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The American crime drama The Thing About Pam is fascinating on so many levels. Not only does it feature an all-star cast, but it also focuses on the real-life story of Pam Hupp, a woman charged with murdering her friend Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria over life insurance money—a decade after the crime happened.
The story is bizarre, complex, and intense: Pam was the last person to have seen Betsy alive before she was stabbed to death in her Missouri home in 2011. And Betsy’s husband Russel Faria was falsely accused of the crime. Before Betsy’s murder, Pam had convinced Betsy, who had cancer, to change her life insurance policy to make Pam the beneficiary, per NBC News.
Years later, Pam shot and killed a man, Louis Gumpenberger, in her driveway. She had tried to create an image that he was affiliated with Russel—demanding for Russ’ life insurance money—when in fact, Louis had nothing to do with it all. Throughout everything, Pam maintained her innocence.
But where is Pam Hupp now? Here’s what you need to know about her complicated story.
She murdered Betsy Faria.
In December 2011, Pam Hupp drove Betsy home from chemotherapy. Later that night, Betsy was found dead: She was stabbed more than 50 times and a pair of her socks were soaked in her blood and smeared around some spots in the home (presumably to make it look like there had been a domestic struggle). Pam was the last person to Betsy alive. And just four days before the murder, she had been made the sole beneficiary of Betsy’s life insurance policy of $150,000.
She pointed the finger at Betsy’s husband, Russell Faria.
Hupp told authorities that Russ Faria had a temper and asked them to check Betsy’s laptop. There they found a note that said she feared that her husband would murder her.
But Russ had multiple alibis: He saw a movie with friends in Lake Saint Louis and was at an Arby’s restaurant. He even had his receipt and was spotted on the CCTV. But he was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in 2013. He was then wrongfully incarcerated for more than a year. In 2015 he was acquitted of both charges after a retrial and is now a free man. He filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Lincoln County in 2016 and it was settled in 2020 for $2 million.
She was arrested for the murder of another man.
After Russ was acquitted, Betsy’s murder case was reopened. In 2016, with evidence mounting against her, Pam was charged for the murder of Louis Gumpenberger—a mentally disabled man she fooled into thinking that she was a Dateline producer looking to re-enact a 911 call for an upcoming episode, NBC News reports.
Pam shot and killed him while attempting to make Russ look like a violent person. Pam told authorities that Gumpenberger had accosted her in the driveway of her home, demanded “Russ’ money” and threatened to kill her. She planted money and a note to make him appear like a hired thug.
In 2019, Pam entered an Alford Plea, meaning she didn’t admit she was guilty of the crime but she acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her. This helped her avoid the death penalty—but she was sentenced to life in jail.
All these years later, she’s now facing charges in the murder of Betsy Faria.
While Pam was considered a star witness in the prosecution’s case against Russ for the murder of Betsy, things flipped after she was convicted of murdering Gumpenberger. That caused prosecutors to reopen the case of Betsy's death and eventually charged Pam in July 2021 with her former friend’s murder.
“I would just like to say that this was a long time coming,” Russell said of the case. “I am eagerly awaiting for this to go to trial and I am doing what I can to assist [Lincoln County prosecutor] Mike Wood and his team.”
Betsy’s daughters suspected Pam the whole time.
Betsy’s daughters, Leah and Mariah Day, told Fox 2 Now in 2021 that they suspected Pam was responsible for their mom’s death. “I kept thinking something was wrong, something was off,” Leah said. But Leah said every time she brought up her concerns to the authorities, she was told that Pam “physically could not do that.”
Pam still says she didn't murder Betsy.
In late July 2021, Pam pleaded not guilty to murdering Betsy, per Fox 2 Now. And in September 2021, the armed criminal action charge was dropped because the statute of limitations ran out. “It won’t affect our case moving forward, so we’ll not challenge that case law,” Wood said in a statement, per KSDK.
Pam’s mother, Shirley Neumann, also died under suspicious circumstances.
Pam’s 77-year-old mother, Shirley, was found dead on the ground below her balcony at a senior living facility in 2013, per NBC News. It was initially ruled as accidental. But after Pam’s legal troubles, authorities decided to give the case a closer look and deemed it “undetermined,” per Fox 2 Now.
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