It’s a story that has it all. With its unexplained drowning death, adultery, rock and roll, drugs, a will signed days before his death, a woman who may or may not exist and even witchcraft, it’s tailor made for a Netflix special.
And after nearly four years, the death of heavy metal rocker Oli Herbert remains a mystery that is still no closer to being explained.
But now, after years of online chatter that she was somehow involved, Herbert’s widow has finally decided to speak out despite her lawyer’s objections and amid the backdrop of an ongoing criminal investigation.
‘Everybody’s telling me to shut up, but all shutting up has done is let this stuff solidify as truth, and it’s not,’ the 52-year-old cried, standing beside the pond where her husband was found on October 16, 2018.
Did he fall or was he pushed. The mysterious death of All That Remains guitarist Oli Herbert (seen here on stage in 2015) has confounded investigators
Self-described pagan Beth Herbert, 52, cried as she showed DailyMail.com the pond where her husband was found drowned in 2018
Beth and Oli Herbert changed his will to give her everything shortly before his death
Beth says she’s been targeted by police who tried to ‘railroad’ her into a confession, and by Oli’s friends who suspect she drugged him and possibly shoved him into the water a week after convincing him to sign a will granting her everything, including his future earnings from his band, All That Remains – known for songs such as Two Weeks and What If I Was Nothing.
But it’s the strange subplots that have even the central subjects wondering whether this case is also destined for the small screen – everything from Beth’s twisted relationship with a close friend of Oli’s who agreed to notarize the will, to a mystery woman named Penelope who allegedly showed up on the Herberts’ property late at night, three months before his death, and shoved him into the same pool of water!
Herbert was lead guitarist for All That Remains, one of the original members of the group that formed in 1998 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and has sold more than a million records worldwide.
The group, fronted by singer Philip Labonte, has released nine albums and has just completed a tour to mark the 15th anniversary of its breakthrough recording, The Fall of Ideas.
He met Beth in 1992 when they were both students at Holyoak Community College in Massachusetts. After a 12-year romance, they married in 2004.
‘He was a sweetheart. He was gentle, he was kind, he was funny,’ Beth said. ‘He was very passionate about his music and I was supportive of that passion.’
Beth led DailyMail.com to the shallow pond at the edge of their property in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, close to the Massachusetts border, where her husband died.
‘Oli used to come down here day and night. This is where he’d stop by and talk to the girls he met on the road, after he stopped being a good husband.
‘This is where Oli entered the pond, somewhere after 11 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2018.’
Beth Herbert points to the spot where her husband was found three months after she says a mysterious woman called Penelope pushed him into the water while they were looking for their dog
Their home in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, was in foreclosure and had no hot water because, Beth says, they couldn’t afford to fix the boiler
Her husband, 44, was found face-down, wearing a necklace with a charm shaped like a guitar pick, etched with ‘Oli’ on one side and the initials of his band ‘ATR’ on the other.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington, Connecticut, ruled he died from drowning but that the manner of death was ‘undetermined.’
Nonetheless, Beth, the last person known to have seen him alive, almost immediately became a target in the investigation, questioned not just by cops but also by Oli’s friends, family and bandmates, especially after news of the will, signed on October 9, a week before his death, surfaced.
The will left everything to Beth and even specifically said that Oli’s sister Cynthia Herbert should get nothing,
Beth said the timing was purely coincidental, that they’d just recently had a friend die and wanted to prepare for the unexpected.
‘We loved each other, we trusted each other and we were husband and wife, despite everyone else doing whatever they could to break us up.
‘We were leaving each other everything, including making each other beneficiaries of each other’s life insurance policies.‘
But the decision made no sense to others who knew him. They pointed out that Oli was actually discussing a divorce. And suddenly Herbert’s friends began making allegations about the couple’s personal drama on social media, and created Facebook and Instagram pages titled ‘Justice for Oli.’
Wendy Skriver denies Beth’s claims she had an affair with Oli Herbert but said they had a close, platonic friendship
They claimed Beth was frequently hostile to Oli and bandmates and routinely accused him of sleeping with groupies.
They also described Beth as a practicing witch, who would cast spells from an altar room she set up in their home, including some against her own husband. They cited a Facebook posting from Beth months before his death, showing a flaming photo of herself with Oli as the couple’s marriage appeared to be disintegrating.
#Burnthewitch became a popular hashtag among the 13,000 followers of Justice for Oli.
Friends would speak about the couple’s shaky finances. Their home was in foreclosure. They had no hot water, because, Beth says, they couldn’t afford to fix the broken boiler.
‘Oli was always a very non-confrontational, meek, humble, soft personality, and he never had the courage to stand up to Beth for anything,’ Drew Johnston, Oli’s close friend and social media manager who was encouraging them to divorce and later started Justice for Oli, told DailyMail.com.
‘I was doing everything I could to get him out of the grips of that lady. She’s the reason none of us have any closure yet,’ he added.
Beth said she’s been the prime target of the investigation from the start, saying state investigators have done all they could to ‘railroad’ her into a confession, even questioning her religious beliefs.
She is a self-described pagan, who admits she has an altar room where she says she performs spiritual rituals and a separate tarot card room but says this should have nothing to do with the investigation.
‘The police department tried to get an arrest warrant based on witchcraft, saying I was casting black spells on him and slipping him drugs,’ Beth told DailyMail.com.
Oli Herbert, left, with frontman Philip Labonte (second left) and his other All That Remains bandmates
Oli had been sick on the day of his death. Beth says she made him pho soup and they went out into the yard together that evening before his body was found in shallow water
‘But if they could have fabricated something for me to be arrested for, it would have happened long ago.’
Connecticut State police declined to comment for this article, citing the active ongoing investigation.
In the days after her husband’s death, Beth wrote just a few messages on Facebook warning people to stay off the property and accusing Drew Johnston of being ‘a fraud’ who is ‘full of sh*t.’
But she has avoided discussing the tragedy itself – until now.
She started by recounting the night her husband died.
Beth was the last person known to see him alive. She said he’d been sick that day, and that she’d been caring for him, serving him pho soup.
They stood together in their yard that night about 130 feet from the pond below.
‘He was out of it,’ she recalled. ‘I had to lead him back to the house several times that evening.’
They went back inside around 9pm.
‘I asked him if he wanted to go to bed and he said, “No, I just want to sit here and listen to the wind blowing through the trees,”‘ she recalled. ‘The last thing he said before I went up to bed was, “Thank you, I love you.”’
She said she fell asleep but was woken by some bumping downstairs.
‘When I got up in the morning, he wasn’t there,’ she said.
They’d often sleep separately after he declared he wanted a divorce, but he wasn’t on the couch that morning in his home studio. She said she didn’t see him outside and didn’t report him missing until that afternoon. Police were quick to find him in the water, just downhill from the house.
‘Oli was always a very non-confrontational, meek, humble, soft personality, and he never had the courage to stand up to Beth for anything,’ Drew Johnston (left) told DailyMail.com
DailyMail.com has seen Herbert’s autopsy report that says the cause of death was drowning, but the manner was ‘undetermined’
The medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy showing that Oli had three prescription drugs in his system – the antipsychotic olanzapine, the antidepressant citalopram, and Ambien.
It also said: ‘Mr. Herbert’s past medical history is reportedly significant for marijuana use.’
Beth, who claims she didn’t know he was using those prescription drugs, suggested that his friends may have provided them. She would later react to the ME’s findings on Facebook, stating that ‘Oli was apparently self-treating for manic-depression that has run in his family for several generations.’
There were no obvious signs of foul play. But the 12-page autopsy, obtained by DailyMail.com, mentioned one peculiar fact that went unreported in prior media coverage. Just three months before the death, the report notes, Oli had gone to police to report that a mystery woman had pushed him into the same pond.
‘Police officials reported that Mr. Herbert made a complaint in July 2018 that he was pushed into the water by a woman in the same area where he is located by police officials,’ the report states.
When asked about the incident, Beth provided the strange account of a woman who showed up at their property late at night and identified herself only by a first name, Penelope. Beth said she had been searching for one of her three corgi dogs when the woman, young, tall and slender, appeared out of nowhere.
‘Penelope was weaving in and out of the bushes,’ Beth recalled. ‘She told us her name. Oli said he did not know her. I was like, who the hell is that?’
‘She told me, ‘I’m Penelope, and I heard you guys calling for your dog and came to help.’’
‘So the three of us were supposed to look for the dog, but she was watching, not helping,’ Beth continued. ‘She stared at us. I heard movement, thought it was the dog. Then all of a sudden Penelope pushes him over the ledge. Then she ran off.’
She said her husband was ‘wicked messed up when this happened,’ and was left scraped and bruised by the fall, yelling ‘somebody f**king pushed me!’ He later went to cops, as did she.
But Beth said it did not result in an arrest, and that Penelope was never seen again. She wasn’t asked about it again until after Oli’s death, when police interrogated her.
‘They (police) thought maybe she had something to do with his death, but they can’t find her,’ Beth told DailyMail.com.
Bandmates and friends of Oli Herbert say he had been discussing a divorce in the weeks before his untimely death
‘Everybody’s telling me to shut up, but all shutting up has done is let this stuff solidify as truth, and it’s not,’ Beth Herbert told DailyMail.com after inviting us to her Connecticut home
Beth Herbert posted a picture of herself with Oli in a burning frame, captioning it simply ‘Self explanatory’. She has been targeted online with the hashtag Burnthewitch
At another point, she said, ‘Police accused me of being Penelope and pushing him. But I was like – how can I split myself in two?’
During the interview with DailyMail.com, Beth stood in the yard outside her modest two-and-a-half story house, next to a red Jaguar XE she parked in the driveway. She said that after her husband’s death she took the house out of foreclosure, made repairs, and then treated herself to the luxury car – all made possible by a life insurance policy that the couple renewed just a week before Oli’s death.
Then there was Oli’s will. It gave his wife complete control of his assets, granting her all of his property as well as ‘any current or future earnings.’
It was signed at the same Hartford, Connecticut, auto dealership where Beth would later purchase her car. And the will was notarized by an employee named Wendy Skriver, who Beth had forged a strange friendship with earlier that year.
Beth claimed that Wendy, an avid concertgoer whose ex-husband works in the music industry, had slept with her husband, and later got so upset when he broke up with her that she had a teary meltdown in front of him at a club at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut, in April 2018.
She said Wendy later contacted her to apologize, and they started spending time together.
Beth also grew close to Wendy’s daughter, who would care for her corgis when she visited. In her will, Beth said she has bequeathed her dogs to the daughter.
Shortly after Oli’s death, Wendy visited the house. Weeks later, she drove Beth to a psychiatric hospital when she was experiencing emotional difficulties.
During a follow-up visit, she told DailyMail.com Beth leaned toward her and whispered with a wink, ‘This plan is going great.’
‘I slammed my hand on the table and was like, “Really?’ What plan? Why would you say something like that?” ‘
She later told police about the curious interaction. Beth acknowledged to Dailymail.com that she made such a comment, but said she was being sarcastic.
As the police investigation heated up, the two had a falling out, and Wendy became a prime asset to investigators, inviting them into her home for several hours of interviews.
‘(The lead investigator) told me I was going to be the star witness for the prosecution,’ Wendy, 52, told DailyMail.com, when approached at her home on the outskirts of Hartford.
‘We’re going to need chairs, this is going to take a little bit,’ she said, as she explained the origins of her relationship with Beth and Oli.
She said she met Oli at a cover band show in Massachusetts, where ‘he told me he was divorced.’
Even so, she denies she ever slept with him.
She said she invited him over for dinner in November 2017, that she made him a lasagna and he used her shower, stating there was no hot water in his house. Beth said that’s because she couldn’t afford to fix the boiler.
That Christmas, he told her he’d gone back to his wife, and she blasted him, wondering why he would return to such a relationship.
‘In the back of my mind, I was very worried because I didn’t know what was going on,’ she said.
She didn’t see him again until the following April, when she showed up to the club at Foxwoods, where one of Oli’s friends was having a video release party. She acknowledged she did tear up, but said it wasn’t about jealousy. ‘I started crying because I was concerned for him,’ she said.
In May, after Wendy was badly injured in a car accident, she asked a friend to reach out to Oli, who she thought could help cheer her up.
‘When he and I were talking, he had a real good sense of humor,’ Wendy recalled. ‘I contacted (my friend) and said I’d love to hear from him, could use some encouragement.’
But instead of well-wishes, Wendy said, the friend told her that Oli actually laughed about the crash, saying he wished she suffered more.
Wendy had a teary meltdown in front of Oli at a club at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut, in April 2018
That’s when Wendy reached out to Beth and told her that her relationship with Oli was merely platonic. She apologized for any misunderstanding.
They later met at a deli, where they talked for hours. According to Wendy, Beth unloaded on her husband.
‘She started telling me, “Oli’s on drugs, Oli’s abusive, he’s a mess, he doesn’t give me any money, he doesn’t pay for the house. There’s no heat, no hot water,” ’ Wendy recalled.
A few days later, Wendy said Beth called her again, claiming Oli was in a rage and that she needed a place to stay with her dogs.
‘She told me she didn’t have any friends, and I didn’t want her to be alone,’ said Wendy, who invited her over.
Often Beth would share stories of abuse and she talked about what she would like to do to Oli.
‘She had an altar room and she had burned pictures of Oli in a coffin, a real box shaped like a coffin,’ Wendy said.
‘Before all this happened, I would take something like this not seriously,’ she said. But she later told detectives, and said, ‘The police were like, ‘why wouldn’t you take something like that seriously?’
In the interview, she also addressed her decision to notarize Oli’s will, saying Beth was able to talk her into it.
‘Beth was all up in arms telling me it would be $70 for notarization at town hall. She was annoying me to do it. To make her quiet down, I agreed to do it.’
Wendy said she had two colleagues at the dealership serve as witnesses, and barely took time to read the document, not noticing certain sections.
But Beth said: ‘We were going to have an attorney do it, but when I told Wendy she said no, no, let me do it, you can come to the dealership. She used it as an opportunity to get to closer to him.’
Herbert (right) played with bandmates Philip Labonte and Mike Martin at The Filmore in Detroit in 2012, six years before his mysterious death
Beth is now considering a move to Salem, Massachusetts, home of the famous 17th century witch trials. ‘Let them hashtag ‘burnthewitch’ there,’ she joked.
Beth is adamant that she had nothing to do with her husband’s death.
‘I absolutely did not kill my husband,’ she said.
Beth accused Wendy of being jealous of her, claiming ‘When she saw me and Oli together, she’d wince and look away, like somebody smacked her across the face with a 2-by-4. The night she notarized the will, she was practically hanging on him right in front of me, giggling and flirting, whispering in his ear, rubbing up against him.
Wendy denied flirting, saying she had to stand close to Oli as she was notarizing the will.
‘The police, they were talking to all these people who had an axe to grind with me,’ she said. ‘People are accusing me for various reasons, for revenge, for free publicity, to try to build careers for themselves.’
She also took a swipe at the lead detective, Michael Zella.
‘You could tell he was fan of the band,’ she said. ‘Here he is, this country cop, and he’s working on a rock star who died. I think he got star struck and was on a power trip.’
She said she still has no idea what, or who, may have killed her husband.
She suggested Ambien as one possibility, citing horror stories about people who black out after taking the sleeping pill, crash cars or have other accidents. She also mentioned Penelope.
‘That did cross my mind when the police found my husband’s body – that it was Penelope,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘Did Penelope come back? Did he stumble down there on his own? We don’t know. All I know is I was upstairs in bed and when I came downstairs in the morning he wasn’t in the house.’
Now she plans to move, no longer wanting to live on the property where her husband died. Ironically, she’s thinking about relocating to Salem, Massachusetts, home to the infamous Salem witch trials.
‘Let them hashtag ‘burnthewitch’ there,’ she joked.