All that mattered to investigators were three questions: Was there a crime? Who did it? And what caused it? As to question one, the answer was clearly: yes. Two, it was becoming clear that Rob DiAndrea had committed it. But the immediate cause — that wasn’t so clear. It wasn’t until the detectives took the family’s computer back to the Roundhouse that they found it.
The Facebook message.
Last summer, Facebook had started making Rob crazy. He’d been complaining about it to his buddies, to his sister, even to his oldest son Robbie, now 24, who’d been living with the couple on and off since they got back together. Sophie, Rob told anyone who would listen, was on Facebook “all the time,” reconnecting with old friends and going out with them on weekends. Rob complained to Robbie: “Why does she need to go out on Friday nights and get all dolled up?”
“Do you think she’s having an affair?” his son asked.
“If she’s cheating, she’s cheating,” Rob answered. “I love her. I can get over it.”
Rob finally asked Sophie. She said no. He asked her again. She said no. But Rob was the type of guy that once he got something in his head, he couldn’t let it go. His suspicions started to drive Sophie as nuts as Facebook had been driving Rob. She couldn’t go anywhere without him asking, “Where are you going? What are you doing?” When she was online house-hunting for her brother, Rob accused her of plotting to move out; when she bought a new bra, he considered it proof she was seeing someone else.
Fed up with the accusations and the fighting, Sophie told a friend, “If he thinks I’m cheating, then I should give him something to really be jealous about.”
But Rob and Sophie weren’t anywhere near giving up on each other. Toward the end of the summer, they’d started going to couples therapy. Sophie was still struggling with resentment over Rob’s affair; Rob struggled with his obsession that Sophie was having one of her own. Both were struggling with their sizeable debt, which forced Sophie to budget even the 50-cent soft pretzels she occasionally bought. While Sophie talked about some of their marital issues with close friends, Rob didn’t talk to anybody. “He wasn’t really one to talk about his problems,” says his son Robbie. Rob was dealing with other woes as well. It was no secret that he’d gained a significant amount of weight since high school, and had put on even more since the Spider-Man show in 2005. There were lots of diet books in the house, and a set of weights. He’d written a note to himself: “Lose 50 pounds.” But the issue came to a head at the end of August in the Poconos, when the family went paintballing with friends. They all had to put on camouflage suits to protect them from getting splashed with paint.