Betsy Faria was a Missouri wife and mother who was stabbed 55 times in a vicious murder inside her own home.
Her husband, Russell Faria, was tried twice in her death; he was convicted, had his conviction reversed, was retried, and then acquitted. Betsy was slain on December 27, 2011, and her husband’s legal saga continued through 2015.
Betsy’s murder remains unsolved. However, it was thrust back into the news last August 2016 in a dramatic way when Pamela Hupp was accused by prosecutors of murdering a man, Louis Gumpenberger, to frame Russell Faria for an attack that she claimed Gumpenberger made against her. Prosecutors allege that Hupp lured Gumpenberger as a pawn to concoct the frame job against Russell Faria.
In November 2016, Dateline featured a story on the Pam Hupp case.
All of this has people asking: Who murdered Betsy Faria?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Betsy Faria Made Pam Hupp the Beneficiary on Her Life Insurance Policy a Few Days Before She Died
Just days before she was killed, Betsy Faria altered her life insurance policy so the $150,000 in proceeds would go to Pam Hupp. Betsy, whose birth name was Elizabeth, was 42-years-old when she died, according to the University of Michigan Law School
The law school, which included the case on a National Registry of Exonerations, says “(Russ) Faria told police that his wife was dying of breast and liver cancer and had spoken of suicide in the past.”
The law school said that, at the first trial of Russ Faria, Hupp testified “that three days before the murder, the victim had named her the beneficiary of a $150,000 life insurance policy and that she had later put $100,000 into a trust for the victim’s daughters. Faria had remained the beneficiary on a separate $100,000 policy.”
Betsy’s two daughters sued to get the money back after Betsy was murdered, but lost the case and were even ordered to pay Pam Hupp’s attorney’s fees. In their civil case, Hupp testified that “she told Lincoln County Prosecutor Leah Askey that she still had Betsy’s life insurance proceeds and that she showed it to Askey. Hupp said it was cash she brought in a bag,” said Fox 2, adding that Askey also testified she saw the bag of money.
During Russ Faria’s retrial, a detective made a shocking statement on the witness stand; he testified that “Hupp told police for the first time this summer that she and Betsy had been lovers,” said NBC News. St. Louis Today said Betsy and Hupp “had met while working together in an insurance office.”
2. Betsy Had Terminal Cancer & Was Killed With a Steak Knife
According to Fox 2, Betsy was found with a steak knife plunged in her neck and “arm slices down to the bone.”
“Of the 55 stab wounds, most appear to have penetrated after she died, including gashes that nearly severed her arms,” said the Missouri TV station.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Betsy was killed with “a serrated-edge MasterChef knife from her kitchen still sticking out of her neck.”
3. Russ Faria Called 911 but no Blood Was Found on Him & His Slippers Were Key Evidence
According to Fox 2, Russ Faria said he believed his wife might have committed suicide when he dialed 911. On the 911 call, Russ Faria says, “I just got home from a friend’s house and, and my wife, my wife killed herself. She’s, she’s, she’s on the floor,” said The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
KPLR said “evidence techs did not find a drop of blood on the husband.” However, said the TV station, “police did find bloody slippers tossed in a closet and a light switch that appeared to be swiped with something bloody.”
In 2015, Russ Faria was acquitted in Betsy’s murder, falling into his attorney’s arms as the verdict was read in court, said NBC News.
NBC said the slippers belonged to Russ Faria, and that prosecutors also presented “a note found on a laptop stating the author, purportedly Betsy, was ‘afraid’ of her husband”; according to NBC, Russ’ defense attorney claimed both pieces of evidence could have been planted by the real killer.
In July, Russ Faria filed a federal lawsuit against the prosecutor, Leah Askey, in the case and investigators; he spent three years in prison, said the Lincoln County Journal. He received a life prison term plus 30 years in prison after the first conviction, said the news site. Read Faria’s lawsuit here.
Russ Faria’s law firm says “an appeals court ordered the judge to revisit several issues in the case; specifically the additional investigation of other potential suspects and evidence that was hidden during the investigatory process in 2011.”
4. Hupp Was the Last Known Person to See Betsy Alive, Reports Say
Pam Hupp drove Betsy home that night and was “the last person to admit seeing Betsy alive,” said Fox 2, adding, at 7:04 p.m. on the night of the murder “Hupp calls to tell her husband they’re at Betsy’s and then stays for about 20 minutes.” Faria discovered his wife dead at 9:40 p.m.
“Cell telephone records later showed that Hupp made a call to her husband at 7:04 p.m. from a location near the Faria home,” says the Michigan law school.
5. Russ Faria Had Four Alibi Witnesses & Prosecutors Now Say Hupp Tried to Frame Him in the New Case
The alibi witnesses “testified they were watching movies with Russ from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the night of the murder,” said KPLR.
According to the Michigan Law School, Hupp told police he left the family’s home at 5:30 p.m. the night of the murder to watch the movie a half hour away in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri. He said he left about 9 p.m. and bought a sandwich at Arby’s restaurant on his way home, according to the Michigan law school, which says “he had a receipt and was seen on a surveillance video.” He then drove the 25 miles home and discovered the body, says the law school.
Betsy stopped answering her cell phone at a time that Russ Faria could not have committed the murder, said The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In the new case, prosecutors allege that Hupp murdered Louis Gumpenberger, a disabled man she didn’t know, in order to make police suspect that Russ Faria had put Gumpenberger up to attacking Hupp over the Betsy Faria life insurance proceeds. Hupp told police that she shot Gumpenberger because he was an intruder, the court documents say.
In the charging documents, prosecutors accuse Hupp of trying to lure a woman into her car on the same day that Gumpenberger was killed with a false story about Dateline. Read more about the new case here.