Real Name: Maria Socorro de Rodriguez LaPine
Aliases: The Black Widow
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: March 1995
Details: Maria LaPine is known as the Black Widow of Guadaljara because she is believed have been responsible for the deaths of nine people: three husbands, two lovers, two friends, a business associate, and a funeral director.
It began with Maria's first huband Douglas LaPine, a retired military officer who died in 1970 after an apparent fall in their house. Her second husband Thomas Brickson, a retired businessman, died after an apparent stroke just a year after their marriage and six months after he was allegedly attacked by intruders.
Maria's third husband, James Piper, was an American businessman whom she met in December of 1988. On September 18, 1989, James took Maria out for breakfast. She later told James's children that when he didn't come out from the bathroom, she sent a busboy to check on him. James had keeled over on the floor, apparently suffering from a heart attack; he died a short time later. Maria invited James's children to Guadaljara for the memorial service and they noticed that her behavior was very odd. She apparently was trying to pit the children against each other in order to get James's possessions, including two $2 million cars that have since vanished.
After James's death, Maria assumed a low profile and in August of 1993, she reported that her half sister died and she received a $100,000 life insurance policy. A few months later, Maria began dating Victor LaPine (no relation to Maria's first husband Douglas LaPine), a wealthy Montana rancher. In June of 1994, Victor's sister Eva received the shocking news that Victor had died; according to Maria, he had became sick at a restaurant and passed away a few hours later. Maria got a suspicious IOU for $100,000, and Victor's family had Mexican authorities start an investigation.
A shocking turn of events occurred when Maria herself supposedly died in March of 1995, and her mother and three children received a $500,000 life insurance policy. The insurance company hired an investigator, Mario Mello Santiago, to verify the facts surronding Maria's death, and he later discovered that Maria was actually alive. Her 'body' was exhumed and all that was found were some flowers, wood, and personal effects; it was later determined that there was never a body inside. The 'body' of her deceased half-sister was also exhumed, and it was determined that no body was inside and that the sister did not even exist. She had apparently faked her own death and has not been seen since.
A few days before authorities were scheduled to question the funeral director who had arranged both burials, he was found strangled to death in the apartment. Despite the evidence, the only outstanding arrest warrant for Maria Socorro De Rodriguez Lapine is a fraud charge because it cannot be proven that she murdered any of the nine people. She is believed to be hiding out with her elderly mother and three grown children: Lena May, David, and Douglas LaPine. They may be in San Antonio, Texas. Maria is 5'2, 120 pounds, has black hair, brown eyes, is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and would now be 74 years old.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the April 4, 1997 episode.