Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joel Sandler's Murder for Hire

Slipping the Knot

Linda Sandler
Linda Sandler

Even though the police had caught Sandler on tape agreeing to a deal with an undercover police officer, they still didn't have strong enough evidence to warrant prosecution. After all, Sandler had never said anything to implicate himself. Sandler also hadn't revealed the name of his intended target, who, officers knew, was his estranged wife, Linda Sandler.

It was clear that detectives needed more time to establish a stronger case. In the meantime, Sandler desperately searched for any scrap of evidence that might reveal where Linda was, since he needed to provide the alleged hit man with such information so he could carry out his murderous plot. It didn't take long to find her.

Sun Valley Resort in Idaho
Sun Valley Resort in Idaho

Using the names of businesses on Linda's most recent cashed checks, Sandler was able to track her down to her hideout in Sun Valley, Idaho, an affluent ski resort where the Sandler's had previously vacationed. Sandler then contacted the supposed hit man to inform him of Linda's whereabouts. The men then met on April 23 at the same mall, where the police had once again set up video surveillance hoping to catch Sandler paying for the hit and revealing the name of his target. However, things didn't go as smoothly as they would have liked.

During the second visit, Sandler appeared spooked, fearing that the hit man was an undercover agent and demanding several forms of identification. The undercover officer refused to comply and ended the meeting. Detectives feared he was on to them but it was also possible that the ever-stingy Sandler had found someone else to do the job for less money. Realizing that Linda's life was in grave danger, detectives knew they had to act fast and stop Sandler before he got a chance to carry out his plan.

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