Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Betty Broderick: Divorce... Desperation...Death

The Other Woman

Dan first laid eyes on blonde, svelte Linda Kolkena at a party given by lawyer friends in early 1983. Betty, standing near him, overheard her husband telling a chum, "Isn't she beautiful?" The remark surprised Betty, as Dan was not one easily given to such attractions so she thought. At the time, Linda, a former airline stewardess, was now a freelance receptionist for another attorney; she had no paralegal nor experience in medical malpractice insurance; she couldn't even type. Just a passing fancy at a party, Betty thought, who would never cross Dan's path again. So she thought.

Not long after that, Dan hired her as his personal assistant.

Linda Kolkena was 21 years old the year she met Dan. Born to a hard-working middle class laboring family in Salt Lake City, Utah, she had a high school education and had worked briefly for Delta Airlines, from which she was fired. The details are sketchy, but, according to author Bella Stumbo in Until the Twelfth of Never, the girl had been involved in an undignified scenario aboard a jetliner, coddling and sitting on the lap of a male passenger, an act which aggravated other passengers who registered complaints. After being terminated, Linda earned money as a temporary receptionist for a number of clients, including a legal office.

Betty & Dan at the Blackstone Ball
Betty & Dan at the Blackstone Ball

Betty was suspicious from the start, but played it cool until she had something more to go on than what she thought at first might be a mild case of paranoia. After all, her friends kept reassuring her that Dan was not the kind of man to cheat on her. But, subsequent events told her otherwise. When the Brodericks vacationed in New York City that summer of 1983, Betty caught her spouse hidden away in an alcove off the hotel lobby calling his pert assistant over the phone. When the family toured England, she discovered Dan had telegraphed flowers to Linda.

Dan, in turn, grew more and more irritated by his wife's badgering about his assistant and steadfastly told her she was imagining things. His attitude, according to Betty, had become one of, "Women are waiting in line to replace you!" That fall, pride be damned, Betty phoned one of Dan's paralegals and asked her outright what she knew of Linda and Dan's relationship. The woman denied knowing anything only because she preferred to remain uninvolved but, when she approached her boss to advise him to be upright with his wife, Dan Broderick fired her.

Refusing to believe that her fears were anything more than insecurity, Betty saw a therapist to help her overcome the doubts that plagued her. But the visits abruptly ended when the shadows of suspicion solidified into something more tangible. Realization hit hard on a day that was meant to be a happy one, Dan's thirty-ninth birthday.

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