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Love triangle blamed for slayings of woman, son

Lisa Underwood and her son,  Jayden.
Lisa Underwood and her son,  Jayden.Today show
/ Source: The Associated Press

Lisa Underwood was devoted to her 7-year-old son and excited about soon having a baby girl. Friends said she was planning to raise her daughter without help from the baby’s father.

That’s why many of Underwood’s friends are stunned that the father of her unborn child has been charged with suffocating her and her son, Jayden, apparently after an argument over his refusal to leave his wife.

“She was warm and loving, but she was also very independent,” said Leah Huff, a friend and longtime customer at Boopa’s Bagel Deli, the bagel shop Underwood co-owned. “She raised Jayden by herself, and Jayden was awesome. Being a single mother was no big deal to her.”

Hours after the arrest of 37-year-old Stephen Dale Barbee, authorities found two bodies matching the description of Underwood, 34, who was seven months pregnant, and her son.

Court records show Barbee admitted arguing with Underwood over leaving his wife. Barbee allegedly said he suffocated Underwood, then suffocated the boy after he interrupted the attack. Court papers said Barbee was the father of Underwood’s fetus.

Barbee told investigators he put the bodies in the back of Underwood’s SUV and drove to Denton County and dug a shallow grave, according to the affidavit.

Underwood was reported missing Saturday along with her son after she failed to show up at her baby shower, prompting an Amber Alert. A pool of blood was found in her Fort Worth home.

After Barbee’s arrest and en route to jail in Fort Worth, police took him to a rural area of Denton County near Northlake, about 25 miles north of Fort Worth, and he led them to the bodies, authorities said.

Underwood and Barbee met about two years ago at the bagel store but split up last fall because Barbee had another girlfriend, said Debbie Lindley, a neighbor of Underwood’s.

About 200 people gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil outside Underwood’s bagel shop, where they placed dozens of balloons, flower bouquets, cards and pictures of the victims.