People & Places

Staff Pick

Best Local Girl Gone Bad 

Pam Hupp

In this era of true-crime tales dominating the airwaves, few stories are quite so made-for-TV as the shocking tale of O'Fallon, Missouri's Pam Hupp. With three bodies connected to her — one for which she is sitting in prison after being found guilty of murder — and more twists and turns than a cheap garden hose, it's a lock that her name will soon be more than just our local shame. And the identities of the dead send chills up the spine. Louis Gumpenberger, who suffered severe mental and physical impairments following a 2005 car crash, was shot to death in 2016 in Hupp's home, where she lured him in an attempt to frame him in a murder-for-hire plot. That frame job was meant to draw the heat to Russ Faria, who had recently been released from prison after being exonerated for the 2011 murder of his wife, Betsy — a co-worker of Hupp's who, just before her death, had listed Hupp as the sole beneficiary of her life insurance. Hupp's testimony had been key in Faria's initial conviction; that murder case has since been reopened, with investigators looking at Hupp as a suspect. Unrelated to those two murders, though, is the suspicious 2013 death of Hupp's own mother, Shirley Neumann — because, hey, if you're gonna be a monster, you might as well go big — which resulted in a big payday for Hupp. Neumann's death was initially believed to be an accident, but a medical examiner has since changed the manner of death to "undetermined." All told, the tale of Pam Hupp screams for serialization. Maybe she'll be able to watch herself in prison.

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