The murder of Marilyn Burdick by Louis Hugh Plunkett Jr. is highlighted on Death In The Desert on Investigation Discovery.
Burdick was a 62-year-old dental hygiene instructor at the Mohave Community College in Bullhead City who began dating Plunkett after the pair met each other online. He later moved into her house in Fort Mohave, Arizona.
During their five-year relationship, Burdick became distant to her daughter, Karen Bender, who stated that Plunkett, then 51, knew Burdick was alone and vulnerable after her husband passed away, and he took advantage of that by manipulating her and stealing her money.
Before Burdick’s death, Plunkett sent Burdick an email pretending to be her son-in-law. He told her that if she were to die, she should make sure her assets are transferred to Plunkett, and she should disinherit her daughter.
On June 26, 2013, a co-worker went to Burdick and Plunkett’s home in the 5200 block of South Antelope Drive after she failed to show up for work. When she searched behind the house, she found Burdick dead, floating in the swimming pool.
Plunkett told investigators that Burdick had hit her head the previous day. He said he told her to go to the hospital, but she refused. While he was away, he said she must have collapsed again and fallen into the pool.
However, an autopsy determined that Burdick was struck at least four times as she sustained injuries to her eye and spine. She also had a neck injury consistent with strangulation.
Officers arrested Plunkett near Needles and later transported him from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office to the Mohave County Jail in Kingman. He was charged with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and fraudulent schemes and artifices.
In 2015, Plunkett was convicted of the charges and sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole.
Death In The Desert airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.