It’s the kind of story you would expect to see as an episode of Law & Order—not to be a part of. However, in 2008, Cindy Zimmermann’s already crumbling world hit rock bottom when her husband, Paul, was murdered.
Married for twenty-three years and the mother of three children, Zimmermann has told her story in A Woman of Interest. In a phone interview, Zimmermann gave me the background on her life and a marriage gone stale. It would take ten years before she acted on getting a divorce. At that point, a lovely home with seven bedrooms and baths in Scottsdale, Arizona, and life as part of a prominent couple in community affairs, were no longer sufficient reasons to hold on to the façade.
Between 2005-2010, numerous people in Arizona were impacted by the economic downturn. It extended to people even like the Zimmermanns, who were on the affluent end of the scale. Financial issues added to marital discord. By the time Zimmermann moved out and got her own apartment, Paul’s work situation had begun to deteriorate. He had also developed a definite drinking habit.
Zimmermann anticipated remaining friends with her spouse, and breezing through a simple divorce settlement in a state with fifty-fifty asset distribution laws. Instead, contentious litigation dragged on for eighteen months. Out of the workplace for two decades, Zimmermann realized she had to reconnect with the skill set and moxie that had brought her success in her younger years as a medical sales person. To her surprise, she learned that child support and alimony would not be forthcoming.
On the day that Zimmermann’s divorce was finalized, her husband—who had been missing for five days—was murdered. Overwhelmed by having her family impacted by a violent crime, Zimmermann’s focus was to protect her children. The last thing that occurred to her was that she would become a prime suspect, and later, undergo scrutiny as a potential accessory.
A business associate of Zimmermann’s husband, when questioned by the police, shot himself with what proved to be the same handgun used in the homicide.