get life insurance for the benefit of the family" and you know, he wasn't making big dollars yet ... and she pushed and pushed until he got life insurance.
Less than a year after the wedding, in November, 1985, Sandra and Alan separated. He moved in with his friend Phil.
Barbara Nathan: She just said, "I think I made a mistake. This is not working out … I think maybe I need to get a divorce.”
They'd been split for a month. No calls. No visits.
When Sandra phoned and asked Alan to come meet her at the mini-storage where they'd warehoused some stuff, they agreed to meet there late afternoon. It was a Saturday in December.
Phil Askew: I was pulling into the driveway, and he was pulling out. And I waved at him, and he waved at me. And that's the last I saw him.
Phil Askew last saw his friend Alan Rehrig in his Bronco pulling out of the driveway late Saturday afternoon on Dec. 7, 1985. Alan was on his way to meet his estranged wife Sandra at a storage warehouse. A few hours later, Sandra called Phil.
Phil Askew: She calls me at 6:15, and says, "He has not shown up. That's just like him. I'm going home." I go, "Wait a minute, he left -- I saw him.” You know, “What's going on?"
Phil had been putting his friend up. But Alan never came home that night. Or the next.
Phil Askew: So we go through about two days. And my partner at the office and I go to the storage unit. We walk around and we're calling his name. And we're feeling it.
Monday morning comes, and Alan's not in the office. Phil calls Sandra.
Phil Askew: And she goes, "Oh, that's like him. He's off gallivanting around or something like that."Dennis Murphy: So she's not worried? Is that your recollection of it?Phil Askew: No.
While Alan's friends searched for him, Sandra hired a private investigator named William Dear.
William Dear: She said that she was supposed to meet him and they were going out to the storage facility ... They had separated, and were preparing to get a divorce. But she was hoping they'd get back together.
But Sandra hadn't hired Dear to find her husband. She'd asked the private eye to protect her from him.
Dennis Murphy: Why is she afraid of the missing husband?William Dear: Well, she claimed that she had been out skiing in his boat and that he had towed her around and then made a quick turn, threw her off. Instead of coming to pick her up, he rolled a rope in, went over to the side and sat on the…Dennis Murphy: Good-bye, huh?William Dear: Rock and kinda like... (waves)Dennis Murphy: She thought that he had tried to drown her?William Dear: Right.
The investigator took the job, checked the security in her home and put some of his men outside to keep watch.
In the meantime, Alan's friend Phil Askew filed a missing person's report with the Dallas police -- something Sandra refused to do.
Four days after he went missing, the “where's Alan” question was answered 200 miles north of Dallas in Oklahoma City, near an electrical substation about two miles away from the city airport.
On a chilly night, two police officers had stopped to check out a 1984 Bronco parked here. When they looked inside the locked vehicle, they saw the body of a man slumped between the front seats. Running the Texas plates soon told them the dead man was Alan Rehrig. He'd been shot in the chest and the head.
Dennis Murphy: Did you call Sandra?Gloria Rehrig: Oh, yes … she didn't sound as distraught as I would have been with a husband, I'll tell you, just being killed.
As friends and family gathered in Oklahoma for the funeral, Alan's widow was starting to make them uneasy.
Phil Askew: Everybody's looking out the corner of their eye at Sandra.Gloria Rehrig: She was late. We were all in the church, and the family was ready to walk in, and she wasn't there. And when she finally came floating in, in her mink coat, the funeral started.Dennis Murphy: Did you ever see any tears?Gloria Rehrig: Never. Never did.
At the outset of the Oklahoma City police’s murder investigation, the police received a call, out of the blue, from a woman in Dallas who called herself Highland Park's “Deep Throat.”
Steve Pacheco: And she starts, "Well, let me tell you something about Sandra."
There was a Sandra unknown to her dead husband, his friends, his family...
Alan Rehrig was found shot to death in Oklahoma City. As detectives began their investigation, a tipster 200-miles south started calling the police. The message was to be careful of Sandra.
Dennis Murphy: So this is a cold call. Steve Pacheco: Yes, an anonymous call from Dallas--Dennis Murphy: Saying there's more you need to know about this lady?Steve Pacheco: She laid the story out. She knew everything about what was going on in society of Dallas.
Steve Pacheco, one of the lead Oklahoma City detectives on the case, now retired, already had the widow Sandra high on his list of people to talk to. It’s only routine when a spouse is murdered. But when he sat down with her before the funeral, he had that gossip in mind, as dished by the Highland Park Deep Throat.
Steve Pacheco: I was told “be cautious with her.” Sandra could con you. I mean, she could win you over just as soon as she walked into the room. Dennis Murphy: Did you-- did you see what that tipster had been talking about when you saw her?Steve Pacheco: Well, after the interview was over, yes.
The detective caught Sandra in a lie, and it was a whopper. It was Sandra's story about being pregnant before she married Alan, and that she'd had a miscarriage. But the police had learned that Sandra couldn't have been with child, much less twins, as she claimed.
Steve Pacheco: We were told by this person in Dallas, this anonymous source that she had had a hysterectomy.
Sandra had also lied about her age to Alan. She'd shaved off four years. Sandra was 41 -- eleven years older than Alan.
A follow-up interview with Sandra was arranged for the next day. But Sandra stood up the Oklahoma City cops and flew back to Dallas.
It was the last time they ever spoke to Sandra. Back home she'd hired one of the city's most prominent criminal lawyers, who told the cops to stay away from the widow and her kids.
Dennis Murphy: Constitutional rights are you can get a lawyer and you don't have to say anything.Pacheco: True, but if you're not guilty and this is your loved one who's been killed, I would think you'd want to cooperate.Dennis Murphy: So, she's making herself -- what? A person of interest?Pacheco: Yes.
And some findings at the crime-scene investigation were quickly turning the detective's person of interest -- the widow -- into a suspect.
Dennis Murphy: You believe he was murdered by his wife?Steve Pacheco: Yes. I do.
Alan Rehrig's body was found between the driver's and passenger seats. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt even though Oklahoma was in the midst of a bitter cold snap. That told the detective that Alan Rehrig had come from somewhere warmer -- Dallas likely -- and was cruelly delivered home to Oklahoma.
The medical examiner found two gunshot wounds through the right torso and behind the right ear. The shots were fired, it was determined, as Rehrig sat in the driver's seat.
But someone else, they surmised, sat behind the wheel after Alan had been killed.
Someone shorter. Someone with a reason to drive that car.
Steve Pacheco: I think he was sitting in the driver’s seat talking to his wife … and I think she actually shot him while they were talking. And pushed him over the side … and came back at a later time. Drove him to Oklahoma City.Dennis Murphy: For what reason?Steve Pacheco: She was afraid that he was going to get his money if they got a divorce. If she had any money. Second, he had a life insurance policy … It was $220,000. Dennis Murphy: That's theory. What's the evidence?Steve Pacheco: When we examined the vehicle, a person that drove the vehicle was much shorter than Alan was … because the seat was pushed completely forward. Alan was 6 foot 1 inches tall.
Sandra was 5 foot 3 inches tall.
And Pacheco says crime scene technicians determined Rehrig couldn't have been in that seat-forward position when he was shot. His wounds and the bullet hole in the seat didn't line-up.
Steve Pacheco: Push the seat back, it all falls into place. So it tells you a smaller person drove that car to that location.
That location – Oklahoma – is an important element in what the detective sees as a carefully planned scheme.
Steve Pacheco: She's thinking the people in Oklahoma [are] not even going to think about me. I'm clear. I've got an alibi.
Sandra's alibi has her accounted for on the Saturday Alan went missing until 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning when she returned home from dinner and a movie with friends.
Pacheco: From 1:30 until probably after 10 in the morning, no one had any contact with Sandra that we know of.Dennis Murphy: Is it enough time for her to carry out your theory of the crime?Steve Pacheco: Yes. Very perfect timing.
Sandra, he speculates, could have left Dallas around two in the morning, and been in Oklahoma City before sunrise, leaving the body in the Bronco at the power station near the airport.
Pacheco: You're two miles from the airport. Take the first flight back to Dallas. You've got a perfect alibi.
But cops did find a few unidentified prints in the bronco. Maybe it hadn't been Sandra at all?
Dennis Murphy: A theory could be that he picked up a hitch hiker [and] something awful happened. Got himself killed and dumped in Oklahoma.Steve Pacheco: Why would a hitch hiker bring him all the way to Oklahoma City and drop him two miles from the airport? No.
For detective Pacheco, it all pointed to Sandra -– even more so when he took his investigation to Dallas.
Pacheco: The more we investigated, the more people we talked to in Dallas, sounded like she had a very dark past.
A past of either catastrophic bad luck, or of a deeply troubled person.
Pacheco: It's just suspicious to me. One husband committed suicide. A good friend committed suicide. And a husband is murdered.
Even before the murder of her third husband in 1985, Highland Park had been abuzz about Sandra.
Glenna Whitley: I kind of think of her like a shark in pink lipstick and high heels.
If there's anyone who knows the chapter and verse on Sandra, it's Dallas Observer reporter Glenna Whitley. She's been on Sandra's trail for 20 years and has the facts -- boxes of them -- behind the Dallas scuttlebutt.
Glenna Whitley: She wanted to be at the top of the social food chain. She wanted to be in the Junior League and on all the right committees.
Sandra Powers, adopted, raised in a middle class Dallas neighborhood, had set her sights early on the conspicuous splendor of Highland Park.
By 23, she was on her way when she married up-and-coming dentist David Stegall in 1967. They were raising three children in a home decorated by one of Dallas' most renowned interior designers.
Glenna Whitley: He liked having his Cadillac. He liked having the beautiful house. He liked having the beautiful wife. But he couldn't keep up with it. Steve Pacheco: You talk to some of the friends, she has spent money. He was in debt. He was concerned. Glenna Whitley: She spent her husband into a hole.
In February of 1975, David Stegall tried to kill himself. Sandra found him in a closet with a gun to his head. Several weeks later, he succeeded. He'd shot himself in the head while in bed after slashing his wrists.
Glenna Whitley: She gets all of the life insurance and sells the practice. Pays off the debts. And begins to date. Very seriously. She goes after wealthy men, in Dallas.
Barbara Nathan was one of Sandra's close friends.
Barbara Nathan: I will say, and I don't consider it critical, is she was not above using feminine wiles to attract men as many Southern belles are.
She used those wiles to attract an A-list catch: Bobby Bridewell, a real estate developer and horse owner, who developed an exclusive hotel in Dallas, The Mansion on Turtle Creek. They married in 1978.
Barbara Nathan: He was just a terrific character, larger then life. He was her soul mate. That's what she used to say. And they were a beautiful couple together.
Sandra, now 34, had finally arrived. She had the home in Highland Park and social standing. Then in 1980, tragedy struck. Bridewell developed cancer. After a two-and-a-half-year battle, he died at age 41.
Dennis Murphy: How'd she take his death?Barbara Nathan: Very badly. Very badly.
During her husband's decline, and after, Sandra turned to Bridewell's oncologist, Dr. John Bagwell, and his wife Betsy for shoulders to lean on.
Barbara Nathan: She was close to them. They sort of took her in. And he was a power of strength to her at that time, for sure.Glenna Whitley: Betsy's taking care of her kids when she needs it. She's helping her do errands. You know, she is just being the good friend.
But after months of being there for the needy Sandra, in mid-July of 1982 it all got to be too much for the Bagwells.
Here's the story according to investigators: Sandra had called Dr. Bagwell and asked him to come help her with her stalled car. He did, only to get there and see a police officer pull up and start the car immediately. This car stunt was the last straw for Dr. Bagwell. He told Sandra he and Betsy had no more time for her.
Pacheco: So, after Dr. Bagwell had told her to stay away, one day she calls Betsy and says she has car trouble and wants Betsy to come help her.
It was the same old car story. Now Sandra claimed it had died in the church parking lot. She asked Betsy to please run her to the airport, Love Field, to rent a car. When they got there, as Sandra would later tell the story, she announced she'd left her license behind. So they drove back to the church lot. Sandra tried her car again -- and it turned right over. Sandra was the last person to see Betsy Bagwell alive.
Glenna Whitley: Betsy is found at Love Field. And she's in her car, her Mercedes, and she's shot herself to death.Question: This is a suicide?Glenna Whitley: This is a suicide.
And that's how the medical examiner ruled it: a suicide.
He found the residue on Mrs. Bagwell's hand consistent with someone who had the gun in her hand and pulled the trigger.
But nothing seemed to make sense about this suicide. There was no note. Investigators say she left food thawing in the sink, and warned her kids not to "pig out" before dinner. And the gun in Mrs. Bagwell's hand was stolen, registered to a dead man.
Glenna Whitley: There are gun shops in Highland Park, you know. Why go buy one that's stolen at a pawn shop?
An independent forensics expert later looked at the same evidence and reached a different conclusion: the residue may have gotten on Mrs. Bagwell's hand as she grabbed for a gun held to her head. It was a murder scenario.
Even though the Dallas police didn't see the death that way, any number of society matrons did.
Glenna Whitley: They are buzzing. It's like, who is Sandra? What is going on? Did she go after Dr. Bagwell, finding Betsy in the way, and decide to get rid of her? That's what it looked like.
Flash forward three years to 1985, and another figure in Sandra's life, Alan Rehrig, is found shot to death in a car by an airport and the Oklahoma City detective investigating that Rehrig murder now found the story of Betsy Bagwell's death intriguing indeed.
Had Sandra pulled the trigger on both?
Dennis Murphy: Her motive would've been what?Steve Pacheco: Betsy has a lot going for her. Things that Sandra couldn't get. She wanted to get close to the Bagwells. She couldn't because Dr. Bagwell has already told her, stay away from them. It's very suspicious.
There were too many deaths, he thought, connected to the same person. Still, no murder charges were ever brought against Sandra Bridewell Rehrig.
Steve Pacheco: Kind of tells you something that-- how slick she is.Dennis Murphy: Or is she maybe innocent? And just has terrible bad luck?Steve Pacheco: That's hard to believe. (laughter) Kind of hard to believe when you look at all that she's been involved in.
And remember this man, William Dear? He's the private eye Sandra hired after Alan Rehrig went missing. But the detective quickly thought something was off about his client.
William Dear: Her tears acted like they could come and go at will. She didn't seem to be the bereaved sort of person that I would have thought she would have been.Dennis Murphy: When did you start to think this woman's story stinks?William Dear: After the body was found. I tell every client right from the very beginning: I do not represent criminals. So if you lie to me, I'll bow out.
Oklahoma authorities wanted to put Sandra on a lie detector. The private eye says he arranged for his own expert to wire Sandra up as a test run.
William Dear: I felt if she can pass this test, then I'll still be on board.
The private eye got Sandra with the lie detector examiner and left the room.
William Dear: She was in there for about an hour and a half. And all of a sudden, the door opened and she comes out crying. “I failed! I failed!”
Shortly after that he dropped Sandra as a client.
William Dear: She said, “Are you concerned that I might have killed Alan? And I looked at her and I said, I'd rather not respond to that.”Glenna Whitley: In mid-'86 the city really turns on her with a vengance. The gossip and the fear is running rampant.
Sandra Bridewell -- she'd dropped the Rehrig -- had had it. Now 42, she was pulling up stakes and moving on, to another one of those tasteful places -- Marin County, California.
Glenna Whitley: I start getting calls from California from people saying, “This woman is a scammer … what can you tell me about Sandra Bridewell?”
Lots, as it turned out. Lots.
In the summer of 1986, a beautiful widow from Dallas was charming her new circle of friends in suburban San Francisco, Marin County. She and her three children were living in an airy apartment by the yacht club. She'd introduced herself as Sandra Bridewell, using her second husband's name that had that nice ring about it.
Glenna Whitley: It connoted success and society. She would tell people, "My husband told me the bride did well." She had made it.
The 42-year-old Sandra graced her way into the smart set but kept her eye squarely on the target -- finding her next potential male -- and they were all players: businessmen, developers, lawyers. But the widow's charms were quickly wearing thin in the Bay area.
Glenna Whitley: The rumors start that Sandra is asking men for money.Dennis Murphy: Now how'd she do that?Glenna Whitley: She asked for it. "Honey, my trust fund is, you know -- frozen until such and such a date.” They think, "Well, she can repay this no problem." And when they want their money back, she says, "Hmph... I think you gave me that money."
Two of the men who loaned her money took her to court, but never recovered any money. There was an attorney, smitten with her, who loaned her $23,000. And ditto for the married businessman who wrote Sandra checks totalling $70,000 drawn from his pension fund.
Glenna Whitley: Took out his IRA and gave it to her.
Meanwhile back in Dallas, Sandra was gone, but not forgotten, thanks to a cover story in the Dallas city magazine called D. There in black and white were all the whispered stories -- the murdered husband, the suspicious suicide of the close friend. The article mysteriously began showing up in California.
Glenna Whitley: Somebody is starting to fax this story around to Marin County because this is a very small world. The world of people of wealth. People in Marin know people in Dallas.
Reporter Glenna Whitley, writing for D magazine at the time, had inherited the story and she found herself fielding call after call from Marin County.
Glenna Whitley: Saying, "What can you tell me about Sandra Bridewell?"Question: Marin County is full of pretty women … what is the x factor that she had?Glenna Whitley: I think she has this ability to mesmerize people. When you talk to men about it, like, why did you believe her? They can't stop themselves."From the Bay area to Texas, she's left a trail of debt and death..."
The San Francisco media picked up the juicy story of the "Black Widow" and after that spotlight of attention, Sandra left behind both the Bay area and her first name.
Glenna Whitley: She starts to go by Camille Bridewell. I think she's realizing that this story's catching up with her.
Now and then through the ‘90s, Glenna would get calls from places like Arizona and Idaho asking “Who is this flim-flamming Sandra / Camille character?” But when the century rolled over, a fresh new Camille arrived as well -- the coy, eye-batting, southern belle character was retired. It wasn't playing now that she was well into her 50's.
Camille had found Jesus.
Glenna Whitley: The femme fatale discovers the lord. She gets religion in a big way. And she begins portraying herself as an evangelist, as a missionary.
The reporter hears from time to time that the missionary Camille is traveling around the south and parts of northern California and she's on to a new game.
Glenna Whitley: Now she's not just targeting rich people, she's targeting middle-class people, poor people, who she moves in on, takes money from, and sometimes goes after their husbands.
She captivates them with pictures of orphans from what she says are her mission trips, tells tales of smuggling bibles into China. She's offered money and a place to stay until her next trip.
But two of Sandra's hosts became suspicious and checked her background. They found those stories about the Dallas "Black Widow" and threw her out so abruptly -- one with a kitchen knife in hand -- that she left her belongings behind.
These belongings were turned over to the one person who seemed to know what Camille was about.
Glenna Whitley: And I end up with all of this detritus. Bags and boxes and garbage sacks full of her belongings.
In a note to herself: "I am a money magnet ... I attract millionaire/billioniare mentors … I am a billionaire in Christ Jesus."
Glenna Whitley: She hones in on the prosperity gospel, which is, "God wants you to be wealthy,” and she takes that to mean material wealth.
And she wasn't leaving God's gifts to chance. As with Santa, she asked for toys by name. Tucked inside her bible was a picture of a gold Lexus.
Camille had given God everything but the VIN number. "To receive the gift of & title to my new Lexus, LX 470 of gold w/ Michelin tires, state of the art CD sound system, custom cafe au lait leather seatcovers."
Glenna Whitley: Just this -- this hyper-belief system that she's kicked into that God wants to shower her with all this wealth.
And Camille was after real estate to house her own plans for a Christian mission. This ad caught her eye -- a $3.9 million-dollar, 25-acre property in California's wine country. "Promised Lands Farm," she called it. "Promised me as a portion of my inheritance."
But when she tried to close the deal with a forged letter on a banker's letterhead asserting that she could pay for it in cash, her plans for the farm -- and California -- were finished. She'd been found out again. It was 2004.
Sandra / Camille Stegall Bridewell Rehrig slipped away, off the grid, until February of this year when, as always, the frantic call came to Glenna again. This time it was from North Carolina. It was a son scared to death for his elderly mother.
Glenna Whitley: I was just like, "Oh my gosh!" What has she done to this woman?
In the summer of 2006, this small country church in Southport, N.C., welcomed a seemingly good Christian woman named Camille into their midst. She had been recommended by a preacher nearby as a suitable caretaker for 77-year old Sue Mosely.
Mrs. Moseley had been ill, and 62-year-old Camille – who had introduced herself as Camille Bowers -- sounded ideal for the job. Her story was inspirational to Mrs. Moseley's son Jim.
Dennis Murphy: What did she tell you?Jim Moseley: Her husband had passed away. And he had left quite a bit of money to her. And that she had decided to give her life to Christ. And serve the rest of her life out on a mission trips.Dennis Murphy: This is what you want to hear, right?Jim Moseley: Exactly.
It was agreed that Camille would live with Mrs. Moseley in her waterfront home and look after her until the next missionary trip came along.
Sue Moseley: She was just so nice, so dainty. So much of a Southern belle. Dennis Murphy: Was she good company?Sue Moseley: Oh yeah. She'd go around singing and every once in a while she'd go dancing across the kitchen floor. She didn't want me to know that she was 62-years-old.
Mrs. Moseley brought Camille along to her church where she spoke of her mission trips. Church members happily gave money to her cause. Camille had testified to witnessing miracles.
Sue Moseley: She told a story about a woman that was born without eye sockets. And she had been prayed for and that she received her eye sockets.
North Carolina suited her so well that in January of this year, Camille decided to buy a house for herself in Southport. Mrs. Moseley called a realtor, and the three went house hunting.
Jack Vereene: The younger woman introduced herself as Camille Bowers.
Jack Vereene is the realtor.
Jack Vereene: She said that she had six children … and that the reason they needed a lot of square footage and a lot of bedrooms was that she wanted to have space for her kids when they came to visit.
And she found the place: a very desirable $2.7 million house smack on the intracoastal waterway.
Dennis Murphy: Not a lot of people qualify for that kind of house?Jack Vereene: Not a lot of people qualify. And real interesting thing about that was when I asked her if she needed to speak to a lender, she said, "No. I'll be paying cash for what I buy."
But he became a little leery of Camille when his cash-buyer weirdly tried to dicker over the earnest money.
Dennis Murphy: Did you also wonder why this woman would be looking inside a very upscale, gated community … and here she is, a Christian missionary?Jack Vereene: She said that she was going to run her organization out of the home that she purchased. I thought, "I need to look and see what this organization is."
With what little info he had about Camille, the realtor turned to Google for more.
Jack Vereene: Missionary was one of the words that i put in. And then I just started typing in different states that she said she lived in.
After an hour and a half search, he came upon Glenna Whitley's articles from Dallas. One of them had pictures.
Jack Vereene: I see that face and got a knot in my stomach and thought, "I hope this isn't what I think it is."
So the realtor called -- who else -- Glenna Whitley, who hadn't heard boo about Sandra/Camille in three-years.
Glenna Whitley: I was just like, "Oh my gosh!" First, what has she done to this woman. Is this woman okay? And I said, "You need to get Sandra out of that woman's house."
The realtor knew Mrs. Moseley was safe for the time being, staying with her sons while Camille was supposedly off on a brief mission trip. He asked the reporter to call the Moseley sons with the truly bad news.
Jim Moseley: I got a call from my brother … he goes "You're not going to believe this." And I called her immediately.
Glenna e-mailed the son her stories.
Jim Moseley: And I'm floored. I lived in Dallas at the time. And I remember the story … and I'm going, "Whoa. This can't be happening."
Now the son is wondering what Camille may have done to his mother. He would later $2,500 of unauthorized charges on his mother's credit card and close to $900 of forged checks. Her tax papers were gone and her house was going into foreclosure.
Jim Moseley: They said the mortgage hasn't been paid in six months.
The automatic mortgage payments had stopped for reasons unknown. The lender had phoned and called but Mrs. Mosely didn't respond. Why? Mrs. Moseley says Camille had been answering the phone and picking up the mail.
Jim Moseley: I think she wanted the house to go into foreclosure … I think she wanted to buy the house on the courthouse steps and then throw my mother out and take over the house.
On a hunch, Jim Moseley called the Social Security office to see if there was any activity on his mother's number. There was.
Moseley discovered someone had called Social Security to have his mother's checks deposited in a different account. He believes that someone is Camille.
Jim Moseley: She already had access to all the information she needed. She was going to set that up where she could start receiving Social Security from my mother.
Camille was still away when a shaken Jim Moseley went to the authorities. They issued a warrant for her arrest. The son figured she'd flown the coop, but last March -- surprise, Camille called, acting very cheerful.
Jim Moseley: "Hi, Jim. I'm back! I had a great trip. I'm looking forward to taking your mother back home down to the beach. When can I come get the car?"
Jim Moseley arranged to meet Camille a few mornings later at this coffee shop in Charlotte, N.C. He said he'd give her the keys to the car but waiting inside with him were undercover officers. For the first time in more than two decades of smoke and innuendo Sandra/Camille had been arrested.
Jim Moseley: There were no emotions at all from this woman. The only thing I did hear her say was, "I know my rights. And I want a lawyer."
The arrest was bittersweet news for the Oklahoma City detective who never was able to put Sandra in jail.
Steve Pacheco: I'm thrilled that she has at least been arrested. Been mugged and printed. And that she's spent some time in jail. Know what that jail cell is like.
Sandra / Camille Powers -- her real maiden name, not Bowers -- is now in federal custody. She's been charged with mail and identity theft, as well as Social Security, and credit card fraud. If convicted she could face over 20 years in prison.
And her arrest has rekindled the murder investigation of Alan Rehrig, husband number three. The investigative baton has been passed to detective Kyle Eastridge, who believes he has a shot at finally cracking the case.
Kyle Eastridge: I think there's enough time that's gone by that maybe it's time for folks to sit down with me. And have a chat.
But then there some people she's encountered, frightened even today, to talk about Sandra in anything but off-the record whispers.
Glenna Whitley: She's really very intelligent. I think that she had a capability of doing a whole lot with her life. I don't know ... It's just sad.
One final note: on the advice of her attorney, Sandra Camille Powers -- the name under which she's been charged -- declined Dateline's request for an interview.