tv Dateline MSNBC June 19, 2022 12:00am-1:00am PDT
mom's. >> what do you say to your mom when you go? >> i'm sorry and i love her. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline. " i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. i'm craig melvin, and i'm natalie morales. this is dateline. >> if you admit that she's never coming home, it's like you're admitting defeat, or that she's dead. >> a hardworking wife, a loving mother, a woman that complicated love life. >> she was having affairs. >> they were in those same office areas, they some time -- >> kathy was trying to break out the relationship. >> now the secret was out, replaced by a mystery. >> she never returned for lunch.
>> we did consider that her husband made known that she was having an affair. >> where was? she >> there were no. answers >> nearly 30 years, 60 investigators, and it all kept coming back to one elusive suspect. >> he just very commonly said, i know how to get rid of a body, so it would never ever be found. >> him? murder something that could be done over -- >> it was basically an hour never situation. >> hello, welcome to dateline. when kathy had cole disappeared, police didn't know if they are dealing with a missing person case or cold-blooded murder. with little evidence to go on, the investigation grew cold. decades later, a young detective who was just a kid when kathy vanished, dusted off the old files. investigators couldn't solve her case then, could he help
solve it now? here is josh mankiewicz, with she didn't come home. >> time can be like a river, a long stream of events rushing by. most barely make a ripple, but a few, like the sudden loss of a close friend, a child or a parent, have a way of circling back upon us, in a ceaseless loop of memory in regret. that's the way it's been four john heckel and his sister alisha tell bit. ever since that completely normal morning in 1991, when their mom, katherine dolan heckel kissed him goodbye, left for work and never returned. law do you remember leaving that morning? >> yeah. i mean, like any other day. same routine all the time,
every time she left us, she kissed us goodbye. >> it was a july morning, alisha, 13 and john, then nine, we're home for summer vacation. election i name, alicia says your mom calls from her job. >> we discussed having dinner and having pork chops. >> that was one of my favorite things she cooked. >> later, they tried to contact their mom at work. >> one of the times we tried to call her, it was around lunchtime, and she had left for lunch. then, we waited in called after lunch, and she still wasn't back to work. >> at 40, kathy heckle head spin laugh for life working at the paper plant in lock haven. >> i can't remember who i was speaking to at the office, but
you could hear in their voice that there was some concern, that she hadn't come back. >> and you pick that up? >> yeah. it was not typical for her to not come back, and not tell anybody. >> with their dad out of town, they kept trying to reach their mom, nothing. at about 6:30 that evening, alisha called the grandparents, clarence and margaret dolan. >> i answer the phone, she said graham, can you get some milk? i said, what do you mean? she says, well, mom didn't come home yet, and we don't have milk. i said, alisha, i will be right there. >> and you're thinking,? why >> i didn't know what to think, but as a mother, you know that this is something bad. something very bad.
>> that night, kathy's mother and father contacted everybody they could think of. >> nobody had heard from her, -- i remember picking up on that, that they seemed worried. >> i mean you could just tell. >> you're grandparents were acting differently? >> their dad, john was in upstate new york on monday, training with this national guard unit. he did learn his wife was missing until the next day. >> you get that phone call, it's your mom wouldn't you say? >> the gist of the conversation was that kathy didn't come home from work on monday night, and they didn't know where she was. >> now it's tuesday? >> now it's tuesday evening. >> and you think? what >> i said, call the state police. >> with the purse admission of his commanding officer, john heckle left for home. >> he had plenty of time to think on that five and a half hour ride. he thought about the time that kathy donated a kidney to save
her brother's life, and about the december day, in 1972, when he first gays that her. >> she had the biggest brown eyes you can look into. >> six months later, they were married. >> like any marriage, we had our ups and downs, but overall, i was happy about the fact that i didn't have to worry about my family with kathy. >> you thought you stay married forever? >> yes. >> the problem was, john was already married to the military. john's career took him away from home, sometimes for weeks at a time. kathy didn't like that. john says that's wife of 18 years seem to have that on her mind when she dropped him off for his latest assignment. >> she said, why do have to be there so early? which we didn't make sense to me, because i was always the first one there. i said, it's my job. >> she don't want to go? >> she didn't say that. >> but you felt? it >> i could feel that something was wrong. the look on her face when she said it, it didn't sit right
with me. >> now, kathy was missing. her disappearance would eventually drag into the open secrets that some in, and around law cave, would've rather kept hidden. >> there was no doubt that kathy took good care of her family, but as investigators soon learned, this wife and mother was also a woman who was sometimes lonely. coming up >> i asked her mom if she was seeing anyone, she said she reestablished contact with the old friends from school. >> and that old friend had a confession to make. >> he did admit that they had had a physical relationship, and it had only been a few days before she disappeared. >> when dateline continues. ks. you can't prevent what's going on outside, that's why qulipta™ helps what's going on inside. qulipta™ is a pill. gets right to work to prevent migraine attacks
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♪ you gotta own it ♪ ♪ you only get one shot ♪ by the time john heckle returned home from national guard training in new york state, his wife kathy had been missing for about 36 hours. >> when my dad came back, he was the one who told us we can't find your mom, we don't know where your mom is. and, that was the first time i've ever seen my dad cry. i knew the worst had definitely happened. >> that was the first time i saw my dad cry, too. and, you know, he was always this big strongman, and when you see that it's like, okay, this is not good.
>> that's gotta be a terrible thing to tell your kids, because they want you to tell them this is going to be okay. >> that always had all the answers. >> and you can tell them it's gonna be okay. >> no. you don't want fabrication. >> across town that morning pennsylvania state trooper fred caldwell was on the case, his first call had been to margaret -- kathy's mom. >> i remember asking her if she noticed changes recently that were unusual, and she said in the last 4 to 6 weeks or so she just wasn't herself. >> then, the trooper asked one of those probing and indelicate questions, that cops have to ask. >> i asked her mom if she had any indication that she was seeing anyone, if she said she'd reestablish contact with an old acquaintance from school. >> that man's name was dennis taylor, he and kathy had
re-simply re-connected at a wedding, he had been singing in playing guitar. the trooper and shot down the name dennis taylor, with the idea of calling him later. next, he dialed the paper plant, where kathy was last seen. one of kathy's coworkers picked up the phone. >> she kind of corroborated with her mom and said she had been a little different in the last few weeks, the personality a little quieter, maybe. then, he asked question number two. >> i also asked her if she felt there was a possibility she might be having an affair or seen someone. she said she had no evidence, but she suspected that she may have been. >> the coworker wasn't talking about kathy's friend dennis taylor. she was talking about a man at the plant, named lloyd grows. >> they both played on the same volleyball team, and spend sometime after hours together, i think the closeness made him suspect. >> the trooper learned that loyd groves was the quiet time, married with children, sometimes the lead plant tours,
and gave paper making presentations a local schools. >> a call to his office revealed that he wasn't in yet, so the trooper left a callback message. and not long after the, the trooper says, mr. loyd groves showed up in person at the state police barracks. >> he was very calm, he said that he knew her, he said they worked in the same office areas. he said there are friends. i did ask him if he had any type of physical relationship with her, he said no. >> shortly after loyd groves left the state police barracks, the other one of the trooper caldwell's list walked in, dennis taylor, the guitar man. like loyd groves, he was a married man with children. right off the bat, he told the trooper, he had a confession to make. >> he did admit that they had had a fiscal relationship, briefly, and it had only been a few days before she disappeared, i recall, first physical
contact. >> like a ballot here who knows his audience is hanging on every lyric, the guitar man kept singing to the cops. taylor told the trooper kathy -- her voice, she said, had a strange tone, she called him just before lunchtime and was upset. or anxious. and she said she had something that you want to talk about, but he was busy. he said i can't, occult callback. he did try to call back, sometime later, the end she had gone for lunch. >> taylor said he played golf with friends that afternoon, and a plan to meet up with kathy later that night. >> then he goes to her location, where they're gonna meet, kathy doesn't show up. he was concerned that something may have happened. it was then that the guitar man struck a familiar cord. katherine heckel, he said, was also seen another man, a man named loyd groves.
according to taylor, this fellow was a bit of a stalker. >> he said he met kathy at a nearby park, he said there is a gray van park nearby, he recalled seeing the van. the next time you talk to kathy he said, did you see that van, that was loyd groves, and he was following her. >> was the guitar man been helpful, or was he trying to implicate a rival to save his own skin? the trooper knew this much. if kathy heckle had been juggling simultaneous affairs with married men, there could be a lot of people who might have wanted her to disappear. including, her husband. >> he was definitely a person of interest. exactly how much did john heckel know, about what was going on in his wife's life. -- >> there were just no answers. that was the worst part. >> did you feel like you were ever a suspect? >> never worried about it.
might have known she was having an affair, and may have taken some action on the zone. >> did you feel like you wherever a suspect? >> never worried about it. i knew they were trying to find where kathy was, and what had happened, and if that included questioning me, i have no problems with that. >> at some point somebody said to you, we believe she was having a relationship with some other people, was that shocking to hear? >> it was surprising. because that wasn't the way kathy was. >> in his interview with robert caldwell, he said he noticed a change in his wife's demeanor in recent weeks, and wondered if she might be having an affair. >> he was emotional. there was times when john and i just sat together, with my arm around him, and he would cry, who's concerned about his wife. and i felt very bad for the man. >> john heckel alibi checked out, and police found no
evidence he paid anyone to hurt his wife, by now, kathy had been missing for two full days. and john heckel here are the worse. >> katherine heckel would never on this earth, abandon those two children. >> trooper caldwell still did not know if he was working a missing persons case, an abduction, or a homicide. then, on the evening of the third day, investigators caught a big break. they found katherine heckel's car, parked behind a local hospital the, keys were missing. >> i think they recovered one print of fido no fuss ever identified from the exterior of the car. >> investigators were pretty sure that someone, possibly her killer, had moved her car to the hospital parking lot. and then, the case had a dead end. days turned to weeks, those weeks stretched into months. kathy heckel was somewhere in the wind. >> we have dogs come down often,
we have troopers go out, we search the area for remains or whatever. >> well some investigators focused on finding kathy heckel, others concentrated on finding evidence of a crime. as far as investigators could tell, the qatar man, dennis taylor, had been honest, confessing his affair with kathy heckel. loyd groves had seemed dodgy. >> troopers had searched loyd groves the's office, and van. well some items of interest were found, local prosecutors didn't think police out enough to make an arrest. >> there is a big hole from the investigative standpoint. >> ted mcknight was clinton county district and currently at the time. >> if you can imagine in your state, probable cause is the two inch mark and, beyond a reasonable doubt is about 34 inch mark. and everything else in between is the difference between are gonna get a conviction or aren't you? >> which is the reason you don't go forward unless you have the independence for conviction. >> he says the fact that her
body hadn't been found was a big problem. >> how do we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she is dead, if she was killed, where did the killing occur, what county did occur? >> maybe wasn't even your jurisdiction? >> correct. >> for the heckle family, her disappearance was a defining event. >> i didn't know what that meant when i was nine years old but just thinking about how low and sad i felt all of the time. >> i think people deal with things differently, and i certainly chose, i think, the avoided method. >> you don't think about it. >> and not think about it. >> there are just no answers. and that was the worst part. >> in 1998. seven years after kathy disappeared. john heckel had his wife declared legally dead. that did not make the mystery and easier for him to understand. >> can you accept the idea that maybe there were needs that she felt that she had to meet with men who are not you, but that she still love to you? >> oh no, i believe she did love me.
>> she had a secret life, that she wasn't showing everybody else. >> but you don't know how long that sucker life was, and neither do i. >> can you accept the idea that maybe there were needs that she felt that she had to meet with men who are not you, but that she still love to you? >> oh no, i believe she did love me. >> she had a secret life, that she wasn't showing everybody else. >> but you don't know how long that sucker life was, and neither do i. i don't know, so i'm not gonna hate her for being human. >> do you blame yourself? >> a little bit. >> 22 summers came and went, john heckle remarried the kids grew up and, they'd start a new lives out west. alisha became a c pro, gianna fishing god. through it, all their mother was never far from their thoughts. >> she missed all those
childhood memories, things like going to the prom, and boyfriends, and kisses, and just everything. >> she missed our weddings, she missed our graduation, he doesn't know her only grandchild. >> and you, probably, thought about her each one of those. >> yes. >> clinton county never forgot on kathy heckel either, she'd become a part of history that just wouldn't go away. and as one generation of lawmen retired, another rose to take up the unfinished business, and discovered enticing details buried in a very old file. >> coming up. >> when i obtain this case, it was 22 years old. >> and it passed through a lot of other hands? >> 60 other investigators.
>> he was eight when kathy disappeared, now he was in charge of her case. >> would i remember was, where was she? where was she during all this time? >> and a leading suspect suddenly leaves town. >> about three weeks after the disappearance of kathy, he moved his family backing into -- >> when dateline continues. when pain says, “it's time to go home” “i say, “not yet”. ♪ ♪ aleve. who do you take it for? ♪ ♪ fight fleas and ticks with seresto. eight months continuous protection against fleas and ticks. it's effective and vet recommended.
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a man is in police custody at the villages tack -- authorities say, the suspect drove to a departure terminal and assaulted three men within edged weapon. the victims sustained minor injuries, police are investigating. spacex launched a german military satellite from the space force base in california, on saturday morning. this falcon 9 lift comes just one day after spacex launched 53 of its starlink internet satellites from florida.
now, back to dateline. now, back to dateline. >> welcome back to dateline, i'm natalie morales. investigators suspected kathy heckle may have been murdered. but, with nobody, and little evidence, the case went into a deep freeze for decades. kathy's family had never been able to shake the chill of their inconceivable loss. now, a new detective was about to turn up the heat. here, again, is josh mankiewicz with she didn't come home. >> for more than 20 years, kathy heckles children lived with the feeling of unfocused fear. >> it's an unsettling feeling. an unsettling feeling of fear that, eventually, something great in my life can be taken away at any moment. >> and you think that could be
traced back to your mom? >> absolutely. >> for their father, john, those years were spent struggling to let go and move on. >> i talk to kathy a lot about it. >> what you say to her? >> just talk. >> and you talk to her aloud? >> yeah. something will come up that will remind me of something we did. >> law enforcement had not forgotten kathy heckle. in the summer of 2013, a native son inherited the case. state police investigator, curtis -- >> when i obtain this case, i was 22 years old. >> it had passed through a lot of hands? >> 60 other investigators. >> and you thought, i'm going to close it will be the 61st, and then will be a 62nd? >> well, josh, what was interesting was, there was 400 pages of reports. i just read it. >> to this 61st investigator, the reports were riveting. he had heard the story as a child, and even had a connection to lloyd groves, whose name was all over the
file. >> he came to my elementary school and data presentation on making paper. >> you saw photo of him? >> yeah, and i thought, i remember him doing our school. >> he was now convinced that at the time this picture was taken, lloyd groves was having an affair with kathy heckle. only two months later, investigators considered groves a suspect in her disappearance. >> when i remember growing up is, where why she? where was kathy at during all this time? john heckle was my brother's soccer coach. >> the case files were chalked full of details. a gun found in lloyd groves's desk drawer, ammo found in his van, a curious chunk of carpet missing from the back of the van. >> what was the explanation for the carpet? >> in 1991, he said kids were
playing with tar and oil in that section of the van. >> it was not confirmed by anybody? >> no, it was not. >> that wasn't the only thing to jump off the page. the original investigation had a witness of a report -- in his parked van, many times in the weeks before she disappeared. there was evidence that on the day that kathy heckle never returned from lunch, lloyd came back so late that he missed a 2 pm meeting. >> something that the original investigators found, lloyd groves wrote a letter to his wife, announcing to the family that he was going to be arrested. >> this is right after the disappearance. >> this is right after the disappearance. he wrote detailed notes to his wife about how to take care of the tractor, how to take care of the car. >> this is a guy who likes the plan. >> he is a planner. meticulous. >> but he's not arrested, he
was wrong. >> he is not arrested. about three weeks after the disappearance of kathy, he moved his family back to beaver, pa. eventually, he sold his home, leaving a lot of his personal items at his home. >> when he finished reading the case file, he called the local fbi office, looking for some items connected to the case. it was then that he connected with mike hudson, a veteran state trooper, assigned to a joint terrorism task force. after he explained what he was after, hudson asked to see the file. >> i thought it was a very good case. i felt there was a very real suspect. >> but hudson's partner, fbi agent and former prosecutor, kyle more, read the file he too was hooked. >> this was something we wanted to do something about.
we wanted to see if there is any way that we could actually bring it to a conclusion. >> within days of getting the case, investigator number 61 had a team to help him. >> they had so much knowledge that i did not have, by the grace of god they, help me with this case. >> time, it became clear, was not on their side. >> it was basically a now or never situation. i thought we were a heartbeat away of losing a witness, to not having a case. >> as they work the case, the investigators knew that they had one ace in the hole. in 1991, specks of blood had been found in lloyd groves his van. advance dna tests were done in 2004. >> based on the fact that there wasn't a dna sample from the victim, they essentially had to construct one from the victims mother and father. essentially, building the victims dna profile. >> that dna test proved that
kathy heckle's dna was in the car. -- fell through the cracks, because the lead investigator and primary prosecutor, at the time, took medical leave. one thing was clear to all three of them, this case needed more resources, and more prosecutorial muscle, then clinton county possessed. >> we requested that the district attorney relinquish the case to the attorney generals office. and, the da at the time agreed. >> in early 2014, a grand jury was in panel to review the evidence. hudson, more, and con for hit the road. >> so, we did interviews in different states and traveled the country a little bit. >> the new investigators track down old witnesses, and even found a new one. a man who remembered an argument between kathy heckle and lloyd groves, on the day she went missing. >> the question was, did police have enough to make an arrest? >> coming up -- i got to know this family. i was worried a lot about them,
because i knew this would be an ugly trial. >> will it be kathy who ends up on trial? >> every single indiscretion of her would be announced in open court. >> she was going to be punished for being murdered. >> when dateline continues. ® tri-zone, i lowered my a1c, cv risk, and lost some weight. announcer: ozempic® provides powerful a1c reduction. in studies, the majority of people reached an a1c under 7 and maintained it. ozempic® lowers the risk of major cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack, or death in adults also with known heart disease. and you may lose weight. adults lost up to 14 pounds. ozempic® isn't for people with type 1 diabetes. don't share needles or pens, or reuse needles. don't take ozempic® if you or your family ever had medullary thyroid cancer, or have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or if allergic to it.
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always present their. but for john, no peace can be found here, as long as his wastes killer walks three. >> i would always say, where what are we, how close are we to getting him arrested? >> and police would say? >> the dna won't go for it? >> yeah, it's more like, we need more. >> the investigators went looking for more. they tracked down new witnesses, and a quick deep looking for kathy hackles body, and which they never found. even so, on january 28th 2015, a grand jury indicted loyd groves for murder, largely on the strength of this same evidence that had been in the files all along. >> it was literally just like television.
we got there early, around 5:00, and we sat up as he was walking to his car, we rolled right out and jumped out, when i put the handcuffs on him i said you're under arrest for the murder of kathy heckel. he told his son that he needs to get a different ride to work. >> lo and behold he's arrested, what is i'd like to hear? >> in our thankfulness that we were getting somewhere. >> still a long way to go? >> still a long way to go. >> in many ways, the arrest of 65 year old loyd groves, was the easy part. legal maneuvering delayed his trial another three and a half years. for the defense, that delay gave their investigators time to poke holes in the prosecution's case. >> this case had holes you can drive trucks through. >> tom bruno and his wife amy where the defense team's investigators. >> we were in the case for
nearly four years, we actually talked about him. i would guarantee every day. >> tom, a former cop, knew how to look for flaws in the police work. >> amy, a lock haven native, had grown up with the kathy heckel story. >> you talk to anyone in town, they would all say that lloyd killed her, and he put her in a vat of acid and dissolved her acid. there was a working theory for years. >> tom said the policy read in preventing that, in fact he >> we actually discovered that in the police report, in medical records that she had cut her finger at work. it was bleeding so badly that she had to get it treated so three times, this was at the time that she was allegedly in floyd's van every day. >> so if the prosecution plan to make a big deal out of a dna test showing her blood in loyd groves's than, the defenses response would be so wet.
>> they think it came from kathy because killed her but here's her blood, loyd because she cut her self at work. >> if this isn't reasonable doubt, what is? >> as the case went to trial in november 2018, pennsylvania senior deputy attorney general daniel -- knew that the defense would do more than just attack their evidence. they feared they would attack kathy heckled to. >> i got to know this family, i was worried a lot for them, because i knew this would be a hard trial. >> every single indiscretion of hers was going to be announced an open court. >> she's going to be punished for being murdered. >> the prosecution's case, almost entirely circumstantial, began with testimony from kathy heckel's children. >> it was a little difficult, but it felt good to be in front of loyd groves, and have him look at me, and listen to my story. >> and how scary? was >> yes. >> according to friends and family, kathy heckel was a devoted daughter, a loving mom, at the same time she was also restless. >> tell me what was going on in her life at that time?
>> her life at that time was a lonely life. john heckel it is a good guy, but is the first love was the military. and kathy was having affairs, and one of them was loyd groves. >> another lover, the guitar man dennis taylor, said kathy had told him all about that unraveling affair. >> kathy was trying to break off the relationship, we know that, loyd did not want the relationship to and, any specifically want to meet for lunch on that day. >> did loyd groves know about dennis taylor? >> we have evidence that he was following kathy, she did. >> -- he had some fear about lloyd? >> raise your right hand. two former player plant authorities we've been in poor health, had their trial testimony pre-recorded. one said he'd overheard kathy heckel and loyd groves arguing, the day kathy went missing. >> the other side she saw loyd groves staring daggers at kathy
heckel, after she was leaving for lunch that day. >> his face was so red, just like he was terribly angry, and he was looking at kathy. >> kathy pulls out, loyd pulls out after. we believe that they did meet. that somehow, some way, kathy was scheduled into one last meet, just to hear loyd out. and at that point in time, he shot her, shoved her in that van, likely with a head wound. >> according to witnesses, groves was back at the plant, sometime between two and three that afternoon. >> he kills or, disposes or body, and measures to get back to work that day, and act like nothing is wrong. and guess what way within.
>> i think it's because he's smart, and a good plan or. i think for him, murder is something that can be done over a lunch hour. >> the prosecution wrapped up its case with two witnesses, people who had only surfaced shortly before trial. the first was loyd groves's now ex-wife. >> there was something she'd been holding out on telling the past 30 years, and that is that loyd groves did come home over the work our, on july 19th 1991. >> something you never did? >> which we never did. and change out of his clothes. and he never saw the condition of those clothes were in. >> the next person to testify was this person. gayle taylor. she also had it story to tell, that she had kept to herself for decades. it was a mid 90s, taylor said she and groves had worked together in ohio. according to taylor, she went to groves one date event, after she had discovered drugs in her sons room. >> i was like, i don't know what i'm gonna do with this kid, he's gonna get into trouble, he's gonna end up dying, if the drugs don't kill him his mother well.
and lloyd was sitting at his desk, and he very calmly said, well, i know how to get rid of a body so it would never, ever be found. >> the defenses argument was, he was joking. >> i sure wouldn't joke about disposing of a body if i've been investigated for killing somebody that they never found the body. >> the prosecution closed its case by asking who butts loyd groves could've killed kathy heckel? in return, the defense stood ready to ask a provocative question of their own, could she have simply run away? >> coming up. do you really think she lived past that day? >> i certainly have a reasonable doubt as to whether she died that day. >> did the jury have the same doubt? >> it was a nervous moment, absolutely. >> when dateline continues. ...when it comes to our skin, what if it could feel differently? say hello to opzelura for the treatment of mild to moderate eczema.
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numrows=2> welcome back. decades after kathy heckle disappeared, lloyd groves was on trial for her murder. prosecutors relied largely on circumstantial evidence to make their case, including testimony from a woman who said, lloyd told her that he could get rid of a body permanently. but, loyd's attorneys assistant that he was innocent, and we're ready to put kathy's love life in the spotlight to prove it. here's josh mankiewicz, with the conclusion of she didn't come home. >> the lloyd grows defense team could hardly wait to make their case to the jury. it was like your playing cards,
and you have four aces, and you're waiting to play him. that's what we felt like over the last few years. >> george -- was one of two lawyers defending groves. >> i don't think there was enough evidence. and the evidence that they did present had issues questioning whether it was reliable enough. >> for a defense team that had spent two years reviewing police reports, one thing seemed obvious. >> when the police learned of something that implicated lloyd, they were on top of it. whenever there was another avenue to pursue, it follows by the wayside. >> this was more about the police journey to prove that it was on groves to prove that -- who killed kathy heckle, if indeed she was killed. >> the defense argued the guitar man, dennis taylor
should've gotten a closer look. >> yes, she had an affair with lloyd. but, she also had a unfair with taylor. >> -- the afternoon kathy heckle went missing. >> they went to check his alibi out, 13 months later. not right away, and when they go there, a lot of videos to write in to show that he was golfing. the pages are missing. >> of course, -- could've also provided your husband. >> weeks after kathy disappeared, the defense noted, john heckle discarded some of her personal items. >> her husband throws away her purse, her wallet, her photo i. d.. it isn't that he throws it in a garbage can, in front of his house, it's in a dumpster in the back of the reserve base. >> you're saying he wanted to conceal that? >> the more lodging go conclusion is there. >> the john heckle have something to hide? the defense didn't offer an answer for that, and john hackles says he doesn't remember much about those days. >> i don't rip collect doing anything like that. >> the defense suggested that kathy heckle may not have died
on july 15th, 1991. did you really think she lived that day? >> i certainly have a reasonable doubt as to whether she died. >> to support that theory, the defense introduced statements that john heckle made more than 20 years ago. in one, heckle said -- siphon thousands of dollars from the joint bank account. in another, he asked investigators about a woman pictured in a swingers magazine might be as wife. >> is there any credible argument that kathy heckle scrolled away money, vanished, ran out on her husband, and her family, and then posed for pictures that were put in a swingers magazine, that anybody could've seen? >> i certainly don't think it's been disproven that that could've occurred. >> on the stand, john heckle said those decade old statements had been the frantic musings of a desperate man. >> i was grasping anything that i could think of to try and find what happened to my wife.
>> the defense conceded. groves did go home that day to change his shirt, but said, that was because he got dirty at the plant, where you had to lead a tour for a group of children from. that lunch hour trip home, they argued, simply made the prosecution's version of events even more unlikely. >> if you factor in all of the witnesses, when they saw him at the plant, how does he have anywhere near enough time to do what they claim he did? >> for 27 years, the question of what had happened to kathy heckle had hung over lock haven. now, it was up to a clinton county jury to finally provide an answer. >> it was contentious. >> sean sanford, a toddler at the time that kathleen heckle disappeared, was the jury foreman. >> the very first but we took was 75, 84, four guilty. i thought it will be the other
way for acquittal. >> why do you vote for acquittal? >> if you look at every piece of evidence, individually, you can poke holes in all of it, piece by piece. >> after breaking for the weekend, the jury returned on monday morning. rested, but still deadlocked. >> there was one juror in particular, who was voting for acquittal, who couldn't get over the fact that the prime suspect should be john heckle. >> over and over, jurors reviewed in fact talked about the evidence. then just before three that afternoon, jurors notify the judge they had reached a verdict. >> it was a nervous moment, absolutely. i was nervous. we rolled and hands. >> on the charge of first degree, or premeditated murder, the verdict was not guilty. then, and what seemed to be a compromised decision, the jury found groves guilty of third degree murder. which is legally considered a spontaneous act, in the heat of the moment. >> did you look at groves
during that time? >> no. i spend more time looking at kathy's picture, and crying. >> in a letter to dateline, lloyd groves once again denied ever having an affair with kathy heckle. he said, he had been wrongly convicted. at the age of 69, grows was formally sentenced to serve 10 to 20 years in prison. >> even with the third-degree sentencing, he'll still spend the last of his life in prison. >> that's enough for you? >> yeah. >> it's been more than a quarter century since the summer morning when kathy heckle kissed her children goodbye. although, there wait for justice is finally over, there's still no closer to knowing where their mother's than they were on that summer night in 1991, when she hadn't come home.
so, unless your mom's remains are found accidentally, you might not ever know. are you okay with that? >> we have to live with it. i mean, it's sad and it's disappointing that will never know, or we may never know, but we have to be okay with it. >> that's all for this edition of dateline, i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> this is dateline. >> you said, christy's been murdered. she was taken so soon and i was so violently. i couldn't stop shaking. >> a young teacher leaving for school murdered before she could get out the door. >> this was a horrific scene. >> it was a nightmare scene. she had christmas presents that she was taking to her students that day. >> i was petrified. i thought, who,
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