While sifting through hundreds of pages of e-mail as well asother evidence, investigators said Tuesday that Lopatka expected tobe sexually tortured and killed by a man she had met over theInternet.
Lopatka's body was found Friday in a shallowed grave beside aCaldwell County mobile home when Robert Glass lived. She had beenstrangled to death, according to a preliminary autopsy.
Glass, a 45-year-old computer systems analyst for nearbyCatawbaCounty, was charged with first-degree murder on Saturday. Aprobable cause hearing has been set for Nov. 18.
``There's no way to know precisely what was in her head whenshecame here,'' said Caldwell County Sheriff's Department Capt. DannyBarlow. ``The only thing we can see is the e-mail messages andthere they discussed in detail as to what they expected to happenwhen she got here.''
Lopatka, 35, of Hampstead, Md., wrote a note to her husbandbefore leaving their home 2-1/2 weeks ago. She wrote that she wasgoing to visit friends in Georgia and that she would not be comingback, say investigators.
Lopatka also ``asked her husband not to go after the one whodidthis to her,'' according to a search warrant affidavit made publicTuesday.
``If my body is never retrieved, don't worry, know that I'm atpeace,'' her note said.
But Lopatka had planned all along on going to North Carolina,according to police.
Tuesday's revelations were the latest information on arelationship investigators say formed on the Internet, grew throughe-mail correspondence and ended in murder.
Glass has indicated to investigators that Lopatka's death wasinadvertent, said Caldwell County District Attorney David FlahertyJr. Asked whether Glass called Lopatka's death an accident, thedistrict attorney told The Charlotte Observer that that was a``fair characterization.''
Investigators are still sorting through 870 pages of e-mailcommunications found on Lopatka's computer, said Sgt. Barry Leeseof the Maryland State Police. Caldwell County investigators aredoing the same thing to Glass' home and business computers.
The recovered e-mail messages reveal that Lopatka previouslyhadused the Internet to approach someone else about killing her, Leesesaid. That individual refused to comply with Lopatka's deathrequest, Flaherty said.
Sheriff's department Lt. Tim Marley, lead investigator in thecase, said it's too early to tell from preliminary autopsy resultsif she had been sexually tortured, The News-Topic of Lenoirreported.
A partial list of items seized by investigators at Glass' homeincluded computer equipment and disks, a box containing ropes andwires, drug paraphernalia, bed clothing, luggage, a .357-Magnumpistol, magazines, photos and cameras.
Glass and Lopatka met through the Internet, where Lopatka, whohad three Social Security numbers, operated World Wide Web pagesfor a business she ran out of her home. Glass separated from hiswife of 14 years earlier this past spring.
Investigators believe they met in a sexually oriented ``talkgroup'' or ``chat room'' on the computer network, Leese said.
According to the affidavit to search Glass' home, the e-mailmessages contain conversations between ``Nancy,'' the e-mailnickname for Lopatka, and ``Slowhand,'' the e-mail nickname forGlass.
Messages from ``Slowhand'' ``described in detail how he wasgoing to sexually torture ... and ultimately kill her,'' accordingto the search warrant application sheriff department investigatorsused to locate Lopatka's body.
``Whether she expected it to happen or not, if you kill someoneyou commit murder. You have intent communicated precisely,'' Barlowsaid.
Attorney Neil Beach, appointed to represent Glass, called thesearch warrant affidavit misleading.
``I don't believe he's guilty of what he's charged with,''Beachsaid.
Lopatka left Baltimore by train on Oct. 13 and was picked up byGlass in Charlotte, investigators said. Her husband, Victor,reported her missing on Oct. 20.
The Maryland State Police were investigating Lopatka'sdisappearance when they discovered e-mail messages on her computerlinking her to Glass.
Caldwell County Sheriff Roger Hutchings said his investigationand the autopsy results indicate that Lopatka died Oct. 16 and hadstayed at Glass' residence prior to that.
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