Loretta Bowersock thought she had met the man she’d always wanted in the shape of Taw Benderly, but he had a shady past and a hidden violent side – A Mother’s Secret examines the case.
December 14 in Tempe, Arizona, and 69-year-old Loretta Bowersock went missing while on a trip to Tucson, Arizona, with her longterm boyfriend Taw Benderly.
Initially police had few clues to go on regards the disappearance of the successful businesswoman. Benderly said he’d not seen Bowersock since he dropped her off at the local mall while they were on a trip to Tucson. A search of the area turned up no evidence of anything untoward and there were no witnesses to her disappearance.
It was not until later in the month that Benderly began to become somewhat uncooperative and then, just before Christmas Day, he shocked everyone by committing suicide, hanging himself in the garage of the home he had shared with Bowersock.
This immediately made detectives believe he had something to do with Bowersock’s disappearance, though he left no clues behind. Her daughter told the local press she’d be spending the holidays looking for her mother in an area she’d been directed to by psychics.
However, it was to take Terri two years before her mother’s body was eventually found. In 2006 a couple were out in the deep desert digging up rocks when they came across some bones that proved to be Bowersock’s.
Her body had been buried 18 feet below the surface and she’d died with a plastic bag over her head and shoved down her throat. A forensic examination found she’d most likely been suffocated to death and detectives believed she’d probably been murdered in her own home.
It turned out Benderly had served time in prison and was shunned by his own family. When he’d met Bowersock some 18 years before, the self-procalimed inventor had only just been released from prison. During their time together, the pair had a volatile relationship and eventually accumulated a lot of debt.
Later author Jana Bommersback wrote a book about the case called Bones in the Desert.
A Mother’s Secret airs at 10:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.