Bradey Bulk Sigmund, whose fugitive husband is charged in the July 12 pipe bomb explosion in Northwest Washington, yesterday called him a "coward" who has ruined her financially and left her world and that of their two children in chaos.

"He created an illusion I was living in," Sigmund said in a telephone interview, speaking publicly for the first time about Prescott Sigmund, who disappeared three days after the blast that critically injured his half brother. "What I thought was real and true was actually not. I have no money. I have debt."

Sigmund, 33, filed for divorce this week after nearly four months of turmoil that has uprooted her life. First came the blast, which nearly killed Wright Sigmund, 21, as he sat in his father's Chevrolet Blazer in a basement parking garage on Wisconsin Avenue NW. Then came Prescott Sigmund's disappearance from their Potomac home. Finally, she said, came the discovery that her husband not only didn't have the job he said he had, but also was secretly withdrawing money from the family's accounts.

Of the man she married five years ago, whom she once viewed as "a fun guy who rolled with the punches," she now concludes: "He's about as low as a human being can be."

Authorities have said they believe Prescott Sigmund, 35, was targeting his father, Donald W. Sigmund, 65, a prominent insurance executive, in hopes of benefiting financially from his death. As it turned out, his half brother was using the Blazer that day.

Wright Sigmund is "doing fine," according to an uncle, and is undergoing physical rehabilitation for his extensive injuries in Dallas, where he resides with his mother.

Bradey Sigmund said that her husband had told her about six months ago that he stood to inherit $300,000 when his father died. The subject came up, she said, when they talked about financing their sons' college educations. The boys are 1 and 4.

Sigmund said she has not heard from her husband since he vanished and has no idea where he might be. She no longer dismisses the possibility that her husband planted the bomb. "We're not certain my husband was involved," she said. But she later added, "The longer he stayed away, the more likely it was that he was involved."

Two pipe bombs with extra shrapnel and smokeless gunpowder were placed by the driver's seat, according to Jeffrey Roehm, special agent in charge of the Washington field division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The bomb was detonated with a nine-volt battery when Wright Sigmund sat down, Roehm revealed yesterday.

Roehm said authorities believe Prescott Sigmund is living under an assumed name. He has been charged with interstate transportation of an explosive device with the intent to harm someone. The case is scheduled to be featured tonight on FOX television's "America's Most Wanted."

Bradey Sigmund said there was nothing about her husband's behavior immediately after the bombing that hinted of wrongdoing. "He was upset, emotional, perhaps scared, but that's how we all felt," she said.

She said he continued to work out of his home for a New York-based financial services company -- or so she thought. The day he disappeared, she said, she called his boss, who told her that her husband had been fired in November 2001.

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing," she said. "I made him repeat it twice. That was when I knew something was very, very wrong."

She said that suddenly she had "that feeling of suffocation, of drowning, losing a handle on everything you thought was real and true."

That night, she called her parents, who drove from Pennsylvania to assist her and her children. She said she later examined family financial records and discovered that her husband had been taking money from their joint accounts, her 401(k) plan and her children's accounts. In all, she said, he took about $28,000 during a two-year period.

"At that point, I still did not believe he had a connection to the bomb," she said, but rather believed he was hiding in shame "for ruining our finances."

Six days after Bradey Sigmund reported her husband missing, authorities found his black 1990 BMW 325i sedan outside the Vienna-Fairfax Metro station. He left a note in the car denying involvement in the bombing.

She said Prescott Sigmund's relationship with his father "could be fiery at times" but had been "pretty stable" before the bombing.

Bradey Sigmund is teaching French at a middle school and living with her parents in Pennsylvania. Her parents are helping her raise her two boys. "They're letting me live for free," she said. "I have no choice."