Boyfriend leaves no clues - East Valley Tribune: News

Boyfriend leaves no clues

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Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 5:15 am | Updated: 4:37 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Taw Benderly’s suicide note revealed no secrets.

"Loretta and I promised to be together for eternity, and so we shall," it read.

The unsigned, typed note in cursive font was found in a briefcase Tuesday, one week after Benderly hanged himself in the garage of the couple’s Tempe home, said Terri Bowersock, whose 69-year-old mother has been missing since Dec. 14.

Also in the briefcase, which was labeled, "To give to Terri," were his laptop computer, his jewelry, a couple hundred dollars and power of attorney signed to Terri Bowersock.

The mementos are the last known link to the disappearance of Loretta Bowersock, forcing her family to agonize that any clues to her fate died with Benderly, the last known person to see her alive.

"He controlled a lot about her, and she fought along the way. And he has control in her death, to know where she is and have no one else know," a frustrated Terri Bowersock said.

The note indicates Benderly knew Loretta Bowersock was dead, she said, confirming why police narrowed their investigation to him days before he killed himself.

"Him killing himself is very selfish for him to do that and not give us the opportunity to find her and give her a decent burial," said Loretta Bowersock’s sister, Darla Neal of Hutchinson, Kan.

Questions and doubts have swirled around Benderly, who has been described as a genius with a photographic memory, since the moment he arrived 17 years ago on Loretta Bowersock’s doorstep with suitcase in hand to rent a room in her house.

"He came with no ID, no wallet, no proof," Neal said. "He told a story about being robbed at the airport. We were concerned for her safety. We didn’t know enough about him."

The couple’s hot-and-cold relationship was plagued with financial problems, and Loretta Bowersock often told her sisters of Benderly’s temper.

Friends and family remained suspicious of Benderly’s background, which, according to him included no living family members.

"He told us his parents were dead, he was an only child and raised by grandparents," Terri Bowersock said. But when police searched for relatives after Benderly’s death, they discovered a brother in Colorado who hasn’t spoken to him in the past decade, an aunt in southern Arizona who hasn’t had contact with Benderly in 40 years, and a father in Oregon.

Efforts to reach his family for comment were unsuccessful.

Benderly, who worked as an engineer/inventor, had a string of unsuccessful inventions throughout his career, Terri Bowersock’s family said.

The inventions became a money pit that Loretta and Terri Bowersock — and even neighbors — fed thousands of dollars into over the years, yet the couple’s finances still faltered. Their home near Southern Avenue and McClintock Drive was recently foreclosed on and will be auctioned in February.

A memorial service for Loretta Bowersock is 8 p.m. Thursday at her daughter’s business, Terri’s Consign and Design Furnishings at Ray Road and Interstate 10 in Tempe, even though police still list her as missing.

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