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Girl, Wanted

Case of Indiana murderess examined

August 8, 2011
By REGINA M. ANGELI - Books Writer , The Daily News

Steve Miller has written an account of the case of convicted murderess Sarah Pender who escaped from prison and spent 136 days on the run, "Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender." (Berkley Books/Penguin, 296 pages)

Pender and her boyfriend, a drug dealer named Richard Hull, were convicted of shooting their two roommates. The victims were Richard's partner in crime, Andrew Cataldi, and his girlfriend, Tricia Nordman.

Although Hull claimed to have fired the 12-gauge shotgun used to commit the murders, he later passed a polygraph wherein he disclosed that Sarah had shot the pair.

Article Photos

At trial, the prosecutor claimed that Sarah had planned the crimes and called her a "female Charles Manson" for her talent in manipulating her boyfriend into committing a double murder.

Her talent for influencing others did not stop with her incarceration.

She managed to seduce a corrupt prison guard into helping her escape. While on the loose, she hooked up with a self proclaimed married "sex addict" who set her up with an apartment and jobs.

The case of Sarah Pender is not exactly riveting true crime drama and any comparison of her to Charles Manson seems to be bit of an exaggeration, given that her crimes did not instill the great fear in the public as did those of the Manson family.

And while Manson's guilt is not questioned, Sarah's father continues to protest her innocence.

In researching the story of Sarah Pender, the author shed light on some of the inept practices of the Indiana Department of Corrections and how an investigator from the Indiana State Police, charged with the task of finding her, complained of having lost a significant amount of money after having to spend four nights in a strip club because he had received a tip that she might be working as a stripper.

In the end, Sara Pender's story is that all too familiar dreadful story of drugs and guns - a very lethal mix.



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