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Anxious about her future as an older single woman, Elrod lapped up the kind words about her looks—too few men seemed to appreciate her soft chin, wavy hair, and prominent brown eyes.She wrote back, thanking the sender for complimenting her beauty and asking how he’d found her.“He wasn’t like the little boys I was used to dealing with—he was the opposite of that, so sincere, so caring,” Elrod says.“It wasn’t always about him, it was about me, about everyday stuff in my life.” Within weeks of their initial Facebook encounter, Elrod was telling Mc Gregor her most intimate secrets; he, in turn, was emailing her lists with titles like “100 Things We’ll Do Together Before We Die.” By the end of April 2011—only a month into their romance—they were discussing marriage.At each stop she’d wire another chunk of money to Sinclair.Sometimes, if her phone bill was due or her refrigerator was barren, she kept a few dollars for herself.
The boy wrote her bubbly emails about his closest school chum and his plans for Senior Day.The missive caught her eye because of the sender’s handsome profile photo, which showed a middle-aged man with a ruddy face, strong black eyebrows, and a welcoming gaze.His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.But more often than not, she ended the day no richer than she’d started.As she waited for the Bluefield Area Transit bus to whisk her back to West Virginia, Elrod would think about her fiancé, a Scottish oil worker she’d met online.
“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.