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The Charmer: The Story of Robert Reldan—Rapist, Murderer, and Millionaire—and the Women who Fell Victim to his Allure
By Richard Muti & Charles Buckley
Serial rapist/murderer Robert Reldan—a handsome, personable charmer of the Ted Bundy mold—had an engaging, friendly smile—a smile that promised a charming personality and inspired trust. A smile that would, over the next 20 years, cause a dozen or more unsuspecting women to drop their guard and place themselves under the power of one of New Jersey’s most ruthless criminals.
Two of those women—Susan Heynes, a nurse, and Susan Reeve, a recent college graduate—achieved unwanted fame as victims in what a prominent newspaper would call “the Susan strangulations.” Both were abducted within days of each other—Heynes from her New Jersey home and Reeve after getting off a commuter bus. Their nude and battered bodies were soon discovered, also within days of each other, in Rockland County, NY, not far from the New Jersey border. Each had been strangled with her own pantyhose.
While in prison awaiting trial for the Susan murders, Reldan tried to hire a hit man to kill his wealthy aunt, from whom he hoped to inherit money to retain a top criminal defense attorney. A jailhouse snitch ratted on Reldan, and authorities were able to substitute an undercover cop as the putative hit man.
In an ironic twist of fate, Reldan, while serving life plus 30 years for the Heynes and Reeve murders, would become, briefly, the wealthiest lifer in the prison system. The aunt he’d tried to have killed—still charmed by her beloved nephew and never believing he’d plotted to murder her—left him an $8.9 million trust fund when she died in 2007. Arthur Reeve, father of victim Susan Reeve, would go after Reldan in the courts and, eventually, deprive him of his inheritance.
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