“Rob came up to me and said, ‘Hey, do you want to help me with the zipper?’” Karen Long remembers. “Because the zipper was at his crotch, I thought he was being a ball buster. I said, ‘Get the hell out of here, Rob.’” But Long then realized: Rob couldn’t see the zipper; it was hidden under his stomach. “I looked at his face, and he looked so sad and down on himself. I honestly wanted to walk over and give him a hug. I’d never seen that side of him before.”
Back home, Rob began checking Sophie’s cell phone to track the numbers she was calling. Friends say he figured out her password and logged on to Facebook, pretending to be her. They suspected he’d secretly installed a device to monitor her Internet use.
On Friday, September 4, 2009, Rob hosted his annual fantasy football draft. As the guys started to arrive, Sophie and Karen Long took off, heading to Chickie’s and Pete’s on Roosevelt Boulevard. Rob was visibly aggravated. Rob’s old friend and fellow fantasy leaguer Matt Dehel mentioned offhandedly that he’d run into a guy with whom they’d gone to high school.
“That guy’s lucky,” Rob said.
“Why?” Dehel asked.
“Because his wife’s dead.”
That weekend, Sophie woke up in the middle of the night to see Rob standing over the bed, staring at her.
“Do you think Rob would hurt you?” Long asked after Sophie told her about it.
“I hope he hits me once so I have a reason to leave,” Sophie said.
A week later, on the morning of Saturday, September 12, 2009, Sophie and the boys took her grandmother shopping at BJ’s, then headed over to Assumption with Rob for Joey’s football game. When they got back, Joey tagged along with a neighborhood friend to Bensalem. Sophie headed out to get her nails done.
That’s when Rob found the Facebook message.
No one but the police knows what the message said. No one knows if it was written by Sophie or to her, if it was part of an exchange she had with a man or a woman or a lover or a friend. No one even knows if it was legitimate, or if it was just Sophie following through on her threat to give Rob something to “really be jealous about.”
All anyone knows is this: According to the cops, the message contained “provocative talk.”
After Rob found it, he called a friend. “She’s cheating on me!” he said. “She’s cheating on me!”
“Let’s get a drink and talk about things,” the friend said.
“No, I have to talk to her.”
“Let’s get a drink.”
“Everything will be fine. I just need to talk to her.”
Not long after, Rob went to 10-year-old Anthony, who was home. He handed Anthony the phone and told him to call his mother, tell her he was hurt.
“Why would I call Mommy and say that I’m hurt?” Anthony asked.
“Just call and say you’re hurt and she needs to come home.”