5 chilling details about Sonia Rios aka the Lomita Black Widow
The Lomita Black Widow, aka Sonia Rios, was suspected of being the mastermind behind both her husbands’ deaths, which occurred in 1987 and 2006. Authorities and families of the victims believed that both the murders were fueled by greed. In both cases, Rios was set to receive thousands of dollars worth of life insurance policies.
However, the case took the strangest turn when the accused was gunned down in her Lomita, California, home in 2007, a year after her second husband’s murder. One of her own family members and his friend were found guilty in her death and were convicted a few years later in 2011.
Now, Dateline: Unforgettable will recount the events that started in the mid 1960s when Sonia Rios married her first husband Earl Bourdeau and started off her US journey. The episode will also discuss the events that transpired in the years that followed her first marriage as well as the second until her ultimate death. It airs on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 8 pm ET on Oxygen.
Here are some essential and chilling facts about the case that one must know ahead of the episode premiere.
Five chilling details about the case of Sonia Rios, the Black Widow of Lomita
1) Sonia Rios married servicemen, especially those from the Navy
Both of Sonia Rios’ husbands were servicemen that she met in her native country, the Philippines, during their work travels. Earl Bourdeau and Larry Risken both served in the US Navy. She met Bourdeau, who was a young Marine back in 1960s. Sonia married Navy Commander Risken in 1990 not long after her first husband’s death in 1987.
2) Rios attempted to claim insurance money after both her husbands’ deaths
After Sonia Rios’ first husband’s death in 1987, a murder she allegedly planned, she claimed tens of thousands of dollars in life insurance policy claims. Years later, she attempted to do the same after her second husband Larry Risken’s murder. However, this time, Risken’s sister stopped her from acquiring the money by informing companies of her alleged involvement in the murder,
3) She lured her husbands to the Philippines to allgedly murder them before divorce
Both of Rios’ husbands were murdered while visiting the Philippines on urgent family matters upon their wife’s request. Moreover, during the time of both the murders, their marriage was strained and on the verge of divorce.
Earl Bourdeau was shot dead at point blank range while sleeping in the living room at Sonia’s relatives’ house. Larry Risken, meanwhile, was shot twice in a hospital parking lot. Both the incidents took place in the presence of her family members.
4) Sonia Rios was murdered within weeks of Risken’s one year death anniversary
Sources state that Sonia Rios, dubbed the Black Widow of Lomita, was attacked around the time of second husband’s one-year death anniversary. She was receiving threats over phone calls and an unidentified man even tried to barge into her salon. Once, she was even shot through her salon window, but the shooter missed and she barely managed to survive.
Rios was ultimately gunned down a week later at her Lomita home. Her son, John Bourdeau, was the one who found her. An examination revealed that she died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, similar to those of her alleged victims. Two people were arrested in connection with the case.
5) Rios’ first husband’s remains were found in a family crypt
After multiple attempts to locate Bourdeau’s buried remains by his family and after hiring numerous investigators to help with the case, his bones were found thanks to a tip from one of Sonia Rios’ family members.
CBS 48 Hours producer Sara Rodriguez revealed that during the investigation, Sonia Rios’ family member gave a tip that Bourdeau’s body was buried in the family crypt.
Reports state that a few sacks filled with bones were discovered inside the crypt, among other things. These included American clothing materials, including wool socks that experts claimed aren’t often worn in the Philippines. An apparent gunshot wound caused a hole in the skull and a DNA test also confirmed that the remains were Bourdeau’s.
Learn more about Sonia Rios’ case on Dateline: Unforgettable this Tuesday, October 4, 2022.