The break that led to the arrest Thursday night of a Fairfax County woman in what police said yesterday was the murder-for-hire slaying of her estranged husband came last week when the woman complained that extortionists were threatening her 14-year-old son, county police reported.

The woman, Jamie A. Scarborough, 44, who, along the an Alexandria woman, has been accused of hiring the men who allegedly killed her husband, gas staton owner George H. Scarborough, told police last week extortionists threatened to harm her son unless she dropped off $5,000 at the Springfield Mall.

Police said the money was left at the shopping mall last Friday, and two men who allegedly picked it up

Those men, Daniel M. Coleman, 22, of Castle, Hayne, N.C., and Robert C. Ogden, 43, of Waynesboro, Va., were jailed on extortion charges and over the weekend had what police describe as "extensive conversation" with investigators.

This conversation produced information that led to the arrest of Scarborough and Betty M. Holler, 37, of 416N. Howard St., Alexandria, police said.

The two women, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F, Horan, had engaged the murder-for-hire services of two 21-year-old Clinton, Md., men who allegedly shot Scarborough to death Jan. 31 as he walked in the front door of his town house at 6545 Yadkin Ct., Franconia.

These men, Charles D. Stewart and James T. Clark Jr., are being sought on murder warrants. Clark escaped last July from the Maryland House of Correction where he was serving a three-year sentence for conspiracy to sell drugs and petit larceny, a prison spokesman said.

Scarborough was released yesterday afternoon from the Fairfax Country jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.

In an interview yesterday in the same jail, accused extortionist Ogden said he and Coleman drove north to the Washington area last Friday morning after meeting briefly with the two Clinton men how sought by county police.

Horan said yesterday that Coleman and the two Clinton men are acquaintances.

Police failed to located the fugitives yesterday in a search that led them to Front Royal, a police spokesman said.

Horan said yesterday Scarborough is accused of hiring the two Maryland men to kill her husband through a contact made by Holler. Horan said Scarborough had been separated from her husband for nearly three years and had "frequent disputes" with him.

George Scarborough, who owned Scarborough's Texaco on Backlick Road in Springfield, was shot several times with a small-caliber pistol at 9:45 p.m., Jan. 31. His body was found, according to police, in the front hall-way of the town house by his girlfriend, who had spent much of the day with him and who lives nearby.

Horan said the murder case is "much more complicated" than evidence released so far indicates. He refused to go into greater detail. A preliminary hearing for Scarborough and Holler is scheduled for July 11.

A neighbor who lives across the street from Mrs. Scarborough's $102,000 house at 6716 Bulkley Rd. and who describes herself as the accused woman's closest friend in the neighborhood," said yesterday Scarborough was "terrified" last week by phone callers threatening to harm her son.

The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said that Scarborough slept at her house several nights last week because she was afraid of intruders. The neighbor said Scarborough's son stayed last week with friends in Herndon.

Neighbors described Scarborough as a "meticulous housekeeper" who "never did anything out of line." They said the relationship between Scarborough and her estranged husband seemed freindly.

The neighbor said she often had heard Scarborough express her wish that her husband would return home.