The 45-year-old divorcée and junior-college dropout now lived in Bluefield, West Virginia, a fading town near the Appalachian coalfields where she’d been raised.
Sometimes, if her phone bill was due or her refrigerator was barren, she kept a few dollars for herself.
The missive caught her eye because of the sender’s handsome profile photo, which showed a middle-aged man with a ruddy face, strong black eyebrows, and a welcoming gaze.
His name was Duke Gregor.“How beautiful is your picture Audrey,” the message read.
He also expressed a fervent desire to visit her in the US and perhaps even live with her full-time—a dream come true for Elrod, who lamented that she’d never had kids of her own.
Kevin scheduled a trip to Charlotte for his summer break, and Elrod sent him several hundred dollars to buy the plane ticket.