Elrod’s love affair began with the sort of dodgy Facebook message that most people delete on sight.She discovered that message in March 2011, 20 months before opening her First Community account, while cleaning out her junk-strewn “Other” mailbox during a respite at a Charlotte mall.The 45-year-old divorcée and junior-college dropout now lived in Bluefield, West Virginia, a fading town near the Appalachian coalfields where she’d been raised.In addition to collecting 4 in unemployment benefits each week, Elrod made ends meet by hustling: She resold packages of discount toilet paper and peddled small quantities of prescription drugs.
The boy wrote her bubbly emails about his closest school chum and his plans for Senior Day.
But he’d refused to let that tragedy destroy his joie de vivre, as evidenced by the many photographs he shared with Elrod: When he wasn’t working on North Sea oil rigs, he enjoyed reading classic novels, playing with his tiger-striped tabby cat, and strumming a heart-shaped guitar.
Mc Gregor was also a tremendous listener who never hesitated to lend Elrod a sympathetic ear.
“My name is Duke, I am from Aberdeen do you know where? I have a son named Kevin and by the Grace of God I will meet that someone again.”The typical Facebook user would likely recognize such a note as bait, but Elrod was in a place in her life that made her vulnerable to such flattery.
She was in the midst of divorcing her husband of 14 years; his legal woes (including arrests for benefits fraud and making a false bomb report) had strained their marriage.