Robert McClancy’s 2006 death was supposed to look like a suicide.
But seven years later, his wife and best friend were charged in what Monroe County authorities and a Veteran Affairs investigator say was murder, conspiracy and disability fraud.
NBC’s Dateline aired details behind the East Tennessee tragedy Friday night in a special dubbed “Secrets in the Smoky Mountains.”
McClancy was a retired Florida police officer when he and his wife moved to Tellico Plains in the late 1990s. He was found dead in May 2006, a gun in one hand and a bottle of pills in the other.
His friend Chuck Kaczmarczyk, who would later marry McClancy’s widow Martha Ann, confessed years later but blamed her.
Retired Journalist Marvin Harper, who followed the case, said it was the most intriguing case he's ever followed.
“It’s a very surreal story and it lay dormant for gosh, at least 10 years. Everyone knew a death had occurred down here, everyone presumed it was suicide and until the prosecutors got it all together and decided to prosecute it then it became a very interesting. Very intriguing," Harper said.
Even with the murder mystery solved, Harper said there is still another mystery connected to this case.
Martha Ann's adoptive son Sean McGavic, who's questioning of his mother led investigators to uncover the murder conspiracy, wants to know where he comes from. Only Martha Ann knows.
"There is one solved and one unsolved. She is the only one that can solve the other one and why she won't do that I just don’t know," Harper added.
McGavin has asked his adoptive mother for answers but she has never told him anything regarding his adoption besides leaving behind a scrapbook with memoirs of his childhood.
Martha Ann was eventually found guilty of attempted first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder in 2014. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
To read and watch more about the murder of Robert McClancy, click here.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the charges in the case.