BY SUSAN WEICH • email@example.com > 636-255-7207
LINCOLN COUNTY • Murder victim Elizabeth "Betsy" Faria feared her husband and was about to remove him as the beneficiary of her life insurance policies, according to documents obtained Thursday from the Lincoln County courthouse.
Russell Scott Faria, 41, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He was being held in lieu of $1 million cash-only bail in the county jail.
A friend of the murdered woman told police that Betsy Faria was becoming "increasingly uncomfortable" with her husband and was thinking about leaving him. A week before her murder, Russell Faria put a pillow over his wife's face and told her "that was what it would feel like to die," the friend told police.
The friend also said Betsy Faria was planning to change the beneficiary of her insurance policies — estimated to be worth between $300,000 and $400,000. At the time of her death, her husband was the primary beneficiary, according to court documents.
An autopsy revealed that the cause of Faria's death was a combination of injuries that included more than 25 stab wounds. She had been lying on the couch in the living room when the attack happened, police said.
During a search of the Faria residence on Sumac Drive near Troy, police found blood on a baseball cap that Russell Faria was seen wearing in surveillance footage from the places he had visited the night of the murder.
In addition, a blood smear was found on a light switch plate in the master bedroom, and his slippers with blood on them were in the walk-in closet of the bedroom.
Police also found a second knife not used in the killing. It was hidden under the pillow that Betsy Faria was using when she was lying on the couch.
Police say Faria, 42, was found dead at 9:40 p.m. Dec. 27 in the home.
Russell Faria was charged the day after her funeral. One family friend described a wake and funeral that were filled with tension because of suspicions about Faria's involvement in his wife's death.
Faria had been taken into police custody last week and held for several hours, but he was released without any charges being filed.
The Farias had been married for about 12 years, family members said. Betsy Faria had two daughters from a previous relationship.
Betsy Faria's mother, Janet Meyer, said Thursday that she was in shock about the charges against her son-in-law.
"I can't believe this is happening," she said. "I'm numb about the whole thing."
Family and friends have said Betsy Faria will be remembered for caring about others and her positive attitude despite her ongoing struggle with cancer.