Is Agnes Scaefer Based on a Real Person? Where is Agnes Scaefer Now?

The fourth episode of HBO Max’s crime collection ‘The Staircase’ facilities across the prosecution’s makes an attempt to attach Michael Peterson’s good friend Elizabeth Ratliff’s loss of life to that of his spouse, Kathleen. Hardin and Fredda attempt to set up that the 2 ladies’s deaths are eerily related since each have been discovered useless on the backside of the steps with lacerations on their heads.

The two attorneys convey Agnes Schafer, Martha and Margaret’s former nanny, as a witness within the trial to attract parallels between the 2 deaths. Agnes’ testimony creates an impression within the trial because it challenges Michael’s assertion relating to his good friend’s loss of life. Intrigued by Agnes and her testimony, we have now taken a have a look at the probabilities of the character having a real-life origin. Well, listed here are our findings!

Is Agnes Schafer Based on a Real Person?

Yes, Agnes Schafer is primarily based on a actual individual. The character is based totally on Barbara Malagnino, who served as Martha and Margaret’s nanny whereas the 2 of them have been residing with their mom, Elizabeth Ratliff, in Germany. On the morning of November 25, 1985, Barbara arrived on the Ratliff’s home, solely to come across Elizabeth’s useless physique. The prosecution introduced Barbara throughout Michael Peterson’s trial and he or she testified that she had seen Elizabeth’s physique mendacity on “a pool of blood,” with blood seen “all of the stairway.”

Is Agnes Scaefer Based on a Real Person? Where is Agnes Scaefer Now?
Barbara Malagnino//Image Credit: Court TV

Barbara went to the Petersons’ home and knowledgeable Patricia, Michael’s first spouse, about what she had seen. In her testimony, Barbara stated that she returned to Elizabeth’s home with Michael and went to examine in on Martha and Margaret, who have been nonetheless asleep. Upon checking, Michael instructed her that Elizabeth is useless. As per Barbara’s account, Michael instructed him that she nonetheless felt Elizabeth heat, just for him to answer, “the heat comes from the ground heating.”

Barbara additionally testified that Michael tried to cowl Elizabeth’s physique with a sheet and blanket. While Agnes is a fictionalized counterpart of Barbara, the inspiration behind the character will not be restricted to the nanny alone. The character could be additionally impressed by Amybeth Berner, a household good friend of the Ratliffs. The present depicts Agnes testifying within the trial that Michael proclaimed a mind aneurysm as the reason for loss of life.

However, within the precise trial, the identical testimony was given by Amybeth. “Michael stated that she [Elizabeth] had a mind aneurysm. She had this, um, and that she should have fallen down the steps,” Amybeth said within the trial, which is just like Agnes’ phrases within the present. Thus, from what we will inform, Agnes is doubtless a character based totally on Barbara and partially primarily based on Amybeth.

Where is Agnes Schafer Now?

Barbara Malagnino and Amybeth Berner have chosen to maintain their lives non-public, probably because of the widespread consideration they garnered as witnesses in Michael Peterson’s trial. At the time of Michael’s trial, Barbara was staying in Germany. Amybeth, on the opposite hand, had appeared in Investigation Discovery’s ‘True Crime with Aphrodite Jones,’ particularly within the 2010 episode titled ‘Staircase Killer: Michael Peterson.’ In 2017, each the ladies appeared on the ‘Dateline NBC’ episode entitled ‘Down the Back Staircase.’

Is Agnes Scaefer Based on a Real Person? Where is Agnes Scaefer Now?
Amybeth Berner//Image Credit: Court TV

Barbara and Amybeth have been two of the closest acquaintances Elizabeth had whereas residing in Germany. Her sudden and mysterious loss of life had unsettled the 2 of them severely. Even although Michael wasn’t formally charged with Elizabeth’s homicide, Barbara and Amybeth’s testimonies have been essential elements of his trial.

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