Online Scam Turns into Bizarre Real-Life Murder-for-Hire Plot in Baltimore

In Dundalk, Maryland, a young couple's lives were shattered when a boyfriend arrives home to find his girlfriend dead -- her throat slashed.


In May 2018, a seemingly random murder just outside Baltimore would stump investigators and lead them down a twisted path of online scams and murder-for-hire plots1.

The Murder

Heidi Bernadzikowski, a 24-year-old woman, was found dead in her apartment in Baltimore County1. She had been strangled and her throat was slit1. Stephen, her boyfriend, was found crying and holding her in his arms when police arrived1. Cops went room to room trying to piece together a story, but so much didn't add up1.

The Investigation

As the weeks went by and after interviewing about a hundred people, police may have caught a break when they learned about a man named Terry Gilliam1. Gilliam worked at the Safeway store with Stephen's sister and was a butcher1. Police suspected that he may have been involved in the murder and began investigating him1.

The Plot

Police discovered that Gilliam had been involved in an online scam with Heidi and Stephen1. The couple had been selling fake designer bags online and had scammed Gilliam out of $3,0001. Gilliam then hired a hitman to kill Heidi and get his money back1. The hitman, who was also involved in the online scam, killed Heidi and made it look like a robbery gone wrong1.

The Aftermath

Gilliam was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder1. The hitman, who was identified as Antonio Wright, was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder1. Stephen was not charged in connection with the murder but was charged with theft and conspiracy to commit theft1.


The murder of Heidi in Baltimore County is a reminder of the dangers of online scams and the lengths that some people will go to get their money back. The case is a bizarre and twisted tale of murder-for-hire plots and online scams.