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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  May 8, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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perfect as it looked. >> it was painful to remain there. so, it starting fresh. it is like sanctuary. that is off this edition of dateline. i'm natalie morales. thanks for watching. m natalie morales. thanks >> i'm craig melvin, and i'm natalie morales. and this is dateline. >> there was no way you could look at this, and say this is a person who ran away. the mystery had this sort of sinister side to it. oh my god, oh my god. this is really happening it's happening right now. >> in the dark waters of miami. miles out to see a federal agent hunting for drug smugglers spots a specific just boat. >> i noticed the passenger
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rolled a large double bag off the side of the boat. >> drugs, the agent never found any. and no one could find a missing young mother either. was there a connection? >> i was afraid for her. >> lynn was just months away from her wedding when she vanished. leaving behind a younger sum and a mystery. >> any sign that someone had broken in and abducted her? . >> no. >> the search continued online and at sea, no bag, nobody, no case? >> i didn't have anything that would show she was actually dead. >> decades go by, and the mystery is almost forgotten. but not by everyone. >> they knew he was the bad guy they just couldn't put him in jail. >> all they needed was a miracle, or a witness. >> it wasn't april fools, it was a body. >> hello and welcome to
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dateline. a devoted mother with wedding plans seemingly vanished into thin air. florida police suspected foul play. but with nobody, no witnesses, no crime scene, this investigation went cold. then a new prosecutor was determined to find out. was this the story of a runaway bride or a woman who ran into trouble? here is dennis murphy with what lies beneath. >> you don't need a moon over miami to it to be beautiful by night. the skyline reflected in -- but it's not for everyone. >> i am so so worried about you. >> some people are scared by the dark waters. afraid of the creatures that looked down below. afraid of the creatures above. who scuttle through the night on secret aaron's. >> i have no idea where you are. >> you just may share those fears after you hear the story
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of a woman named lynn. >> none of this makes sense to anyone who knows lynn. >> local news told a story of this good name. >> she really was that all american girl. blue eyes, beautiful smile from california. >> a good mom. >> she adored her son, they were inseparable. >> little did anyone suspect, for the next 20 years, the story of lynne would haunt a young boy's life. and a secret would remain locked away for decades, that would explain everything. what happened to lynn, to put her in the crosshairs of miami tv news. was that she was missing. it just flat out gone. no one could imagine lynn, a responsible hospital administrative aide. just snapping and walking out on her life. least of all, on her five year old son kristen. >> one thing is certain, lynn is -- >> jennifer, a miami reporter
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that covered the disappearance. >> for her to disappear, without leaving word for her son was just something that everyone knew would never happen. >> esther sanchez met lin when she came to work at parkway hospital in fort lauderdale. at the time, lynn was still living with her fiancée. a business owner named clifford. when the two married in 1989, esther was the maid of honor. >> she wanted whatever girl dreams, of getting married, having a beautiful wedding, and looking forward to having children. the goal of a white picket fence. >> when baby christian came along, lynn, the proud mom made her boy one of the most photographed children in south florida. over the moon with being a mom, less so at being mrs. clifford. >> i thought they were a poor match. >> within a year of christians birth, the marriage was floundering. lynn and her husband parted ways and later divorced. >> she was upset that her
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dreams had fallen apart. but she was very happy with the fact she was a mom. >> so disappointment about it, but maybe christian was not part of it? >> he was her number one priority in life. she lived for him. >> consumed with being a mom, and man out of the picture for the foreseeable future. but then along came ahead. he was a consultant from nashville, working on a construction project at her hospital. >> he set eyes on her right away. he was a southern gentleman, and he would walk in. and he would say high, and that he would leave. and that went on i think for a year. and then one day she said i think i'm going to go out on a date with ed. >> and that one date turned into a world win romance. within months, lynn and ed got engaged, and mapped out a future together in nashville. he was very fond of the boy, and looked forward to them all being a family together. lynn had been awarded custody
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of the child, although she ensured that christians father clifford had generous visitation rights. >> she had agreed to everything that clifford wanted. she tried to play, nice she said if this is what you want we will do that. >> in august, 1994, the clock was counting down to moving day. lynn was home packing when ed called from nashville at about 8:00 on the sunday night. she told him she would be running out for a few minutes, but would call him back, as soon as she returned home. two hours went by, and no limb phone call. the fiancée left a message on her answering machine. >> hello it's me, it's about 9:15, and i'm a little worried about you. and hope everything is okay. >> close friend esther lived in the same condo complexes lynn. and esther noticed her friends car was gone late at night she became concerned. esther started calling to. >> i'm very -- really worried. you didn't tell me you are going anywhere. >> unanswered messages piled up
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throughout the night. >> hello, hello. it's 10:30, and i had hoped i would hear from you by now. >> i am so so worried about you. i have no idea where you are. call me. by. >> the next day, a neighbor spotted linda's car abandoned about a half mile from her home. a front tire was flat. soon the cops arrived and esther let them in linda's condo. >> wet i noticed that was very odd. she is very meticulous and very neat. and she is very frugal. the television was on, the lights were on, the air conditioner was on. >> lynn appeared to have closed the door of her town house north of miami on a sunday night. and vanished into the thick night air. so this has become very ominous for you? >> so now it's very very scary. >> what's in the world had happened to nice lynn? law enforcement officers from all over south florida we're looking for any trace of her. coming up empty. >> a wedding, a move, a new
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job. lynn was facing enormous changes and stress in the days ahead. is it possible she just took off? and if she was a runaway bride, had she run into trouble? coming up -- >> did you think maybe she got cold feet? and taking a timeout somewhere? >> without her son, never. >> when what lies beneath continues. at lies beneat continues. g) ♪ breeze driftin' on by ♪ ♪ you know how i feel ♪ copd may have gotten you here, but you decide what's next. start a new day with trelegy. ♪ ...feelin' good ♪ no once-daily copd medicine has the power to treat copd in as many ways as trelegy. with three medicines in one inhaler, trelegy helps people breathe easier and improves lung function. it also helps prevent future flare-ups. trelegy won't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems.
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few in the disappearance of lynn. the missing mother of a five year old boy seemed to have gotten in her car on a rainy sunday night and never come home. lynn's friends and fiancée fred pleaded for help. >> all i want is lynn back, i want to marry her and take her away and live happily ever after. >> they handed out flyers and search the residential area where her car was found abandoned. >> honestly, i was very afraid. >> a town house she left with a tv still on. ed an investigator assigned by the florida department of law enforcement, was frankly perplexed what he didn't find at her condo. >> there was no sign of any struggle at lynn's house. her house was exactly as you would expect it. she was two days away from moving. she had boxes ceiling to floor. >> any sign that someone had broken in and abducted her? >> no. >> cops also came up empty when
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they searched her abandoned car with a flat tire. inside they found a waste pouch with her drivers license. >> there was no evidence, no fingerprints, no foreign dna evidence. >> forensically are not coming up with this all kind of glue? >> no we are not. >> that says this explains everything? >> no. >> so what did happen to the 35 year old single mother. with all due to fuel forensic clues to examine. the investigators became -- learning just who this missing woman was. when did they peeled back the layers of her life. what they saw right away were big stressful changes on her horizon. a new marriage, and a new city, a new life altogether. had it all become too much? her best friend esther sanchez. did you think maybe she got cold feet moving? was taking a timeout somewhere? >> without her son, never. lynn would have to be dead, to not have christian.
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>> and what about her son christian? could he help fill in any pieces of the puzzle? sensitive thing, the child here, is five years old. but maybe he has a story to tell? >> no, i don't know how much a five year old child could provide at that time. >> in truth, precious little. the night linda disappeared, christian had been with his father for the weekend. like lynn her ex, clifford. had also met someone since his divorced two years before. he was engaged to a woman named janet. she lived in texas, and learned of linda's disappearance a long distance. >> clifford had called me and said he had received a phone call. stating that ellen had disappeared. they found her car and they didn't know where she was. >> this is a very traumatic thing that has gone on. he has lost his mother. whether you shielded him from it? >> the news we shielded christian. as much as possible. >> going to take this area --
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>> meanwhile the massive investigation into linda's disappearance had one goal. to find her or at least her body if she was in fact dead. >> are you prepared to deal with the worst? >> no no. i cannot think that. i will not think that. lynn is the woman that i am going to marry. she is my life. >> i think he really wanted to hold it together and to be dignified. >> jennifer was a reporter for miami's nbc station. >> i think that as the world would come out of his mouth he would realize what he was actually saying was that the love of his life was dead. >> i have to believe for christians sake that she is still alive. because he is just a five year old child. and he needs his mother, and he loves his mother so much. >> ed it was driven, he would not give up trying to find the love of his life. he called on everyone, even the president to ask for help. >> he started a campaign,
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writing to president clinton. and lo and behold. we get a call from the fbi. that said they would know like to join the investigation. but even with the top law enforcement agency in the country in on the search for lynn. there was still no break in the case. but then out of the blue, the deep dark blue, a chance encounter produced a lead from a most unlikely place in the case of a missing woman. >> coming up. the federal agent on the lookout for a drug runners runs into something strange. >> i tell one of my crew members, light them up. as soon as the lights up the boat, the chase is on. >> when what lies beneath continues. ies beneat continues. aiming to protect millions of acres of land. so we can all live better. (customer) [reading] save yourself?! money with farmers?
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beach are where the vigilant agents of the u.s. customs and border protection service go to work every night. and here at the -- pursuing cocaine cowboys and their go fast boats was the reality back in the 1990s. custom agent tim remembers it well. >> the 1994 drug smuggling was very prevalent. >> on that long ago sunday night, lynn disappeared. agent tim and his crew left their dock on the miami river at dusk. they knew nothing of the missing woman case.
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their focus was on intercepting drugs and smugglers. they headed outside into the dark open ocean waters that lead to the bahamas. a hotbed of smuggling. about three miles out. they idled and doused their running lights. >> it was a beautiful night, the odd ocean was calm. and we were listening to any boats that might be in our area. so i hear this boat coming out, and through night vision goggles i can see there were two people on board. the two people on board were in dark clothing, goggles. bandanas around their heads. >> it was around 11:00, the agent and his crew running dark. they tailed the boat surreptitiously. quickly the element of surprise was lost. >> i watch the passenger turnaround, and he spots i think. i tell one of my crew members, light him up with a spotlight. as soon as he lights up the boat, i notice the passenger rolled a large duffel bag off the side of the boat. the chase is on.
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we think we have a narcotics case, a smuggling case that went bad. and at some point they just stopped their vote, and both of them put their hands straight up in the air. >> the two were zipped up during the questioning that followed. agents returned to the spot where the bag was dumped, but it had already sunk. and with no drugs found on the boat, agents released the two. but their boat was seized for a follow-up investigation. just another night in the office in the war on drugs. or so agent him thought. >> so a week goes by, and sitting on the couch reading the newspaper. on one of the back pages is a story about a missing woman. her name is lynn. that's an unusual last name, so of course it registered with me. that i just stopped a boat, a week prior, with a guy with the same last name. >> it was clifford, lynn's ex-husband. with him was a miami beach man named allen. who turned out to be the co-owner of the boat. >> the bottom of the article,
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was the detectives name and a phone number. so i called the number. at first he didn't believe me. he thought it was a prank call. >> hardly, light bulbs clicked, missing pieces fell into place. a missing ex-wife, a former husband busted dumping something off shore on the very night. leslie is an agent with the florida department of law enforcement. that's a fortuitous matchup in this case? >> the customs officers in this case did such an amazing job. >> is there anything you want to say? >> now ten days after linda's disappearance, investigators the media laser focus on clifford. and then there was this investigative nugget. ed reported to the cops that the night linda disappeared, she told him that she was going to clifford's house to pick up the child support payment. the detectives got a search warrant for clifford's place. they seized some items and his car. but found no evidence of foul play anywhere. >> i never gave thought that he
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had anything to do with lindsey disappearance. >> but investigators weren't so sure. so they turned their attentions to the area where customs stopped clifford's boat. with waters 1000 feet deep, the agent asked the u.s. navy for help. but there was a little problem. >> the u.s. navy is precluded from providing assistance to law enforcement. without reimbursement. so they were willing to provide us three days of searching. for $48,000. >> and you were going to get a bill at the end of it? >> we had to pay upfront actually. >> two months later, the fee covered, the u.s. navy was ready to join in the search. it's ship was fitted out with sonar that could image of the ocean floor. >> but no gym bag? >> no, no bag, nobody. the experts told us that it was beyond a needle and a haystack. >> the navy said it had to pull the plug when the money ran out. but linda's fiancée ed stepped
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in. >> and ed wrote a check to the navy for another $13,000. to extend the search one more day. >> the extra day bought one promising citing. >> we saw what we thought was a black bag on the ocean floor. >> grappling hooks were sent down. searchers on a deck held their breath, but it wasn't what they were looking for. >> plastic garbage bag. >> what was in the garbage bag? >> it turned out to be beer cans, garbage. >> the navy search had fizzled out. detectives were back at square one. and they had already ruled out one of the people closest to. len >> went about ed, do you have to suspect the fiancée? >> not at all. he was in tennessee at the time. all of this occurred. we have the phone records. >> so after months, detectives were no closer to solving the case. they had no dna, no forensics, no blood spatter. nothing to help. and despite their suspicions about clifford, law enforcement
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couldn't say definitively what happened to his ex-wife. >> we didn't have the body, and we didn't have any eyewitnesses. >> back in 1994. catherine had been in the miami-dade state attorney for two years. when this case came into her office. she was determined lindsey will not end up in some cold case file. >> this was not the easiest case as you might imagine. >> couldn't even say definitively if she was dead? she may have taken the train to georgia, no one knew. >> that's correct, we didn't really know that she was missing. we believed it. we had a little boy we wasn't sure what he was gonna say we didn't have access to him. so really what you had was very little. and so you had to really build it. you had to stay tenacious. >> tenacious indeed. because clifford actually had an alibi. one he wasn't proud of perhaps but it explained what he was doing that night and why there were two men and a vote. >> coming up, an undercover
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sting that didn't quite go as planned. >> he said oh, i took the recording device and i put it in the diaper. >> when what lies beneath continues. beneat continues. my money back... i love it! i thought online meant no one to help me, but susan from carvana had all the answers. she didn't try to upsell me. not once, because they're not salespeople! what are you...? guess who just checked in on me? mom... susan from carvana! [laughs] we'll drive you happy at carvana. ♪ ♪ fight fleas and ticks with seresto. eight months continuous protection against fleas and ticks. it's effective and vet recommended. seresto. learn more at ♪ ♪
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hospitalized. according to authorities, there were no signs of trauma found in any of the victims. an investigation is underway. on mother's day, first lady doctor jill biden met with elena zelenskyy, ukraine's first lady, in a show of solidarity. after the private meeting, the pair visited a school housing ukrainians who have fled the west. now back to dateline. west now back to dateline >> months passed, and with no success in finding lynn's body. police appeal to the public for
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help. they put together a crime stoppers reenactment video that aired on local tv. showing two men dog thing a bag in the ocean. then trying to evade customs agents. a reward was offered, but the tip line stayed mostly silent. neither clifford nor allen would tell police directly what they were doing on the boat that night. but customs agent tim thought he knew when he ran a background check and found clifford's priors. >> through the investigative findings, we learned that clifford did have a criminal history and that criminal history was in drugs smuggling. >> if all while the other man the other man with with allen had no history of drug arrests. allen gold had no history with drug abuse, it was unknown smuggler jumping drugs into the ocean that. night he said clifford was committing a crime that night. but it wasn't murder. >> they were running drug deals together. attorney peter ellison says that is why it was in the bag
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he. dumped drugs >> he did. it was that he knew it. >> he also on the money in the punch out. >> according to his wife, clifford's drug career ended when linda's appeared. we wanted to turn his life around. he had a little boy to take care of. he would take care of christian with his new bride. >> a year after, clifford and janet married. >> the investigators never really now. you're putting together your new life with this man. and you continue with all that stuff. >> after the first couple of years, the first two years, it really disappeared. >> as the case receded from the public eye, clifford and janet focused on raising young christian. >> does he remember his mother? >> i never wanted him to forget who his mother was. so, i always made sure he had pictures of his mother in his room and he was allowed to ask any question that he ever
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wanted. >> you become the only mom he remembers in his life. your mom. >> i am on. >> he calls me mom. >> he understands. i'm not his biological mother. >> we'll kind of dad was close? to christian? >> he was a great dad. they went and played ball together. they went fishing together. they went on travels together. cliff is a phenomenal father. >> meanwhile, up in tennessee, lends one-time fiancée, at odell, had moved on with his life, to. married now, with children. the dwindling friends of lynn thought they would never see a resolution to the case of the missing woman. but there was one woman -- person in particular that didn't like to see the dusty jacket of unsolved cases in his file. in 2010, one of miami's most experienced prosecutors took over the case, along with his assistant state attorney.
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>> what did you think the biggest problem of the case was? >> i had nobody. i had no witnesses. and i didn't have anything to show that she was actually dead. >> well, i think that especially now, juries have high expectations. >> the csi speech that so many prosecutors given jury selection. >> they expect physical evidence. they want to see a body. >> the two reexamined the 16 year old file and took a fresh look at a lead from back then that had never panned out. an acquaintance of clifford's, someone named robert messier, told police about a disturbing conversation he had with the ex-husband not long after lynn went missing. he said it happened over breakfast at this ihop. >> clifford told them, this is never living the state with my child. she's going for a boat ride and she's never coming back. >> this is dynamite for an investigator. >> it was great. we managed to convince missy that he should become our ally. >> in other words, a snitch. messier, a convicted felon on
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probation at the time, agreed to wear a wire. matt clifford again a few weeks later. there was something that was worrying them about their earlier breakfast meeting. >> my biggest concern is the conversation that we had it i have. i just want to make sure it into 20. >> oh, no. >> because i don't know. but >> i had no conversations. ever. >> that, to us, give us confirmation that there had been an actual conversation at the ihop. and that there was a discussion about the disposing of land. >> missy a turned out to be a hapless, technologically challenged informant. at another main meeting, messi wanted to make sure that he didn't find the concealed wire he used his own baby's cover. >> we asked him, what was wrong with the baby? we couldn't hear the baby was screaming. he said, oh. i checked the recording device and i dropped the diaper. >> the reason she was screaming is that those things get kind of hot. we were just all appalled that
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he had done that. >> investigators did believe the initial ihop story. after messi was caught out in a lie over something else, he was quietly retired from the investigation. now 18 years after flynn went missing, prosecutor decided to tell mrs. ihop story to the grand jury, absent of missy himself. >> we use that as part of the basis for the indictment. >> marginal evidence, maybe. nonetheless, a good prosecutorial strategy. the grand jury indicted him. >> are you clifford friend? >> yes, ma'am. >> in 2012, prosecutors charged clifford friend with first degree murder. his attorney was flabbergasted when prosecutors would dare to build a circumstantial case with no body mind you, with this testimony of a very shaky informant. >> our investigators had done a tremendous amount of work. we had boxes of files of dirt on robert messy. but >> the defense didn't know is that prosecutors are putting
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up a strong -- messy wouldn't be their strong main witness at all. >> we were gonna use him. our whole intent was to use him, have the defense running around looking for him and everything they could find on him. >> and while the defenses could do just that, spinning its wheels, prosecutors were quietly working on reeling in another prize. another, better witness. one clifford friend could only hope he would never see again. >> coming up, the only other person on the boat that night breaks a promise. 20 years of silence. >> he said, we have to dump the bag. >> when what lies beneath continues. at continues. dad, it's a buick. i love that new alexa smell. it's a buick. we need snacks for the team. alexa, take us to the nearest grocery store. getting directions. alexa will get us there in no time. it's a buick. let's be real. don't make me turn this alexa around.
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and forms an antibacterial shield. try parodontax active gum health mouthwash. >> 20 years after linda's disappearance. clifford, looking more banker than killer was on trial for his ex wife's murder. the motive prosecutors say was sitting directly behind him. the son christian, now 25. clifford the prosecutor's theorized killed limit to stop her from taking the boy to out of state where she was to remarry. for the last 20 years. kristen had always been in that place. right behind his father never questioning his innocence. in court, it showed the jury his continuing support of his father. even as he was about to hear until now untold family stories.
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among the first witnesses was ed. linda one-time fiancée. he described his last call with a limb. her call waiting beeped as she put him on hold. she said it was her ex husband clifford on the other line. asking her to come over to his house and pick up some money he owed. >> so when you hung up with her, that was the last time you ever spoke to her? >> that is correct. >> what did you do when you didn't hear from her? >> i tried to call her, and did not get through. and -- >> did you call her? would you like us to take a break? >> no i would like to finish. >> all right sir. >> to prove clifford killed lynn to stop her from taking their son away. prosecutors called her divorce attorney. he testified that one week
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before her disappearance, clifford went ballistic in a family law court. when a judge approved the boy's move to nashville. >> he was angrily yelling at his lawyer, that nobody, nobody would take christian away from him. >> but if these outbursts were at best purely circumstantial evidence. the prosecution would need a lot more than that. remember, lynn spotty had never been found. however, the night his ex disappeared, clifford and his pal allen were spotted in a speedboat dumping a bag overboard. the state believed lives remains were in that bag. but allen had kept his mouth shut all these years. >> the key was finding a way to first island to cooperate. >> prosecutor michael named the other man in about an offer he couldn't refuse. he was subpoenaed to testify and given a grant of immunity. if he didn't testify the hammer would come down hard. >> then i'll let you sit in jail until the trial is over.
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>> at age 68, he didn't like the prospect of years in jail, he chose the door marked operation. allen limped into court with a certain bravado. he passed by his former friend clifford, moments away from telling his version of that fateful night 20 years before. he testified when he went to clifford's house, the son christian, who was supposed to be spending the weekend with his father was not there. it turned out clifford had dropped the boy off at a babysitters. and then allen said he right away noticed a large canvas bag on the floor. >> and when he pointed to the five, or told you about the bike. who did he tell you was in the bag? >> ellen. >> he says clifford told him he and lynn had argued, and then things got out of control. >> next thing he knew it was over. he had lost it, he knocked her down. and choked her out. >> what did you take that to mean?
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>> it means that she was in the bag, she wasn't coming back. and that was the end of lynn. >> clifford said he would need the 30-foot vote they owned together. it was dark behind islands condo on miami beach. >> wanted to use the boat to take her out. pretty deep water, and dump her. >> and when he told you that, did you immediately turn and run out the door? >> no. >> allen said go figure. he decided to help his buddy out of a jam because of his son. >> i basically didn't want to see the kid fatherless and i figured it was the lesser of the evil. i figured it was just a tragic accident that happened. and why make it worse? >> first allen said they got rid of linda's car, back at the house the two picked up the bag with her body. >> did you as you tried to lift this bag say anything to clifford about why did it way so much?
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>> i did. >> and what did he tell you? >> it's waited. >> once on the boat allen says clifford wait it down even more. >> you disengage the anchor from the anchor line, and stuff that in as well? >> customs agents who stopped them confirmed the boat anchor was missing. they also found cement blocks and rope. allen recalled the moment out at sea when he gave clifford a heads up that customs was following them. >> he said we have to dump the bag. he jumped in the back. grab a hold of the side of the bag and we went over the side. >> after a short chase with armed federal agents, they said they had no choice but to surrender. >> i peed my pants but other than that he basically wanted to know what went overboard. i told them that a tile blew over. >> basically you lied? >> oh yeah, i don't really want to tell anyone i just got done thumping a body in the atlantic.
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>> he was asked why now? 20 years later. did he finally stop covering for his pal. >> you had basically told me if i refused to answer that you would put me in jail. >> certainly you're not here out of the goodness of your heart? >> no. >> were there any other considerations that kept you from coming forward? >> i made a commitment to the guy 20 years ago i didn't see any reason to break it. >> you broke it? >> only because you put me any box and i don't have a choice. >> a compelling witness for sure, but was he credible? >> he's a character, he is despicable, but he is believable. >> prosecutors had one more witness, a jailhouse snitch. the judge ordered us not to show his face. he testified that one night in jail he and clifford were watching one of the spanish tv soap opera. ironically the plot was a body drug dealer who killed his wife
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by throwing her off a boat. >> do you remember an english what he said to you? >> wow, remind me of what i did. it's like a déjà vu. >> more damning testimony, or was it? >> you are absolutely certain you and mr. friend were watching that show? >> the defense had done its homework, and was ready to pounce. >> coming up, a son defends the man accused of killing his mother. >> i know that he loves me too much to hurt me by taking my mother from me. >> when what lies beneath continuous. what lies beneat continuous
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i'm natalie morales. 20 years after lynn friend went missing, her husband stood trial in her murder. with no physical evidence, the prosecution managed to present two strong witnesses. next, it was the defenses turn. and they were about to throw everything the jury heard into question. here, with the final chapter of what lies beneath, is dennis murphy. >> the defense was behind on points after allen gold spun a hypnotic story about helping his friend, clifford friend, dumping his wife's body in the atlantic ocean. one person wasn't convinced. christian friend, the boy who lost his mother the age of five. listen to two weeks of damning evidence that his father killed
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her. >> every night he came home feeling more and more confident that his father was innocent. >> was innocent. not getting shaky about it? >> oh, he wasn't shaky at all. >> did you have any moment where you wavered, janet? >> never. >> while his son and wife believed in him, how would the defense get the jury to believe its case? an excellent place to start was the jailhouse snitch. he told that damaging story about him and clifford watching the spanish tv soap opera, i'll had capital, about a wife murdering drug dealer. clifford allegedly flooded out, i did that. >> you can't make this up. yes, you can't. in fact, it turns out he did. >> during cross examination, attorney peter heller caught this engine ally that sent the whole trial really. private investigators working for the defense uncovered evidence the state didn't know about. it turned out, clifford never did watch that spanish language tv program with the snitch. >> the problem with his story
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was immediately went and pulled her phone records. cliff and i were on the telephone when this episode was aired. this niches story unravels. to the prosecutions great humiliation and a unhappiness. after that, whoops, the judge rips the state. >> seriously, you -- >> you want an answer? i made a mistake. at one point, i turn to marie and said, sometimes when it is too good to be true. it probably is. >> the judge called him puzzled jurors and told them to just regard the -- >> and here is the big point of the judges newly -- jurors, if the state would put on a big fat liar like the snitch, what did that say about allen goals, the star witness? prosecutors were concerned. >> that was their whole key.
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to say if they put one liar, they put on another. the defense would put some -- gold was a liar, also. and the reason that he decided to tell prosecutors what they wanted to hear. was that he was afraid of being charged with murder, to. >> i didn't whack the broad. so, i don't kill her. >> you didn't whack the broad? is that what she is? >> i watch the sopranos a lot. >> it didn't take much prodding to show the court just how little respect gold had for the entire proceeding. >> do you think this is comical? >> absolutely. >> why is that, sir? >> it took 20 years to get here. >> so that's why it's funny? >> a sense of humor is different than mine. >> the judge eliminated the defense from offering a strike smuggling alibis, suggesting it was drugs, not one's body, in the bag clipper dumped. still, the defense was able to shoehorn the thought that they were on a drug run that night.
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>> sir, [inaudible] to go run some drugs. is that true? >> with nobody ever found, no dna and no physical evidence and clifford friends house to prove when was murdered their, gold couldn't with absolute certainty say that one's body was in that bag. >> could you tell that there is a body in there? yes or no? >> it wasn't april fools. there was a body. >> but you didn't look in there to confirm. >> no. now. >> with the state and the defense no resting their cases, closing arguments boil down to one thing. would jurors believe allen gold? >> allen gould was a vote as unrepentant the center as you're ever going to see. the state put him on because he knew things but they wouldn't. >> you can't believe what he said, he fabricated it.
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to save his own but. >> the 20 year old murder case was in the hands of the jury. jurors deliberated late in the evening. around 9:30, they announced a verdict. >> christian and i were together. holding hands. i had told him that no matter what happened, we would hold our heads high. >> we the jury find the defendant, clifford brett friend, guilty of second degree murder. >> second degree murder. the jury, apparently, believed gold story, but not that the crime was premeditated. a sentencing, a few weeks later, lands long ago fiancée and -- spoke directly to christian, reminding him of what he missed in life. >> it will not be able to understand lens love for you until you have your own child, when you know the love that you never knew possible. >> christian, who sat silently throughout the trial, finally spoke. he was still full square behind
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his father. >> i'm not going to go into the frustration i feel in hearing that i missed out on growing up without my mother. i'm not going to go in how frustrating it is how to become a good person in spite of my father, because he's the best person that i know. i've been asked why i never question my dad about any of this, how many times by many people. i never felt the need to. he raised me and taught me right from wrong. you've heard it said, many, times that my dad loved me too much to let me go. i know that he loves me too much to hurt me by taking my mother from me. >> in court, judge teresa poehler had the final word. >> you treated lynn friends with us decouple -- sir, look at me. with unspeakable cruelty. your actions left your five-year-old child to grow up without knowing his mother.
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the manner in which he disposed of the body was despicable. by so cavalierly dumping her in the ocean. clifford brett front, i'm sentencing you to life in prison. >> more than 20 years ago, state attorney catherine fernandez run dole vowed that lynne friends story would not end up in some cold case file. now, she says, there is justice, both for the young mother and for her son, even though he disagrees with the outcome of the case. >> ultimately, it's all about a boy, isn't it? >> it's all about a. boy >> that's right. except, i would beg to say that i don't think a father who would deprive a boy of the love of a mother really loves the boy. he loved himself more, it seems to me. >> markers, out west, there is a great opens guy. it's a florida, the ocean. always, the ocean. the vast, turning, tropical
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waters. for aging friends still remember, it is lynn's marker, to. after a violent death, the place where they prayed she might finally rest in peace. >> that is all for this edition of dateline. i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. u for watching >> i'm sorry. i understand why they hate me. to anyone that has loved him, for the role i played. i am deeply deeply sorry. >> it was right out of a soap opera. the husband, the wife, the affair with a local dentist. >> i just don't think of myself as someone, why would he be interested in me, you know? >> was it passionate? >> yes. >> but the script turned dark when her husband hurt dead. >> everything was a blur, she said she found him in his car outside his gym.


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