CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An elderly grandmother who left a trail of five dead husbands in five states over decades has died in Louisiana after an illness, her son-in-law said Monday.
Terry Sanders said Betty Neumar died in a hospital in Louisiana. Stanly County, N.C., Sheriff Rick Burris said authorities are looking into her death.
"We're going to make sure we examine the death certificate," Burris said.
The 79-year-old was facing three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. She was accused of trying to hire someone to kill her fourth husband, Harold Gentry, in the weeks before his death in 1986.
Neumar was arrested in 2008 and released on a $300,000 bond. She had been living in Augusta, Ga., where she moved after Gentry's death. She also spent time with Sanders and his wife, Peggy, in Ocala, Fla. Her trial was postponed numerous times since her arrest.
Authorities discovered Neumar had been married five times since the 1950s, and each union ended with her husband's death. Investigators in three states reopened several of the cases, but have since closed them.
"She was tough country girl and fought through a lot of pain," said Sanders, who has been married 38 years to Neumar's daughter.
He said he didn't know about funeral arrangements. "I'm not sure where she's going to be buried. Peggy and (her sister) Kelli, are taking care of all that."
But the latest development was bittersweet to Gentry's brother, Al Gentry of Albermarle, N.C.
For two decades, Al Gentry had pressed investigators in vain to re-examine his brother's death. The case was finally reopened in January, 2008, after he asked Burris, then the newly elected sheriff, to look into it.
"I'm numb," said Al Gentry, one of eight siblings who grew up in rural North Carolina. "I wanted justice and we're not going to get it."