How Twin Sister Playboy Playmates Got Mixed Up In Murder

Sandy and Mandy Bentley were living the highlife as Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends, but their world came crashing down.

Sandy [left] and Mandy [right] Bentley were living the highlife as Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends, but their world came crashing down.

What started as a three-way relationship between twin sisters and Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner would later end in betrayal followed by the murders of two best friends.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Playboy Murders")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "The Playboy Murders")

By: Aaron Rasmussen

What started as a three-way relationship between twin sisters and Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner would later end in betrayal followed by the murders of two best friends.

Hefner was newly single in 1998 when he met 22-year-old siblings Sandy and Mandy Bentley at a Los Angeles nightclub. He was immediately smitten. The three began to spend more and more time together until eventually the sisters moved into Hef’s mansion.

“It was definitely a strange gimmick to be dating two twin sisters at the same time,” recalls former Playboy model Holly Madison, who also used to date Hefner. “I don’t know how seriously people took that, but it was definitely controversial. It was definitely something that got a lot of attention.”

The Bentley twins were living the highlife, and they became famous after making their debut together in the May 2000 issue of Playboy. But behind the mansion’s closed doors, the pair were required to follow Hefner’s strict rules, including his demand they not date anybody else. “There was definitely a streak of possessiveness,” Madison recalls. “You’re being watched all the time, whether you realize it or not.”

According to Madison, one of the worst things one of Hefner’s girlfriends could ever do was to be seen with another man. Despite Hef’s aversion to competition, in 1999, Sandy met wealthy highroller Mark Yagalla in Las Vegas. The two secretly began dating, and their relationship “took off like a house on fire,” according to Yagalla’s lawyer, Brian Bieber.

Yagalla spoiled Sandy, lavishing more money and gifts on her than Hefner ever did. “The understanding was it had to be kept quiet,” Bieber says.

According to the attorney, his client didn’t care about Hefner and became completely “focused on and obsessed with” Sandy Bentley.

Sandy and Yagalla’s secret relationship blossomed until one day the pair were caught by one of Hefner’s friends while out in Las Vegas. “Hef, when he found out, was very not only hurt, but pissed off, angry,” says Stacy Burke, another of the publisher’s former girlfriends.

As a result, in the fall of 2000, Sandy and her sister Mandy ended their relationship with Hefner and moved out of the Playboy mansion.

Sandy continued to date Yagalla. He, in turn, lavished her with gifts, including pricey jewels. “But Mark’s business became your classic Ponzi scheme,” Bieber says of his client. “The bulk of it was going to fund his lifestyle.”

Yagalla eventually was arrested, convicted of securities fraud, and sentenced to serve five years in prison. He was also ordered to repay his investors $30 million. The feds then came after Sandy, who was unaware the estimated $7 million Yagalla spent on her was stolen, and demanded she give up her prized gifts.

Sandy claimed to investigators that some of her most expensive jewelry had been stolen before Yagalla’s arrest. Without proof to the contrary, the case went cold.

After her disgraced investment whiz boyfriend’s arrest, Sandy immediately dropped him and moved on to Michael Tardio, a Los Angeles part-time model and doorman. The pair appeared to enjoy a genuine, non-transactional relationship, according to some who knew the couple.

Their story, however, would end in tragedy. On Sept. 2, 2002, around one year after Yagalla’s arrest, a vehicle was found in flames in North Hollywood. “There were two bodies in the passenger seat of this Mercedes SUV,” recalls Bill Cox, a former detective with the LAPD.

@investigationdiscovery The Bentley twins, Sandy and Mandy, were known for their beauty and style while living in the mansion with Hugh Hefner. After the relationship ended with them, Holly recalls moving into the house and Hefner being more cautious and careful with his girlfriends moving forward. Join us for the premiere of #ThePlayboyMurders ♬ original sound - ID

Both victims, later identified as Sandy’s new boyfriend, Tardio, and his best friend, Chris Monson, had been shot in the back of the head. Sandy told investigators she had last seen the pair the evening before they were found dead. According to Sandy, Tardio gave her a phone number and told her that if something ever happened to him to call a man named Michael Jacobs. “That was all she knew,” Cox says. “She didn’t know why they ended up dead.”

Weeks after the grisly murders, on Sept. 27, 2002, police obtained this Jacobs’ cell phone records, which indicated he had been in contact with Tardio the night of the killings. During questioning, Jacobs admitted he knew the victims, but he claimed he was with his girlfriend in Woodland Hills when the burning SUV was found.

One of Tardio’s coworkers helped break the case wide open. According to the colleague, in early 2001, Tardio and his friend Monson drove to Las Vegas and picked up jewelry and furs worth around half a million dollars from Sandy’s house.

“At this point in the investigation it became very clear that Sandra Bentley was not being forthright and honest with us,” says Tim Shaw, a retired detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Still, Sandy continued to deny she knew anything about the jewelry or why Monson and Tardio were killed.

The LAPD executed a search warrant on Sandy’s L.A. home, and she quickly began cooperating with investigators. Police say Sandy admitted Tardio took the jewelry from her Vegas house in the wake of Yagalla’s legal troubles. Sandy said she phoned Tardio and told him she was about to lose everything, so he and Monson hatched a plan to steal the jewels and furs before Sandy was forced to hand them over to the feds, according to police.

Back in Los Angeles, Tardio was unable to sell the bounty. As time passed, he continued to look for potential buyers and became acquainted with Jacobs, who claimed to Tardio he had a buyer for the jewels. Tardio enlisted his friend Monson’s help and the two arranged to meet with the mystery man — who Jacobs later told police he knew only as “Mr. Big” — the night of the murders.

Jacobs never revealed the mystery buyer’s true identity, and it remains a mystery to this day. The jewelry has never been found.

Now, police are left with only theories about who killed Tardio and Monson. “The thing with Michael and Chris, they had no street smarts,” says Cox, the former LAPD detective, “and when you get yourself involved in that you’re going to get hurt.”

Sandy reportedly went on to start a family, and she and her sister have largely remained out of the spotlight. The investigation into Michael Tardio and Chris Monson’s cold case murder was recently reopened.

Anyone with information about the crimes is urged to contact Los Angeles County Crimestoppers at (800) 222-8477.

For more on this case, stream The Playboy Murders: “Double Trouble” on Max.

More From 'The Playboy Murders'

Florida Authorities Reopen Unsolved Cold Case Killing Of Playboy Playmate Star Stowe

“Nobody deserves to be murdered, and especially someone that is trying to get back on the right track,” her friend says.

Former Playboy Bunny Hired Hit Man To Kill Her Gunslinging Wild West Performer Husband

Carole Gold and her son were thrown in jail for the murder of Charles “Black Bart” Gold.

Next Up

Maryland Fugitive Goes On The Run After Allegedly Killing Girlfriend And Shooting Friend

William Strand is wanted for murder and attempted murder out of Maryland and has ties to the West Coast, specifically Washington state. If you have any information on where Strand could be hiding, please call or text the IN PURSUIT hotline: 833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

Police Crack Case Of Ohio Mother Fatally Shot While Leaving Home For Her FedEx Job

“I thought monsters weren’t real, but you proved me wrong,” the victim’s young daughter told the killer in court.

Father Is Desperate To Find Daughter’s Alleged Killer, Arturo Munguia AKA Jesse Vega

More than 20 years have passed since Arturo Munguia AKA Jesse Vega went on the run. He stood 5 feet 5 and weighed 140 pounds at the time he fled. Munguia had strong ties to the Chicago area but could also be in Mexico, authorities said. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please submit your tips to InPursuitTips.com or text 1-833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

A Series Of Lucky Tips Helped Authorities Find A Murderer

Police rushed to find the killer after they found a man shot to death on a Milwaukee, Wisconsin street in May 2019.

Texas Authorities Believe Man Who Killed High School Cheerleader Was Planning Serial Murders

Tristan Dilley, 15, helped rescue her suspected killer during Hurricane Harvey after seeing his post for help on Facebook.

Neighbor Shooting Thermal Scope Video Helps Solve Murder Of Texas Choir Director

Kathy Blair was found dead in her bed days before an elderly couple was killed in eerily similar circumstances.

Fugitive Glen Holmes Jumps Bail, On The Run After Taco Cabana Murder

Authorities said Glen Holmes may be dressing as a woman. He stands 5 feet 4 inches tall. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please submit your tips to InPursuitTips.com or text 1-833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).

A Tennessee Woman Survived A Vicious Attack After Her Ex-Husband Killed Her Best Friend

Penny Waldroup was dropping her children off to visit with their father when her ex-husband greeted her with a shotgun.

Fugitive Captured In Mexico After Deadly Shooting

In August 2022, U.S. Marshals tracked Jonathan Dorado to Tijuana, Mexico where he was arrested and extradited back to the United States. Dorado is behind bars at the Merced County Jail in California where he faces murder and attempted murder charges.

An Arkansas Drug Kingpin Was Gunned Down Just Days Before He Was Set to Testify

When light was shined on the seedy underbelly of Pocahontas, Arkansas, the town’s law-abiding citizens were shocked at the secrets that were revealed.