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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Say Murdered Woman Sought Torturer Over Internet

LENOIR, North Carolina -- When Sharon R. Lopatka left her Maryland home, she wrote a note telling her husband she was going to visit friends in Georgia and would not be coming back. She also asked him not to seek vengeance.


Lopatka, though, had planned all along on going to North Carolina, where she expected to be sexually tortured and killed by a man she had met over the Internet, police said Tuesday.


Apparently, she got her wish.


Her body was found in a shallow grave last week behind a mobile home in Collettsville. The home's owner, Robert Glass, was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.


"If my body is never retrieved, don't worry, know that I'm at peace," she wrote her husband. She also asked him not to go after her attacker, police said.


An autopsy showed the cause of death was strangulation, but initial tests were inconclusive on whether she was sexually tortured before being killed.


Glass claimed it was an accident, District Attorney David Flaherty Jr. said Tuesday.


Investigators said computer messages from Glass, recovered from Lopatka's home computer, indicate that she traveled to North Carolina knowing what awaited her.


Messages found among the 870 pages of e-mail on the woman's computer also reveal that she had previously used the Internet to approach someone else about killing her, said Sergeant Barry Leese of the Maryland State Police.


That individual refused to comply with Lopatka's death request, Flaherty said.


Lopatka, 35, of Hampstead, Maryland, had three Social Security numbers and operated three World Wide Web pages out of her home.


Glass, 45, a father of three who separated from his wife earlier this year, has worked as a computer programmer for the county government for nearly 16 years.