tv Dateline MSNBC July 3, 2022 12:00am-1:00am PDT
nice guy and now she's a stay at home mom with five kids. a hollywood happy ending? no. sometimes real life is better. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline, " i'm craig melvin. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> this is dateline. . >> he was a college student student. found on a lonely road in texas. >> we figured she had been sexually assaulted and dumped here. >> tough questions for her boyfriend. >> where was i the night before? what had i been doing? when had i last seen her? >> i really thought he could be our killer.
>> but while police try to prove it, another attack. >> he has got me by the throat and he's shaking me and he's yeg at me, telling me not to say a word. >> you're a prisoner in his apartment? >> yes. >> a college campus gripped by fear. a growing list of suspects. a growing list of victims, too. welcome to dateline. a killer was loose on the college texas town, leaving parents terrified. with a shocking discovery of jimmy hart's body, investigators were desperately trying to piece together the clues.
was that young woman connected to her killer or did police have an active predator on their hands? here is andrea canning with the face of evil. >> looking back now, this woman almost didn't make it. >> i said, if you keep doing, this you are going to kill me. and he just said, do you think i actually care about that? >> is that when you feel like you are looking in the face of evil? >> i knew then completely in the moment that he intended on killing me. >> little did she know that in this college town, she wasn't the only one. >> he said that he would go to jail for murder before he would go to jail for rape. >> what was going through your mind? >> i wish i told the people that i love that i love them. >> but was their public or connected to a public mystery? >> i just had people ask him what was gonna happen next. >> more women connected by tragedy and by questions. could a killer have been quote
stopped sooner. >> i was so angry that two people had to die in order for someone to believe me. >> the story begins in a small texas town. but it's not just any town. this is college station, home to texas a&m -- and in 1999 -- the home to 21 year old student jamie hart. >> i was immediately struck with her beauty. >> chuck crews was her boyfriend at the time. he says jamie was the light of his life. he remembers when he first laid eyes on her. >> i could barely speak when i saw her, she was so pretty. >> it was like when the color came on in the wizard of oz. i had been living in a dark world and she showed me a world full of color. >> and she was a loyal friend, funny, outspoken. >> she would tell you exactly what was on her mind at all times. it was early one morning in may. jamie's roommates couldn't find her. they called chuck. >> i got a call asking me if i
knew where she was. and i said, no, she didn't come over here last night. i didn't know where she was. i hadn't talked to her the night before. and--and i went to work. >> that same morning detective kenny elliot of the brazos county sheriff's office was summoned to the scene of a disturbing discovery. >> there was a young female, appeared to be in her early 20s. she was nude. she had extensive road rash on her entire body. and she was obviously deceased. >> a jogger spotted the victim in a ditch, nine feet from the side of the road. >> when i arrived there was probably half dozen officers here and they taped off the area, blocked. traffic, and at that point we started conducting a search of the area. we figured that she had been sexually assaulted and dumped here. less than a mile away, deputies discovered what was presumed to be the woman's clothing strewn across the entrance to an oil field. another nine miles from
there-an abandoned vehicle -- its engine still running. >> there was blood on the car, and that raised suspicion. we sent a team over there to process the car. >> and inside the car, a drivers license that belonged to jamie hart. when detectives showed up at chuck's workplace that afternoon, he says his heart sank. >> there was this building sense that something was wrong. had been found dead, it felt like i had been hit by a truck. >> so your sense of dread was coming true? >> yep. realized, fully realized. >> did fear spread throughout the campus? >> oh, yes. i mean, it was front page news. >> kristin lancaster -- was a 19 year old freshman. >> my brother actually worked with jamie at the time i'll never forget him coming home devastated. >> a killer in a college town is terrifying. >> very much so, yes. >> this is something that happens in chicago. it
something that happens in houston. it's not something that happens in bryan college station in aggieland. >> kelly brown is the editor of the eagle, the local newspaper >> i think at the time people were hoping this is a drifter that just kept on going. because of the location of her body. >> sheriff's deputies canvassed the crime scene, searched jamie's car. and looked for eyewitnesses. >> talked to several hundred people, and no one's seen anything. >> turns out, there were no fingerprints inside the car. but during an autopsy the medical examiner did recover dna from jamie's body, dna which likely came from her rapist and killer. >> did you put the dna into a database? >> we put it in codus. >> any hits? >> none. >> no eyewitnesses, no fingerprints, no dna matches. the investigation wasn't off to a good start. >> and that's when we started contacting people at her place of employment, friends, roommates. >> did she have any enemies? >> everybody seemed to love
her. >> detective elliott began to retrace jamie's steps on the night of the murder. jamie was taking time off from her studies at texas a&m and was working at a pizza parlor. her shift had ended around midnight. >> we contacted everybody on--that she delivered pizzas to, and nothing out of the ordinary. >> after work, she'd headed over to a friend's house. >> he said they were there watching movies and she left his house around 4:30 in the morning. >> what time did you think that she was killed. >> we got the call, i think, at 7:15 a.m., so between 4:30 a.m. and 7:00. >> the male friend, a college student, was the last known person to see jamie alive. the detective paid him a visit. >> he was upset, obviously. they were friends, and had been for some time. >> the friend's grief seemed genuine, but something was peculiar. when investigators asked for a dna sample.
>> he said no. >> no? >> and of course we wanted to know why. was he the killer, or was he not? >> the detective was determined to anticipate that question. so he put the young man under surveillance, followed him to a local restaurant. >> and are you hidden somewhere in the restaurant? >> i'm kinda back in a corner, yeah. >> he watched the student have a few drinks, and when he left, the detective snagged the dirty beer mugs and sent them out for dna testing. the results would take weeks -- leaving a town full of young people on edge. >> dads and moms were telling their college-age kids, "be alert everywhere you go." go with people when you go out. don't be alone." and that's a frightening--order to give anybody.
>> frightening but sound advice, because in this case, connecting the dots wouldn't be so easy. >> detectives have a possible suspect in their sights. jamie's boyfriend is invited to sit down for a polygraph test. >> failed the test. >> bad sign for you, right? in my ozempic® 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. stop ozempic® and get medical help right away if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, severe stomach pain, or an allergic reaction. serious side effects may include pancreatitis. gallbladder problems may occur. tell your provider about vision problems or changes. taking ozempic® with a sulfonylurea or insulin may
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been sexually assaulted and left to die on the side of a busy roadway. >> i could barely function. i -- i -- all i could think about was loss, that she's gone from my life forever. >> jamie's boyfriend, chuck cruz, then 24, says right after the murder he took off to baytown, texas, jamie's hometown.
>> about the only thing i remember her father asking me is, "when are you coming down? " so i got some stuff together and drove down as soon as i could. and i spent most of the next week with them, mourning with the family. and then acting as a pallbearer for her funeral. >> back in college station, detective kenny elliott was working the case. >> anytime you have a killer out on the run it's frustrating. you want to catch the person responsible. >> one possible suspect that male friend jamie visited the night of her murder. he'd refused to give police a dna sample for testing. >> that's kind of odd, if he had nothing to hide. >> a lot of people will not give up dna. too much tv. >> but the detective had snagged a sample from a beer mug and when the dna finally came back, he was not a match. you felt confident that you
could rule him out, based on -- >> yes. yes. >> the dna not matching? >> yes. >> but even before the dna test cleared jamie's friend, the detective was already looking for other suspects. and his attention quickly landed on someone very close to the victim. her boyfriend. >> the questions that they asked, focused on where was i the night before, what had i been doing. >> looking at you as a possible suspect? >> it didn't really occur to me that that was what they were doing. i just thought they were asking for information. >> chuck told the detective that before jamie was killed he hadn't seen her for two days. on the night of murder, he said he was at home. >> i was playing computer games like a good nerd. >> did you have anyone there to corroborate your alibi? >> i think my roommates were there but they were both asleep. i had nobody right
there, sitting there with me. >> so the boyfriend's alibi wasn't solid. and as they spoke the detective was looking carefully for signs he might be hiding something. >> he was cooperative. apprehensive. he said everything was fine in their relationship. >> the detective asked chuck for dna, and he said yes. and when they asked him for a polygraph he agreed to that too. but here's the thing with that last part, the polygraph. >> he failed the test. >> that's a bad sign for you, right? >> also bad sign for him. yes. doesn't tell you that he's>> ane detective had been speaking with jamie's friends who said the relationship wasn't fine. in fact the couple had a fight
and were on the verge of a breakup. all of which just led to more questions. >> basically, he went over every aspect of the relationship. just questioned him on his whereabouts. tried to get him to confess. >> and if a failed polygraph wasn't suspicious enough, then listen to what the detective says chuck told him next. >> he said he had done some bad things, and wouldn't tell us what. >> did you look him in the eyes say, "is one of those bad things killing jamie hart? " >> i did. he denied it. at that point in time, i -- i really thought he could be our killer. >> and the more you started to think he was the killer, how does he react to that? >> he's very nervous. he just acted like -- as if he was guilty. >> chuck was free to go, but as authorities waited for his dna to be processed, the detective developed a theory of the crime that made sense to him. >> he was in love with her. he didn't want to lose her. and they were having some issues in their relationship. >> so the boyfriend, a likely suspect was in the cross hairs. but when the dna results came back -- >> the dna was not a match. >> so were you able to rule out chuck cruz, then, once you got that dna checked?
>> i didn't rule him out completely, no. >> that was enough for you with -- with the -- the friend, who she was with the night before. you ruled him out, after you got the dna, correct? >> i did. the other guy wasn't her boyfriend. he hadn't flunked polygraphs. he wasn't in a bad relationship with her. chuck was. >> but they didn't arrest chuck. months went by and the detective kept investigating him. authorities seized his computer, searched his car. all the while chuck was saying they were looking at the wrong guy. >> there's a lot of people that won't confess to a murder for obvious reasons. and at that point, he was a person of -- strong person of interest, but i still didn't know if he was my killer, so we continued to search. >> the investigation dragged on, life for the students on campus began to go back to normal. parties every weekend. but when police were called to the scene of one house party, it wasn't because of noise or underage drinking. another woman was in a fight for her life. >> a student at a party ends up a prisoner in a stranger's apartment.
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>> they interpreted all these things as signs of my guilt rather than a distraught boyfriend. at the time i had long hair and this was a cowboy town. that was considered to be weird and unusual. >> as for those "bad things" he told the detective he'd done--he explained to us he was referring to a petty argument they'd had just days before jamie's murder and the guilt he felt from not being with her the night she died. >> do you remember what you were arguing about? >> a loaf of bread the grocery sacker had put a cantaloupe on a loaf of bread. and she was upset that the sacker had squished the bread. and i told her it wasn't that big of a deal. and we had picked our sides and we argued about something as stupid as a loaf of bread. smiem and.
>> and now he says he could hardly grieve with police breathing down his neck. >> what's it like waking up every morning and knowing that you're under a cloud of suspicion? >> incredibly depressing. >> he left college station -- moved home to be with his family near dallas -- who spent money to hire a defense attorney. >> the biggest thing that was going through my mind the whole time was that i didn't do it, they don't know who did it, and the guy who did it is out walking around and likely to prey on more victims. this monster is walking free while they're wasting their time on me. >> kelly brown of the eagle newspaper was writing front page stories about the unsolved crime in the college town. >> and it really shook the community because this is an area that isn't used to seeing this type of crime. >> and kelly was hearing talk that the police had a suspect. >> but there was no arrest and that's what kept everybody saying, well, then, okay. was it the boyfriend? was it--you know, someone that's still out there? " is he going to strike again? >> it was scary of course -- and students like kristin
lancaster followed the investigation? >> did people change their behavior patterns because of this crime? >> to a certain degree, but i think it was short-lived. >> i mean people went back to their classes and their business, yeah. you start rationalizing that maybe, you know, she trusted the wrong person. >> this doesn't happen to you? >> exactly, yeah. >> and then it was late cctober -- half a year since the murder of jamie hart. kristin didn't know it yet, but she was about to become part of a chain of events that only deepened the mystery. >> i think maybe i went to classes that day. i'm not exactly sure. i know that the evening time rolled around. i think, was it a friday? >> a friend invited kristin to a party. >> and she said you know im having a little get together at my house. why don't you come by? >> kristin drove over to the apartment complex in bryan, texas -- that's the town next to college station. >> the door is open. there's a
few people inside. there's some music playing and people having some drinks. >> she struck up a conversation with her friend's upstairs neighbor. he was 24, hadn't been to college, but mixed in easily with the students. >> was he kind of a likeable guy? >> he seemed, yeah, very likeable. yeah, he was very approachable -- seemed very nice. >> in fact, he had no problem sharing intimate details with kristin about his personal life. >> he had been married and--and somehow the conversation, you know, goes into him telling me how he had found god. i made a lot of mistakes. i wasn't a great husband. >> yeah, you guys--yeah, you guys got into quite the personal conversation for having just met. >> well, i was young and i think that was normal, and he was drunk. >> not long after the party started it abruptly ended kristin's friend hosting the party got into a fight with her boyfriend. >> there was alcohol involved and so it was worried that it would get out of hand. >> everyone left. but not kristin. she was concerned about her friend and stuck
around talking to the upstairs neighbor. >> so, you were feeling protective-- >> yeah. >> he said to me, "you know are you--you know you're worried about your friend? i said yes i am. and he said we can go to my apartment so you can be close to a phone to call. >> she and the neighbor walked up the staircase to his apartment. >> it's directly above her apartment. and he opens the door. i was barely a step into the door and he just sort of kind of pushes me in, slams the door shut. >> he locks the door and immediately grabs a remote that was right there and turns the stereo up to this deafening volume, just deafening. >> kristin reached for the door to leave. >> and he pushes me back. and that's when he starts making some demands. all of a sudden it's very serious and aggressive. and i almost to the point where i thought he was joking. >> but he was serious. demanded she undress. >> i kept arguing, "i'm not gonna do it." he's, like, "you're gonna do it. >> and that's when he runs over and he grabs me by the throat. he's choking me and choking me. and then the second he lets up i scream as loud as i can. and then immediately he grabs me and starts choking me again. and this time he picks me up almost by the throat and sort of, like, pulls me back into
the bedroom that's in the back. >> you're a prisoner in this apartment now? >> yes. >> and he puts me on the mattress. and this is the first time i black out. >> i wondered if this--for a second, this was it. >> i could die? >> yeah. he's like, has a hand still on my throat and he's sort of shaking me. >> kristin couldn't fight him off physically, so she tried to talk her way out of a sexual assault. >> i said you dont want to do this and he stops and he says, "why don't i wanna do this? " and--and i say, "well, because i have--i have hiv. and you can tell he's thinking about it for a second. and he says to me, he says, "well, guess what, so do i." >> the lie didn't work. she tried something else. >> i was, like, "well, what about, you know--you know, you finding god, and, like, trying to work on yourself." i actually was able to stall him for quite some time. >> i must've gotten off the bed and we were standing talking. and i remember that's when i started to just stomp my foot. like, and i was sort of, like,
trying to make it look like i was making a point and stomping my foot and then he grew angry again. >> he threw her back on the bed-his grip on her neck tighter as he sexually assaulted her. >> he's squeezing so hard at this point in time that it felt like the bones in my throat were cracking. >> i said, "if you keep doing this you're going to kill me." and he sort of looked at me and it was this half smile, and he looked at me for a second, and he just said, "do you think i actually care about that? " >> is that when you feel like you're looking in the face of evil? >> i mean, he--i knew then completely in that moment that he intended on killing me. coming up -- >> a knock at the door. >> this is like a miracle. >> and doubt. >> i couldn't believe like nobody believed me. it works naturally with the water in your body to unblock your gut. ...free your gut. and your mood will follow.
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more than 8 million ukrainians relocated in places like poland and romania after the invasion. and in the philippines, a fernando marcos junior, he was sworn in as the president of the philippines. vice president kamala harris and her husband were part of the dignitaries present. itaries present. welcome back, i'm craig melvin. just months after one woman was raped and killed in a texas college town, a second woman was under attack in a nearby community. kristen there castor was certainly he would kill her. but what seemed like an and turned out to be the beginning of a fierce fight for the truth. back with the face of evil, here is andrea kaine. >> 19-year-old kristin lancaster was preparing to die.
when you're possibly in the last moments of your life, when you think that someone is going to kill you, what is going through your mind? >> i had a moment where i thought about, i wish i had told all the people that i loved, you know, that i loved them. >> she was in a stranger's apartment being sexually assaulted, drifting in and out of consciousness. >> i black out, but then i start to come to again. and it's, you know, the scenes in the movies where the bombs explode and everything's really fuzzy, you can't hear, like, everything's, like, coming through this fog. >> suddenly, the man stood up and left the room. ordered her to remain quiet. >> and i scream as loud as i can, "call the police. call the police." >> turns out, the bryan police were at the door. >> so my friend had heard me screaming and stomping and had called the police. >> this is like a miracle -- >> it was -- yeah. >> that in the nick of time the police show up. that -- that only happens on tv. >> i know. believe me, i know.
>> they ran in. i was just curled in a fetal position on the floor just shaking, shaking uncontrollably. i remember them asking me what happened and i just -- the words were just coming out so fast. >> the cops took the man away in handcuffs while kristin slept on her friend's couch that night. the friend called the police to see what would happen next. >> she found out that they didn't book him for sexual assault charges. >> in fact, kristin's attacker, the man she said almost killed her, had been released. that must've been a tough pill to swallow. >> it was terrifying. i just -- i thought he was going to come and find me and kill me. >> down at the police station, the man had given a wildly different version of events. eric buske is the current bryan police chief. he wasn't with the department back then, but says the suspect told investigators that he and kristin had a fight over drugs. >> she got angry when he substituted aspirin for cocaine, and she went off in a rage when that occurred. >> i think he had told them some story about how it had
been a drug deal that had gone bad. and so, then i was crying, "rape." >> after the attack police charged him with unlawful restraint. a misdemeanor. the next day, kristin and her dad went to the bryan police department to find out why her attacker wasn't charged with something more serious. >> i was furious. i had thought in this moment that i survived, i survived. like, this is it. this guy is going down. >> she met with a detective who asked her questions. lots of them. >> i had bruises all up and down my throat. i couldn't swallow. and then at one point in time the detective asked me to place my hands on my own throat and i mean, which even then -- >> why? >> like, psychologically, like, that was just even traumatizing. >> why -- why would he want you to do that? >> because i did that and he looks at me and he says, "well, those could've been self-inflicted." >> what did you say to the detective who's coming up with these theories? >> i mean, i was hysterically crying and telling him, like, "this is -- this man tried to kill me." you know, and he would just say, "well, that's not what he says." i'm, like, "of course that's not what he
says." >> kristin says that despite her bruises, police treated it like a "he said-she said" story. how angry were you getting? >> i was furious. i just couldn't believe, like, nobody believed me. >> chief buske maintains the detective was just doing a thorough investigation. >> everything i've read indicated the detectives did believe her. you know, sometimes when you're conducting an investigation, your job is to get to the truth as a detective you're going to have to ask some hard questions. >> they interviewed her attacker again and a few months later did charge him with sexual assault. >> the unlawful restraint was still in place. and then we booked him on first degree sexual assault. >> the case went to a grand jury but it decided not to indict him. >> so the sexual assault charges were dropped, because they felt that there was insufficient evidence. >> oh, that must have been tough to hear that. >> it was very tough to hear that. and it was at a point in time though when i found that
out i just didn't feel like i had any recourse. >> she did talk about the case later with reporter kelly brown. >> it bothered me at the time because i wondered, "why didn't the grand jury indict him for at least attempted sexual assault? " >> but it seemed a little troubling to me that -- what were we missing? what part of the story did we not have? did the detectives say something that made them think, "maybe it they say they followed up on hundreds of other leads and tips. but no one in that department looked at kristin's case for a possible connection. >> you were sexually assaulted. jamie hart was sexually
assaulted. did you start to think that these could be connected? >> i didn't think they were connected. and that was primarily because, with jamie there was a boyfriend that may have been involved. it was a romantic relationship that went wrong. it wasn't some random occurrence by a stranger. >> kristin was now living with overwhelming anxiety and dread, which she says manifested into dangerous behavior. >> instead of being afraid of everything i became afraid of nothing. i, you know, i just became completely risk seeking. >> what kind of things would you do? >> i think i started drinking heavily for a while after that. you know, i'd hop on the back of a stranger's motorcycle after he'd had three beers and it took a long time to really get out of that hole. >> just as kristin was starting to turn a corner her attacker was due in court on that misdemeanor charge. but nothing came of it. he didn't even show up. >> i'd done what i needed to do. and part of me just wanted
to forget it ever happened. >> but she couldn't. kristin was about to walk right into another crime scene in college station. coming up -- >> a shockingly brutal murder, and a suspect makes a big mistake. >> the clothing that he was wearing was different than what he had just told us. >> when dateline continues. ugh-stipated... feeling weighed down by a backedup gut" miralax is different. it works naturally with the water in your body to unblock your gut.
months since kristin had been assaulted. her attacker had failed to show up to court and seemed to have just disappeared. >> he just didn't show up? >> didn't show up. >> in the next town over, detective kenny elliott continued to work the jamie hart murder case. he'd spent the last year casting a wide net for possible suspects. >> you took dna from 70 people? >> i think 77, mainly people that were being booked into jail for violent crimes. anyone that was in the area that just didn't want to talk, we took dna from everybody that would give it, practically. >> but he also had never taken his eye off of her boyfriend -- chuck cruz. >> there was just something that was bothering you about chuck cruz? >> there was a lot bothering me about chuck cruz. >> so the brazos county sheriffs office kept investigating chuck -- even
communicated with the da about possibly convening a grand jury. chuck and his lawyer spoke to the detective on many occasions. and the detective continued to think chuck's behavior was suspicious. and he still seemed nervous. >> cid you ever think that maybe the reason that chuck cruz was acting this way was that you guys were coming down pretty hard on him and he's lost his girlfriend. i mean, is this a way to act? >> i don't know, but he had--he had several things goin'against him, and we just couldn't walk away from him. we either had to prove that he did it, or prove that he didn't do it. >> but chuck says he should have been cleared almost right away. >> so even though the dna didn't match -- >> there was no match. but they insisted on targeting me as the prime suspect. they were trying to build a case that wasn't there. >> while chuck's life had been on hold for a year -- kristin was starting to feel like her old self again. in the six months since her attack she'd
taken up running -- had a new boyfriend. and though kristin hoped the pain of that horrible night was behind her for good. it wasn't. >> and there's police tape everywhere. >> may 28 2000. kristin had just arrived to visit friends at an apartment complex. there was no reason, not then anyway, to think her case was connected to the scene unfolding there. >> police cars and ambulances and all kinds of, you know, vehicles, like, emergency response vehicles everywhere. >> and now the sight of police tape sent memories rushing back. >> it was just, you know, fear. >> firefighter leon moore had arrived at the apartment early that morning, after a neighbor reported smoke in one of the units. >> the bedroom door was open and we could see some flames. they were on the carpet so--we had--a water extinguisher that we used and--and put the small fire out. >> there on the floor -- a body >> we backed out and made sure that we preserved as much evidence as we could. >> he sensed foul play--not just a fire. and called for detective jeff capps of the
college station police department. >> it looked like her body had kinda been propped up--onto the bed. >> she was nude from the waist down. >> this is really disturbing. >> it was. >> the victim was 21 year old carolyn casey--a day care worker. her parents anita and larry-so proud of their eldest daughter. >> she was wonderful with kids. all the kids loved her. everyone loved her. >> never could they have prepared themselves for the dreadful phone call they received. >> "is your daughter carolyn casey? " i said, "yes." i think he said, "well, there's been an accident and your daughter's dead. a fire." >> when carolyn's younger sister amanda learned the news, she collapsed with grief. >> and i just--i screamed really loud, made my ears ring from my screaming. >> they've got this wrong?
>> yeah. something's wrong. she didn't--she didn't die. and i said, "no, she's not dead. >> what was the turning point? >> i called her apartment. and she didn't answer. >> detective capps did say it was homicide. >> i think we--we had a strong feeling that possibly there was some type of sexual assault that occurred and that somebody was trying to cover up some evidence. >> kelly brown of the eagle newspaper had another story to write. >> this is a community that's not used to a lot of murders. it's not used to violent crimes like this. and it certainly wasn't used to having a murder victim be set on fire. even law enforcement, they thought, what, what do we have on our hands here? >> on the night of carolyn's murder, there had been a small party in one of the apartments. and now the detective was canvassing the complex. looking for leads. >> you're literally dock knocking on doors.
>> yes. >> in one unit, two men answered. one of them had been to the party. his name was ynobe matthews. >> he mentioned that he did attend this party. she was there. >> like many people who'd attended, ynobe agreed to an interview, sit down at the police department. he was friendly, and cooperative -- said carolyn had left the party before he had. >> he later left the party. went with another female that was at the party over to a convenience store that was close by and bought some cigarettes. >> ynobe gave the detective a dna sample, and supplied the clothes he'd been wearing. to verify his alibi, the detective pulled surveillance video from the convenience store and noticed something. >> the clothing that he was actually wearing was different than what he had just told us and why is he not telling us the truth? >> ynobe claimed he'd simply forgotten--and then handed the
detective the proper clothing. no forensic evidence found on the clothes connected him to the crime scene. >> so this wasn't your big moment. >> no. it wasn't. >> the "big moment" did come though, just a few nights later when the pieces of this puzzle finally came together. coming up -- >> an arrest of a familiar suspect. >> i was certain that he had done this before. but at the same time, i didn't think he would do it again. it works naturally with the water in your body to unblock your gut. ...free your gut. and your mood will follow. it's started. somewhere between a cuddle and a struggle, it's...the side hug. tween milestones like this may start at age 9. hpv vaccination - a type of cancer prevention against certain hpv-related cancers, can start then too. for most, hpv clears on its own. but for others, it can cause certain cancers later in life. you're welcome! now, as the "dad cab", it's my cue to help protect them. embrace this phase. help protect them in the next.
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>> it was two nights after the murder and fire. detective capps made a discovery one that would finally connect the dots in the series of crimes that had terrorized this college town. >> i spent that evening basically reading through all these reports. >> the detective had ordered background checks on some of the people who attended the party in carolyn's apartment complex, including ynobe matthews. it turns out, there were several police reports in the file accusing ynobe of a number or crimes. >> mr. matthews had a tendency to try to sexually assault females, and in the process of that he would choke them if they were not willing to have
sex with him. >> how did carolyn die? >> her death was ruled a strangulation. so things started kinda matchin'up. >> ynobe had never been convicted of sexual assault, but in the files the detective read the story one particularly brutal assault. a case ended up being charged as a misdemeanor unlawful restraint it was kristin's. ynobe was the man she says almost killed her. >> i was certain that he had done this before. but at the same time i didn't think he would do it again. >> the detective called ynobe matthews back down to the station for another interview decided to pull a fast one with his suspect telling him he was about to get dna results from the crime scene. >> what were you really about to get it that quickly? >> we weren't gonna get it that quickly that day, but tryin'to get him to believe that we had that information, that we had everything that we needed. i had contacted my supervisor earlier. and i told him, if he
would page me just say put in type in the words that says dna matches. >> and right on cue, the detective's pager went off. >> and i showed it to mr. matthews. it said "dna matches." >> so what's his face like when he looks at that match? >> he became pretty emotional. and he said -- he -- it was an accident but he had killed her. >> the detective called carolyn's parents and gave them the news of the confession. >> said, "i think we got--got him." i said, "well, how sure." he said, "i'll bet the farm on it. >> it was the next morning when kristin lancaster opened up the newspaper and learned her attacker had been charged with murder. >> i felt overwhelming guilt, just overwhelming guilt knowing that he'd killed someone and that, you know, perhaps i hadn't tried hard enough to make people believe me. >> did you feel like a life could've been saved if you had've been taken more seriously? >> oh yes, carolyn would still
be here. i mean, there's no doubt. >> and what about the woman at the start of our story? jamie hart's case had been handled by the brazos county sheriff's office. but after ynobe was arrested, it didn't take long for the college station police department and the sheriffs office to compare the dna. what they found? ynobe was also jamie's killer. >> what's that moment like? >> i remember the feeling of wanting to feel relieved. but all i could think was, "this is -- this is exactly what i knew was going to happen. he struck again, another girl is dead, and another family has lost their precious daughter." >> chuck says to this day he misses jamie and has never gotten over being viewed as a suspect. >> having to spend such a long time under investigation for the death of a loved one. it
hurts. it hurts a lot. >> it's -- it's like a scar? >> very much so. very much so. >> do you feel bad about that at all, that he was put through that? >> i'm sorry that he had to go through that, yes. but if i had to do the investigation over, i wouldn't change anything. i'm sorry he lost the love of his life. but we had a job to do, and we had to either arrest him for murder, or clear him. we cleared him. >> but before jamie, before kristin, before carolyn, there was another victim who soon learned she was also connected to this horrifying series of events. her name is misty johnson. >> if i didn't let him rape me, he would have killed me. >> like kristin, misty reported her attack to the bryan police department. but ynobe denied it, claiming it was consensual, and misty was too traumatized to help police in the investigation.
>> it was probably within a week, i quit my job and left up to. i was scared. >> she now regrets that decision. her attack happened first. months before jamie was murdered. >> i feel like if i would have stayed and fought him through the police department that possibly he wouldn't have been able to go on to hurt anyone else. >> and kristin, is left with the memory of an assault, that, according to the law, never really happened. >> i was so angry that two people had to die in order for someone to believe me. >> did the system fail? >> it failed me. it failed carolyn. it failed jamie. >> you think about them a lot? they were total strangers to you. >> but they're my alternative future. i mean, they're what could've happened to me. i mean, they're what could've happened to any of us.
>> a jury convicted ynobe matthews of carolyn's murder and sentenced him to death. he also pleaded guilty to jamie's murder. kristin faced him in court during the penalty phase. >> it was terrifying. i had to testify and i met carolyn's family and -- and jamie's family they all came out afterwards and gave me a hug. it helped me realize that their families didn't hold any grudge against me, you know. >> it's not her fault that my sister died. and kristin should have no guilt over that. >> with the casey family as witnesses, ynobe matthews was executed three years later. if there is a lesson to take from this story, it is one that comes directly from a survivor herself. someone who has learned the hard way to cherish life's moments each and every one. >> it makes you realize how fragile your life is, you know, and that anybody can take it, you know, in a moment's notice. this story, you know, for them that's it. that's their life story. the final chapter's been written. but for me i get to
keep going on. >> what would you call yourself? >> i mean, people have called me a survivor, i would call myself lucky. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, good night. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is dateline. >> we, the jury, find the defendant guilty. >> as you can they read the wrong verdict. >> you feel so hopeless. >> it's like a shot in the chest. >> despair to hope. darkness to light. a fight for freedom. >> what happened to this teenager could happen to any one of our children. >> at 18, he was arrested for murder
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