The Olga Kupczyk and Elizabeth Duncan murder case inspired Too Close To Home, a true story crime movie about a psycho mother-in-law who had her pregnant daughter-in-law murdered. This weekend’s Lifetime movie Psycho In-Law reminds Lifetime movie fans of the classic ‘Ma’ Duncan murder case. Today, people still talk about the murder of Olga Kupczyk, aka Olga Duncan, and the death of her unborn child. Many also wonder where Elizabeth Duncan’s devoted son, Frank Duncan, is today.
Synopsis: Too Close To Home Movie 1997
A mother’s love leads to the murder of her pregnant daughter-in-law in 1950s California.
The movie, Too Close To Home, which was written by Adam Greenman and Alan Hines, was a true-story account of the 1958 death of Olga Kupczyk Duncan. It aired for the first time as a Tuesday night movie on April 29, 1997, on CBS. After that, Too Close To Home began airing on the Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network channels.
When the fact-based movie was released in 1997, few people knew which story inspired it because producers changed the names. Originally titled, Mother’s Love, Too Close To Home starred Judith Light as Diana Donahue (Elizabeth Duncan, Ma Duncan) and Rick Schroder as Nick Donahue (Frank Duncan). Abigail ‘Abby’ Emma Fletcher was based on the real Olga Duncan, according to the IMDB.
Olga Nettie Kupczyk Duncan Mother-In-Law Murder Case
Daughter-in-law, Olga Kupczyk, disappeared in 1958 and was later found dead. The investigation led back to Luis Moya and Augustine Baldonado, the two men Elizabeth Duncan hired to get rid of Olga. One of them confessed that Elizabeth Ma Duncan masterminded the entire plot.
The court case was considered the “Trial of the Century.” Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of the woman who had killed her daughter-in-law and unborn grandchild. Elizabeth Duncan’s pointy-rimmed glasses didn’t help, either. They made her look like the epitome of evil. Jurors learned she had been married more than 19 times and may have had other children other than Frank Duncan.
Everyone would agree Frank Duncan, 29, was her favorite child. The bond was so strong between the son and mother that she called him her “soulmate.” Experts said Ma Duncan had an unhealthy attachment to him.
Frank Duncan on the right with his mother Elizabeth Ann "Ma" Duncan during her trial for the murder of Frank's bride, Olga who was pregnant with a baby girl.
Olga Duncan, (Olga Kupczyk), a pretty thirty-year-old nurse, met Frank Duncan at a hospital, where Elizabeth Ann Duncan was receiving care after she tried to take her own life. Frank was impressed with Olga’s bedside manner, and the two fell in love quickly. There was just one glitch. From the very beginning, Frank Duncan let Olga know that his mother was the jealous type. He also explained she’d often become enraged whenever he brought a woman home.
Frank and Olga Kupczyk had to sneak around to keep the relationship a secret from his mother. Sources say Elizabeth Ann Duncan was so furious with Frank Duncan over the pregnancy and marriage that she had the marriage annulled. To ease the tension, Frank Duncan moved back home with his mother, believing she would stop harassing Olga by phone and trying to have her fired, according to the Los Angeles Times.
During the trial, Frank Duncan faced heavy criticism. No one could understand why a grown man would leave his pretty pregnant wife alone in their apartment to go back home to live with his crazy mother.
Olga Kupczyk: Pregnant Wife Home Alone
That move back home gave Elizabeth the chance to catch Olga at her most vulnerable moment. According to court records, Luis Moya, 22, and Augustine Baldonado, 25, knocked on her front door on the night of Nov. 17, 1958, and lured Olga Kupczyk to their vehicle, where she thought her husband was waiting.
When Olga Kupczyk leaned inside, they kidnapped her and took her to a remote location off Highway 101 into Carpinteria, along Casitas Pass Road. At that location, Luis and Augustine repeatedly assaulted her. The fumbling criminals later dug a hole and buried sweet Olga alive.
The body of Olga Duncan being pulled up from the bottom of a steep embankment near the town of Ojai in Ventura County, California where Moya and Baldonado buried her alive.
For their crimes, Elizabeth Duncan, Luis Moya, and Augustine Baldonado received the death penalty, which was finally carried out in 1962. Attorney Frank Duncan didn’t attend. Those who saw Frank Duncan in the days before and after his mother’s death said he was just a shell of a man walking around distraught that he couldn’t do anything to save his mother.
— Soledad (@JolieSoleil) August 1, 2014
If only Olga Kupczyk had known meeting Frank Duncan would lead to her death she would have stayed far away. Here is a sad reality. One person stands between you and success and you and complete disaster.
Where Is Attorney Frank Duncan Today?
I called Frank Duncan’s office in 2012 to see if he was still alive and if he’d talk about the case. The gentleman who answered the phone sounded like a young office assistant, but when I asked to speak with Frank Duncan, the man said in a delightfully pleasant voice, “I am Frank Duncan.”
After the story faded from headlines, Frank Duncan went on to build a lucrative and financially successful practice. That’s what the then-83-year-old man wanted me to know when we spoke.
However, when I asked him questions about Elizabeth Duncan, he said, “I never speak on it. I never do interviews.” He also told TV Crime Sky’s Traciy Curry-Reyes that for an 83-year-old man, he was still physically fit and well-spoken.
“I look well. I walk well. I well. People are shocked I’m still alive.”
I wanted to know if he ever remarried after Olga Duncan’s death. To that, he answered, “Oh my. Yes, of course.” Frank Duncan said he’d married three times since the trial. The attorney’s last marriage lasted almost 40 years. As for the tragedy, Frank Duncan doesn’t think about the case. “It’s all in the past,” he said. He’s never watched the Too Close To Home movie and never will.
Mug shots of Luis Moya on the left and Augustine Baldonado on the right.
Olga Duncan’s story was passed down to each generation of her family. One relative sent us a message, stating her great-grandfather was Olga’s brother and that she was originally from Canada. After she died, she was cremated and sent back to Canada to her family.
There is little background information on Luis Moya and Augustine Baldonado. Law clients who have used Frank Duncan’s services over the years describe him as a sweet man who reminds them of Colombo. They said everyone in the Downtown Los Angeles offices knows and respects him. He was still alive as of 2015.
No one seems to know what happened to Elizabeth Ann ‘Ma’ Duncan’s other children or whether she ever had grandchildren. Too Close To Home, the true-story movie, was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and produced by Once Upon a Time Films.
[Main Image via Ma Duncan.blogspot/Facebook]