Teenage Love Triangle Turns Deadly

PHOTOPlayCourtesy Wade Family
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It's the familiar tale of a love triangle but with contemporary complications: Two teenage girls, each jealous of the other's relationship with the same boy, lash out at one another through cell phones and the Internet -- a feud that, though largely played out in cyberspace, resulted in a deadly face-to-face confrontation.

One of the girls, Sarah Ludemann, grew up in a working class neighborhood in Pinellas Park, Fla. She was considered a late bloomer when it came to boys, until, when at age 17, she walked into a Chick Filet restaurant where Josh Camacho worked.

"He poked his head out the back 'cause he was working in the back and he just kind of winked at her," Ludemann's friend, Amber Lee Ayala, said. "She wanted to know him."

SLIDESHOW: Teen Love Triangle Turns Deadly

Camacho paid attention to Ludemann and called her pretty, but pictures on her cell phone showed Camacho had a dangerous, edgy side: He could be seen flexing his muscles, waving a gun and boasting his name tattooed across his back.

From the get-go, Ludemann's parents weren't impressed.

"There was always something about him that kept you thinking, was he good, was he bad?" said her mother, Gay Ludemann.

It turns out they had reason to worry. Camacho was dating another girl, Rachel Wade, at the same time.

At 19, Wade, who also grew up Pinellas Park, was more independent than Sarah. She had a job, her own apartment and more experience with boys. But she, too, friends said, was attracted to Camacho for his "bad boy" ways.

VIDEO: Rachel Wade left rival Sarah Ludemann threatening voicemails before her death.Play
Teen Love Triangle: Vicious Voicemails

Click here to see photos of Sarah Ludemann and Rachel Wade.

Camacho kept his two girlfriends in the dark about each other as the family and friends of both girls began to see them change -- they were acting and dressing differently. Camacho insisted they wear long pants, despite Florida's oppressive heat, to keep other guys from looking at their legs. He even told the girls which friends they could be with and when.

"I would see her, and she didn't look like Sarah. She didn't dress like Sarah," said Danielle Eyermann, another friend of Ludemann's. "Even parts of her didn't act like Sarah anymore."

Ludemann's parents grew even more concerned when they noticed bruises on their daughter. They said she told them the marks just came from "play fighting."

Wade's friend Lindsey Atticks said Wade told her that Camacho had threatened her with a gun.

"He held the gun out and said, 'You will never leave me, you will never leave me,'" Atticks said.

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'My Man, Not Yours'

"If he said something to Rachel, that's what she had to do," said Stephanie Pilver, another friend of Wade's. "He is very controlling, and I think to a point she felt like maybe that's what she deserved. ? Maybe she should be with him because maybe he is doing that to her, and it's her fault that he is treating her like that."

It didn't take long before Wade and Ludemann found out about each other. Camacho brushed it off, calling them "friends with benefits."

Both girls' friends urged them to end their relationships with Camacho, but they didn't listen. Ludemann lost 30 pounds and was losing herself in Camacho, friends said.

"She couldn't help it. She wasn't willing to let him go," Ayala said.

The tipping point came when Ludemann posted a picture on the social networking site MySpace. It was of herself and Camacho on a trip to New York. Wade was devastated.

It was "obviously to make sure Rachel saw them," Atticks said. "[Sarah Ludemann] messaged her and said, "Oh, how do you like my new pictures? That's with my man, not yours."

Angry and dejected, Wade used MySpace to lash out at Camacho.

"I deserve so much better," she wrote on her page.

But the message prompted a taunting post from Ludemann, who wrote, "You think you can find better?"

Enraged, Wade dialed Ludemann's cell phone, leaving an angry, profanity-laced message. Listen to the voicemail here.

The taunting went back and forth for months on MySpace, text messages and voice mail. The technology made it all too easy to lash out, but it also made it worse.

It was Ludemann who first took the feud offline and started to harass Wade at work. Pilver said Ludemann and her friends would visit the restaurant Wade worked at so they could trip her while she was carrying beer or complain that she spit in their food.

Camacho seemed to enjoy the two women vying for his affection. He even encouraged them to go to battle for him.

"Josh would say, Well, if you want to be with me, then you'll fight with her for me," Atticks said.

On April 14, 2009, the wheels for a face-off were set in motion. Camacho sent a text message to Wade, asking to see her that night. But soon after, he sent another message, canceling the get-together. Wade suspected Ludemann was the reason.

The Fight

Wade "called me and she was bawling," Atticks said. "She told me, 'I think Josh is with Sarah. I am so upset. He ditched me again for her."

Shortly after dark, according to Wade's friends, Ludemann pulled up outside Wade's apartment, honked the horn and drove off.

In fear, Wade called an ex-boyfriend, Javier Laboy, who invited her to seek refuge at his home.

As Wade hurried out of her apartment, she paused in the kitchen for a moment and made a fateful decision: She grabbed a steak knife.

"She was afraid that they were gonna, you know, show up (again) and ... she had no way to defend herself," Laboy said.

On the way to Laboy's, witnesses said Wade took a detour to spy on Camacho. And from her car, she allegedly sent a text to Camacho, saying, "Now I know why you're not talking to me because you have her."

Camacho texted back, 'That's right. I don't like you no more."

Wade left to find comfort at Laboy's house. Ludemann, on a tip, found out where Wade was, and decided to confront her face to face. She raced off in her minivan toward Laboy's.

"We hear a car screeching around the corner. If she would've gone any faster she would've tipped that van," Laboy said. "By the time we realized what was going on, Sarah had already jumped out of the car, grabbed Rachel's hair. She was punching. Rachel's arms were flying everywhere."

After seconds, Wade and Ludemann separated. Ludemann, bleeding from a gaping wound, staggered back toward her minivan and collapsed. Wade calmly walked back toward Laboy's house, tossing the knife onto a neighbor's roof.

Wade had "such a blank look on her face," Laboy said. "It didn't look like she was there with us."

When police arrived, Ludemann was lying on the ground with barely a pulse. When her parents and Camacho arrived at the scene, she was surrounded by paramedics.

Her father, Charlie Ludemann, confronted Wade, whom he said he saw sitting at the scene, smoking a cigarette.

"I said, Rachel, why -- you stupid bitch, you couldn't fight with your hands. And Sarah's layin' there in a puddle of blood," he said.

Wade, he said, didn't answer.

The doctors struggled to save Sarah Ludemann, but her wound was too massive. At 2:29 a.m., the teenager was pronounced dead.

On Trial for Murder

Ludemann's parents went to see their daughter as doctors worked to revive her, but Camacho, they said, stayed in the waiting room.

"I said to Josh, "I gotta go see Sarah. You ought to come," Charlie Ludemann said. "[He said] 'No, I can't see her like that.' And I told him, 'You're the reason she's like that.' And then I left."

Camacho was banned from the funeral.

Police arrested Rachel Wade for the murder of Ludemann soon after her death. This past July, at age 20, Wade went on trial.

Camacho was among 12 witnesses to testify. He conceded that Ludemann and Wade had fought over him but said little else otherwise.

"There was this young ? petite man that would come into court wearing a coat and tie, but he certainly was somebody who wanted to be tough, wanted to be the puppet master and tell these girls what to do and how to do it," said Wade's defense attorney, Jay Hebert.

Wade was the last to testify. The teenager told the court that she was just trying to defend herself.

Prosecutors weren't buying it: They played a threatening voice mail message that Wade had left for Ludemann. Wade said, "Now your ass is mine, and I am guaranteeing you I am going to f--king murder you. I am letting you know that now ... you're a f**king fat bitch, and I am going to f**king kill you, I swear on my life."

Wade told the court that Ludemann had also threatened her.

"Nobody really ever approaches people anymore and just talks to them," Wade said.

"So everybody goes out there and takes a knife and stabs people in the heart," prosecutor Lisset Hanewicz replied. "That is what happens?"

The jury needed only 2½ hours to reach a verdict. They found Wade guilty of second degree murder. She was later sentenced to 27 years in prison, where she remains today.

Wade told "20/20" that she now talks to Ludemann, asking for her forgiveness.

"I wish that we could have sat down and talked," she said, "and that I wish that, you know, both of us could have been smart enough to just walk away and to realize we deserve better."

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