Wife Of Slain Pope AFB Captain Arrested In Florida
Posted August 6, 2002 5:10 a.m. EDT
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — A Cumberland County woman indicted on charges of murder and conspiracy in the shooting death of her Air Force captain husband has been arrested in Florida after months on the run.
Acting on a tip, U.S. marshal's arrested Michelle Theer in Broward County, Fla., Monday evening.
Theer is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the December 2000 shooting death of her husband, Pope Air Force Capt. Marty Theer.
Authorities had been looking for Michelle Theer since May. She disappeared five days before a Cumberland County grand jury indicted her on conspiracy and first-degree murder charges in the death of her husband.
U.S. marshals said their fugitive slipped up one time, and thanks to a nationwide search, she was taken into custody. They said said Michelle Theer had plastic surgery on her face Monday morning, just hours before she was caught.
Marshals followed her live-in boyfriend home from work and found Michelle Theer in a Fort Lauderdale apartment she apparently had been staying at since June.
Marshals said the suspect told them that her name was Lexi Solomon. Authorities said the boyfriend had no idea she was a woman wanted for murdering her husband.
"The information he said she gave was that she had been in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend and was trying to hide from him," said Alex Holman, a deputy U.S. marshal in Raleigh.
Michelle Theer's landlord heard a similar story -- that she was hiding from an abusive husband who was a police officer in California. She told the landlord her name was Liza Pendragon.
U.S. marshals believe the different names, plastic surgery and changed hairstyle are a clear indication Michelle Theer planned to stay on the run.
"We found magazines describing ways to go undercover in the U.S., how to obtain a new identity," said John Amat, a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Miami.
Also found in the apartment were books and tapes on speaking Spanish and tour books on Mexico, according to the U.S. Marshal's Office.
Michelle Theer's family said they had not heard from her in weeks. Reached by phone on Tuesday, the suspect's mother said she is relieved and upset and is waiting to hear from her daughter. Michelle Theer's grandmother said she probably disguised her looks because police were harassing her.
Authorities said Michelle Theer conspired with her lover, former Army Staff Sgt. John Diamond, to murder her husband. The C-130 pilot was shot five times outside his wife's office building on Raeford Road.
Last year, a military jury convicted Diamond of murder, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"It remains my hope that the truth will eventually come out. I still believe she pulled the trigger and the evidence shows that," said Coy Brewer, Diamond's former attorney.
The U.S. Marshal's Office said Michelle Theer was taken to a hospital because she was physically unfit to go to jail due to her recent surgery.
Michelle Theer could go before a Broward County, Fla., judge as early as Wednesday.
If she does not fight extradition, Fayetteville police could pick her up as early as Thursday. If Michelle Theer fights extradition, officials said it could take as long as three months for her to return to North Carolina and face the murder charge.