Hi guys, I hope you’re enjoying your day ! Today I’m going to tell you the story of a woman who wasn’t going to let anything get in her way, including her husband. Grab a snack and get yourself comfortable, here is the story of Valérie Pape.
We don’t know much about Valérie Pape’s early life. She was born on January 29th, 1952 in a French upper middle-class family, and basically had a normal childhood and adolescence. She went to catholic private schools, and when she graduated high school, she married an accountant and moved to Paris. She could have had a perfectly normal life in France’s capital, but things didn’t go as planned.
The couple couldn’t conceive a child, so they adopted a little girl. The happy family didn’t stay happy for long. The couple ended up divorcing not long after the adoption, and Valérie lost custody and visitation rights regarding her daughter.
With nothing holding her back, Valérie decided to start her life over in the United States. She already had friends in Scottsdale, Arizona, so that’s where she moved. Once in Scottsdale, she started attending cosmetology school with the intent of opening a salon.
In 1994, she started offering her services in an assisted living facility as part of her degree, and met a man who offered to set up Valérie with his single son. Badabing badaboum, that’s how Valérie met Ira Pomerantz, a rich business man with 2 divorces under his belt.
The two fell head over heels for each other. Within 6 months of knowing each other, Valérie moved into Ira’s condo, and not long after that, Ira bought her a 40,000 square feet house.
In 1995, the couple gets married, and Ira gets out his wallet so Valérie can open her dream salon. That’s where the problems start. Indeed, Valérie was supposed to open the salon with a friend from cosmetology school, but the friend changed her mind at the last minute, so Valérie ended up recruiting her childhood friend Michel Sauvage as a business partner. Plus, since Michel has to move from France to take care of the salon, Valérie makes him move in with her and Ira, and unless you haven’t been paying attention, you can see where this is going.
Ira was very busy and mostly worked at night (because he owned a nightclub), so Valérie barely saw him. She wasn’t lonely though, since Michel was right there. She did everything with him, to the point were people started gossiping and Ira got jealous.
The couple started sleeping in separate rooms, and police started getting called more and more often because of the constant fighting in the house. This got to the point where Ira talked to his best friend about giving up on the marriage. Sadly, he would never get a chance to file divorce papers.
On January 26th, 2000, Ira’s friends and family realized that they hadn’t heard from him in around a week. Worried, they went to Valérie, who tried reassuring them by saying that he was probably having fun in Vegas or something. That was plausible, since Ira often disappeared for several days to have fun somewhere. Ira’s folks still asked Valérie to go to the police, which she did the same day.
On January 27th, in the early morning, a delivery man is parked behind a grocery store in Mesa, Arizona (not far from Scottsdale). He suddenly sees a Jaguar parking next to the grocery store’s trash container. A woman gets out of the car with a very big package, which she drops into the trash container, before getting back in her car and speeding off. The delivery man is so intrigued that he comes back to that trash container at the end of his route. He sees blood on the package, so he calls the police. A police officer arrives and opens the bag, only to reveal a human torso. No arms, no legs, no head, just the torso.
Horrified, the delivery driver gives to the police a description of the woman he saw, and the license plate of the Jaguar, which he had written down. What follows must be the simplest manhunt in the history of the state of Arizona, and Valérie is arrested on the January 28th.
At first, Valérie swears that she isn’t the one who dumped the torso. However, after what can probably summed up by « You did it with your own very conspicuous car, you rat-faced dumbass », she changed her story. According to her, she stumbled onto her husband’s very obviously murdered body on the 24th, and cut him up to dump him in various trash containers because she was scared of being accused of the murder. Not only is that one of the stupidest lies I heard in my life, but it was also very easily proved wrong. First of all, Ira was killed by a bullet fired from a gun later found in Valérie’s car. Second of all, the body was frozen before being dismembered, so it wasn’t done in a panic. Lastly, the investigators found a receipt proving that Valérie had bought a saw a month before the murder.
Despite all those incriminating elements, a lot of people in Scottsdale believe in Valérie’s innocence. Moreover, everybody learns during the investigation that Ira’s businesses were failing, so Valérie’s allies start saying that he maybe was killed by someone he owed money. Still, El Chapo didn’t dump Ira’s torso behind a grocery store, Valérie did.
Anyway, since she’s French, the French consulate intervenes so that the death penalty is taken off the table, and Valérie accepts a deal with the prosecutor. She pleads guilty to second degree murder in 2002 and is sentenced to 16 years without the possibility of parole.
In 2006, she almost gets transferred to a French prison, but Ira’s family oppose that, because France’s justice system is more lenient. She thus spends the entirety of her sentence in an American prison. She is released and deported back to France in February 2016, and now lives somewhere in the land of baguettes, completely anonymous.
At the end of the day, Valérie left us with a couple of questions:
- Where’s the rest of Ira’s body ? She never told anyone.
- Did she have an accomplice ? I mean, where was Michel while Ira was being dismembered ?
- What triggered the murder ? She never gave any motive for her actions.
I hope we get some answers someday.