Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez

Martha Beck was born into poverty in 1920. Raped at the age of 13 by her brother, she continued to gain weight, appeared emotionally unstable, and suffered from low self-esteem. By the time she'd been married and divorced several times, she was declared an unfit mother, and authorities removed her two young children. One of the children was illegitimate. When Martha pressed for marriage, the father elected suicide rather than marrying her. She was able to complete high school and worked as a nurse at a city maternity hospital until she was fired in 1947. At some point, she began sending letters to the “Lonely Hearts Club” from an advertisement in the local newspaper, and in this way met her future murder accomplice.

Ray Fernandez was ...

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