tv Forensic Files CNN July 14, 2014 12:30am-1:01am PDT
and paying attention to detail in my opinion is what you have to do in each and every case to make sure that you don't miss anything. >> nothing you put on a computer is going to disappear unless it's at the bottom of the lake or somehow destroyed in the fire. it's going to follow you even if you think you have destroyed it. up next, a woman is murdered in broad daylight. >> this is the monster jumping out of the bushes and grabbing you and killing you. >> cell phone records and search dogs provided some leads. >> they were able to track a scent trail to a residential area that was close to the canal trail. >> but if not for some crafty police work and the chance encounter, the entire investigation could have gone up in smoke. >> we have an individual that's still out, walking about, who can do this again. >> i don't know how much scarier it can get. during her lunch break in concord, california, kathy
loreck went for a walk, as she often did, along a jogging trail near her office. >> that was something that she just kind of did on her own as her own kind of meditation throughout the day. i know that sometimes she would use that opportunity to, you know, make some personal phone calls. >> kathy was an executive secretary, married with children. on this day, she spoke with her husband who was in europe on a business trip. >> her husband reported that suddenly she made a loud -- a groan or a gasp and the phone went dead. >> kathy's husband knew immediately something was wrong and called her co-workers and asked them to look for her. >> they couldn't find her. they came back and they called the police, and the police got there within minutes. >> about 20 minutes later, a
police officer saw what looked like streaks of blood. >> the blood was like somebody had taken a paintbrush with red paint and simply drawn lines on the ground, like you see somebody dripping blood on the concrete. >> the officer followed the blood trail down an embankment to a heavily wooded area where he found kathy loreck barely alive in a pool of blood. >> he recognized with the way her clothes were arranged and disheveled that she had most likely been sexually assaulted and that she needed immediate medical attention. >> kathy was rushed to the hospital, but she died en route. >> kathy had several major lacerations on her head. we believed to be the weapon was found near kathy's body. the weapon was a fence post. it was approximately two to two and a half feet long, from i believe. >> although kathy was using her cell phone when the attack
occurred, investigators couldn't find it anywhere in the area near her body. when police checked her cell phone records, they discovered someone had used her cell phone after her murder. >> one of the numbers called, a person told us that subject juan sanchez had called them. >> investigators tracked 23-year-old juan sanchez to his residence, and there, they found kathy's cell phone in his possession. but sanchez claimed he found the phone on the jogging path. >> he explained to us that he was riding his bike on the canal trail and he found the cell phone. he decided to use it for his personal use. >> sanchez showed police exactly where he found the phone. remarkably, it was just 50 feet
from kathy's body. >> there was only one individual, in our mind, who could have had that cell phone and that would have been the individual who attacked kathy. >> but sanchez denied he was the killer and denied seeing the blood on the trail near the cell phone. investigators knew right away this would not be a routine murder investigation. >> this was shocking. we're talking about a woman close to her office going for a walk on a trail frequented by many people in broad daylight, and to have this kind of thing happen to her, it would be like being struck by lightning.
family, friends, and even police were stunned by the sheer audacity of kathy loreck's murder. >> for this attack to have occurred on a beautiful sunny day with a lot of people who realistically could have been around the incident at the time that it occurred is pretty brazen, and you know, pretty bold on the part of the suspect. >> an encampment of several dozen homeless people just a quarter-mile from the trail meant that a random attack was a real possibility. >> there had been concerns about transient and homeless people on that trail previously and a lot of folks just felt it wasn't
safe to go out on that trail. >> but that wasn't the only possibility. >> there are numerous access and exit points to this canal trail, either by the public roadways, by individuals using adjacent fields, and access gates. >> the murder weapon was a broken piece of metal fencing. >> this perpetrator actually broke off a piece of metal fence post and it appears that they waited for her to return from her walk and then dragged her off the trail. >> there was blood, but no prints on the murder weapon. kathy's autopsy confirmed that she'd been sexually assaulted. the dna profile from kathy loreck's rape kit didn't match any in the statewide dna database of known criminal offenders. it didn't match juan sanchez,
the man who found kathy's cell phone either. >> he didn't have any trouble answering our questions and he volunteered to take a voice stress analyzer test, which he took and passed. >> in a search for suspects, police rounded up everyone who was on or near the trail at the time of the murder. some were homeless people. others were joggers and bikers. about a half dozen of them told a story that was remarkably consistent. >> they'd seen a male standing at the fence line looking at the canal and talking about the little fishes in the canal and drawing this to the attention of people that were walking by, and this person seemed like they were out of place. he was a white male, maybe 6 feet tall, maybe early 30s, kind of heavyset, not muscular but maybe a little bit overweight, brownish-blond hair and disheveled. some of the people described him as possibility transient or homeless. >> two of these potential
witnesses were sent to police sketch artist, gil samora. >> i asked them if they saw him again would they recognize him. they say yes, then i know that i can draw the sketch. >> with each witness, zamora tried to induce a state of deep relaxation and then had them describe what they saw. eventually, these two drawings emerged from witnesses who had never spoken with each other. except for the sunglasses, the sketches were virtually identical. >> they were two independent witnesses, and they did not know each other. i think these witnesses both saw the same person. >> then police got a huge break. investigators using k-9 teams
identified a potential lead. >> they were able to track a scent trail to a residential area in concord that was very close to the canal trail. >> a background check revealed a man living in this neighborhood had a criminal history. he also looked similar to the composite drawings. his name was mark fisher. >> he was known to be violent, violent to his relatives, violent to police officers and to other public officials. >> witnesses in the park were shown a photo lineup which included fisher's picture. >> at least three of the witnesses were positive that the photo of mr. fisher was the subject they had seen on the trail. >> but when investigators went to fisher's house, they got some shocking news. >> the police were met by a relative who told them, you haven't heard? my brother, mr. fisher, just killed himself, jumped off the golden gate bridge, committed suicide.
>> mark fisher killed himself less than 24 hours after kathy's murder. >> this person now kills himself a day after this type of crime. there are no coincidences like that. you know, it just doesn't happen, in my experience. >> it was our belief that after the assault that he felt remorse, that he felt guilt, and he just couldn't live with what he had done. >> a search of fisher's room seemed to confirm his role in the murder. >> we found a pair of sunglasses similar to the type of sunglasses seen in the sketch. >> they seized some clothing that appeared to have bloodstains on it and noticed that a newspaper in the house was open to an article about the murder and a picture of the suspect's sketch was there, as well. >> the circumstantial evidence clearly pointed to mark fisher as the killer. but would the forensic evidence
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killer's trail right to his front door. several eyewitnesses chose his picture from a photo lineup and it appeared he committed suicide just as police were about to arrest him. after fisher's suicide, scientists took a dna sample in the morgue and compared fisher's dna profile to the biological evidence from kathy loreck's rape test kit. shockingly, it didn't match. >> we strongly believed that mark fisher was responsible for kathy's death. all of a sudden, he's not. what that means to us is we have an individual still out, walking about, who can do this again. >> it basically meant we had to start at ground zero and do this over again. >> with a killer still on the loose, investigators instituted a dna dragnet of all the homeless men in the area who had a violent criminal history. >> we began contacting everybody that used the trail, all the transients that we knew of.
>> a total of 42 dna profiles were tested against the killer's dna. >> this was actually, in fact, the most referenced samples that i had ever tested, that the laboratory had ever tested. >> but there were no hits. then nine days after the murder, investigators got a potential break. a mountain biker called police to say he recognized the man in the composite sketch. he'd seen him on jogging trail on the day of kathy's murder. >> could i get one of those? sure. >> he said the man asked him for a cigarette and they had a short chat, although he didn't know his name. >> the mountain biker smoked one cigarette and this other man who he was talking to smoked two cigarettes. >> investigators asked the mountain biker to show them where this happened.
>> it was within maybe 200 yards of the crime scene. and he pointed right to the ground and said those are the cigarettes that we were smoking. >> but nine days had passed and analysts were skeptical about getting dna. >> the longer it's been sitting out in the elements, the harder it would be to develop a dna profile. >> but the cyclist did provide an important piece of information. he said the man told him he worked as a telemarketer in nearby walnut creek. a background check revealed there was only one telemarketing firm in walnut creek. >> the manager immediately told me that you're looking for robert frazier. >> he had gotten into some trouble. he had committed some robberies. he had spent time in prison. he had committed some very violent assaults in prison and out on the street.
>> he was a drifter. may have spent time in the chicago area, in indiana as well, as well as contra costa county in california. >> frazer's co-workers said he looked like the composite sketch. however, they said he'd quit his job around the time of kathy loreck's murder. >> police visited frazier's last known address and found his ex-girlfriend. she said frazier left town and she hadn't seen him since. but frazier's girlfriend had a parting gift for police, frazier's toothbrush. they hoped it would be the forensic answer they were looking for. q.
police now had a suspect in the sexual assault and murder of kathy loreck. robert frazier. but he'd left the area shortly after the murder, and they had no idea where he'd gone. investigators had cigarette butts that they thought were used by frazier while on the jogging trail the day of the murder, but they'd been exposed to the elements for nine days before police recovered them. >> i really felt that if that could happen to this victim, that could happen to anyone. so i felt that i really wanted
to do my best in working hard on this case to help catch this individual. >> fortunately for the scientists, it hadn't rained on the cigarette butts, and they were able to generate a dna profile and compare it to kathy's rape test kit. >> the person who had smoked the cigarettes was kathy's killer. >> scientists then compared the dna on the cigarettes to the dna on frazier's toothbrush. >> unfortunately, the toothbrush actually contained dna from at least three individuals, male and female dna. once i was able to actually see that in that mixture, frazier's dna was in there, of course, i was excited.
>> scientists also found frazier's dna from his skin cells on the bloody fence post near kathy's body. >> finding robert's dna on that fence post, which was the murder weapon, was very important because it showed that robert was responsible for kathy's death. >> the dna evidence established a credible eyewitness who saw the murderer in person on the day of the crime at the location of the crime scene. >> but where was robert frazier? >> well, you know, murder investigations typically don't proceed in a linear fashion. police subsequently entered mr. frazer's name into the national criminal offender database, known as ncic, and discovered that he was being held on a criminal charge in the state of indiana. >> he was actually arrested for some sort of traffic infraction, and it was learned that he was on probation and that his probation officer was looking for him. >> california police immediately flew to indiana to question frazier. >> he seemed to be very cooperative, not nervous at all like you'd expect somebody in
that circumstance. he talked about being religious in some sort of way. >> frazier admitted he heard about kathy loreck's murder on television. >> have you ever seen her picture on tv? >> yeah. >> what does she look like? do you remember? >> but frazier slipped, revealing a piece of information only the killer would know. >> she had long hair. it looked like it was brown with freckles. i don't know. >> how did you know she had freckles? >> because i could see it on the tv. it's got a 43-inch screen. >> she wore makeup. >> you can see it on the picture. yeah. yes, you can. >> it wasn't until investigators told frazier they found his dna on the murder weapon and on kathy loreck's rape test kit that frazier changed his story. >> the only thing robert was able to come up with is maybe he was down there in the treeline
area where kathy's body was found previously and that he had urinated in the area and that would have been the only way. >> prosecutors believe kathy was walking along the jogging path, talking to her husband on her cell phone, when frazier first saw her. prosecutors think frazier chose kathy as his victim because he saw no one nearby in either direction. then he struck her with a piece of a metal fence post. he quickly dragged her from the jogging trail down the ravine, where he sexually assaulted her. afterwards, he struck her several more times in the head and left her for dead. thanks to the incredible accuracy of the eyewitness accounts, a superb composite drawing, and the chance meeting with a cyclist, frazier left plenty of forensic evidence
behind. >> he never showed any remorse, and that's a real sense of frustration and anger that, you know, that this person just didn't care about another human being, and you wonder how anybody could be that way. >> robert frazier was tried and convicted of first-degree murder and rape. he was sentenced to death. >> in my opinion, he's the lowest person that you can be. he is a -- he doesn't deserve to breathe another breath in this life. he doesn't. he took so much away from us and he needs to pay. >> i think robert ward frazier, for lack of a better term, is a monster. i don't know how he became a
monster, and, frankly, it doesn't matter to me how he became a monster. >> and the dna is what solved this crime. if this crime had happened 30 years ago, robert ward frazier would have gotten away with it. up next, a real estate developer lives in fear for his life. >> somebody wanted this guy dead. >> i was scared for him. i was very scared for him. >> on a spring afternoon, his worst fears come true. a computer search exposes some dark secrets. >> someone was researching death. >> but it's a 20-year-old clue that helps unlock the case. >> are you kidding? you found a bullet that had been fired in 1989? in western colorado, a