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Chris sent Missi a picture of Richie in a hospital bed, looking a little banged up but grinning gamely for the camera.Missi felt a wave of relief, both that Richie was okay and that her suspicions were unwarranted.The offer wasn’t all that appealing to Missi—“I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom again,” she says—but she took it as a sign that things were getting serious.The longer they kept dating, though, the more problems cropped up.One day in early August, driven by a feeling she couldn’t quite pinpoint, Missi took a peek at Richie’s wallet.Inside was a Minnesota state ID with a photograph that was unmistakably Richie’s, but with an entirely different name: Derek Mylan Alldred.
Derek Alldred had married a woman, pretended to pay the bills on their home, then vanished after it was foreclosed on.
When she finally did meet him in person, her relief was even more profound.
Richie was tall and charming, a good talker and a good listener who seemed eager for a relationship.
Missi Brandt had emerged from a rough few years with a new sense of solidity.
At 45, she was three years sober and on the leeward side of a stormy divorce.