Kathy Putnam was in the middle of a murder case that brought attention to her family. In any case, she is not directly linked to the murder but her husband, FBI agent Mark Putnam who started a relationship with Susan Smith, and the end result was the famous death of Susan.
Kathy led her last days still caring about her husband, and nurturing the shame and heartache that she received before she sadly died of organ failure on 5 February 1998 at 38. Despite this, her name has been immortalized as a character in Joe Sharkey’s book Above Suspicion about her husband’s life and crime. To further expose her, a movie of the same title was released in 2021 and Sophie Lowe played her character.
There are several other things about Kathy Ponticelli Putman that you should know.
The Tragedy of Kathy Putnam and Her Death
Kathy was married to Mark Putnam, an FBI agent. He then met Susan Smith while at the FBI Academy. At one point, Smith helped Kathy’s husband solve a case and somehow, they also ended up in a relationship.
This is not the sad part – not yet!
One day, Kathy’s life turned around when Smith was noticeably absent and was later found dead. She was strangled by Mark on June 8, 1989, and dumped her body afterward. Although the killing was said to be a mistake Investigations led to Kathy’s husband who later confessed to killing her. Kathy’s husband faced a 16-year sentence after pleading guilty.
He also became the first American FBI agent to be convicted of homicide.
She lived with her 2 children, Danielle Putnam and Mark Putnam Jr., in Manchester and was still supportive of her spouse.
The aftermath left its scars on Kathy and alcohol became her solace. There are different reports with respect to her alcoholism as some sources claim that she abused alcohol even before the sad murder case while others maintain that the sad turnout of things may have led her to it. Whatever the case, her alcoholism took a better part of her.
It also resulted in her heartbreaking demise at the age of 38. She died of organ failure on 5 February 1998 in Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut.
She was buried in the same town at the Saint James Cemetery.
She was survived by her parents Raymond Joseph Ponticelli (father) and Carol Evelyn Ferry Ponticelli (mother), her husband Mark who was at the time serving 16 years in jail; her sister Christine Ponticelli; and her children Danielle Putnam and Mark Putnam Jr.
A Look at Kathy’s Life Before Her Tragic Story and End
She was Reportedly Married Before Putnam
Kathleen, named after her paternal grandmother was reportedly married before her union with Mark. The news is shared on her obituary page but other than her ex’s last name, Werkhoven, there is no information about him.
Prior to that, Kathy was born on 6 January 1960 in Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut as one of the two children of Raymond “Ray” Ponticelli and Carol Ponticelli.
Based on numerous reports, her father was a wealthy real estate agent. However, his obituary page reveals that he was a self-employed contractor.
Whatever the case, Ray died in Florida on May 17, 2014, while Carol died on 29 May 2018 at 73 and 77 respectively.
More About Her Life as Mark Putnam’s Wife
After the end of her first marriage, Kathy became married to Mark Putnam. They had their first child, a daughter named Danielle, and their second child, a son named Mark Putnam Jr.
The marriage may have been going well until it was marred by the murder case and jailing of Mark in 1990
Evidence of that is that she remained a part of her husband’s there for him even though he cheated, reportedly got his mistress pregnant, and even committed murder. Even years after Kathy’s demise, her parents continued to have a good relationship with him.
Upon his release in 2000, Mark went to Kathy’s parents’ first before heading to Florida. According to her mother, he is a good man and called the murder “a crime of passion”.
It was also revealed that the murder was accidental and indeed he led authorities to Smith’s body and pleaded guilty.