TROY, Mo. – New Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood says DNA evidence could provide an answer in the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria. He’s confident a new investigation will be led by the best of the best, “to prove that people can have faith in the system; that it will actually work.”
It’s been nearly eight years since the unsolved murder of Betsy Faria. She was stabbed to death in her Lincoln County home on December 27, 2011.
Wood says they have evidence to test “…with the blood swabs on the light switch, gloves, we have carpet samples. We still have the murder weapon and there’s a lot more there than I had even realized coming in.”
He wasn’t prosecutor at the time when deputies with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, under direction from then-prosecutor Leah Askey, treated Pam Hupp as a star witness rather than a suspect.
Betsy’s husband, Russ Faria, was falsely convicted. A second trial exposed evidence that Hupp had a motive to murder Betsy. There was also evidence Hupp planted a fake letter on Betsy’s laptop and that it fooled Lincoln County investigators.
Russ Faria is now suing Lincoln County because of it. So prosecutor Wood is moving the investigative files out of the hands of Lincoln County deputies.
“I don’t want to put them in a position where there’s any type of conflict or any type of suggestion of impropriety and Sheriff Cottle’s on the same page,” Wood said. “He wants to protect his employees as well. So, we decided that’s the best move forward is we’ll isolate Lincoln County because of the litigation that was going on and continues to go on.”
Wood worked with the sheriff to call on the Major Case Squad to step in.
“I can tell they’re excited to get in and try to figure out what really happened,” he said.
Wood added that none of the original investigators from 2011 will be working this re-opened investigation.
Top Major Case Squad commanders will soon review the Betsy Faria murder files and decide on the best course of action.