48 Hours Mystery: Thou Shalt Not Kill

When a Mother is Murdered, a Mysterious Woman Holds All the Answers

Lex and Betty Baquer couldn't know it when they sat down for dinner that November night, but they were enjoying the last few moments of life as they knew it.

"I came home about 7 o'clock from work and my wife had just prepared a nice hot meal for me," Lex explained. "The telephone rang. It was maybe 2 minutes after 8 o'clock."

It was a neighbor with news. Their only daughter Farah had been ambushed - two bullets to her head.

"I don't know how fast I drove. I have no idea. And when we went there, the lights were all over the place. And the cop was trying to stop us," Lex continued.

"They wouldn't let me go to Farah," Betty aid. "I said, 'I am the mother. I need to get to my child.'"

"I got to her... she was alive… she was face up, but she was having convulsion," Lex said.

"One of the paramedics said she has lost a lot of blood [and said] I suggest you hurry up and go to the hospital."

Farah, 33, was a mother of three and she was dying. Medics rushed her to a chopper, but it was too late.

"I just couldn't believe it," Lex said. "I refused to believe that she was dead. I just stood there and kept staring at her."

"Her eyes were open. And I just put my hand up on her - just shut her eyes. And I felt her. She was cold. It hurt so much," Betty said. "…one person destroying a mother and three kids."

"The first thing out of my mouth," Lex said, was, "'Where is that son of a bitch?' Talking about my son-in-law, Bob Fratta. I knew immediately that Bob had something to do with it."

Bob Fratta, their daughter's estranged husband. They'd been married for 11 years and were involved in a messy divorce and a painful custody battle over Bradley, 7, Daniel, 6, and Amber, 4, was scheduled for trial in less than three weeks.

Kitty Waters Sneed worked alongside Farah at American Airlines for years and was Farah's closest friend. She said she was afraid for Farah's safety.

"I knew it was Bob… Right away" she told Schlesinger.

To the outside world, Bob Fratta was an upstanding citizen - working in public safety as both a police officer and a fireman; a man who doted on his three children. But there was apparently a very different side to Bob Fratta.

"There were things that embarrassed her to talk about," Sneed said.

Farah told Sneed her husband wanted her to do things to him sexually that not only embarrassed her, they sickened her.

"She showed me some stains in the closet where some things went on," said Sneed.

Farah detailed all of Bob's sexual desires in her divorce papers. Fratta's secret was about to become public record.

"There were things that he liked to have performed that I don't know if CBS wants to air on primetime," said Detective Larry Davis.

After her death, Davis read Farah's papers. He called the requests "real strange."

"She had to get out. Had to for the kids' sake," Sneed said. "They couldn't be around something like that."

Farah threw Bob out of the house and as the court date approached, Kitty said she seemed more and more on edge. "She had asked me if I felt Bob would ever have her murdered."

Police believe Farah had good reason to be afraid of Bob.

Just months before her murder, Farah called 911 in a panic. Det. Larry Davis rushed to her house.

"She was upset. She was crying," said Davis. "… She was in bed. And a male came into her house … had a mask on and stunned her with a stun gun - she was terrified."

The attacker broke in through a window and attacked Farah in front of her young children.

Bradley the oldest, was just 7.

"I woke up to my mother screaming," he said. "I had no idea really what was going on. All I know was my mother was in danger and something wasn't right."

Daniel, Farah's second son, was 5.

"We were just screaming, crying outside the door, ' Let our mommy go, leave her alone, leave her alone.'"

Farah suspected the intruder was a friend of Bob Fratta's. Whoever it was fled, leaving an injured Farah with her terrified children. He was never caught.

Detective Davis said "she thought her husband had something to do with it."

In his gut, Davis believed her; but without concrete proof, all he could do was warn Bob.

"I said, "Bob, I know what you're up to and it's not going to work. You need to leave her alone.'"

Four months later, Farah was dead and Det. Davis was called to the scene again.

"I said, 'Bob, I told you to leave her alone.' And he told me, 'I didn't do anything.'"

In fact, Fratta's alibi was hard to beat. Plenty of people saw him in church with his three young children while his wife was being murdered. Police were sure even if Bob wasn't at the scene, he at least had something to do with the killing - especially when they searched his car.

Police found $1,000 in the glove compartment. Bob explained that it was money to buy new carpeting.

"A thousand dollars in your glove box on the night that your wife is murdered surely raises a lot of suspicion," Davis told Schlesinger when asked if that was a lot of money to have in the car. "We believe that that may be money to pay off a hit man."

Fratta wasn't doing himself any favors that night while detectives interrogated him for hours.

"I asked him a question that stills sticks out in my mind today - the way he answered it. I said, 'Bob what should happen to somebody that kills somebody?' He said, 'They should go to jail forever.' I said, 'What should happen to somebody that has their wife killed?' And he told me 'it depended on the circumstances.' I walked out and I said, "He killed her.'"

But the police couldn't prove it, so they had to let Bob Fratta go - even though they believed they were letting a killer walk free.

"He's just happy go lucky… he's cheesing to the camera," Davis said. "He gave all indications that he was going to get away with this murder.