Pegye Bechler, the Newport Beach, California, woman who was lost at sea and presumed dead in 1997, will have her case portrayed on tonight’s episode of Dateline NBC. In the episode entitled “Troubled Waters,” Dateline news anchors will relate her tragic story through interviews with friends, family, and members of law enforcement.
The case of Pegye Bechler seemed like a boating accident at first, but police soon learned that the wife and mother was killed by her husband, Eric Bechler, who was later arrested and convicted in her death. Pegye’s body was never found. In addition to tonight’s Dateline NBC episode, Pegye’s story was also told on Investigation Discovery’s documentary crime series Love the Way You Lie episode “Girl Gone.”
According to Dateline NBC’s report, police were called to the scene of a so-called boating accident, where they found Eric Bechler screaming for help. The boat was circling around in the water, and Pegye was nowhere to be found. The police were called in because boating officials believed that this accident was suspicious. Eric told police that he was was knee boarding behind the boat that Pegye was driving before he was thrown into the water by a wave. When he came back up, he stated, Pegye was no longer driving the boat.
Without any clues or any evidence that could help police understand what happened to Pegye, the case eventually went cold. Almost three years later, law enforcement officials got the break they needed when Eric Bechler’s new girlfriend came forward with the story that Eric had confessed to her how he killed his wife. According to Tina New, Eric took his wife out on the boat to celebrate their anniversary and then struck her over the head with a weight. He then took her body and folded it in half, before discarding it and the two weights in a garbage bag, which was later tossed into the ocean.
From prison, Eric Bechler keeps up with emails from a website that was set up on his behalf. Here is how he describes himself.
“Hi. My name is Eric Bechler, and I’m from Newport Beach in California. I used to be an entrepreneur, but now i am in prison for a crime i did not commit. As for my private life, I’m currently single and enjoying the extra free time to pursue my hobbies. I’m an optimist, and I’m easily amused by the little things in life. Snail Mail Me!Yes, that ancient method of communication is common for me. So dust of the pen and paper and feel free to write me. ;)”
Originally from New Mexico, Pegye moved to New Port Beach, California, where she started her own physical therapy business that catered to the elderly, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was on top of her game business wise but felt that she was missing love in her life. That changed when she met Eric Bechler. When they first met, the relationship took off pretty quickly. Pegye was abut eight or nine years older than Eric, who was in his early 20s at the time. Onlookers say Pegye was immediately attracted to him.
However, Pegye’s friends were not immediately impressed with Eric. They believed that she brought more to the relationship financially than he did. In fact, he even started working at the company. Eric’s supporters say that it was more like a partnership because he was a business-minded person who had a knack for computers. It was also stated that Eric brought a lot of expertise to Pegye’s company to take it to the next level.
Pegye and Eric Bechler were seen as a power couple — the perfect couple that everyone envied. But what looked perfect on the outside didn’t reflect what the couple was going through in their real life. Pegye’s friends said she often complained that while she was busy working, Eric Bechler was concerned with keeping his perfect tan and playing volleyball with the local kids at the beach. Others say that Eric was busy with the kids while a money-hungry Pegye was always working. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get varied stories about the true nature of their relationship.
Despite the fact that the relationship was going downhill, the business had taken off, and they were making more money than ever until it became known that someone in the company was overcharging and overbilling for services. Eric Bechler’s mother stated in an interview with Investigation Discovery that Pegye told her that she was being investigated by the federal government for Medicare fraud. Is it possible that Pegye faked her own death to escape the charges? Or did the jury convict an innocent man? To find out, tune into Dateline NBC tonight at 10/9 central. After the show, use hashtag #DatelineNBC to let us know what you think. The Inquisitr also reported on other Dateline NBC cases, such as the Carrie Olson and Daniel Villegas.
[Image via Dateline/Facebook]i