Real StoryTrue Crime

George Trepal – When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

George Trepal: A Poisonous Web of Deception - Unmasking a Sinister Plot of Poison and Betrayal

In a gripping true crime tale, George Trepal plotted a sinister scheme, leaving his neighbor fighting for life.

In 1988, a waitress who was living in Central Florida had just begun her shift at a local diner when she’s standing in the middle of the restaurant and her heart just starts racing like mad.

Now she had not been running around or doing any heavy lifting so it didn’t make any sense. Kind of startled by what was happening, she just turned around and went straight into the bathroom and sat down in a stall waiting for this sensation to pass.

But as she sat there, her heart just continued to beat like mad, and then she began to feel tingling in her feet and in her arms. And it was at that moment that she realized she was having a heart attack, except she wasn’t. Something much much worse was happening to her.

Peggy Carr’s life had never been very easy. She was born in 1947 in a very small rural town in Central Florida to parents who were deaf and who had almost no money. So from a young age, Peggy had to go to work. Except the only jobs she could land were either extremely low paying or they were just outright dangerous, like overnight shifts at isolated truck stops on deserted highways where she would waitress there all by herself.

Peggy Carr - George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN
Peggy Carr – George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

But Peggy never complained about her job prospects. Instead, she just took whatever jobs were available because she knew that she and her family needed the money. And whenever she was working in a dangerous environment, she would intentionally put on this very tough exterior to make sure no one attempted to take advantage of her. And despite her small stature, she quickly developed a reputation amongst her co-workers as somebody you did not want to mess with. Peggy didn’t take crap from anybody.

But while this kind of prickly outer shell protected her from potential predators, it also warded off potential romantic partners that might have been interested in her but were kind of intimidated when they interacted with her. But eventually, one man would cut through Peggy’s defenses, and they would fall in love, and they would get married, and they would have three kids together. And everything was great, until it wasn’t.

The marriage would crash and burn. And so by the mid-1980s, Peggy was a mid-thirty-somethings divorced mother of three teenage children who had to work overtime at a local diner just to barely make ends meet. And while she still acted very tough and composed when she was working or when she was out in public, when she was behind closed doors at her home with her kids, they saw the real side of Peggy.

And that side was just kind of sad. I mean, life had just been kind of hard on her, and she had tried so hard to provide a safe and happy home for her kids, and she felt like she’d kind of let them down.

Peggy and her 3 children - George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN
Peggy and her 3 children – George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

But her kids, on the other hand, were not bitter towards their mother for the divorce. It just pained them to see her so upset. And so her kids really hoped that one day their mom would meet somebody new, she would fall in love all over again, and maybe that would put a smile back on her face.

And in late 1987, that is exactly what happened. That year, Peggy met a man named Parealyn Carr. Parealyn, who just went by his nickname Pye, was a lot like Peggy. He was a recently divorced single father of two teenage children. He didn’t take crap from anyone.

And like Peggy, he had been kind of forced to start working at a fairly young age. When Peggy met him, he was living with his two kids in another tiny Central Floridian rural town called Alturas, and he was the foreman of a local phosphate mining company there.

Pye Carr & Peggy - George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN
Pye Carr & Peggy – George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

So, Peggy and Pye, they start dating, and right away, Peggy’s kids notice this huge shift in their mother. I mean, now she’s all smiles, she’s so happy. It seems like Pye is the knight in shining armor that’s come to save the day.

And then just a couple of months later, in April of 1988, Pye and Peggy would get married, much to their children’s excitement. And then after the marriage was finalized, Peggy and her three kids moved in with Pye and his two kids in his home in Alturas, Florida.

And for a while, this newly blended family worked out perfectly, even though they were living in a fairly small house, and so all five of them were kind of all over each other. But they got along great, and it was kind of fun to have so many people in this house all the time. It was kind of crazy and hectic, and overall the house just felt like it was bursting with life.

Peggy & Pye's Home in Florida - George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN
Peggy & Pye’s Home in Florida – George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

But within a few months of Peggy and her kids moving in with Pye and his kids, Peggy and Pye started to have marital issues. It was like all their early chemistry had just totally vanished, and in its place was nothing. They basically completely resented each other, and everything they did upset the other person.

And then adding fuel to the fire were rumors that began spreading around this small town where everybody knows each other, that Pye was apparently back together with an ex-girlfriend, and so he was having an affair. And so, Pye, he denied these accusations, but Debbie totally believed them.

And so their fights got worse and worse and worse, and the more they fought, the more a wedge was kind of driven down the center of this blended family, where Peggy’s kids automatically took their mother’s side, and Pye’s kids automatically took their dad’s side.

Pye Carr - George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN
Pye Carr – George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

And so from the outside looking in, it seemed plainly obvious that Pye and Peggy’s marriage was not going to last. But before their marriage could fall apart, something totally unexpected happened that would link these two families together forever.

In late October of 1988, so seven months into Peggy and Pye’s now very rocky marriage, Pye suddenly got up one morning and just told Peggy he was leaving for the whole day to go hunting. This was not a planned trip; he just wanted to get away.

And at this point, neither of them wanted to spend any time with each other, so Peggy didn’t care. She said, ‘Go ahead, enjoy your trip. I’ll see you later.’

And so, Pye, he leaves the house. He gets in his truck, he drives off. And then a little while later, Peggy and her daughter, they both get their things together, and they head out, and they get in Peggy’s car, and they drive into town. Both Peggy and her daughter worked at the same diner as waitresses, and they both had a shift that morning. And so they arrive at the diner, they both get out, they go inside, they get their things on, and they begin their shift like normal.

Peggy and Her Daughter - George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN
Peggy and Her Daughter – George Trepal When Group of GENIUSES Kill for FUN

But not long into the shift, Peggy was about to walk up to one of her tables when she noticed her heart was racing. And she had not been running around the restaurant, she had not done any heavy lifting; there was no reason for her heart to suddenly be beating at a really fast clip.

And so initially, Peggy tried to just ignore it, thinking that her heart would slow down and she would go back to normal. But when her racing heart persisted, she walked away from the table she was waiting on and snuck off into the staff bathroom.

And she sat in one of the stalls; she shut the door, and she just sat on the toilet waiting for her heart to stop racing. But as she sat there, not only did her heart only continue to thump like mad, but she started to notice her legs were tingling, and so were her arms.

Now, Peggy was a no-nonsense person; she was not prone to panicking or overreacting or anything like that. And so as she’s sitting there feeling these symptoms, it dawns on her that maybe I’m having a heart attack. And so she decides, ‘Okay, I’m gonna deal with this.’ She stands up, she opens the stall door, she goes to the sink, she washes her hands, she washes her face, she kind of calms herself down, and then she walks out of the bathroom.

She goes right into the staff break room, and she tells her daughter, ‘I think I’m having a heart attack, but don’t worry. I’m just gonna go home, I’m gonna lay down. If this gets worse, I will go to the hospital. But for right now, I don’t really know what it is, but I want to take it seriously. So, I’m going to leave for the day.’

And so, looking at her mom really concerned but knows what her mom is like; her mom is tough as nails. She is the type of person that’s gonna sleep off a heart attack. And so she says to her mom, ‘Okay, you know, go home. I’ll be sure to check on you as soon as I get back. And please call me if anything changes.’

Peggy Carr
Peggy Carr

And so Peggy, whose heart was still racing and her arms and her legs were still tingling, she told her daughter, ‘You know, everything’s gonna be fine.’ And then she told her manager that she was leaving. And then Peggy slipped out the back door, she got in her car, and she drove back home.

When she got there, the house was empty, so she just went inside. She made her way to her bedroom, and she lied down in her bed to try to get some rest.

That afternoon, Peggy’s son Duane came home from high school, and when he walked inside, he found his mother laying down in her bed. This was very unusual for Duane because his mother never took naps. In fact, he could not recall a time ever that he saw his mom napping, even when she was sick.

And so concerned, he went into her bedroom, and she was facing away from him. And so he kind of jostled her awake. And when his mom rolled over to face him, her face was pale, she was sweating, she obviously had not been sleeping, she was gritting her teeth, and it looked like she was in a lot of pain or some sort of discomfort.

Peggy's Son Duane - Taken At A Later Date
Peggy’s Son Duane – Taken At A Later Date

And he said, ‘Mom, geez, are you okay?’ And she would say to him, ‘Oh, no, I’m fine. I’m just sleeping something off. I got something going on; I think I have the flu or something. I don’t know. I took off from work, so I’m just sleeping it off.’

And so, Duane, he knows his mom is tough as nails, and if she says she’s gonna sleep something off, then she’ll be just fine. And so Duane said, ‘Okay, well, you know, let me know if you need anything.’ And so Duane began to walk away, but his mother would actually flag him back, and she would level with him, and she would tell him that actually, something is wrong here. ‘I feel like someone has poured fire down my veins in my arms and in my legs.’

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And so Duane is hearing his mother say this, and he knows his mother is not the type of person to complain or exaggerate or anything; she is just straight, no-nonsense. And so for her to say this is the most excruciating pain she’s ever been in, and she’s laying in bed unable to move, he knew this was really serious.

And so Duane began telling his mom that ‘You gotta go to the hospital. We need to get Pye here to drive you to the hospital, or we need to call an ambulance. But something needs to be done here.’ But despite the pain she was in, Peggy was still a little bit reserved about it.

She thought maybe she could just sleep it off. But as they’re having this kind of back and forth about what to do, Pye would return from his hunting trip. He would come in the house, and right away, Duane would run over to him. He would explain to Pye, ‘Hey, this is not normal. My mom never, ever acts this way. She never complains. This is really serious; you gotta take her to the hospital.’

Pye Carr & Peggy
Pye Carr & Peggy

But Pye would actually say, ‘Ah, she’s fine. I’m sure she just has a fever or maybe the flu, man. She’ll sleep it off.’ But when he walked into the bedroom and he saw his wife looking so horrible and literally squirming in pain, he relented and said, ‘Okay, I’ll take her to the hospital.’

And so Pye would have to literally carry Peggy out of the house, put her in his truck, he drove her to the hospital, and then had to carry her into the hospital. And by the time Peggy was under doctor’s care at the hospital, she no longer could talk; she was just moaning in agony from this excruciating pain in her limbs, and her heart was still racing, and she was nauseous, and she was vomiting; I mean, she was really spiraling quickly.

And so after she’s been admitted, the doctors turned to Pye and to Duane and to into the other family members that had assembled, and they asked them, ‘Do you have any idea what could have caused this?’ And they all said no; she just suddenly started feeling this way.

And so the doctors, who were unable to ask Peggy, she was in such blinding pain she couldn’t even talk, they just began running her through a wide-ranging series of tests to try to figure out what was going on. But when these results began coming in, either she was negative for the thing they were testing for, or it just came back that everything was normal.

And so they’re looking at Peggy, seeing her completely falling apart; none of their tests have revealed anything is wrong with her. And so they’re at a loss; they don’t know what’s wrong with her. And so, without a better option, they just put Peggy into a hospital room and begin monitoring her.

And sure enough, after being in the hospital for three days, Peggy’s symptoms would come down. While she wasn’t back completely to strength, she was able to speak again, she was able to eat and drink water and move around. She was still very uncomfortable; her heart would still race periodically, and she would get fits of pain in all of her extremities. But overall, she felt like she was really improving. And so after three days, she was discharged from the hospital.

And so Peggy and her family, they drive back to their home and initially everything’s okay. It seems like she’s on the mend. But within 24 hours, Peggy’s heart starts to race again, and before long, her arms and legs feel like they are on fire. Now Peggy and her family, they know that the doctors don’t know what this condition is. And so their immediate reaction was huge concern that Peggy again was suffering from this horrible thing.

But going to the hospital didn’t really feel like the obvious first choice. In fact, the obvious first choice, at least for Peggy, was just to sit at the house and wait it out the same way she had waited it out at the hospital. But over the next several days, despite laying in bed and resting as much as she could, her symptoms did not get any better. They got worse and worse and worse to the point where she literally was completely bedridden.

All she could do was just shake and periodically scream into her pillow from all the pain she was experiencing in her extremities. And so finally, on October 30th, which was 10 days from the first day that Peggy felt these strange symptoms when she was at the diner, her family decided, you know what, enough is enough. She obviously is not able to just sleep off whatever this is.

And so they called an ambulance which rushed her to the hospital. And when she got there, the doctors, they remembered her from the week before, so they understood this was a bit of a mystery. But just in case, they ran the exact same battery of tests on her to see if maybe now there was some other indication of what this was. But again, all of the tests came back, and they either came back negative or inconclusive or just showed that, you know, nothing was wrong with her.

The doctors even ran her through some tests for poison, thinking, you know, maybe she accidentally ingested something toxic and that’s what’s causing all of this. But those tests as well came back negative. And so, totally stumped, the doctors decided the only thing they could do was once again put her in a hospital room and just monitor her.

And so that night, Peggy was wheeled into a room, and all night, up and down that hospital wing, people listened to the sound of Peggy screaming at the top of her lungs from the pain she was experiencing. And then the next morning, the whole situation got even worse. Not only for Peggy, who by now was dipping in and out of consciousness, but also for the rest of her family.

Because that morning, Peggy’s son Duane and Peggy’s stepson, Pi’s son Travis, they were both admitted to the same hospital for exhibiting the same symptoms as Peggy. Their heart was racing, they were nauseous, they were vomiting, and their arms and legs were starting to tingle.

And so the doctors, with nothing else to do, just ran Duane and Travis through all the same tests they had put Peggy through. And they all came back negative or they came back normal. However, shortly after Duane and Travis had been admitted to the hospital, a neurologist who was looking after Peggy, he noticed something about her condition.

Suddenly, it was like his medical training from back in college kicked in, and he remembered something very specific that lined up exactly with what he was seeing in Peggy. And he suddenly realized that he knew what was going on. And so he told his colleagues.

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They ran out and they got this very specialized testing kit that doctors very rarely use. It’s only for this one really specific and very rare condition. And they tested Duane and Travis and Peggy. And sure enough, the next day, the results came back, and all three tested positive for this condition that the neurologist had guessed.

Even though there was a cure for this condition, for Peggy, it was too late. Her body had been so completely ravaged that even if they administered the cure, it would not work fast enough to save her life.

And so that day, the doctors went to Peggy, who despite being on all these painkillers and still squirming and writhing in pain and screaming into her pillow, they would tell her, ‘You’re gonna die. The only thing we can do is try to make you as comfortable as possible and then try to save your boys.’

Peggy Carr
Peggy Carr

Not long after being told this terrible news, Peggy would slip into a coma. And then four months later, on March 3rd, 1989, Peggy’s family had to make the heart-wrenching decision to pull her off life support. And then, at that point, she passed away.

As for her two boys, Duane would remain hospitalized for two months and would make a full recovery. As for Travis, he would remain hospitalized for six months, and while he would recover, he would never walk normally again.

Even though the actual medical condition that killed Peggy and nearly killed Duane and Travis was completely known at this point, everybody knew what it was, what nobody could figure out was why this happened. Why in the world did this happen to these people? It made no sense.

However, shortly after Peggy’s death, that mystery would actually begin to unravel in the most bizarre and totally roundabout way.

Peggy Carr
Peggy Carr

There is an international organization called Mensa. It’s not an acronym; it’s a Latin word that roughly translates to ‘table’ or ‘mind.’ This organization is a highly exclusive society for the ultra-intelligent. You literally have to prove that your IQ, which is an intelligence test, ranks in the top two percent out of everybody in the entire world. Even then, you may not be smart enough to get in.

In the same town where Peggy and Pye had lived in Alturas, Florida, there was a chapter of Mensa. The way some of these chapters worked is they would just get together every month and do some sort of intellectually stimulating activity. In Alturas, that meant the chapter would get together at some private location once a month and put on what they called a murder mystery weekend.

The members of this chapter would head off to some private location like an inn or a hotel or a cabin or something. They would all role-play a murder investigation. One or two of the Mensa members would come up with a very elaborate murder and subsequent investigation. They would assign different fake characters to each of the real Mensa members. So, once they got there, they’d all find out what character they were and what they were responsible for. Then, once they got into character, which included dressing up in costumes, they would remain in character until the killer was revealed.

And so this activity was meant to be extremely intellectually challenging but also it was extremely fun. The group loved these murder mystery weekends. So, with that in mind just a couple of weeks after Peggy had passed away in April of 1989, a new genius was accepted into the ranks of the Alturas Mensa chapter. Her name was Sherry Guin, and she was a middle-aged woman who had recently fled from Texas to Central Florida to get away from her abusive husband who still lived in Texas.

After she was accepted into the Mensa chapter, it became abundantly clear to the members that Sherry was eager to make friends. But not just any friends, she wanted to make friends with two very specific members of the Alturas Mensa chapter: Diana Carr and Diana’s husband, George Trepal. Diana was a very successful orthopedic surgeon who had her own practice in Alturas, Florida. George Trepal was this computer programmer who had more advanced degrees than you could count.

Diana Carr and Her Husband George Trepal
Diana Carr and Her Husband George Trepal

Critically, Diana and George Trepal just so happened to live right next door to Peggy and Pye’s house. Even though Sherry came on really strong right away to try to become friends with Diana and George Trepal, neither of them were fazed. The couple just figured, you know, here’s a woman who’s living by herself, she’s moved to a brand new area, she’s run away from an abusive husband. It’s no wonder she wants friends and so she probably just needs some support.

Diana and George Trepal were happy to just become her friend. The same month that Sherry was accepted into the Altura Spencer chapter, George Trepal and Diana happened to be chosen as the people responsible for coming up with the complicated scenario that the group would act out during their murder mystery weekend that month.

The Mensa Murder Weekend Newspaper Clipping
The Mensa Murder Weekend Newspaper Clipping

So, George Trepal and Diana very diligently sat down and went over how to make the case as complicated as they could. George took on the responsibility of really focusing on exactly how the victim in their fake scenario would be killed because he was really trying to make it as difficult as he possibly could. He was trying to find the perfect murder that would be nearly impossible to solve.

Diana & George's House
Diana & George’s House

He came up with his very elaborate murder scene, and then between him and what his wife was creating, they put together this really intense and very complicated scenario that they were both very happy about. A couple of days later, it was time to head out for the murder mystery weekend that George Trepal and Diana had worked so hard on.

They printed off a whole bunch of those cards that would have all the information about who each of the Mensa members were going to be in this role-playing game. There was some initial information about the murder that was committed, the so-called perfect crime that George Trepal had come up with. They grabbed their costumes, packed their stuff up, hopped in the car, and they drove to the nearby inn where they met up with the rest of the Mensa members, which included Sherry.

George Trepal
George Trepal

They checked in, then afterward, they all met up in the lobby where George Trepal and Diana handed out their cards that have the information about the role-playing game. Everybody’s reading it, figuring out what they’re going to do with their character. Everyone’s also looking at the so-called perfect crime that George had come up with, and he was kind of boasting to the audience about how difficult this weekend was going to be. He really came up with the perfect crime.

As all the members are reading their cards, Sherry would see the murder weapon used in this game, and she would become fascinated with it. She made a point of going over to George Trepal and asking him lots of questions about how he came up with this particular choice of a murder weapon and what actually happens when this is used on a person, not just in the game but in real life.

It was like Sherry had become obsessed with this exact form of murder. She was so interested in it, and George was immediately aware that Sherry was kind of unnaturally interested in exactly how he had come up with the scheme. But in a way, it was kind of flattering for George Trepal because he had spent a lot of time constructing it to make it as complicated as he could. So, he indulged Sherry and told her everything about this particular weapon, what it does to the human body, how you can get it, and the history of this weapon.


The whole time, Sherry is just totally locked in; she’s really focused on this particular style of murder. That murder mystery weekend would eventually come to an end, and all the Mensa members would think it was great. They would head home, and then over the course of nearly a year after that, Sherry would be a near constant in George Trepal and Diana’s lives. She was always around them, always wanting to meet up with them, talking to them, asking questions, and calling.

The Mensa Murder Mystery Card
The Mensa Murder Mystery Card

Anytime she was with them, she always wanted to be with George Trepal. When she was with George, she’d bring up that very particular murder method that he had come up with for the murder mystery weekend. George just continued to think this was the greatest thing. It was so flattering that she thought he was so smart, that he had come up with the perfect crime. So, anytime she wanted to talk about it, he would just indulge her because it made him feel really good.

If George Trepal and Diana had seen any red flags in Sherry with her behavior towards them, they certainly didn’t show it. They basically were operating under the assumption that Sherry, no matter what, was just this helpless, harmless person who had come to Central Florida, and she was trying to be their friend. So, they should try to be her friend back. But as they would soon find out, they were very, very wrong about Sherry.

In December of 1989, roughly eight months after George Trepal and Diana had first met Sherry, Diana decided she wanted to move her medical practice from Alturas to a neighboring town called Sebring. The drive from where their house was in Alturas to where her new office was going to be was just far enough that it made sense for George Trepal and Diana to relocate to Sebring.

When Sherry discovered that the couple was moving, she immediately called George Trepal and said, ‘Please let me rent out your house. I don’t have a place to stay. I’ve been staying with friends. I’ll pay whatever rent you want.’ As it happened, George Trepal and Diana had actually talked about keeping the house and renting it out, so it was actually a pretty easy decision. They trusted Sherry and said, ‘You know what, that’s fine. You can rent out the house for a couple of months, and then we’ll decide if this is a long-term solution or not.’

Diana & George's House in Alturas, Florida
Diana & George’s House in Alturas, Florida

Within just a couple of hours, Sherry was on Diana and George’s doorstep with a sleeping bag and a small bag of toiletries ready to go inside. George Trepal and Diana grabbed the last couple of things they needed, and as they walked out the front door, they gave their house key to Sherry and told her, ‘Hey, if you need anything, just give us a call.’ Then, George Trepal and Diana climbed into their car, and as soon as they had driven off and were out of view, Sherry dropped her things, looked around, and ran inside the house.

Just minutes later, practically the entire Alturas Police Department came crashing through that front door after Sherry. Within an hour, the police department would find something that would not only reveal the true identity of Sherry and her true intentions but also reveal the truth about what happened to Peggy and her family.

Piece of Evidence Police Gathered At Diana & George's House
Piece of Evidence Police Gathered At Diana & George’s House

A couple of days before Peggy first started feeling bad when her heart started racing and her arms and legs began tingling at the diner, someone had placed eight Coca-Cola bottles, full sodas, glass bottles inside of Peggy and Pye’s kitchen. They set these eight drinks kind of tucked away inside of a storage nook.

A couple of days later, the family discovered these sodas but didn’t think anything of it. They figured somebody else in the family had bought them and left them in the kitchen, so they were fair game. Before long, Peggy and the rest of her family were drinking these Cokes, but Peggy, who was notorious for loving Coca-Cola, drank way more than anybody else.

Peggy and her 3 children
Peggy and her 3 children

It would turn out all eight of those Coca-Colas had been tampered with; they all contained a significant dose of the heavy metal called thallium. Thallium is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Even though there are very small trace amounts that naturally occur inside of our bodies, if there’s even a little bit more than that inside of our bloodstream, it becomes lethal.

The Coca-Cola Case in Peggy & Pye's House
The Coca-Cola Case in Peggy & Pye’s House

When Peggy was admitted to the hospital the second time around the same time that Duane and Travis were also admitted, that neurologist who was looking at Peggy noticed her hair was starting to fall out. That’s when it clicked for him. He had this flashback to his medical training, where he was taught about thallium poisoning. One of the symptoms was hair loss; the other symptom was extreme pain in the extremities.

The neurologist and his colleagues got a thallium test kit and tested Duane, Travis, and Peggy. They all came back positive for thallium poisoning.

But the level of thallium inside of them was astronomical. The boys are lucky to have survived. They had 20,000 times the amount that naturally occurs inside of the human body. As for Peggy, she had an astounding 50,000 times the amount that naturally occurs, way more than was lethal. So, that was why the doctors told her, ‘There’s nothing we can do. Your body is basically already dead. You’re just technically still alive right now.’

Peggy Carr
Peggy Carr

The rest of the family, besides Duane and Travis, would also test for thallium, and they all, with the exception of one child, had elevated levels of thallium. However, compared to Duane, Travis, and Peggy, their conditions were negligible, and they would all make full recoveries.

The doctors realized fairly early on that this family had been poisoned. So, they contacted the police, who launched an investigation. Right away, their primary suspect was Pye. He and Peggy had been fighting extensively before she fell ill. He also had that kind of abrupt hunting trip that lined up with the day Peggy started feeling sick. And there was the fact that Pye worked at the phosphate mining company and had access to fairly rare chemicals.

However, upon closer inspection, Pye did not have access to thallium specifically. Thallium is incredibly rare and very expensive, and it just seemed odd that he would use thallium to poison and kill his wife, but he would also poison himself and his son, who he adored. It just didn’t really add up. So, Pye would get ruled out as a suspect fairly quickly. But during one of his last interrogations, he would give the police something he didn’t think was very valuable but wound up being very significant.

Pye Carr
Pye Carr

He would say that three months before Peggy got sick, their family received a death threat. He opened the mail one day, and there was this typed-out note that said, ‘Your family needs to leave Florida in the next two weeks, or you’re all gonna die.’ But Pye thought it was some stupid teenage prank, and so he didn’t think anything of it. And then when two weeks went by and they weren’t dead, he just kind of forgot about it.

After the police ruled Pye out as a suspect, they didn’t know where to turn. They had no other suspects. So, they just began focusing on who might have written this note. And that’s where Sherry comes in.

Sherry Guin was not a Texas transplant who had come to central Florida to run away from her abusive husband. Sherry Guin wasn’t even her real name; her real name was Susan Goreck, and she had lived in central Florida for most of her life. Susan was very smart, but she certainly was not Mensa level-genius smart. Almost certainly, her paperwork that got her into the Alturas Mensa chapter was forged.

Sherry Guin
Sherry Guin

Susan also had absolutely no interest in becoming real friends with Diana and George. The only reason she was pretending to be their friends and wanting to be around them all the time is because she was studying them. Because Susan was actually an undercover police officer. She had been sent undercover after the police discovered Diana and George were responsible for that death threat letter that was sent to Peggy and Pye.

Susan Goreck
Susan Goreck

It would turn out, Diana and George hated Peggy, Pye, and their kids. They thought they were obnoxious, too noisy, and annoying. Diana, for context, was the type of person who would stop people mid-sentence and correct them if they ever referred to her as anything other than Dr. Carr. She had gotten into at least one or two serious yelling fights with Peggy, Pye, and their kids when she had gone over to tell them to turn their music down and be quiet and do this and do that. Peggy and Pye didn’t put up with that; they just told her to get out of there.

As for George Trepal, he didn’t get into any public altercations with Peggy, Pye, and their family. George was a very meek and submissive guy, mostly a recluse. But he spent virtually all day peering out the window at Peggy and Pye and their family, studying what they were doing and obsessing over how noisy and obnoxious they were. As he’s seeing his wife getting more and more frustrated with their neighbors, George finally decides he’s going to take drastic action. That’s when George types out that death threat and sends it across the way.

Diana Carr and Her Husband George Trepal
Diana Carr and Her Husband George Trepal

But after Pye reads it, nothing happens. They don’t leave Florida within two weeks. So, George went to phase two of his plan. George had actually spent time in a federal prison in the 1970s for cooking meth, and one of the byproducts of making meth is thallium.

So, George Trepal used his old meth cooking skills and whipped up some thallium and put lethal doses of thallium in eight different Coca-Cola bottles. After mixing them all up so you couldn’t tell there was any chemical inside of them, he used his bottle-topping machine to put tops back on each of them. George made his own beer, so that’s why he had a topping machine at his house.

With his eight deadly drinks all prepared, looking like brand new Coca-Colas, George waited until Peggy, Pye, and her family were out of their house. Then, he snuck over, walked into their kitchen, placed these Coca-Colas right down on the kitchen counter, and slid them into a storage nook. Then, he left the house, and that was it. Over the next several weeks, he watched with absolute pleasure as the family got sick, and then Peggy died.


While George Trepal never actually admitted that he had poisoned his neighbors, he did do some things that really tipped off Susan that he had to be the guy. For example, that Mensa mystery murder weekend, the murder method that George had come up with was poisoning. Susan, sent undercover to find out if George and Diana were responsible for poisoning their neighbors, is now hearing George talk about the perfect crime he’s come up with—poisoning.

So, she followed up with him really specifically on how he learned about poisoning and what kind of poisons he knows about. Over the following months, even though Susan never got George to actually admit to her when she was undercover recording him that he was the poisoner, she did completely earn his trust. She did this by always making sure she was very submissive around him and always made sure to stroke his ego, remind him how smart he was.

American True Crime – A Fatal Backfire

George was used to being in a relationship with Diana, who was extremely overbearing and kind of kept him under her thumb. So, Susan allowed George to feel like he was in control for once, and he loved it. So, he completely trusted Susan to the point where, when he and Diana were going to move out of Alturas, they were willing to rent their house to Susan.


This is important because the house had not actually been emptied. A lot of their things were still in the house, including George’s things. So, he just assumed Susan would never go through his things. But as soon as Susan was in that house and she watched George Trepal and Diana drive off, she immediately called in backup.

The police swarmed the house, searched it top to bottom, and in the garage, they found George’s chemistry equipment, and nestled underneath it was a bottle that contained thallium.

George's Bottle Of Thallium
George’s Bottle Of Thallium

George Trepal would be found guilty of first-degree murder as well as attempted murder on the rest of Peggy’s family. He would be sentenced to death.

George in Court
George in Court

As for his wife, Diana, who many people believe must have had something to do with the poisoning or must have at least known it was happening, was never actually charged with anything. So, she would eventually divorce George Trepal and move on with her life and remarry.

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