Pamela Hupp appeared to be on a run of bad luck.
First her friend Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria, 42, was stabbed to death in her Lincoln County, Missouri, home in December 2011 — a killing that remains unsolved.
Then, in 2013, Hupp’s mother, 77-year-old Shirley Neumann, died in a fall from her third-floor balcony, in what initially was ruled an accident.
Next, Hupp claims, she was accosted outside her O’Fallon, Missouri, home on Aug. 16, 2016, by a man with a knife who followed her inside. She shot and killed him, but police soon said it was her story that was full of holes.
Now authorities are reviewing suspicions that Hupp’s connections to all three deaths are not a coincidence but rather a tangled web of deceit and murder motivated by money.
Her attorney Nicholas Williams disagrees. “Ms. Hupp has been the subject of a local barrage of innuendo,” he tells PEOPLE.
Police think it’s more complicated.
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Hupp, 58, is jailed on a charge of first-degree murder, to which she has pleaded not guilty, in the fatal shooting at her home of 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger. Prosecutors allege his death was part of a plot to frame Russell Faria, the husband of Hupp’s slain friend, Betsy.
Russell had been convicted in 2013 of his wife’s murder — which made Hupp the beneficiary of a $150,000 insurance policy signed over to her just days before Betsy was killed — but he was later acquitted.
Authorities suspect Hupp staged the attack by Gumpenberger at her home to make it look like he’d been hired by Russell to rob and kill her, thus diverting attention back to Russell and away from her as authorities reviewed Betsy’s slaying.
With those two deaths under scrutiny, police are also looking again at Neumann’s death, knowing that Hupp, who remains behind bars, was the last to see her mother alive.
The twists have left Betsy’s family still waiting and hoping for answers about who really killed her.
“I don’t feel there was justice,” says Betsy’s daughter Mariah Day. “There are so many questions.”