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Faith's husband of eighteen years, Werner Lippe, said he last saw her leaving their home on Little Lake Road in Cortlandt, New York at 1:30 p.m. on October 3, 2008. She had just returned from running errands when she said she had to go out again, climbed into a Jeep with an unknown person, and never returned. Werner said she left her purse behind in another person's car, and all her other belongings, including her cellular phone, but a pair of earrings worth $10,000 to $15,000 disappeared with her. A photograph of Werner is posted below this case summary. Faith has never been heard from again.
Police initially said they didn't believe foul play was involved in Faith's case, but in late October Werner confessed to her murder. He told a friend he had hit Faith over the head with a piece of wood, then shoved her unconscious body in a 55-gallon oil drum he had previously used as a burn barrel. Werner stated he burned Faith's body for over 24 hours. At the time he heard Werner's confession, his friend was wearing a recording device at the behest of the police. When investigators confronted Werner with the recording, he confessed again to them, even describing the color of the ashes. Werner worked as a jeweler and had made expensive pieces for such high-profile figures as Donald Trump and Yoko Ono. He has experience with high-temperature fires, as he used a propane and oxygen torch to melt gold and platinum in his jewelry workshop.
One of Faith's friends described Werner as a controlling and verbally abusive husband. There were two domestic disturbances in the marriage where the police were called to their home, but no one was arrested either time. The Lippes was in the process of a divorce and Werner, who was born in Poland and lived in Germany and Austria before emigrating to the U.S. in 1979, already had two ex-wives in Europe. Werner admitted he and Faith argued constantly, and stated he had their teenage son record their disagreements on audio tape to use during the divorce proceedings. A conference between the Lippes, their lawyers, their two children and the children's guardians ad litem were scheduled on October 8, five days after Faith's disappearance. Following his arrest for second-degree murder, Werner recanted his confessions. When police went to his residence to confiscate the burn barrel as evidence, it was gone, and they never found it.
Werner was tried in Febrary 2010. His confessions were ruled admissible and were brought up as evidence against him in the trial. After four days of deliberations, however, the jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case, deadlocking at seven to five for acquittal. The judge declared a mistrial, and Werner was re-tried in October 2010. This time he was convicted. He faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison at sentencing.
New York State Police