TRUE CRIME Why did Carol get into Pam Hupp’s car?

On August 10, 2016, Carol McAfee (also known as Carol Alford) took a huge risk. She got into a car with a strange woman who she suspected was up to no good. She had her own weapons, though. When Carol got into the car with Pam Hupp, she had two knives hidden in her clothes. She wasn’t wearing any shoes, however, and that may have been what saved her life.

Carol knew something was up with the woman who showed up at her trailer park in O’Fallon, Missouri, and asked if Carol could babysit. When Carol said no, the woman claimed to be a Dateline producer scouting people to reenact a 911 call. She had $1000 cash to offer but requested that Carol not bring her cellphone, wallet, cigarettes, or keys. Her reason: The producer doesn’t like “clutter.”

These were huge red flags. Carol also noticed that although she purported to be a Dateline producer, which meant she would presumably be from out of town, she had local Missouri plates and no rental car sticker.

Instead of scaring Carol away, she was intrigued. She had been outside because she was taking her dog out to use the bathroom. She promptly took her dog back inside but also armed herself with two knives despite Pam’s request that she bring nothing. She stuck a pocket knife up her sleeve and tucked a large kitchen knife in the front pocket of her pullover. She also briefly called 911, but locked her phone before the call was answered. She did take her cell phone with her. When she got in the car, she was “99% certain” the woman was up to something illegal.

Why did Carol get in Pam Hupp’s car?

Carol got into Pam’s car that day partly because she was fearless. She’s survived cancer twice in her life, and reasoned that “you only die once.” She was also bored that day and was curious to find out what Pam was really up to. She also thought about the neighborhood kids and reasoned that if she got into this strange car, then no kids would become victims that day.

“My thought was, if you’re going to hurt somebody, I’m gonna make damn sure it’s not a kid,” Carol told the St. Louis Dispatch.

How did Carol escape from Pam Hupp?

Carol hopped inside Pam’s car with no shoes on but started to worry when Pam told her she was taking her to a rental house where Carol knew there were no houses. She worried that her knives weren’t enough protection for what she was up against, so she asked Pam to please take her back home so she could put her shoes on and lock her door. Once she got safely back inside her home, she called her son.

When she went back outside she told Pam that she had to go pick up her son and couldn’t do the 911 call for her. Pam argued with her but left after she spotted security cameras. Those security cameras got footage of Pam’s car and even her license plate. Carole also warned Pam that she had a knife in her pocket and was willing to call 911.

The deadly aftermath

After Pam left, Carol called the police to tell them about her encounter. An officer even came by to review her surveillance footage. They told her they would be in touch, but unfortunately, Pam struck again, and this time it ended in death.

Six days after she nearly lured Carol away to her possible demise, Pam killed 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger, who was mentally and physically disabled from a car accident. She shot him while on a staged 911 call claiming that he was invading her home. Pam’s phone records later revealed that Pam had been at Louis’ place of residence soon before his killing, which dismantled her home invasion story.

Carol has no regrets about interacting with Pam Hupp because she believes it helped put her behind bars for Louis Gumpenberger’s murder. She does think, however, that if she had stayed din Pam’s car her body might have never been found because of where Pam was taking her.

Why did Pam kill Louis?

Pam Hupp killed Louis, a man who investigators believe she lured in with a similar story that she gave Carol, in a twisted plot to turn attention away from herself in the December 27, 2011 killing of her friend Betsy Faria. Betsy’s husband Russ had first been convicted of slaying her, but his conviction was overturned after he served four years in jail. Pam Hupp had been the last person to see Betsy and had received a $150,000 life insurance policy. She claimed she had intended to distribute the fund to Betsy’s two daughters, but they never saw the money.

Pam killed Louis in an attempt to claim that Russ had sent someone to try to kill her, but the plot backfired in a big way and led her to be charged with Betsy Faria’s murder in 2021, ten years after it occurred. Pam gave an Alford plea in Louis Gumpenberger’s murder and is currently serving a life sentence for his death, but had not yet been convicted in Betsy’s death. An investigation into the suspicious death of Pam’s mother Shirley Neumann is also open.

Carol found love with Russ Faria

Carol’s choice to get in a car with Pam Hupp led her to find love with Russ Faria. The couple met in court during Pam’s hearing Out of all this bad—and this bad, bad evil person,” Russ told Fox 2 Now in 2021, “if it weren’t for [Hupp], I wouldn’t have met this lovely lady here.”

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