It took police less than a week to zero in on the man who murdered missing model Linda Sobek: photographer Charles Rathbun.
But rather than meet with police, Rathbun decided he would kill himself in late November 1995 — a dramatic scene that ended in gunfire, an aborted suicide attempt and Rathbun’s arrest, but no serious injuries.
That twist is one of many in Sobek’s homicide case, which will be featured on Monday night’s People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion, airing on Investigation Discovery and exclusively previewed above.
As recounted in the clip above — and further confirmed by Rathbun’s own testimony in court — he decided to fatally shoot himself about a week after killing Sobek. Armed with a handgun and some Scotch, he wrote two notes and sent a fax to a sheriff’s deputy friend about the impending suicide, he said on the stand, but then he “lost my taste for it” and changed his mind.
A coworker, recalling the moment in the Crimes of Fashion preview, described it differently. Rathbun’s friends came to his Hollywood home and found him “kind of a staggering drunk with a .45 automatic in his hand,” the coworker says.
The gun went off accidentally, striking one of the friends in the arm, ultimately leading to Rathbun’s arrest, according to the preview clip.
A year later — as his account of Sobek’s death changed from an accident with his car to accidental asphyxiation during sex to accidental asphyxiation during an argument — Rathbun was convicted of her murder.
“I have never known what it was like to despise someone like I despise this person,” Bob Sobek, Linda’s dad, reportedly said in court. “God will punish you, Charlie.”
People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion airs Monday (9 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.