Ever since its premiere in 1992, NBC’s ‘Dateline’ has honestly been delving deep into one enigmatic true-crime tale after another to really shine a light upon the sordid side of human nature. Thus, of course, its season 21 episode 49, aptly entitled ‘Fatal Attraction’ (2013), chronicling the downright brutal fall 2004 homicide of Elizabeth “Beth” Anne Lochtefeld, is absolutely no different. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about the same — with a specific focus on the events to have transpired, its ensuing investigations, as well as its aftermath — we’ve got you covered.
How Did Beth Lochtefeld Die?
Although born in Pennsylvania and raised in New York, Beth had actually established a good life for herself in wondrous Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, when everything turned upside down. The truth is she was an architectural expert, a dynamic entrepreneur, and a loving being who’d exchanged her fast life for quiet elegance months prior, blissfully unaware of what was to come. After all, she was found dead inside her quaint little Hawthorne Lane cottage home on October 25, 2004, shocking this entire community to its core — the last murder on the island was in 1984.
It was Beth’s brother who’d dialed 911 at 1:15 pm to request a welfare check after the former had uncharacteristically not been answering her phone, only for his worst fears to soon be realized. That’s because the 44-year-old was found lying in a small pool of blood in the living room; there was an overturned stool near her cold remains, as well as more splattered blood in her bedroom. Though arguably the worst part is that there was no forced entry, and it turned out she’d been stabbed 23 times, meaning she most likely knew the individual to have committed this act of overkill.
Who Killed Beth Lochtefeld?
Considering the fact Beth didn’t really have any enemies, there was just one person her loved ones believed could’ve been responsible for her demise from the get-go, her ex Thomas Toolan III. The reason — she’d fled this consultant’s New York flat upon breaking him with him merely two nights before, all the while staying in constant touch with her brother because she was truly scared. According to their accounts, the 37-year-old not only had a drinking problem but was also extremely physically as well as sexually abusive while drunk, which ultimately made Beth walk away.
The couple had actually gotten together through a mutual friend a mere month prior, during Labor Day weekend in September, within hours of which Thomas had opened up regarding his issues. However, since Beth was admittedly drawn to his sheer charm and a “fixer” by nature, she thought she could help him overcome his struggles if they stuck and hence agreed to keep things going. Per her friends’ narrative, the duo did fall head over heels in love quickly, just for things to change within weeks owing to his jealous, controlling, violent side, resulting in a lot of ultimatums from his girlfriend.
There was even a time Thomas broke up with Beth in a drunken rage after a California trip, yet he quickly made up for it by arriving at her doorstep with his dog and a massive profession of his love. That’s despite the fact there had already been frequent talks of marriage, kids, as well as moving on, but then Beth realized she’d had enough after he intimately violated her on October 20/21. Nevertheless, the couple somehow ended up at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the 22nd, where Thomas got down on one knee at the exact moment his girlfriend was working up the courage to call it quits.
Beth thus simply said she needed more time, following which her beau’s anger-fueled response was, “Well, if it’s not now, it’s never,” and she said never before trying to gather her things from his flat. But alas, this escalated things further as he managed to trap her inside: he picked up her bag, threw it across the room, and seethed, “you’re not going anywhere,” until she started to fear for her life. Therefore, she tried to reason with him prior to suggesting dinner, only for him to inadvertently go one step ahead once she decided to lie down by sleeping across her legs so he’d know if she moved.
Beth purportedly detailed every bit of this to her brother after she finally managed to slip away at 4 am and arrive at the airport to return home, unaware this would be the last time they’d speak. After all, the next call he got related to his sibling was from her landlady on October 25, who’d seen Thomas arrive sometime before noon but not seen her tenant since — which was quite unusual. Beth was supposed to pick up her nephew from school, yet her vehicle was still in the driveway, driving him to frantically call her prior to dialing 911 — and these key details were enough to warrant a search for Thomas.
It turns out the banker had flown to Nantucket the same morning before renting a car, driving to two different stores to purchase knives, rushing to Beth’s place, and then fleeing to the airport. From there, records made it clear Thomas caught a flight to Hyannis, Massachusetts, where he rented another vehicle and just drove until he was located-arrested in Rhode Island mere hours later.
Regardless, he wasn’t formally charged with premeditated first-degree murder, along with assault with a dangerous weapon, until February 10, 2005, only for him to plead not guilty. He hence stood trial for the same and was convicted not just in 2007 but also on June 10, 2013; the latter came following a 2011 Supreme Judicial Court reversal of the original verdict upon appeal.
Read More: Where is Thomas Toolan Now?