CJR Staff
July 16, 2023

Arizona woman found dead, murdered by her live-in lover

Loretta Bowersock, a wealthy businesswoman from Tempe, Arizona, met Taw Benderly, a purported Scottish entrepreneur, in 1986 when she sought a tenant. Unbeknownst to Loretta, she was inviting a wolf in sheep's clothing into her life.

The case is featured in the Oxygen series, Buried in the Backyard.

Loretta's daughter, Terri Bowersock, shared her mother's tragic story, hoping to alert others about such charming yet dangerous individuals. Loretta, a classy and successful lady, was single after a divorce and looking for love.

He Murdered Her

Loretta and Terri had established a prosperous consignment business, and Benderly seemed to complement their entrepreneurial spirit with his grand ideas and inventions.

However, things were not as they seemed. Benderly was actually a con man who convinced Loretta to fund his nonexistent inventions, leveraging signed documents under the guise of sharing profits. Their fortune dwindled as Benderly's deception unfolded.

In 2004, Terri received a horrifying call  stating that her mother was missing. Benderly claimed Loretta was kidnapped, but police found no evidence supporting his story. They unearthed a tragic reality; Loretta's house was in foreclosure, multiple credit cards had been issued under her name, and her ID was left untouched at home. Benderly was the prime suspect, but the police lacked substantial evidence to arrest him.

Eventually, Terri discovered that Benderly was not a Scottish CEO but a career criminal who had defrauded multiple women. Benderly had been pocketing mortgage payments and embezzled thousands from credit cards under Loretta's name.

In December, Benderly took his life, leaving Terri grappling with painful mysteries about her mother. Terri was relentless in her search for her mother, with psychic detective Mary Ann Morgan offering insight. Her efforts finally paid off in 2006 when hikers discovered Loretta's remains near an abandoned motel. Phone records indicated Loretta had discovered the foreclosure, likely leading to a fatal confrontation with Benderly.

Today, Terri uses her mother's story to warn other women of the dangers lurking in subtle signs and to emphasize the importance of intuition and thorough investigation.

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