A realestate agent, model, beauty pageant judge and mother is accused of hatching a plan to murder her former mother-in-law.
Leigh Ann Bauman is well known in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. Her Facebook page is filled with glamorous shots of the 43-year-old attending community events, promoting art shows and gracing the cover of local magazines.
On Thursday afternoon (local time), Bauman was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after a witness recorded a conversation in which she offered to pay to kill her ex mother-in-law and make it look like an accident.
'Your grandmother will die'
Documents filed in the Camden County Circuit Court obtained by news outlet KRGCTV state Bauman believed her ex mother-in-law and ex-husband were possibly about to take her to court to get full custody of the children.
The documents also state after Bauman’s children refused to come home with her after visiting their father and grandmother, she sent her children a text that read: “Your grandmother will die”.
When the father saw the text and confronted Bauman about it, she insisted “she just meant (the grandmother) was old [and therefore] was going to die,” the documents state.
When Bauman initially asked the witness if she knew of anyone she could hire to kill her former mother in law, the witness asked if she was serious, to which Bauman replied “she would go to church and ask for forgiveness after it was done."
The next time the witness spoke to Bauman she recorded the conversation where the witness told Bauman she had found hitmen and they charged $1,500 (A$1,930). Bauman said “oh okay, that’s a reasonable price,” and told the witness she would get the money from the bank the following day.
Bauman also detailed where she wanted the murder to take place and requested the hitmen make it look like an accident because of the text she had sent her children earlier.
The witness told authorities she was scared to come forward with the recording as she thought Bauman had connections in town, including the police, so instead she took the recording to her lawyer.
On Thursday when police visited Bauman at her home to ask about the allegations, the documents state she "gasped and blamed everything on the witness."
She claimed she was just venting about her children’s grandmother and the witness was a “hustler”.
Investigators said Bauman asked if she needed a lawyer and made a call to which nobody answered.
She then called the Lake Ozark Mayor on speakerphone and asked what she should do, documents say the mayor responded "tell the truth and she would be fine."
Bauman allegedly ended the interview as she had an appointment to get botox, when the officers asked her to cancel it, she refused and told them to speak to the witness.
Later that day officers reportedly spoke with Bauman again, who when asked if she had agreed to withdraw money from the bank to pay the hitmen replied she hadn’t but she had a couple of glasses of wine that night “so she does not necessarily remember.”
Bauman was eventually arrested and was denied bail because of “her finances and danger to the victim ... the local realtor had several political connections and the witness was aware of these political connections,” said Camden County Prosecutor Caleb Cunningham, according to a report by outlet KY3.
Bauman is awaiting trial.
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