When Karen Marx’s husband Adam went missing 12 years ago, he left no explanation.
“I just thought, ‘How could he get married again?” Karen told the Post Crescent. “Am I dead? What did he do with my identity?”
US woman Karen told the newspaper she and Adam first met at a carnival, where the long-haired, motorbike-riding man was working on a ride.
“I figured, ‘He’s going to get divorced, and this means he really wants to be with me and the kids,'” Karen, who has three children from a previous relationship, told Post-Crescent.
“We’ll be one big, happy family.”
Adam filed for divorce in 2001, married Karen in a courthouse wedding on Valentine’s Day in 2002, and moved into Karen’s home.
But four years later — after Karen began to suspect he was cheating on her, and gave him an ultimatum — Adam vanished.
While Karen saw him once after his disappearing act in a KMart parking lot and asked for a divorce, she claims he never called her back about the suggestion.
The desertion rocked her to the core, she told the Post Crescent.
“If it wasn’t for my son who was out there with me, I probably would have ended up homeless,” she said. “I was trying to start a cleaning business, and after he left me, that totally ruined everything.”
After years of searching, Karen finally tracked her husband’s mother down on Facebook — and learned Adam had a new wife, Marcie Marx — and was living about 250km away in Karen’s home state of Wisconsin.
“They said he told people it was his first marriage, and the (clerk) never checked vital statistics,” Karen said. “I think people need to start doing their job and doing it thoroughly, especially when it comes to something like this.”
According to the Post Crescent, police confronted Adam in September, and the man claimed he believed Karen had already processed the divorce.
Adam allegedly also said he claimed the third marriage was actually his first because he wanted to expedite the procedure.
Now, he’s facing charges including fraud, and faces up to six years in prison, and had his first court hearing on 8 October.
While she plans to finally file for divorce, Karen told the Post Crescent she doesn’t plan to date for now,
“I consider myself married,” Karen said.
“I thought when you married someone, you married him for life, through sickness and health.
“Even though he’s married to some other woman, I’m still a married woman, and married women don’t do that.”
Adam Marx, whose Facebook profile lists him as a supervisor at a truck parts manufacturer, did not respond to Post-Crescent Media’s requests for comment.
Bigamy is also an offence in all States and Territories of Australia, although there is a defence for the crime if there has been an absence of seven years.