tv CNN Special Report CNN January 29, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
thanks very much for watching. we'll be back on sunday night for a special report on the iowa caucuses. a special report "the secret life of g.i. joe" starts now. the following is a "cnn special report." we all lost somebody yesterday. a mentor, a leader, and a brother in blue. >> a fallen hero. >> g.i. joe was a decorated police officer and an asset to our community. >> a great mentor, great person, great father figure. >> a massive manhunt. >> we had over 400 law enforcement officers actively searching. s.w.a.t. teams actively searching. we had over 45 k-9 units in the area. >> a troubling past. >> there was some issues in joe
gliniewicz's personnel files. there was a whole other joe gliniewicz that nobody knew. >> an investigation that reveals astonishing answers no one imagined. what's your reaction to that? >> holy crap. >> tonight, "the secret life of g.i. joe." early morning on the first day of september, in the resort town of fox lake, illinois, police lieutenant joe gliniewicz is heading to work. he'll never get there. >> you stop down the street, i believe it's a local gas station, quick mart, that was an everyday stop for him to purchase cigarettes. >> cigarettes in hand, the 52-year-old officer drives toward the community center that houses his explorer post where
he mentors teens who want to be cops. the program is run by fox lake police, and today the lieutenant must finish an equipment inventory for the administrator who controls department finances. >> he never went and did it. instead he drove past the explorer post and went to the plant. >> he could have seen something in here, maybe he thought he saw something. pulled in here to check it out. >> around 7:25 a.m., the gps tracking unit in gliniewicz's car shows him pulling in front of this gate to the abandoned factory. 27 minutes later, at 7:52 a.m., the lieutenant radios dispatch. three minutes later, he radios in again.
sb three squad cars speed toward him. >> i'm on the gravel road that runs between the cement plant and honing road. >> it's a marshy area thick with tall weeds and dense brush. >> all of this was just greenery. you couldn't see through it at all. >> no one can find lieutenant gliniewicz. >> fox lake unit 6740 checking your status. fox lake unit at honing checking status on 6740. >> we don't have him right now. we're looking for him. >> then a distinctive bang. >> one officer who's military says i think that's a gunshot.
>> officers on site charge into the thicket. >> and they all go into the woods down, straight down. took them a little while to get down there because they were going through some thick brush and they weren't even sure where they were headed. >> and they still don't see gliniewicz. >> have you made contact with your officer? >> negative. try him on his cell phone, please. >> at 8:09 a.m., the radio transmission no officer wants to hear. >> officer down. >> lieutenant joe gliniewicz, a 32-year veteran of the fox lake police force, an officer expected to retire in less than a month, is face down near the marsh. he's been shot twice.
one bullet has hit the phone he wears above his right hip. the other tears through his chest, ripping apart a major artery. he's dead. about 200 feet from the lieutenant's body, his gear is scattered. it looks like there's been a struggle. >> he had pepper spray. this is a safety tab that was pulled from the pepper spray and it was just laying here. further down this path, there's a baton that's laying there. >> beyond the baton are lieutenant gliniewicz's glasses, but they can't find his gun. investigators fear the three men gliniewicz said he was following are armed and dangerous. >> it was at breakfast in a neighboring town with our state senator, we got the word there was an officer down and they couldn't get ahold of joe.
about ten minutes later, i found out he had died. so that was, you know, crushing blow to me. >> the lieutenant's pal, fox lake mayor donny schmit, meets another friend at the police station. together they tell gliniewicz's wife, melodie, what happened. >> the wail that went out of her then will stay with me forever. she collapsed on the floor. she started becoming physically ill. >> the horrifying news spreads quickly in this village of less than 11,000, and people here are stunned. >> joe was the cop's cop. this is the person that would never be gunned down. there was no way that this could have happened. >> couldn't happen because a lieutenant had more than 30 years with the police department and more than 25 with the army. he was fit and tough. earning him the nickname g.i. joe. >> he always wore fatigues.
he always wore combat boots. and he always had his military hat on. people would wave at him when he was driving through town. when he went into a restaurant. everybody walked up and said hi, joe. he was probably one of the town's biggest celebrities. >> and a mentor to his explorers, young people like morgan galowitch. >> that's what you have to do when you have people running at you. >> who he trained in police tactics and for s.w.a.t. competitions. most of them call him l.t. >> he was this person, no matter what was going on, you knew you could be honest with him because he never judged you. he was like a father, you know, he just -- he was always there and it was really nice. i know i wasn't the only one. i know everyone told l.t. everything. >> here was this larger than life cartoon character named g.i. joe who would take the youth under his wing of fox lake and teach them how to be like him in the future, and now that person was taken from them.
>> on the morning of september 1st, the village hero, the man who inspired the next generation to serve in law enforcement, lay dead near the old concrete plant on honing road, and his colleagues are massing quickly to track down three suspects they believe must be nearby. ahead -- g.i. joe remembered. >> we all knew joe as a hero. and revealed. >> if i knew about that personnel file and i was a parent, i certainly wouldn't put my child in the explorer program under his tutelage. this is how banks saw me. ever since i had a pretty bad accident. the medical bills all piled up. so i signed up for experian. they helped educate me on how debt affected my fico score. now my credit and i - are both healing nicely.
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fox lake battalion. 22. >> in quiet little fox lake, illinois, a local hero is dead and officers are desperately searching for suspects. things like this don't happen around here. >> i don't want to say it's like mayberry, but it's very mayberry. it's very, very close knit. >> residents and tourists are are urged to stay inside as a massive heavily-armed search for suspects gets under way.
>> we're going to lock down the vet clinic here. >> 792, put the schools on lockdown. >> police set up what they call a kill zone, two square miles centered around where shots have just been fired. it will be sealed off by hundreds of officers speeding toward the small village. inside the zone, hundreds more. above, five helicopters and a fixed-wing plane. all searching for the men they believe shot lieutenant gliniewicz. almost immediately, frightened citizens call in multiple sightings. >> someone just called stating the two subjects are near the treatment plant. >> got a call in from a female saying she saw a male subject running into a vehicle. >> inside the search zone, it's hot as hell and dozens of the police officers are passing out.
>> it's a bog, a swampy area. the humidity that day was very intense. the temperature was in the 80s. >> that night, a special chopper searches the zone. >> they put helicopters up with thermal seeking devices to make sure there was nobody in that area. >> nobody is there, and after more than 14 hours, the inch-by-inch search of two square miles is done. it looks like the suspects have gotten away. in four days, thousands of tourists will flood this lake village for a labor day weekend on the water, and police are still looking for three killers who could be anywhere. >> the boston bombers and everything that happened, they found them under boat covers. look at the boat covers out here. ♪ amazing grace >> despite the fear and
uncertainty, about 1,200 people turn out for a quickly organized vigil the day after the shooting to remember the hero they called g.i. joe. >> when you cut him, he bled fox lake blue. >> among the mourners, explorer morgan galowitch. >> i was stunned this was happening, this was real, that this was, like, my mentor. you know, it was like losing a family member. i just -- i -- sucked. >> lieutenant gliniewicz's widow, melodie, is also there with their four sons. >> joe was my best friend and my world, my hero, the love of my life for the last 26 1/2 years. he was the most wonderful, caring, and loving father to our boys. he will truly be missed by all of us.
>> i could not bear the sight of miss g. crying. i couldn't do it. she is such a strong woman and i've never seen her like that before and i didn't want to. >> later that very night, about five miles south of fox lake, a call that sounds like the big break. >> lake county sheriff's line. >> i was outside looking at my car with a flashlight, two guys approached me and asked me if i was going to wisconsin and asked me if they could get a ride. >> the caller said she hopped into her car to call 911 while two men in hoodies, one black, one white, run behind the garden center. so you're feeling hopeful at this point it could be something. >> initially it did sound like it was something. >> but it isn't. >> the k-9s were not able to establish any sort of track. the aircrafts that were up in the air almost immediately weren't able to detect any sort of movement or heat sources.
it was later learned through further investigation that she had fabricated the entire account. >> then another promising lead. investigators believe they may have the three suspects gliniewicz said he was chasing on tape. and they were all together in the video it. >> they were all together. it was a great job the fbi did from quantico and they just put together this sequential video. >> the men are identified within eight hours. and what seems like another great lead fizzles into nothing. >> couldn't have been a stronger alibi. >> that alibi, breakfast. >> we have them on a video atm withdrawal to get money to go to breakfast. we did a photo lineup with the waitress who identified all three of them. they left a pretty good tip. we have a credit card receipt. >> again, another huge disappointment for you. >> yeah, but you keep going. >> keep going. searching for a killer, trying to solve the mystery of what happened to lieutenant joe
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labor day 2015 turns into memorial day in fox lake, illinois, as thousands turn out for a big sendoff to a big personality, their beloved g.i. joe. >> the way that joe felt about this town, the way that town felt about joe, really came out during that funeral because it was such a funeral that was larger than life. it was massive. >> when we were growing up, we all knew joe as a hero, but now the nation knows he's a hero. [ bag pipes ] >> 1,000 police cars join the procession. it stretches five miles. lasts several hours.
and is lined with grieving spectators. >> it was a tremendous outpouring from the community. i'd never seen anything like that. >> as lieutenant gliniewicz is being laid to rest, investigators are working overtime to locate who killed him. but what they find makes things more, not less, confusing. for instance, they discover gliniewicz's service revolver two and a half feet from his head between two trees. why wouldn't the killer take the gun with him? or throw it an extra couple feet into the swamp? then, there's the scattered gear at the site which makes investigators believe there may have been a struggle. but why doesn't the lieutenant's body look like it's been in a fight? what did you notice when you first saw the body?
>> the officer's clothes were in roll call order, meaning that his shirt was tucked in properly, his pants were, for the most part, clean except for a little mud on his knees. his bulletproof vest was in proper position. >> something else that's unusual? how he was shot. >> his fatal gunshot wound was between the first and second rib, but it was two inches under one wonder how did that happen? the top of his vest, which made one wonder how did that happen? >> at the crime scene, investigators are trying to figure out how someone could
have gotten close enough to shoot the very tough g.i. joe underneath his bulletproof vest. >> we did every possible scenario you could imagine out here to try to explain, you know, what happened. >> back in headquarters, they're digging through his personnel file looking for information. there, they make some astounding discoveries. >> it was a whole other joe gliniewicz that nobody knew. >> the file is 264 pages thick, full of accolades and shocking information. >> let me put it to you this way. if i knew about that personnel file and i was a parent, i certainly wouldn't put my child in the explorer program under his tutelage. >> in may of 1988, fox lake police sergeant james bush stated that he was called by a sheriff's deputy who found officer gliniewicz passed out in his truck on the side of the road with the engine running full throttle, with his foot on the gas. sergeant bush wrote that he was summoned because a deputy couldn't wake gliniewicz and this was not the first time that something like this has happened. in 2003, a fox lake radio dispatcher claimed gliniewicz joked about "putting bullets in my chest." three weeks later, she claimed he brought a gun into the dispatch room. "i don't appreciate someone cocking a gun or whatever he was doing, making clicking sounds with it especially when that someone just recently joked about putting bullets in my chest."
and there's more. >> in 2009, some anonymous officers sent former fox lake mayor cindy irwin letters saying they had, you know, a list of grievances against gliniewicz. >> among the many accusations, various members of the department have been approached by bouncers from different establishments and advised that lieutenant gliniewicz had been escorted from the establishment in a highly intoxicated condition. the letter goes on to claim that gliniewicz did not pay a bar tab in excess of $300. that he took his family on vacation to wisconsin in his squad car. and that on several occasions, he inappropriately touched women, grabbed their breasts. hardly qualities that describe a hero. >> i've seen the personnel file, but, i mean, if you show that to people, if you bring that out and show that to people, i don't think there would be too many people who would actually believe some of the stuff that was in there.
>> but what may be most disturbing in the file is a reference to this lawsuit against the fox lake police department. it was filed in 2003 by a former female officer who claimed lieutenant gliniewicz pressured her to perform oral sex on him five times in the year 2000, saying that these sexual favors were strongly encouraged and/or required to protect her job. gliniewicz was suspended 30 days. the lawsuit was eventually dismissed. >> it's unusual for somebody to be a lieutenant and have supervisory authority with a personnel file looking like his. >> in a document obtained by cnn, one of the officers involved in the gliniewicz case describes the lieutenant as a
golden child at fox lake p.d., who must have had some dirt on someone to be able to stay with the police department. current fox lake mayor, donny schmit, says he didn't know what was in his friend's file. >> i don't have access to our employees' files. any time i look at a file is if there's a discipline problem. the two years i was trustee and the 2 1/2 years i was mayor, we never had a complaint on him. >> the personnel file, while shocking, doesn't immediately change the way local authorities are looking at the gliniewicz case. it didn't get you thinking differently in terms of how he was killed? >> no, other than coming up with another theory. if he had those types of issues, in particular with women, or co-workers, then perhaps there was something else that was more nefarious out there. maybe this was some kind of a vendetta involving a female. >> or maybe his death is
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gliniewicz. local coroner dr. thomas rudd makes a statement about the town hero that begins to tarnish his public image. "i can't rule out a suicide. i can't rule out an accident. and i can't rule in a homicide" dr. rudd tells a local television station in chicago. why did you say that publicly? >> because i had no evidence to rule in homicide, suicide, or accident, so i said everything's open until the crime task force completes its work. >> the suggestion that the shooting is anything other than murder sends lieutenant gliniewicz's family reeling. the lieutenant's second oldest son, d.j., a former explorer who followed his dad into the army, adamantly dismisses the idea of suicide. >> he's applied for several different chiefs positions, and someone who wants to take their life, they don't plan a future. >> it also doesn't make sense to the man in charge of the
investigation. >> who would self-inflict one wound and then go and self-inflict the second wound? it's unheard of. >> then, more than a month after the shooting, investigators learn of a discovery made by the fbi on gliniewicz's personal cell phone. it's a game changer. when did you discover that he had erased thousands of texts? >> we sent the phone out to quantico, virginia. i think it was into late october when we finally got those messages back, and it was 6,500 pages. >> 6,500 pages of recovered messages, and the information found there reveals multiple stunning misdeeds. investigators say in the messages, they learn lieutenant
gliniewicz orchestrated a bogus marriage for his son, army specialist d.j., then 20. >> those messages were very specific that this was a marriage facilitated by gliniewicz. it was a sham marriage. and it was for financial reasons. >> the army gives married men larger stipends. the couple is now divorced. but the messages that interest investigators the most are the ones that suggest fox lake's hero law enforcement officer may have tried to arrange a hit on the new village administrator, a woman named anne marrin. when you read the text, you saw he wanted to put a hit out on the village administrator, what was your reaction to that? >> holy crap. >> commander filenko is talking about a facebook message from early april of 2015. in it gliniewicz writes to a woman "being forced to retire by
new village administrator. work life has been a living hell the last two months. close to entertaining a meeting with a mutual acquaintance of ours with the word white in their nickname." investigators claim "white" is code for a high-ranking gang member. authorities say when they interview the woman gliniewicz was messaging, she says the lieutenant told her he wanted a gang member to make a hit on marrin. >> we actually located the person that we believe there was an attempt to recruit to do the hit. >> what did that person tell you all? >> that he was familiar with the area, that he knew who gliniewicz was but we interviewed him in his attorney's office and he denied any knowledge of any hit or anything like that. >> authorities say there is no additional evidence he pursued a hit on the administrator.
the question is, why might a 32-year law enforcement veteran want somebody killed? part of the answer may be found in the explorer clubhouse. there are boxes and boxes of military surplus gear, riot helmets, gas masks, and inserts for bulletproof vests. >> probably 30 different radio holders. >> investigators say it was acquired by gliniewicz from an army surplus program meant to better equip police officers, not young people in an after-school program. >> the village administrator, she came down and saw all these items and she was shocked by what she found. >> so she confronts lieutenant gliniewicz. >> i asked him if he had an inventory of everything that was in that building. he said, yes, ma'am. i said, can you get it to me by 2:00 today? he said, yes, ma'am. and that really was the end of the conversation. >> that's monday, august 31st, the day before gliniewicz's
death. the same day he sends this text to his chief. "she has now demanded a complete inventory of explorer central and a financial report. fml." fml is text slang for "f my life." >> good morning. >> anne marrin is the first administrator with a keen eye on the budget, and it's not working for lieutenant gliniewicz. the lieutenant also exchanges messages that day with his friend, donny schmit, the mayor of fox lake. >> as the night when on, he said he only had about a third of the inventory done, he was going to get his rear end chewed out the next day for not being done with the inventory. and i kept telling him, count to ten, breathe, relax.
>> all this anxiety. the contemplation of a hit. it can't all be tied to a large number of improperly acquired surplus items. there must be more. there is. inside those 6,500 pages of messages are texts that suggest the highly admired law enforcement officer had been stealing from explorer bank accounts for about seven years. in june he types to a person identified by investigators as individual number 1, "use the explorer account for the flight. $624.70." cnn has learned individual number 1 is his wife, melodie. a few days later, he types to a person identified by investigators as individual number 2. "you are borrowing from that other account. when you get back, you'll have to start dumping money into that account or you will be visiting me in jail. the $1,600 and $777 all came from there." cnn has learned individual
number 2 is his son, d.j. according to family attorneys, lieutenant gliniewicz had been depositing his own money into the explorer post bank account. up next, a shift. a massive shift. so just over a month after he died, that's when you were starting to think this may be something -- >> something different, yeah. yeah. the orders were rushing in. i could feel our deadlines racing towards us. we didn't need a loan. we needed short-term funding fast. building 18 homes in 4 ½ months? that was a leap. but i knew i could rely on american express to help me buy those building materials. amex helped me buy the inventory i needed. our amex helped us fill the orders. just like that. another step on the journey. will you be ready when growth presents itself? realize your buying power at open.com
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two months ago, fox lake, illinois, was stunned, hunting desperately for three men they believed had killed their hometown hero. now, november 4th, the authorities are ready to tell the world the final results of their investigation. it's a bombshell. >> this extensive investigation has concluded with an overwhelming amount of evidence that gliniewicz's death was a carefully staged suicide. >> bombshells involving the
death of lieutenant joe gliniewicz. >> everyone in that room was completely stunned. >> in the room, shock reigns. >> commander, lieutenant, commander. >> you still insisted for two months that it was a homicide investigation first. >> our intention was never to mislead the public. we completely believed from day one that this was a homicide. >> i've got to tell you, i mean, i was hearing from law enforcement folks, this looks like suicide. >> we knew there were going to be a lot of questions about this, and no matter how long it takes, we want to get it right. >> in and around fox lake, the news devastates the lieutenant's friends and supporters. >> i didn't want to believe it at all. i didn't want to accept the fact. i didn't want to hear about it. i didn't want to listen to anyone say it. i didn't -- i didn't want to hear it. you don't know how to feel. you feel so pissed off and you feel so betrayed and you -- you
don't understand it. >> after nine weeks of investigation, authorities now believe they know what really happened on that first day in september. g.i. joe was not who they thought, and his death was no accident. >> the first shot takes place here. the crime lab estimates it was anywhere from, i believe, three to six inches out. the initial impact is absorbed by the telephone. >> lieutenant gliniewicz's work phone, the one he is wearing above his right hip. >> it goes through the telephone and absorbed through the vest. >> not fatal, but painful. >> it would be similar to that of a sledgehammer hitting you in the side. >> dazed but not badly hurt, police believe gliniewicz then does the unthinkable.
>> you're literally taking your hand and shooting downwards under your vest. >> to commander filenko, two shots originally suggested homicide. >> who would shoot themselves twice? we found out his high tolerance for pain. one of the interviews we had with his wife, she indicated when he was in pain, he would be in a different place. >> that explains how the lieutenant was able to kill himself, but there are still some ends that need to be tied up. the gun is found two and a half feet from his head, placed between two trees. if lieutenant gliniewicz shot himself, how did the gun get there? >> this fatal shot did not hit the heart. it hit the pulmonary artery.
he could have lived up to two minutes, and that was a key piece of information. >> he shot himself standing, at a downward angle under his vest, dropped the gun and still had enough to walk a couple of feet and fall down face first. >> and what about the lieutenant's gear? it seemed to be tossed everywhere, indicating a struggle. >> this is what he did. he trained explorers, i mean, they have these competitions where they stage crime scenes. >> lieutenant gliniewicz had staged scenes right here before. >> the concrete plant is where we do a majority of our sniper training. he knew it like the back of his hand. >> what do you make of the fact that he bought two packs of cigarettes that morning before he went to the concrete plant? >> if you're going to stage something, you want to give the perception of everything is business as usual. >> investigators now know how he did it, but why?
the answers, they say, are in the texts he tried to delete. texts that suggest he was lying, stealing, and feared getting caught. >> he used this explorer account as his personal account. a lot of what these moneys were spent on were very unusual. health clubs, starbucks, adult websites, plane tickets. >> in other words, not expenses for a group of teens. >> no. not pizza parties. >> in the end, investigators say he stole thousands from the people who trusted him the most. his beloved explorers. >> i would have done anything that i possibly could have to help him. i think a lot of people would have helped him, too, if he would have asked for help. i think he was very prideful and i think that's what ultimately led up to making his decision. he didn't want to ask for help. >> a police officer's thought process, his persona, his
reputation out there in the community is more invaluable than anything, so he's trapped. and he comes up with the scenario of if i go out as a hero, and even if they do discover all of this in the end, the hero is going to outweigh the zero. ahead -- >> did gliniewicz act alone or did he have help? >> our investigation strongly indicates criminal activity on the part of at least two other individuals. lost shipments, international regulations, security breaches, lost revenue lost respect.
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behind a gate, down a gravel road, a blue cross now markings the spot near where lieutenant g.i. joe gliniewicz died. once shrouded in mystery, what happened here has come to light. >> do you have any doubt whatsoever about the suicide determination? >> no. >> you're 100% certain? but the end of the death investigation isn't the end of the story.
>> our investigation strongly indicates criminal activity on the part of at least two other individuals. >> months later, melodie egliniewicz is the only one arrested. and the close their investigation on the misused funds. >> joe was my best friend. >> the woman who wailed with grief the day her husband died learned her accounts were frozen when she went to gas up her car in november and her request was denied.
>> in november after officials froze her bank accounts, they released a statement requesting they refrain from rushing to judgment. and adds this she looks forward to her day in court to prove her innocence. they have refused to comment to cnn. and what about the boxes and boxes of explorer post items
that are missing in. >> if there are items that aren't there that should be there, it raises the question where did they go? >> fox lake is in the process of trying to figure out what the lieutenant did with all the surplus items he acquired. town officials told cnn they are r reviews all current policies of the police department and the village. >> with it being under investigation, we felt it was best to go on hiatus until the investigations are done and we'll start with a clean slate. >> we have to turn in everything that says fox lake police and/or explorer post on it.
it's difficult. had. >> the young people who g.i. joe gliniewicz seemed to care about so much are perhaps his biggest victims. >> that's the part of me that, you know, that doesn't like l.t. anymore. that's the part of me that makes it very difficult to miss him. and for him to do this and to leave us in the position that we've been in, it's difficult. very difficult. >> despite all that, her opinion of the man called g.i. joe hasn't changed. >> he will forever be my hero. he wasn't superman but pretty damn close. >> to investigators, he's an officer who committed the ultimate betrayal.
he dishonored his badge. >> it was a slap in the face to all of us. the people who stood up and came to the memorials and came to the police department and dropped off cards, flowers, added to the memorial, you had police officers that traveled from across this country to attend his funeral. and it was all for a lie. >> he dishonored what we all swore an oath to uphold. he betrayed not only our profession with you his entire community. it was the first time i could actually tell you in my entire career that i felt ashamed to be a police officer. this one -- this one will haunt me for, you know, at least the rest of my career and probably beyond.
>> the following is a cnn special report. this is where it happened, where mr. gray was arrested? >> yes. yes, it is. >> exactly one week after he was critically injured while being arrested in west baltimore, gray has died. >> a young man's life, cut short while in police custody. and without any clear