tv Dateline Extra MSNBC December 3, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
you just never know. and just looking back at it is scary. i'm just thankful that i'm here and i'm thankful that nothing worse came from it. . i don't know what it is about my mom that has captured the heart of so many people. there's just something to her that people connect with. what was so beautiful about her, it made her a target too. >> she was the queen of the million dollar listing. real estate broker who sealed the deal. >> her customers love her. >> hands down the most genuine person you have ever met. >> she headed out to show a house that day and never made it home. >> i'm texting her and calling
her. >> oh, gosh, what's happened here. >> something's wrong. >> was she in danger? was someone behind this? >> this is beverly, i haven't been hurt. please don't call the police, if you call the police, it could be bad. >> you can hear how scared she was. >> suddenly, an all out man hunt. >> this is like a movie, this chase and this kidnapping. >> could anyone reach her in time. >> i had to be strong. >> i know she pleaded. >> did you find her? is she alive? >> welcome to date line extra, i'm tamron hall. beverly carter was well known in little rock, arkansas, she was a wife, mother, a successful real estate broker who had a lot of clients. like all missing persons cases, police knew it was a race
against time to find her before it was too late. here's andrea canning with "the client." >> beverly carter was making a name for herself in little rock, arkansas. >> her face was in the paper every week. >> she had a billboard on one of the busiest interstates with her face on it. >> as a top selling realtor, beverly carter had become somewhat of a local celebrity. with her infection smile, she put house hunters at ease, trusting her to find the perfect home, she often did. but there was a down side to her celebrity. >> this realtor had a target on her back. >> she did, and she didn't know it. >> for beverly, being a realtor was more than just closing a deal. >> was she in the perfect job for her personality? >> absolutely. >> her sons chad, carl jr. and
carl jr.'s wife kim. they were amazed at how much her clients loved her. >> one client, she went to their wedding and then their baby shower. >> she had a nice smile. >> she had a beautiful smile. she had a laugh that would fill a room. >> and she was hands down the most genuine woman you would ever meet. >> chad says his mother absolutely glowed. >> i they's what spoke out to people and what people noticed. obviously she was naturally beautiful. >> it was that natural beauty that caught the eye of her husband carl. they met when they were just kids. >> she was 16, i was 19. >> wow. where did you meet her? >> in texas, she was working another a little hamburger joint named the bionic burger. wow, did i know that i was going to get a wife when i got up there and got me a hamburger.
>> so you just knew? >> yeah. >> they quickly got married at city hall. >> it was a very small wedding. >> their young love led to three children, all boys and later six grandchildren. they had their share of marital problems, including money issues and infidelity. but they worked them out. so when their 20th anniversary rolled around, they decided to renew their vows and throw a big party. >> i just asked her, would you marry me again if i asked you to? she says, well, yeah. i says, okay. >> you know, they wanted to renew their love and show everybody. and it was a way for her to get her dream wedding. gosh. >> a few years after that, she got her real estate license and her best friends, stacy, brenda and denise say it didn't take long for beverly who build a
loyal clientele. >> did she sell a lot of property. >> she was the top listing agent in 2013. >> what was it that made her so good at closing the deal? >> she just had that magic about her, she had such a bubbly personality that it made you fall in love with the house. >> the women worked together in the same office, although they say it often felt more like play than work. >> we would laugh at anything, you know how it is when you get with your girlfriends, you know how it is when you find stuff funny. she had this huge, goofy laugh that you could hear all the way down the hall. >> and as realtors they looked out for each other, their office even came up with a secret code, a text that signaled there was trouble. >> so red folder was a code? >> she would say, do you have the folder on 123 main street. >> a code they never thought
they would have to use. >> as her 50th birthday approached, beverly was determined to get in shape. she started running working her way up to 5k races. >> the reason she liked to run was the medals, she had this fascination with the medals. >> she lost nearly 60 pounds and threw herself a big birthday party, and she gave herself a present, cosmetic surgery. >> she had the tummy tuck but she also had implants but she also had a lift. when they put the implants in, they were just a little bit larger than she wanted them to be. >> oh, we had some billig laugh about that, and she was going to go have them reduced because they hadn't fallen and they were up here. >> but she looked good. >> she looked fabulous. >> and being a real estate agent, she thought it was important to look her best.
on a warm day in september 2014, beverly was easing back to work. brenda remembers beverly telling her she was going to show a house not far from her home. the buyers were offering cash. >> if it's a cash close you can also close it quicker. >> this is just kind of an every day run of the mill showing. >> a no-brainer, yeah. >> beverly left the house and headed off to show the property to a young couple. she told her husband she would be home for dinner. >> you didn't hear from her, did you? >> he started to worry. he decided to take a ride over. >> if she was over there, her car would be there, so i drove over there and there was her car. >> beverly was not in the house? >> that's right. >> so that was panic time for you. >> i was weird because beverly wouldn't leave unless she was in her car. >> did you call the police? >> yes, instantly.
>> that call set off a frantic search for beverly carter, where was she? >> coming up, what had happened to beverly? >> all of a sudden, beverly texts me, bam, bam, bam. >> we all got texts, she said, i'm sorry, my phone has been dead. >> the mystery was just beginning. >> i can still feel the same pain.
then a text, but was it from beverly and what did it mean? here's andrea canning with more of the client. carl carter was worried about his wife, beverly. she had promised to be home for dinner after showing this house not too far away. but it was dark now, she wasn't answering her phone, and at the property for sale her car was in the driveway but there was no sign of her. carl says he called the police, then his son. >> he says, you know, it's almost 9:00, and he says, son, i haven't heard from your mom. have you heard from her? and, you know, i'm texting her, i'm calling her and i can't get any response. and my first thought was, dad, this is just the nature of the business. >> to reassure his dad and himself, carl jr. and his wife kim drove over to beverly's office hoping she'd be there. >> there was no one there. the place is completely black. and about that time dad had let me know that he had made it to the property where mom told him
she was going and her car was there but she wasn't. >> carl jr. figured there must be an explanation. as did beverly's friends stacy and brenda. being real estate agents themselves, they thought maybe she had gone with the potential buyers to show them other houses. >> we went to the two vacant houses that were beverly's listings and went and checked the lock boxes and read them to see if anybody had opened them and nobody had opened them. >> as the hours ticked by, beverly's friend denice couldn't sleep, so she checked her phone. >> there was an e-mail from brenda and i can still see the words that said "it is with a very heavy heart that i let you know that we can't find beverly, she went to show a house and she is missing." and i still can read that and feel the same pain. >> police and beverly's family gathered at the property, trying to figure out where she was. how was your dad handling everything? >> i felt like he was hard to read. he would sneak away from time to
time, you know, get some -- collect his thoughts. >> then, around 1:00 a.m. -- >> i all of a sudden bam, bam, bam, three texts. i hollered at the officer, i said "come here, beverly texted me." >> word that beverly was texting gave everyone hope. >> i was ecstatic, this is done, her phone has died. she got somewhere, it's charged, it's good. >> across town, beverly's friends, brenda and stacy got texts of their own. >> our phones both started beeping at the same time with texts. >> and it was like such an eerie feeling. i was just like oh, my gosh. >> what was she saying to you two? >> she said "i'm sorry, my phone has been dead and i just turned it back on." >> it sounded promising but a little off. concerned, brenda used the safety technique the office had come up with. she texted beverly the special code. i said can you tell me if you left the red folder on my desk? >> if beverly was in trouble, she would know to text back her location. there was no response. >> the one that i got was "out
having drinks with friends." and i was like going, well, we're right here. >> the texts on beverly's husband's phone were just as deflating. they read "yes, sorry, phone been dead." and "having drinks now." carl jr. knew his mom would never go out and not tell anyone. >> i can't even tell you. to go from this she's okay, this is all over to the second we saw that screen and saw what those texts said we knew. someone has her phone. >> totally flipped me out. i said she's been took. >> the patrol division who'd responded to the call decided they needed backup. detective jeff allison rushed over to the property. >> beverly hadn't really been missing for that long so why were you called here that quickly? >> patrol division showed up and started speaking with the husband and determined that some of the factors in the case were odd. >> not only was beverly's car parked in the driveway, her purse was locked inside.
>> did you have just a grim feeling right out of the gate that this woman did not disappear voluntarily? >> i was hopeful but i did have a feeling, yes. >> the detectives searched the vacant house. it was pitch black. the electricity was off. >> i got down on the floor and with my flashlight when it's dark you can shine a light at a specific angle, you can see disturbances in dust, there were disturbances but it just looked like somebody had walked through there. >> no signs of a struggle inside, but he did discover a clue outside the front door. >> there was a tire track in the grass. it looked like somebody had pulled up next to the front door or backed into the back door. >> the neighbor across the street had seen something? >> yes, she looked out the window and saw a black vehicle pulled into the driveway and about 25 to 30 minutes later looked outside, saw a skinny white male with short hair outside of the house with a vehicle backed to the front door. put two and two together and that's probably where the tire track came from. >> the detective found more to
go on in the back of beverly's car. >> i found a notebook she kept with realtor information on it that showed a listing for that house. >> was there anything in that notebook that was providing you with any clues? >> attached to that listing was an e-mail address and a phone number. >> did you call it right away? >> i did not call it right away, no. >> he didn't pick up the phone for a good reason. the detective had a theory. >> i felt that beverly, wherever she was, she was being held against her will. >> if this was a kidnapping, he knew they had to tread lightly with any possible suspects. like the couple she'd met at the house. if they were involved, the last thing he wanted to do was tip them off. and the detective says there was someone else he had his eye on. >> coming up -- >> people were saying, oh, the husband must have had something to do with it. >> they were asking questions like, okay, you're the husband and you just completely contaminated our crime scene. why did you do that? >> i knew that i was a suspect.
welcome back. when a person goes missing, detectives will tell you the first few hours are critical. the clock was ticking. it was time to start talking to those close to beverly, including her husband. andrea canning picks up with the client. as the sun rose the next morning, there was still no sign of beverly carter. her family and friends were out searching. >> we had beautiful 8 x 10 color flyers that we were posting everywhere. >> she had just had new head shots done. >> we had hundreds. >> and hundreds of people joined search parties all over the area. >> her family, her office family, came together and we had realtors from all over the state helping us. by that afternoon we had the search set up and everybody had an assignment. >> many realtors felt this was personal. one of their own, while out doing her job, had gone missing.
and agents were already on alert. in recent years, there'd been a rise in crimes against real estate brokers across the country. brutal assaults and even murder. how often do you talk about safety? >> i mean, we always talked about it but a lot of times if somebody would call and ask us to go show a house it was just kind out of instinct sometimes you would jump up and go. >> but this was not a last-minute showing for beverly. brenda said she'd been in contact with the clients for a few days. >> she did have some concerns initially because it was a man who contacted her. >> she wanted to make sure the wife was going to be there also. she wanted to show them both at the same time. >> that deal was made both parties would be there? >> i think it made her feel more comfortable that the wife would be with him, and the wife got on the telephone and told her yes, she would be there. >> and her friends pointed out the neighborhood where she was showing the house was one beverly knew well. she felt very comfortable in this area? >> yes. >> that was her stomping ground. >> she had sold several houses on that street, so she was very
familiar with that area. >> her pastor lived on that street. >> and that street was now a crime scene. news stations helped get the word out. >> an arkansas real estate agent remains missing this evening. >> did this become immediately the lead story on every newscast? >> every newscast, all kinds of feedback from viewers. the biggest story online, the biggest story on facebook. viewers here immediately latched onto it. >> shannon miller covered the story for nbc affiliate kark. she says finding beverly became a local obsession. >> people came out in droves looking for her, wondering where could she have gone. to not come home from work after doing something you do every single day, it left a huge mystery. what happened to her? >> beverly's husband carl even made a televised plea. >> i just would like to have my wife back. >> he sounded heartbroken. >> there's crazy people out here in the world. >> but not everybody was buying the distraught husband story. >> people were saying oh, the husband must have had something
to do with it. the husband must have hired somebody. you know, we all watch a lot of "dateline." >> carl jr., still worried about his mom, now feared his dad could become a suspect. >> they were asking questions like okay, you're the husband and you just went into this home and -- to search for her, you've gone even up in the attic, your fingerprints are everywhere, you just completely contaminated our crime scene. why did you do that? and so you could just see their wheels turning, it was like, oh, no. >> he was right to worry, detective allison brought carl sr. in for questioning. did you put carl in an interview room? >> yes. >> and treated him like this is somebody we need to take seriously? >> yes. anytime you do an interview like that it's always best to get into a setting. you're down at a detective's office in an interview room and i'm giving an interview. that plays on their emotions. >> did you ever consider the possibility that carl could have
paid somebody to do this? >> yeah, i thought about it. >> did you know why you were considered somebody that they needed to talk to? >> once i got in there and they started questioning me then i knew that i was a suspect. >> as detective allison continued to question carl, he discovered some skeletons. they were having financial issues? >> yeah. >> how much money did beverly carter have in her checking account? >> i don't know the exact dollar amount. it wasn't much. >> $126? >> sounds about right. >> was there a life insurance policy? >> yes, several thousand dollars, hundred thousand dollars. >> hundred thousand dollars? >> i don't remember the exact dollar amount. >> the detective also learned about other issues he found disturbing. >> he said, did you ever have any kind of affair? and i said, yeah, one. >> and something else that was troubling, years before carl says he got violent with beverly as she tried to stop him from driving drunk. >> i mean, i even hit her one time.
that's when she got out of the truck and said, "i'm not going to ride with you." i said, "stay here then." i just drove off straight into a ditch. >> did you regret it? >> oh, yeah. i felt too cocky. as far as that goes. honestly, i needed to roll in it. >> did you worry how that would look? >> no. i didn't worry a bit. i wanted to find beverly. one thing. i wanted to find beverly. i said, you know, i hit her and it was that but just one time out of 34 years, one slap upside the head, that isn't bad. >> he says that was many years ago and beverly never held it against him. >> she forgave me right then because she knew that it -- it wasn't me. >> detective allison says he wasn't ready to cross carl off his lift. he had other work to do.
the e-mail address and phone numbers of the perspective buyers found in beverly's notebook were fake. tracking the couple required more digging. and he had a new clue to follow. beverly's cell carrier retrieved eerie photos from her phone taken inside the house just before she went missing. >> she knew something was wrong. >> what had happened inside that house? a new lead morphs into an all-out manhunt. >> the guy jumps out of a second-story window. >> this is like a movie. this chase and this kidnapping. >> oh, yeah. ♪ is it a force of nature? or a sales event? the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event. (bing)
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break news this morning. oakland, california is where we take you, a huge fire ripping through a warehouse during a party last night. officials confirm four of the nine fatalities have now been recovered. another 25 people unaccounted for. we're waiting for an update from officials in oakland at the top of the hour, we'll bring that
live to you when it happens in about 30 minutes. and in massachusetts, firefighters are battling a 10 alarm fire. it's destroyed eight structures including one church. now back to "dateline extra." . the hours and days had -- gave police their first big clue, once again, here's andrea canning with "the client." detectives searched computer and phone records and data was pouring in. they were hoping it would lead to the missing real estate agent. beverly carter's cell carrier turned over everything on her phone and there was one thing that caught investigators' attention, these blurry and dark pictures she took of the house she was trying to sell. not exactly showcase material. and when her daughter-in-law had a chance to see them --
you have a theory about why they're badly taken photos? >> you can just tell that it was like quick, just quick. i knew she knew something was wrong. >> she believed beverly was scared of those potential buyers and was rushing to finish showing the house. it was all bad news. beverly carter had now been missing for three days. >> i'd never felt that kind of loss of control. you feel utterly hopeless. >> and helpless. >> yes. >> you can't do anything. >> yeah. >> what they didn't know was that detectives were about to crack this case wide open. the team that had discovered the buyers' contact information was fake kept investigating. >> and they were able to start taking the e-mail address and the phone numbers, start sending out search warrants and obtain subscriber information to those e-mail and phone number. >> did names pop up? >> yes. >> their real names?
arron lewis and his wife, crystal lowery. police raced over to put the couple's house under surveillance. this was a very delicate operation. >> yes. we were working with the expectation and the hope that she was still alive. >> detective allison says she wasn't sure if the couple was even involved. he first wanted to see what arron lewis looked like. remember, their eyewitness had seen a skinny white man with short brown hair the night beverly disappeared. they hadn't been sitting there long when suddenly a man matching that description walked out the door. but they didn't approach him. were you hoping he might lead you to beverly? >> yes. >> was that the idea? >> yes. we felt like if we made contact with him too early, then if he was the one we were looking for, everything is shot. >> lewis got into his car and that's when the detective says the plan quickly fell apart. >> he actually saw us sitting there. so that's when he started speeding off. >> he knew you were following him? >> oh, yeah, yeah. he actually went around a 90 degree corner and wrecked and
was out of the vehicle by the time we went around the corner and saw him. >> lewis was injured. police photographed him and rushed him to the hospital. >> we're not allowed to go back with them while they're getting certain treatment, so a detective is sitting out waiting for the treatment and when they take arron back to get mri or cat scan or whatever they're doing he decides he's going to leave the hospital. >> arron doesn't come back? >> he doesn't come back. >> arron lewis bolted from the hospital. what seemed the closest link to beverly carter had slipped through their fingers. police launched a city-wide manhunt. was that one of the first things you did, get his photo out to the news media? >> yes. >> everybody knows you have to get this guy. >> right. >> and beverly's life is at stake. >> right. >> reporter shannon miller remembers her station cut into programming with the breaking news. >> authorities are searching for a man wanted for kidnapping beverly carter, a realtor. >> was the whole city kind of glued to their tv sets as the
hunt for this individual was on? >> absolutely. so many people knew this picture, knew this face. >> and everyone was on the lookout. ben boyette and conan waters, managers at a mortgage company who knew beverly from real estate deals, were discussing the case in their office. >> and as we're standing inside this room looking out with the window open, arron lewis walks right in front of the window. >> ben immediately called 911. >> 911. >> hi. i'm sitting over here. they're looking for a guy here that was involved in the realtor being kidnapped. and this guy looks like he is nervous and he's out here at a bus stop. >> conan went out to the bus stop to confirm it really was lewis. >> i approached him and he was a little standoffish at first, so i made quick conversation about the bus routes and the times which put him at ease and i thanked him for his time and i walked back inside and told my colleagues absolutely that is arron lewis without a doubt.
>> they spotted lewis ducking into a subway sandwich shop. he's caught on a security camera. and when lewis left -- >> someone from a distance outside had made the comment "hey, i think that's him." and that's what spooked him. >> lewis took off across the street towards this apartment complex. >> maybe five people chasing him. we knew we were in different areas. so i think we were confident where he was. and luckily for us soon as we turned the corner we saw the police coming in. >> when the police get there, arron takes off running into an apartment. and jumps out of a second-story window before he's taken into custody. >> this is like a movie. this chase and this kidnapping. did it feel like that? >> oh, yeah. yeah. still does. >> the cops finally had a suspect, and what he revealed would send detectives on a hair-raising drive to find the missing real estate agent. >> coming up --
>> carl, it's beverly. i just want you to know i'm okay, i haven't been hurt. >> a haunting recording. >> i want to let you know i'm okay. i haven't been hurt. >> could beverly still be alive? >> i had hope. you have to. i mean, it's what keeps you going. in my asthma treatment with breo. once-daily breo prevents asthma symptoms. breo is for adults with asthma not well controlled on a long-term asthma control medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid. breo won't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems. breo opens up airways to help improve breathing for a full 24 hours. breo contains a type of medicine that increases the risk of death from asthma problems and may increase the risk of hospitalization in children and adolescents. breo is not for people whose asthma is well controlled on a long-term asthma control medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid. once your asthma is well controlled, your doctor will decide if you can stop breo and prescribe a different asthma control medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid. do not take breo more than prescribed. see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. ask your doctor if 24-hour breo
but the roller coaster ride for beverly carter's family and friends was far from over. >> i can remember the feeling when he was captured. we were all just like, yes. okay, now where is she? come on. where are you? you know, we're ready to find you. >> as investigators focused on arron lewis, they backed off on beverly's husband as a suspect. >> really your biggest task is to find out where beverly is. >> that was my biggest task and my biggest concern at that time. >> what was his story? where was beverly? >> really your biggest task is to find out where beverly is.
>> he said that he kidnapped beverly and it was because of money. he said he found her on the internet, searched her out, saw that she was a broker and felt like he had money. >> lewis described in detail what he claimed happened. he says when he contacted beverly about the house showing she told him she didn't feel comfortable meeting just him. so he got his wife, crystal, on the phone to say she'd be there too. >> arron shows up, goes, in and makes some excuse as to why crystal couldn't come. and arron tells me he had beverly take photographs of the house with her phone. >> so that explained why those photos the detective had seen were dark and blurry. lewis said he asked beverly to send them to crystal since she couldn't be there. >> he said they walked upstairs and when they got to the top of the stairs he pulled out a flashlight taser and told her she was about to have a bad day.
and she asked "what are you talking about?" and he says "you're being kidnapped." >> beverly must have been just absolutely terrified. >> no doubt. no doubt. >> lewis then claimed he had an accomplice and he wasn't talking about his wife who had set up the meeting with beverly. it was someone else. >> he said if anything happened to beverly, trevor done it. >> who's trevor? >> trevor is a guy that arron actually lived with for a short period of time. >> did this give you some hope that maybe there was an accomplice here and maybe he did have beverly? >> i had hoped we were going to find beverly alive. you have to. it's what keeps you going. >> lewis said the last time he saw beverly she was with trevor and offered evidence she might still be alive. lewis played a recording from his phone and it was chilling. >> carl, it's beverly, i just wanted to let you know i'm okay, i haven't been hurt, just do what he says and please don't call the police. if you call the police it could be bad. i just want you to know i love you very much.
>> it was encouraging, but it only proved beverly was alive at the time of the recording. the detective told lewis he needed more. >> and that's when he finally says well, i'll take you to where the last place that she was. >> so this is the big moment now in this whole case. this is it. >> yeah. that's when we load him up and we start going to cabot, arkansas. >> beverly's family prayed this nightmare was about to end. did you know that arron lewis was saying your mom was alive? >> yes, we knew that after they had him and they were interrogating him. >> that was a big boost of energy. when he was telling us, it was so uplifting, we're like, okay, we're about to get her back, great. >> is everyone just sitting by the phone waiting for the call? >> uh-huh. >> we got her? >> uh-huh. pacing. >> lewis led detective allison on a nail-biting road trip 30 miles out of town to the last place he claimed to have seen
beverly alive -- a shed on the side of the road. what are you thinking as you're approaching this shed? that there's a really good chance she could be here or are you not so sure? >> i'm hoping like hell she's in there. we go in and she wasn't in there. she had never been in there. >> that's such a letdown. >> tell me about it. it was bad. it was bad. >> but lewis wasn't done. he had a captive audience and he knew it. he took the police to a new location, a house about 35 miles away. >> and he says, well, this is where i initially took her after i abducted her. i could tell as soon as we walked in there was nothing. >> another letdown? >> another letdown. >> are you feeling like this guy is just taking us on a wild goose chase? >> yeah. i was so mad i couldn't drive him back. i had to ride back with another detective. >> there's a woman's life that could be at stake, he's messing with the police. >> playing games, playing games.
>> while lewis was leading detectives on this wild goose chase, another cop had tracked down this trevor, the man lewis claimed was his accomplice. >> we figured out he was in the military in little rock, assigned to the little rock air force base. we did make contact with him, actually interviewed him. >> they interrogated trevor for several hours then let him go. >> he wasn't even in town when this happened. >> he had an iron-clad alibi? >> absolutely. we confirmed through his job, through the air force base with their office of special investigation that he was on base that day. >> lies after lies. there was no accomplice. neither location turned up anything. police were running out of options. and then detective allison thought of one more possibility, a cement plant called argos where lewis had recently worked. >> i point blank asked him if beverly was at argos, and at
that point he was looking down at the table. when i said that, he looked up and he had a stupid look on his face so i figured right then that's probably where she was at. >> police raced over to the factory, hoping to find beverly alive. >> a mad dash by police to a cement plant. beverly's family were both hopeful and fearful of what they might find. >> another game from aaron lewis. >> i was so mad. i thought how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation. >> and at last an answer for beverly's family. >> he says we found beverly. ♪ i tried hard to quit smoking. ♪ but when we brought our daughter home that was it. ♪ now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day.
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carter was. here's andrea canning with the conclusion of "the client." four days after beverly carter disappeared police pulled up to this remote cement plant. they frantically searched for the missing real estate agent. you just have this gut feeling that's where she's at? >> yeah. >> shortly after arriving, an officer stumbled on something straight out of a crime novel, an elbow sticking out of a shallow grave. it was beverly. detective allison went to see carl. >> you never forget the look on somebody's face when you tell them that you found their spouse. it's hard. that's probably the hardest part of it. >> he said we found beverly. i said, well, was she alive? and -- no. "i'm sorry. but she wasn't." >> we had worked so hard, i mean, to find her. we just really tried to do right, and it wasn't enough.
>> i know she pleaded. i know she pleaded for her life and to be sent to come back to us and for her grandbabies, and i just have to know they're there to comfort her. >> arron lewis was charged with murder and kidnapping and his wife crystal lowery charged as his accomplice. they pleaded not guilty. but his words to reporter shannon miller outside the sheriff's office didn't sound like those of an innocent man. >> why beverly? >> she was a rich broker. >> it was just as chilling in person as it was on tv and then he gets into the car and you're going, what did he just say? >> two weeks later shannon interviewed lewis in jail and he told a vastly different story from the one he told detectives. was he willing to cop to anything? >> no. >> i didn't kill her. i didn't murder her. and anything that did occur was
an accident. >> then he tried to say beverly played a role in her own death. he implied she willingly met him at the house for a sexual hookup that went wrong. >> it didn't have nothing to do with her showing the home. just a place to me. >> in your opinion, how far-fetched was this news story about the sexual encounter? >> it was 100% made up, so it was completely far-fetched. >> assistant district attorney john johnson was assigned the case. he believed it was a kidnapping gone wrong but needed help proving it in court. he turned to lewis's wife, crystal lowery. >> i thought from the very beginning we needed to flip crystal and it would be important for the case for her to testify. >> he made a deal with crystal. she agreed to testify against her husband and plead guilty to murder and kidnapping in exchange for a reduced sentence of 30 years. >> it's good for the jury to be able to hear the back story of
what went on and the why of what went on. >> aaron lewis went on trial. the prosecution's star witness, crystal lowery, took the stand and told the jury all the grisly details. she claimed it was all about money, not sex. >> she said he came up with the idea of kidnapping someone but she went so far as to suggest real estate agents. >> she testified she was in class at nursing school when lewis abducted beverly. >> she got a text from arron lewis saying "look at this" or something like that. and it was a picture of miss carter bound in the trunk of the car. she said when she got home he had brought miss carter back to the house. >> she told the jury when she got home beverly was locked in their bathroom and what she said next showed how little thought went into this plan. lewis had forgotten beverly's purse with her atm card at the property, so he went back to get it.
crystal says when he got close to the house cops were everywhere, one even pulled him over. >> this particular officer just stopped a car that was coming in to say, hey, have you seen -- and just asked questions and to put the person on alert. >> the officer couldn't have known that arron lewis was the man they were looking for. >> miss carter was still alive and he just didn't know it. >> when lewis returned home, crystal told the jury that's when the couple ran out of options. >> she was in the bathroom with crystal's medication and she knew crystal's name. >> beverly had seen too much. they agreed she had to die. >> arron took miss carter from their house and put her in the back of the car and drove her out to the cement plant. >> that's when prosecutors believe lewis did something horrific. he wrapped beverly's face in duct tape and let her suffocate. >> he came home and told crystal she was dead.
>> and then the heart of the prosecution's case, that recording of beverly pleading to her husband. they played it for the jury. >> do what he says and please don't call the police. if you call the police, it could be bad. >> prosecutors argued the recording proved beverly had been kidnapped and contradicted lewis's claim of a hookup. so how would the defense explain that tape? attorney bill james chose to ignore it. >> i was unable to come up with any plausible explanation for that recording that helped us. >> so was this one of your biggest obstacles then? this recording. >> i mean, everything came back to the recording. >> instead, he led jurors in a different direction. beverly's personal life. you said this case is about secret lives. what did you mean by that? >> in order for the defense to be correct, she would have to be living a life that was basically secret or at least doing something other people didn't know about. >> here's where lewis's story got even stranger.
he was no longer implying that he had sex with beverly. he claims he was out of the house at the time. >> that's what he said, yes. >> lewis said the tryst was between beverly and crystal. he said beverly accidentally died during rough sex. >> she died while with his wife and he was only just protecting his wife and trying to cover up for her. >> to further bolster this story, james suggested to the jury that beverly had been prone to poor judgment. he pointed out she was broke but driving a brand new cadillac and getting expensive plastic surgery. >> i'm just saying she made some bad decisions, maybe she made another one. >> finally, arron lewis took the stand and told the jury the story about the alleged rendezvous with beverly and his wife. during cross-examination, prosecutors pounced. they questioned him about every detail including that one piece of evidence that seemed to contradict his entire story --
beverly's voice on that tape, telling her husband she'd been kidnapped. >> what he ultimately told the jury was that he had done it himself, he had synthesized her voice and created this tape. >> you'll forgive me if that # # sounds maybe a little silly. >> well, you'll forgive me if i remind you that i didn't say it happened, i'm just telling you what the evidence was. i'm just saying what happened at trial. >> to beverly's friends and family lewis's story was not only preposterous, it was painful to listen to. >> we've been victimized over and over again by him. i was angry that not only that he was able to do it but that he continued to hurt my mom. >> i was so mad because i thought how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation. >> the verdict was back in less than an hour. >> we hear footsteps running and they're like "the verdict's in." what? it was very quick.
>> good sign? >> yes. >> great sign. >> great sign. >> arron lewis was found guilty on all counts and given two life sentences. >> i felt relief. i instantly -- relief that we got him. >> and beverly's family is working to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else's family. they started the beverly carter foundation. her son travels the country training real estate agents about safety. >> it's a blessing for me because i get to not only raise awareness, talk about safety, best practices, but then i also used that as an opportunity for me to kind of slide in some great stories about my mom and so kind of keep her alive.
want to take you live to oakland, california, officials giving an update 6:00 p.m. local time on that fire that killed nine people, possibly as many as 40. perhaps we'll get more details on what they have been doing this afternoon. let's listen in. >> the coroner's division. i would like to share with you some updates. i'm going to turn it over to sergeant kelly right now. tomorrow morning we'll have another press availability at 8:00 tomorrow morning. sergeant? >> our next update will be tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. so