NBC “Dateline” aired a new episode on Friday, and it surrounded the murder mystery of a former FBI agent who was a known gambler and last seen at a Maryland casino.
SPOILER ALERT: for those planning to watch the episode on demand, this is where you should stop reading.
Can gambling debts lead to murder? It’s certainly a plotline that has played out in numerous films, and certainly in real life homicides, too. But there’s much more to Scott Horn’s story.
Mr. Horn spent 23 years as an FBI special agent. He was married with two kids, and by all appearances, had an idyllic life. Both of his children said he was their best friend.
After his daughter Kelly moved out of the house in 2016 – Scott, then retired, would call his daughter every morning to make sure she was up prompt at 7:30 am. He would call again to make sure she was out of bed. It was like clockwork, until one day he didn’t – March 16, 2017.
Behind Horn’s beautiful white house in Laurel, Maryland, some 15 miles north of the nation’s capital as the crow flies that he shared with his longtime wife Anne, there was a startling different story. The two had a combatant relationship regarding how to raise their now-adult kids, and were in the process of divorcing at the time of Scott’s murder.
Motive for Murder
Horn’s lifeless body was found shot and beaten along the side of his house. When police entered the residence, Anne was upstairs, and told investigators that she hadn’t seen him in more than 24 hours. That apparently wasn’t uncommon, as the two were living in different parts of the house.
The children told “Dateline” correspondent Josh Mankiewicz that locks were put on both sides of certain doors to keep one another out of their rooms. And Anne didn’t appear overly upset when informed it was Scott who was discovered lifeless.
He gambles all the time, and he’s got a lot of people that are angry with him right now,” Anne told police.
Law enforcement were able to find surveillance video of Scott at the nearby Maryland Live! Casino & Hotel the night before his body was found. Footage shows him playing poker, and leaving alone and not being followed.
Despite a good career, police discovered that Horn had racked up more than $200,000 in credit card debts spread across numerous cards. But investigators said they found no evidence that he was a problem gambler, nor had any enemies stemming from his FBI career.
Trial and Outcome
Anne was subsequently charged with Scott’s murder, but the evidence against her was weak. She was accused of shooting her husband in the back of the head, and then beating him with firewood.
Wood chips inside the home’s washing machine were found, but no DNA could link Anne to the crime. The gun was also never recovered.
After sitting in prison for 18 months, Anne went on trial in the fall of 2018. She was acquitted in November, and the death of Scott Horn remains unsolved to this day.