A WOMAN ACCUSED OF KILLING BOTH HER HUSBANDS WINDS UP DEAD CBS NEWS "48 HOURS MYSTERY" -- SATURDAY, JANUARY 31, 2009
Sonia Rios's life was a true rags-to-riches story. She grew up poor in the Philippines, but after moving to the United States as a young woman, she opened up her own successful beauty salon and drove around Southern California in a Corvette. It seemed like an inspirational tale on the surface, but many people who knew Sonia Rios used one word to describe her: "evil."
Known to be a "Navy groupie," in 1990 Sonia married Commander Larry Risken. Their marriage seemed solid, but years later Larry learned Sonia was sabotaging his efforts to adopt two of her young relatives back in the Philippines. It was the ultimate betrayal and Larry asked for a divorce. Sonia consented, but only if Larry still went on a long-planned trip to visit the children in the Philippines. Larry Risken left, but never returned.
In April of 2006, Larry's sister, Sherry Jackson, received the startling news. Two men on a motorcycle pulled up to her brother's car and one of them shot him in the head and stomach. Larry Risken was assassinated. While still grieving her loss, Sherry soon received even more shocking news. Sonia had a first husband, Earl Bourdeau, and he had also been shot in the head while staying with Sonia's family in the Philippines.
Both Earl and Larry's families have no doubt who was responsible. "Sonia used the Philippines as a killing ground in two murders," Sherry says, "and no one has been brought to justice." But that's not the end to the story. Almost one year after Larry's murder, someone went to Sonia's salon and fired one shot at her. After missing, the shooter vowed to return. And then nine days later, someone followed through on that promise. Police found Sonia Rios lying in a pool of blood inside her home - with a bullet wound to the head.
Many people had motives for killing Sonia Rios. Could her murderer be a family member of one of her husbands? A grown son she kept a secret from everyone? Or possibly a relative from the Philippines? No one has been charged in the case. So who murdered "The Black Widow of Lomita?"
Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Conspiracy to Kill," Saturday, Jan. 31 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This broadcast is produced by Joe Halderman and Sara Rodriguez. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.