Fall of the Black Widow

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When Bridewell quoted Scripture to Harrington, the older woman wasn't intimidated. Harrington knew the Bible and could fling back chapter and verse. "Several times we really got into it," Harrington says. "I told her, 'You're a spoiled rotten brat who is practicing witchcraft'—meaning secrecy, control and deception—'and playing at missionary.' She didn't like that."

Harrington asked Bridewell to leave, but she didn't go far, moving in with Harrington's sister, Sue Moseley. A widow, Moseley lives in a gated golf-course community in Southport near the intra-coastal waterway in a home valued at more than $1 million. "She told me she didn't want to stay with Audrey and that she would be going to Africa in October on a six- to eight-week mission trip," Moseley says. Feeling it was her Christian duty, she invited Bridewell to stay in her home until her trip.

Bridewell moved in on Labor Day and stayed six months.

At first Bridewell was helpful around the house and drove Mrs. Moseley around town. She commiserated with Mrs. Moseley's difficulties with a troubled daughter. She raised her beautiful soprano voice in song at Moseley's church. After she gave a talk at another church about her mission work, the audience took up an offering of about $500. Bridewell didn't ask Mrs. Moseley for money; they had agreed to split the cost for groceries and gas. Though it always seemed Bridewell got the better end of the deal, Mrs. Moseley sensed nothing wrong.

The two women were driving around one day in January when Bridewell pointed out several houses that would be a great location for the training center she wanted to open to teach "natives" from Third World countries organic farming techniques. At Bridewell's urging, Mrs. Moseley called the real estate agents listed on the signs.

Dennis Krueger and Jack Vereen showed Mrs. Moseley and Bridewell around several expensive homes. Bridewell settled on one in particular, a stately Queen Anne-style mansion on the water that was listed at $2.7 million. She said it would be a great place for her six children to visit and hinted that Mrs. Moseley wasn't going to be able to live by herself much longer.

But the agents got suspicious. They couldn't figure out if Moseley or Bridewell was the buyer. "I finally had to ask," Vereen says. "'Look ladies, who am I selling to?'"

"Me, I'm the buyer," Bridewell told him, "with my organization." Bridewell said she was paying cash.

That waved a giant red flag. After several weeks of discussions, they noticed that Moseley and Bridewell didn't seem as close as they had at first.

In fact Mrs. Moseley had gotten fed up with Bridewell. "She was getting bossy, and she was trying to pour my medicines for me and putting water by my bed at night." Bridewell urged Moseley to stop taking her blood-pressure medication.

She badmouthed Harrington, telling Mrs. Moseley her sister hated her and other hurtful things. "Divide and conquer is her mode," Harrington says. After a few months, Bridewell was intercepting the mail and answering the phone, even refusing to let Harrington talk to her sister.

"I knew something was wrong with this girl, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what," Mrs. Moseley says. "I was praying the last six weeks that she would go to India and not come back."

Vereen couldn't quell his skepticism. "She creeped me out," Vereen says. But he didn't even know Bridewell's last name. So he turned to Google, putting in the bits of information he knew: Camille, missionary and Texas, where she said she once lived. Bingo! Up popped the Observer stories, complete with pictures of the "missionary." She'd repeated the same real estate scenario in Atlanta and in Santa Rosa, California.

Vereen and Krueger called me to explain what was going on and to ask if I thought Bridewell was dangerous. I pointed out that Bridewell was still the only suspect in Rehrig's shooting death. Someone had to warn Mrs. Moseley. But how to handle it since the two women were inseparable?

When the day of her mission trip arrived in early February, Bridewell drove Mrs. Moseley to Charlotte to stay with her son Jim while Bridewell was overseas.

After Bridewell was gone for a few weeks, I tracked down one of Mrs. Moseley's sons, who was skeptical but agreed to read the Observer articles. A few days later, Jim Moseley contacted me. His mother was staying with him in Charlotte, and they had discovered Bridewell had run up a $1,900 bill on one of her credit cards without Mrs. Moseley's authorization. They contacted police.

When Bridewell returned, she called Jim and said she would come to pick up the car and take his mother home. At the request of police, Jim played along, agreeing to meet her for the car exchange, where Bridewell was arrested.

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Glenna Whitley