Over the course of two decades, Sonia Risken is suspected of being involved in the murders of two husbands, both while visiting the Phillippines to see Sonia’s family. On April April 26, 2007, Sonia met the same fate as her husbands when she was gunned down in her Lomita, CA home. Who killed “Black Widow” Sonia Risken?
Sonia’s first husband Earl John Bourdeau, who was a retired Marine, adopted her son from another relationship, and he was renamed to John Bourdeau Jr. In August 1987, Earl John Bourdeau was shot and killed in an alleged break-in while visiting his wife’s family the Phillippines. Before his death he had reportedly wanted out of the relationship.
19 years later, Sonia’s second husband Larry Risken, who she married in 1990, three years after Earl Bourdeau’s death, also died in the Phillippines. He was killed in a hospital parking lot after he had taken one of Sonia’s relatives, a child with an eye infection, to get emergency care. His ashes were kept in the Phillippines, which distressed his sister Sherry Jackson.
Sonia is suspected in being involved in the deaths of both of her husbands and is also linked to a number of frauds in the U.S. At age 60, though, she was also killed. Her son John Bourdeau discovered her body in her California home, and for a while he was a suspect in her death.
While serving in the Navy Sonia’s great nephew Eric Delacruz cooked up a plot to murder Sonia for her inheritance and frame her son, John Bourdeau in the murder. Eric knew that Sherry Jackson wanted her brother Larry’s ashes, so she started sending her emails under the name “John Bourdeau” demanding money in exchange for her brother’s remains.
He sent these emails on board the Navy ship USS Ronald Reagan from docks all over the world. Investigators were able to trace the IP addresses he was sending the emails from to determine that someone on that ship had been sending the emails, not John Bourdeau.
To make him look even more suspicious, four days after Sonia’s death Eric Delacruz showed up at Sonia’s lawyer’s office asking how much.money he was going to get in her inheritance. It turns out, however, that Eric Delacruz was not in Sonia’s will. All of her money and assets were going to her son, John Bourdeau.
Two days before Sonia’s death, she had been shot off by an unknown man at her salon. Eric and his shipmate Fernando Romero were on leave when Sonia died. The bank account used to try to extort money from Sherry Jackson was linked to Eric’s wife at the time: Maria Perez.
All the evidence fell into place to paint the picture that Eric had plotted with Fernando to kill his great aunt for money. The man who had shown up at Sonia’s salon met Fernando’s description, and further evidence showed it was Fernando who shot her in her home.
Eric and Fernando were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in April 2009. In 2011 they were found guilty of and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.