At Mothers Request: A True Story of Money, Murder, and Betrayal by Jonathan Coleman

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Atheneum Publishing
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On November 29, 2012
Last modified:November 28, 2012


A self-made millionaire father, a greedy, psychotic daughter, a grandson with an out-of-control Oedipus complex, a overindulgent guilt-ridden mother - what's not to like?

At Mothers Request by Jonathan Coleman
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Franklin Bradshaw had worked hard to reach the level of success he had in 1978. For the owner of multiple auto parts stores throughout Utah, it had often meant sacrificing time with is family but his net worth was assurance they’d never want for anything.

Well, most of them.

Franklin and Berenice Bradshaw’s youngest daughter was a handful. Ever since she left Utah to attend college in New York, it seemed as if it was one thing after another.

First, Frances was kicked out of school for stealing and forging checks. Refusing to return home to Utah, she married Vittorio Gentile in 1959 and quickly gave birth to two boys. The marriage failed soon after the birth of their second child and Frances became dependent on her parents for financial support. When it seemed the well was about to be shut off, she married Dutchman Fredrick Schreuder and bore a third child during the couple’s separation.

Now twice divorced, Frances Schreuder, mother of three, refused to work and demanded her parents maintain her lavish New York lifestyle. For a while, the Bradshaws did so but before long Franklin, a man who had spent his life working hard to make his millions, grew weary of Frances’ demands and intended to cut her off.

But Berenice was another story. And it soon became a point of contention between Franklin and Berenice, especially after the summer of 1977 when Marc and Larry, Frances’ sons, spent the summer in Utah – and stole more than $200,000 from their grandparents at their mother’s command.

Yet Berenice continued to financially support her daughter. Franklin changed his will, disinheriting his youngest child and her offspring.

When Franklin is found murdered in one of his Salt Lake City stores on Sunday, July 23, 1978, Marilyn and Elaine, Frances’ sisters, are immediately suspicious of their sister and her boys and not hesitant to say so.

What follows in the next few years is a family disaster. Two sisters battle against a mother they come to suspect of being a murder conspiracy and another sister’s fight to continue living extravagantly at her mother’s expense.

In Jonathan Coleman’s 1985 book At Mother’s Request, readers are introduced to the Bradshaw family and in the insanity going on behind the scenes of Utah’s richest and somewhat famous as well as the incompetent detective first assigned the case, the clandestine meetings between Marilyn Bradshaw Reagan and Frances’ shadowy confidante, a greedy fake hitman, and two boys who would do anything to gain their mother’s acceptance.

Weighing in at more than a pound and over 700 pages long, At Mother’s Request is very detailed. Very. In my opinion, sometimes overly so. Every single incident is recorded in these pages. At times, it was unnecessary and could have been edited out, so there were portions I skimmed such as the verbatim trial testimony which was a repeat of earlier information in both cases.

Nonetheless, At Mother’s Request is an outstanding, old-school true crime that I highly insist any lover of the genre read. And since most copies available at Amazon are only one cent, there’s no reason not to read it!

Where Are They Now?

Frances Schreuder was released in 1996, just months after her mother, Berenice Jewett Bradshaw passed away and named her youngest daughter the sole beneficiary of what remained of the Franklin Bradshaw estate, much to the chagrin of Frances’ sisters. Frances passed away on March 30, 2004, from chronic lung disease in San Diego, California.

Marc Schreuder is married with two daughters and lives in Provo, Utah, where he works in the essential oils business.

Elaine Drukman passed away on January 13, 1998, in Emeryville, California.

At last report, Larry Bradshaw, formerly Lawrence Schreuder, formerly Lorenzo Gentile, was living in the Los Angeles, California area. No updates for Larry were available.

Lavinia Schreuder works as a massage therapist at the Pacific Athletic Club in San Diego, California.

Vittorio Gentile lives in Westwood, Massachusetts, with his wife Lydia. In 2006, their grandson, Vittorio Gentile, Jr., was involved in a car accident which left one man severely damaged for life which resulted in the second highest jury verdict, $12 million, being levied against the elder Gentiles as it was determined they were well aware of their grandson’s horrific driving history and, despite having insurance exclusion in regards to the young Vittorio, allowed him to use their vehicle regardless which resulted in said accident.

Richard Behrens died in October 1998.

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