Lisa Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kansas, confessed to strangling eight-months-pregnant Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, before cutting the premature infant from her womb at Bobbie Jo's Skidmore Missouri home on December 16, 2004.
Shy, kind, intelligent, trusting, and protective of her younger brother, Tyler, Bobbie Jo was a cheerleader before she graduated from high school with honors in May 2000. She lived in the small Skidmore area all her life. April 26, 2003, she married her childhood sweetheart, upperclassman, Zebulon James Stinnett. Thrilled to be expecting their first child, they were saving up for a home of their own home.
Bobbie Jo worked at Earl May Garden Center, a pet store and plant nursery where she loved working with the fish and birds until she left to take a production job at Kawasaki Manufacturing, where Zeb worked.
Bobbie Jo, won prizes across the country on the rat terrier dog show circuit, and shared her knowledge on the genetics of breeding with other breeders in online chat rooms.
Montgomery, a rat terrier breeder, belonged to the same online communities. Bobbie Jo defended Lisa when she was accused of misrepresenting her dogs pedigree.
Online Montgomery and Bobbie Jo discussed their pregnancies.
Nancy Strudl, a chat room acquaintance, said Montgomery "told us all she was pregnant with twins, and about a month and a half ago her messages were 'I lost one of the twins. It's so terrible, but they saved one twin.' We didn't believe she was pregnant. I don't know how she fooled her family and community." She was thin, many doubted her stories, she had told similar stories before.
But unbeknownst to Bobbie Jo, she met Montgomery face-to-face at a dog show in Abilene, Kansas in November 2003. Nancy has a photograph of them.
According to Carl Boman, 43, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Montgomery's ex-husband and stepbrother, who married her in 1986, when she was a teenager, Montgomery saw pregnancy as a way to get attention. They had three daughters and a son in less than four years. She had a tubal ligation without remorse or regret after doctors advised her against having more children.
She cheated during the 14 years they were married and moved from Oklahoma to New Mexico to Kansas due to problems caused by her lying. Boman described her as a selfish, chronic liar, with low self-esteem, and critical of others but he never saw any signs of violence.
Lisa pretended to be pregnant twice in the 1990s.
Carl filed for divorce in 1993. In 1994 in Arkansas they remarried.
In 1998, Lisa filed for divorce. She took the four children and moved in with a quiet electrician, Kevin Montgomery, a father of three, in Melvern, Kansas. They married in 2000. Their blended household consisted of Kevin, his parents, Lisa, and seven teenagers.
Montgomery was a homebody, who only talked about herself or her children. She raised goats for the wool. Her children knew how to weave, dye, and spin the yarn. Neighbors reported her as a neglectful mother whose children wore dirty rags. She laid on the couch when her children needed attention.
During the prior year, she fabricated a pregnancy and wore maternity clothes. Montgomery claimed she miscarried as the "due date" approached . A few months later she again claimed to be pregnant with a December 2004 due date.
Montgomery cut back on her three jobs, as her “due date” drew closer. Kevin who commuted 70 miles every day to his job at a sign company believed she was pregnant.
Carl had just filed for custody of two of their children. This would force Montgomery to admit in court that she was not pregnant or Carl could prove her mental instability.
On Wednesday, December 16, 2004, Lisa, posing as "Darlene Fisher" contacted Bobbie Jo in an Internet chat room under the pretext of wanting to buy a rat terrier. Bobbie Jo gave her directions to her house and they agreed to meet the next day.
When Kevin returned home from work on Thursday, around 5:15 p.m., he received a telephone call from his wife in Topeka, Kansas telling him that while she was out of town shopping she delivered a daughter at a Topeka women's clinic. Kevin with two teenagers from home drove to Topeka to pick up Lisa and the baby at Long John Silver's restaurant parking lot. The couple drove home with the newborn in Kevin's pickup truck, while the teens drove her red Toyota Corolla.
Meanwhile, Becky Harper, Bobbie Jo's mother, discovered her at home lying dead in a pool of blood with the baby removed and her fists holding blond hair.
Amber Alert system was attributed to the success in recovering the infant so quickly.
On the rat terrier Web site, a North Carolina woman who saw Bobbie Jo and "Darlene" arrange the meeting contacted the FBI after hearing an Amber Alert. Through Internet service provider records, computer investigators tracked Darlene's account to Melvern, Kansas, registered to Lisa Montgomery.
Authorities verified no babies were born in a Topeka women's clinic on Thursday.
Zeb read the 23rd Psalm beside Bobbie Jo's open bronze casket. Victoria Jo was not brought to the service. After a private funeral in Maryville, Missouri, 400 mourners turned out including most of the town's 300 residents for the burial at Hillcrest Cemetery in Skidmore. Rev. Herald Hamon of Skidmore Christian Church, the same pastor who married Bobbie Jo and Zeb, delivered her eulogy. In addition to her husband and daughter, Bobbie Jo's survivors include, her mother, Becky Harper, father, Joseph “Buck” Potter, a brother Tyler Harper, grandparents, and great grandparents.
Bobbie Jo is the third member of her family to be murdered within the last four years. A cousin was stomped to death by a boyfriend in 2000, and another disappeared two years ago.
Montgomery pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors U.S. Attorney Todd Graves plans to seek a death sentence.
Montgomery is in federal custody in Leavenworth, Kansas, suspected of kidnapping resulting in the death of Bobbie Jo Stinnett. If convicted, she could face a life in prison or the death penalty, and a $250,000 fine. In December 2005, her attorney Susan M. Hunt asked for a continuance until February 2007 and requested evidence regarding the DNA test on hair found in Bobbie Jo's hand, pictures taken of the newborn on various cameras, and a cell phone, and the transcription of a telephone call Montgomery made while incarcerated.
U.S. v. Lisa Montgomery -- FBI Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint
Lisa's oldest child, a high school senior at the time moved in with nearby friends. Her youngest child out of state. The two middle children live with their father.
Skidmore was the focus of national media in 1981, when Ken Rex McElroy, a town bully, was shot to death in his pickup in front of more than 40 witnesses, none of the witnesses would identify the killer.
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