Murder on the Cape

A woman is killed and almost everyone could be a suspect

Produced By Joshua Yager and Martin Zied

This story originally aired March 6, 2007. It was updated Sept. 20, 2007.

During the winter of 2002, the quiet Cape Cod community of Truro was rocked, when a former New York City fashion writer was found murdered inside her home. As correspondent Susan Spencer reports, almost everyone in the town became a suspect, when police decided to take a look at the entire male population.

Who killed Christa Worthington?

In the wintertime, Cape Cod can feel like the end of the world and it's the only world 56-year-old fishing warden Tony Jackett ever really has known.

"It's a real challenge being out on the water, you know...mentally and physically...really. A real independent way of life," he says. "I feel fortunate and blessed that I was born and raised here."

And that, according to reporter Eric Williams, is pretty much how everybody in the town of Truro saw him. "He's a great guy. Gregarious, smart, ah, you know, really a pleasant fellow, you know, who likes the ladies, the ladies you know!" Williams says.

In 1997, a new lady came to town - a glamorous former fashion writer from New York named Christa Worthington.

And Tony Jackett, married, with six kids, nonetheless went for her, hook, line and sinker. "She was someone very different from the people that I knew," Jackett remembers. "She was mysterious, enigmatic, somewhat of a loner."

Worthington, a 40-year-old Vassar grad, had lived what seemed a life in the fast lane, covering the runways of New York, London and Paris for top fashion magazines, scoring an interview with fashion superstar Yves St. Laurent when she was just 26 years old.

But Steve Radlauer, who dated Christa for two years in New York, says she never felt part of the glamorous world she covered.

In 1997, she moved to Truro, where her prominent New England family owned a slew of properties.

It seemed like the perfect retreat, and the perfect place to have a child. "She had this having a baby thing in mind, and I think she felt like this would be a good place to do that," says Radlauer. "The complication was that she was not married and didn't have a boyfriend."

"I could tell that there was an attraction. You know ultimately I ended up over her house having a cup of tea...and one thing leads to another," Jackett remembers,

For about a year, off and on, they had an affair and for the beautiful writer, who desperately wanted a child - and the local fisherman who already had six, one thing did lead to another.

Jackett says Christa's pregnancy came as a total surprise.

It was surprise he didn't share with his wife of 26 years, even when Christa gave birth to a daughter, Ava, in May 1999.

Friends insist Christa had been told she couldn't have a baby, but Jackett always has felt she set him up. "How do I explain this? I'm like, all of a sudden I realize I'm, uh, in deep s---!"

In fact, Christa had gone on the Leeza show the year before to talk about women who choose to be single parents.

Ava became the center of Christa's universe, says Linda Schlecter, who babysat a few times a week. "A very devoted mother and she would always have Ava on her lap and they would always be playing and laughing," Linda remembers. "Now, I'm just still in a lot of disbelief about what's happened. It seems so unreal."

Unreal indeed.

"I walked into the newsroom here in Cape Cod and we just had gotten word from police that there'd been a murder," remembers reporter Eric Williams.