By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"I met Lorraine on August 10, 1999--no, no, 1998," Ed says. "She came to take care of me. Didn't take me long to see she knew how to cook an egg, and she's not bad-looking."
Lorraine was two weeks from her 38th birthday. She was miserable.
"This isn't a pity party," she says, "but I had nothing--no house, no car. I had split from my husband, I was broke and I was living with a friend."
Born in New Jersey, Lorraine as a youngster moved to Phoenix, where she and her brother were raised by her divorced mother. She got married for the first time at 16, to a young man from Phoenix who'd joined the Navy.
Lorraine moved to Guam with her new husband, where she lived for seven years. She was divorced, remarried and divorced again before she was 20. In Guam, she barely survived a car accident. Her mother says the wreck left her with brain damage and other serious injuries.
Lorraine bounced around after moving back to the States in the early 1980s, working, among other places, in bars, casinos, a gas station and for an orthodontist. A third, short-lived marriage ended when she was 25.
"She couldn't really find her place in life," Gloria DeJongh says.
Lorraine's marriage to her fourth husband foundered in 1998 after he got fired, and the couple lost their Phoenix home and car to foreclosure.
By the time she moved in with a girlfriend last July, Lorraine had found work as a care giver for a Sun City agency. The pay was meager, but she says she enjoyed working with the elderly.
She switched to Sun City Home Care in early August, and was assigned to Ed Gamble's home as one of two care givers working successive eight-hour shifts.
Says attorney Paul Blunt, "Within eight hours of walking in there, she has procured about a $30,000 personal benefit--the cruise. She then marries the individual and becomes the sole beneficiary of a fairly substantial estate. That's troublesome on the face of it."
Lorraine agrees that Ed wasted no time in inviting her to go on the trip, but says she initially declined--"I was trying to get a divorce, and things were a mess."
Ed was smitten.
"I took her to my club for her birthday, August 24," he recalls, "and she was wearing a red dress. I really got to see how beautiful she was."
On Labor Day weekend, however, Lorraine nearly ruined her rare run of good fortune. She says police stopped her on suspicion of DUI after she went out for a drink with a girlfriend. That led to the short clash with a sheriff's deputy, during which she allegedly elbowed him in the gut. (She denies this.)
Jailed on a charge of assaulting the cop, Lorraine called Ed to bail her out. Needing help, Ed phoned his grandson, Gary, in Mobile, Alabama, and asked him to fly out because of an unspecified emergency. Lorraine had been released from custody by the time Gary arrived.
"Gary told Mr. Gamble that he didn't like Lorraine--that she wasn't appropriate," says Ed's attorney, Alisa Gray. "But she already was the light of his life, was his life in some ways. That didn't get things off to a good start, to put it mildly."
According to investigators from the County Attorney's Office, Sun City Home Health officials planned to fire Lorraine after the DUI, but Ed Gamble insisted he wanted her as his care giver.
Lorraine filed for divorce from her fourth husband on September 16, and moved in with Ed as a full-time care giver at the end of that month.
In early October, Ed hired Sun City attorney Mathis Becker to start the paperwork to revoke his trust and remove his grandson as trustee and sole beneficiary.
Becker asked a psychologist to examine Ed to make sure he was legally competent to make such a decision. In a report signed October 6, Dr. D.J. Gaughan wrote that Ed knew almost to the penny what his assets were.
"It is this evaluator's opinion that Ms. DeJongh was not attempting to exert undue influence over Mr. Gamble," Gaughan concluded, after interviewing Ed in Lorraine's presence. "The evaluator's opinion of Mr. Gamble is that he is someone who is not easily led or influenced. Mr. Gamble is without question competent to enter into any type of legal agreement . . . "
Lorraine says she had no idea then how much money Ed Gamble had.
"I knew he owned his house," she says, "but men, they lie. I didn't know about the other stuff in his estate until I saw it in all the papers after everything started happening."
Gloria DeJongh says she broached the issue of money with her daughter.
"I wanted to know that if something did happen [to Ed], there would be some recompense," Gloria says. "I swear, it wasn't a big issue for Lorraine. She would say, 'That's his money, not mine.'"
Ed and Lorraine continued to make plans to go on the cruise in late October. Before they left, Lorraine took him to meet her mother.
"Lorraine went to the store, and he told me he thought they'd make a wonderful couple," Gloria DeJongh recalls. "I said, 'I don't know.' I was appalled. Then he went home and told Lorraine I said they'd make a wonderful couple. He's no dummy."