A man camping in the desert was the victim of an alleged con by a Blythe woman who he says lured him to Parker and took the money for his missing dog.
Christopher Cross, a Palm Springs-based entrepreneur, told Parker Live that his 2 year-old French bulldog Poco went missing on May 10th when he was settling in at a campground around 10 to 15 miles from Blythe.
“We were totally alone at the campground, except for an older couple in a gold minivan,” he said. “They didn’t stay long.”
When Poco went missing, Christopher says he searched for days by himself before packing up and leaving. He spent the following days making flyers, making web posts, spending hundreds of dollars on ads and contacting police departments.
It turns out Poco is important to Christopher for many reasons. His company, an award-winning CBD edible company which he recently sold, sponsored children with medical needs, and Poco would come along for visits to patients. Christopher, who has health issues himself, says Poco was his therapy dog. Losing her has been devastating, he says, but in the days after May 10th he was trying not to lose hope.
“It was around then that I got a random private message on Facebook,” he said. “It was from a woman called Tamara. She told me she knew where Poco was.”
Parker Live has reviewed copies of the messages between Christopher and a Facebook account called ‘Tamara Eddy’ (reportedly not her legal name) and others. The first message, received on Saturday, May 18th at 11:37 a.m., says, “They were trying to sell it in Parker.”
After a voice conversation, Christopher decided to drive to Blythe to meet her. Tamara gave her home address.
“She told me she knew who had the dog and that they drive a gold minivan and are trying to sell him in Parker for $350. I went to her house, I met her kids, I sat in her home. We sat for a long time.”
Christopher says it was this visit to Tamara’s home that made him trust her. She has eight children, he says, including some with health issues, and he got to know them a little while he was there. He says she appeared very kind-hearted and interested in getting the dog back, and said she wasn’t interested in the reward money.
In subsequent messages, Tamara claimed the woman who took Poco is called ‘Stacy’ and goes to Parker “all the time.” Christopher says that during his time with her, Tamara claimed to be in contact with this third party, sometimes texting or appearing to be on the phone with them.
At some point in the afternoon, Tamara allegedly drove with her mother-in-law from Blythe to Parker with Christopher following behind in his own vehicle. Christopher had never been to Parker before and was unfamiliar with the town, or even that it was in Arizona. They arrived and pulled into the Safeway parking lot, and Tamara got out and came to his window.
“She said that the people who took my dog in the gold minivan, she said that my truck was way too recognizable and she didn’t want them to be freaked out,” he said.
According to Christopher, Tamara then suggested that she take the money down to where the people were camping and bring him back his dog. Although he had reservations, he also thought it was worth a shot if it meant he would get Poco back. So he says he gave Tamara’s mother-in-law $400 in cash and the pair left with it. They allegedly came back some time later, with Tamara saying that the people with the dog weren’t there, and suggested going to BlueWater Resort & Casino to wait it out.
“So we go down to the casino,” he said. “She was talking to them on the phone next to me, or pretending to. She told me they agreed to meet with the dog. This whole time she had my money in her pocket. Around 6 o’clock she said they were probably just waiting for it to get dark, so she bought a few more hours from me. I was getting irritated and she could see that I was getting irritated.”
Shortly thereafter, Christopher says she made an excuse and disappeared.
“She said she saw her friend Charles’ mom’s car arrive. She went out to meet him. He was supposed to help get the dog, but she also said he was not a good person. I gave it like 45 seconds to 1 minute. Went out to see if her and Charles were out there, and she was gone. Valet said they didn’t see her.”
Christopher never saw her again.
In the days since, the messages from Tamara, someone claiming to be ‘Charlie’, someone going by the name ‘Serenity’ and someone going by the name ‘Stacy’ have turned nasty, threatening and abusive.
They started later the same night, when Christopher got a message from Tamara’s phone saying he was ‘Charlie’ asking where Christopher went and claiming that she had been taken to jail for going into “the lady’s camp” and getting his dog. The messages now demanded $2800 for her bail. Parker Live could find no record of her arrest in an initial search.
“We are on way to pay the bail an my wife will send you account information an if the money not put in by the time she out we will just let the dog go,” said the message, which was reviewed by Parker Live.
The morning after, when Christopher asked Tamara for proof that they had his dog, he received a picture of a dog that wasn’t Poco.
Christopher then posted photographs of Tamara on a Blythe Facebook Group, warning people that she stole his money and saying that she had taken advantage of his situation. She responded viciously in private and public messages, calling him names and saying he had “pissed off the wrong bitch now.” The post was flooded with comments saying that she was well-known in the community as being of ill-repute.
Christopher also received a threatening message from an account in the name of ‘Stacy’, which said, “I know where you leave work an drive I got your number it just a matter of time before I get you an do the World a favor an get rid of your aids ass.” The person then claimed to have killed Christopher’s dog.
The Blythe Police Department reportedly know who Tamara is, but the situation is complicated by the alleged crime having been committed across the state line in Arizona.
“She’s playing Arizona against California, tricking people in California, luring them to Arizona and then committing the crime,” Christopher said. “But at this point it isn’t about the money. I’m justifying it in the name of my dog. My dog went to cancer centers, boys and girls clubs, she brought me and my community love. So for this lady to reach into my emotions and my mind, she played me to my core, and in a way that a concert violinist would be playing at the Carnegie Hall. She used her own children to gain my trust. I feel like I lost my dog all over again.”
Christopher says he has made his peace with the idea that Poco is gone, and that Tamara never had any knowledge of her whereabouts in the first place. But he hopes for justice, and that nobody else is conned at an emotional time like he was.