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Bones in the Desert

The True Story of a Mother's Murder and a Daughter's Search

Jana Bommersbach

St. Martin's True Crime

Loretta Bowersock and her daughter, Terri, ran a multimillion-dollar furniture store based in Tempe, Arizona, where they were well-known and admired by many. Together, these two women seemed to be living the American Dream…until one man decided to take it all away.

Over the course of two decades, Taw Benderly worked his way into Loretta’s heart, home, and business. Though the couple appeared to be happy, their lives behind closed doors told another story. Terri had always known that the handsome, charming, and usually unemployed Taw was manipulating her mother—but she did not know the extent of the abuse or how far he would go to defraud her. Then, just before Christmas in 2004, Loretta went missing. It would be more than a year before Terri learned the shocking truth: That, before killing himself, Taw murdered the 69-year-old Loretta and left her.

Bones in the Desert is the shocking story of a devoted mother and daughter, a successful business, and the man who would do everything to destroy it all ...


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CHAPTER ONE

The Last Week

The last week of Loretta Bowersock’s life started out joyously—a blessing to the middle of five daughters who was remembered at her mother’s funeral as the "joyous" one.

On this Tuesday, December 7, 2004, Loretta was 69 years old, but still had the tennis-pro figure of her earlier years, carrying just 130 pounds on her 5- foot- 6- inch frame. She still dressed like the "fashion queen" she’d been for decades, and showed so few signs of aging that nobody would have guessed she was about to enter her seventies.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jana Bommersbach

  • Jana Bommersbach is an acclaimed Arizona journalist and author of The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd, which was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award and won Arizona's only literary prize. She has been Arizona's Journalist of the Year, won a Regional Emmy for her television writing and has been honored with two lifetime achievement awards for her newspaper and magazine reporting. She lives in Phoenix.

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    Bones in the Desert

    The True Story of a Mother's Murder and a Daughter's Search

    Jana Bommersbach

    • e-Book

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    St. Martin's True Crime

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