Thomas Montgomery: Bizarre Love Triangle
Police interviewed coworkers in the days following the discovery of Barrett's body.
Dynabrade employees told them about the rivalry between Montgomery and Barrett, and that Montgomery had been acting increasingly strangely. He'd been talking more and more about guns, and had pointedly asked a coworker about Barrett's schedule.
Erie County Lieutenant Ron Kenyon called Jessi and warned her she might be in danger. He also immediately sent West Virginian police to talk to her at her family's Oak Hill home. When Officer J. L. Kirk got to her house, Jessi wasn't home. Her mother, Mary Sheiler, said she hadn't been in all day and wouldn't be back soon. Knowing that Kenyon had just phoned Jessi, Kirk suspected something was up. He pushed, and the extent of Sheiler's deceit became clear.
50-year-old Mary Sheiler had been, all along, pretending to be hot, young, blond "Jessi," in an imposture nearly as detailed and embroidered as Montgomery's.
Sheiler had a reputation as a perfect mother. She faithfully attended all of her daughter Jessica's basketball and softball games, and she worked part-time at the girl's school, doing clerical work.
Sheiler says that when she joined Pogo she accidentally registered with her daughter's screen name and was directed to a teen room, a mistake she never got around to clearing up. But records show she'd initially used the name "TallHotBlondBig50". That didn't seem to tip Montgomery off, but she switched to "Peaches_06_17" just in case.
She now claims she wasn't seriously interested in either of the two men, that she's happily married. She maintains that she just didn't know how to get rid of Barrett, and that she thought it was safer to keep Montgomery interested in order to keep him from real 18-year-olds.
A pretty girl, the real Jessica had been named Miss Oak Leaf Festival 2002. Sheiler's daughter hadn't known that her mother was using her identity and photos to pass herself off as a young woman.
Now, with everything out in the open, prosecutors just needed to put together the case against Montgomery.