In December 2004, Lisa Montgomery arrived at the Missouri home of dog breeder Bobbie Jo Stinnett under the pretense of buying a dog.
Instead, Montgomery allegedly came to carry out a horrific plan -- to strangle the eight months' pregnant Stinnett and steal the baby from her womb.
Montgomery now is awaiting trial, accused of murder and kidnapping. The baby she is accused of cutting out of Stinnett's womb was found alive and is living with her father while Montgomery faces the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty.
The horrific tale is now the subject of M. William Phelps' new true crime book, "Murder in the Heartland." He conducted interviews with Montgomery's ex-husband, children and mother, law enforcement officials, friends, relatives, and neighbors.
Before the slaying, Montgomery, who already was married to her second husband, Kevin Montgomery, and had four children from her first marriage, had told her friends and family she was pregnant. She built a nursery and showed them a sonogram.
"She had a picture of the ultrasound. I thought it was hers, of course," said Montgomery's son Carl Boman. "I guess they told me later she just got it off the Internet."
Act of Desperation?
Phelps said that Montgomery had worked a different shift than her husband and had rarely slept in the same bed with him, except for weekends.
"It was easier for her to manipulate him," Phelps said. "It was easy for her to manipulate the town and her children."
Stinnett was an acquaintance of Montgomery's youngest daughter, and the two women had chatted online.
According to a mutual acquaintance, they met at a dog show. Phelps said that Montgomery had researched how to do a Caesarean section on the Internet and had used that as a guide to remove the baby, who was later named Victoria Jo Stinnett.
"I think for Lisa Montgomery, [she] became [so] desperate where she needed to have this baby," Phelps told "Good Morning America."
"The result of what happened after didn't matter to her. I need to have this child because I'm being backed into a corner. I have been lying about this for years. And now my ex-husband is possibly going to take my children away from me. I need to come up with a baby."
Hours after the crime, Montgomery invited her children to the parking lot of a Long John Silver's restaurant and showed them a newborn she introduced as their baby sister. They said they didn't realize anything was wrong.
"She was definitely glowing," Boman said. "She was really happy right then. I think she was really proud of her baby."
The next day, authorities charged Montgomery with murder and kidnapping. It was the first time that authorities had issued an Amber Alert for an unborn child.
A Troubled History
"I guess you could say I never had doubt that my mom had done it, but it was hard to believe, you know," said Montgomery's daughter Kayla Boman." There I was, the whole day at school, 'Look at my little sister.' And then the next thing I hear is that she's not really my little sister."
Montgomery's first husband, Carl Boman -- the father of Carl and Kaylal -- is saddened, but not surprised, by his ex-wife's behavior. He said she had a history of faking pregnancies.
"It really wasn't about having kids and having the fake pregnancy. It wasn't the fact that she was trying to give Kevin a child -- that wasn't the whole point of it," he said. "It was the attention. It was what she enjoyed."
Once Kidnapped, Now Thriving
Today, Victoria Jo is healthy and thriving.
Meanwhile, Montgomery awaits trial. Phelps said that the prosecution might have a strong chance of proving premeditation, even if Montgomery lawyers used the insanity defense.
While in prison, Montgomery, Phelps said, has found God.
"She's found Jesus Christ," he said. "And [in letters she has written] it is all quoting Scripture. Nothing to do with the crimes. It is her telling people in her life what to do and how to do it -- remarkable in a sense."