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tv   Dateline Extra  MSNBC  February 4, 2018 6:00pm-8:00pm PST

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on "kasie dc." as a philadelphia fan, i would just like to say we are always prepared for the worst and ready to be angry even if the best happens. fly eagles fly. for now, good night. so many young women missing, only one detective to find her. >> for me, there was always a story to them. >> there was a story to her too. she's a young woman, lucky to be alive. for a lot of people, that would be the end of police work. so she searched as the numbers grew. >> another one here, then another one there. >> families hurt. >> she says i have some bad news for you. >> while under a desert sky, a secret waiting. >> the reality is kind of like,
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god, this is not happening. >> missing women, forgotten by almost everyone, but her. >> i've just always felt they were going to be together, that if you find one, you're going to find them all. detectives often hit dead ends that can stop them cold. but for the detective in this story, that ends with just another place to start. she had beaten the odds in her own life and now she was determined to beat them on the job using her head and her heart. sometimes ida lopez can't wait for sunday. sometimes in the middle of her workweek the albuquerque detective feels a pressing need for spiritual solace and divine guidance. the fall of 2005 was one of those times.
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>> i just thought that was the coolest thing i'd ever seen. so that curiosity. then there was the service part, the helping people part of police work.
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>> so she learned about the lives of the women on the street and it was here while posing as a decoy during prostitution sting operations that she learned the raw power of their addictions. >> i just learned the absolute dependence on the drug for the girls. there's no way in your right mind you're going to get into a car and do what this person told you to do. there's no way. that gave me an empathy for them on that part. >> over the years ida's career blossomed. she made detective, married another cop and started a family. her future seemed assured. but in 2004 doctors discovered a
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mass in ida's right kidney. >> it was growing. i had kidney cancer. >> what did doctors tell you? >> they were shocked. it wasn't common in women and wasn't common in women my age. i thought i need to make further plans. my husband's got young kids to take care of. >> frightening. >> then about a month and a half after i was diagnosed, i had my kidney removed. >> surgeons also removed ida's a adrenal gland. her return to work would have to be gradual if it was going to happen at all. for a lot of people, that would be the end of police work. >> right. >> not for you? >> no. i wasn't done.
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>> in july 2005, after a few months after recuperation, the department offered ida a 20-hour a week desk job working missing persons. >> missing persons is kind of a back water in a lot of departments. >> right. it's where they needed somebody and it worked out, you know, for me and for them. >> as you will soon see, timing will play a critical part in the story we're about to show you. within weeks of starting her new job, ida was handed two missing person's files. those two files would mark the beginning of the biggest case of her career and would turn into one of new mexico's most heinous
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crime stories. both of those missing persons were attractive women in their 20s with arrest records for drugs and prostitution. both had seemingly vanished without a word to friends or relatives, sad but common, especially for these dark streets where drug addiction and prostitution literally go hand in hand. ida went by the book. >> so what i usually do is i go back to see what their arrest history is. so it's a matter of time before they go back out. then a third one comes in. as months go by, research and find there are maybe another one here and another one there and that sort of thing. >> soon there were five missing women with similar profiles, all
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of them about the same age with a similar look. all of them known to hang out in a section of albuquerque so notorious that cops call it the war zone. all but one, a juvenile, had lengthy arrest records for drugs or prostitution. so she did what every good detective does. she started keeping a list of missing women who matched that profile. that was the easy part. the hard part was that many of them had already been missing for more than a year before ida even had a chance to start looking. it's one of those timing issues we told you about earlier. lengthy delays in reporting missing people as missing. >> it's like being in a race and somebody has a year head start, ready, set, go. i don't have phone records. i don't have a regular address. i don't have a school schedule, a work schedule, that sort of thing. >> and you don't have anybody who saw them yesterday. >> right.
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>> and can tell you what they were doing, what their state of mind was. >> right. and the family knows them better than i do but they hadn't seen them or they see them once a month or every six months. >> add to that fact that most of the missing women had supported their drug habit as street prostitutes who got into cars with strange men as often as 20 to 30 times a day. it's easy to see how another detective, one with a harder heart than the one beating inside ida lopez might have given up. coming up, a missing daughter and a father's regrets. >> i took her to a friends house and dropped her off. i know in my heart i didn't do the right thing, but i knew i had to. oh! there's one. manatees in novelty ts?
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returning to "somebody's daughter" once again.
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every life is a mystery. not just because of what happens, but because of what might have been prevented. missed. or all together avoided. such was the mystery of the women on detective ida lopez's growing list of the lost. it's a mystery their families still struggle to understand. >> there's a dad who had a calendar. every time he saw her, he marked the date down. gave her $20. maybe he knew where the money was going to go, but he saw his daughter. and that didn't take that part away that she was still somebody's little girl. >> the name, the face belonged to michelle valdez, one of the first women on the list. her father had reported her missing six months before ida got the case. he was the guy who kept the calendar.
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>> the x is indicating no knowledge of her, disappeared, nothing, no word. >> the fact is dan valdez had been recording his daughter's comings and goings for years. >> this is michelle. >> i took it upon myself to tape them. tape every event. every chance that i had, i had the videotape there. >> but michelle valdez that appears in these home videos with her little sister system a far cry from the thin drug wasted young woman police would come to know and fingerprint. this michelle, along with her sister camille and half sister kendra was a cut-and clown. showing up for her first communion and showing a budding interest for boys.
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this michelle according to her was an all-american girl with a future as bright as the new mexico sun. >> i looked up to her for many things. i was always the tagalong with her and her friends. >> she didn't mind? >> no, not at all. >> then came the teen years when life started coming at michelle valdez fast and furious. by then dan and michelle's mother were divorced and dan was raising michelle and camille alone while working days at the juvenile detention center. and nights and weekends playing steel guitar with his country band. dan tried to keep a watchful eye on his girls and even took them to work with him at the juvenile detention center to show where careless mistakes can lead. some of it seemed to take. some of it didn't. at 13 michelle became pregnant.
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>> i was devastated. what can you do? you can't be with them 24/7. all you do is bring them up, nurture them, show them love, attention, appreciation. >> and sometimes they make a mistake. >> sometimes they make the wrong turn or mistake. >> shortly after her 14th birthday, michelle valdez gave birth to a baby girl she named angelica. >> so you were being a father all over again. >> a father all over again. >> i was only eight years old and becoming an aunt. it was tough. but once, you know, we had that bond, me and angelica, it was nice. i enjoyed it. >> at 14 most kids rightfully think their best years are ahead of them. high school. college. career. that was not the track michelle valdez was on. though dan continued to tape the usual family functions, michelle's little girl angelica
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was the center of attention. on the periphery in offhand moments, dan's camera also caught something else. the look and the unspoken despair that signaled the death of a young girl's dreams. she struggled to hold it all together, but michelle eventually dropped out of school. for a while she tried to support herself and angelica with a series of minimum wage jobs, but couldn't make ends meet. after three years, angelica was sent to live with dan's mother who lived nearby and michelle took to living with a series of people she called friends. but 2002 the wear and tear is written all over her face. that september angelica celebrated her sixth birthday. michelle had just turned 20, a milestone that was not lost on
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mother or child. >> mommy's not a grown up anymore -- i mean teenager anymore. >> never was. >> no. in a sense, michelle never was a teenager. and now on the cusp of young adult hood, michelle looked gaunt. her face bore the cut of sores that suggested she'd been hitting the crack pipe. >> when did you notice things were gone wrong? i'm guessing you noticed before anybody else. >> i noticed when she started seeing one of her boyfriends, you know, he opened up the door for all the wrong things. >> like? >> the drugs. the drugs. definitely. >> dan knew about the drugs and twice got her to agree to enter rehab, but michelle never showed up. increasingly there were run-ins with the law. michelle had already been busted for receiving and transporting stolen property, drug possession, and car theft.
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dan knew about some of the arrests. most he didn't. when a stolen car rap in arizona landed michelle in jail dan says he bailed her out and pleaded with her to change her ways. >> on the way back from arizona to here she promised i'm not going to hang out with the same people, i'm going to do things different and you're going to be proud of me again. then she bails two hours after she's home. >> the toll of michelle's addiction on her younger sister camille is also evident in dan's videos. as camille becomes a teenager, she no longer seems to want to acknowledge michelle or even have her around. >> we were always bumping heads. we weren't as close because of the drugs. she'd come over and steal my things or, you know, i would see how upset it would make my dad, so i would tell her, you know,
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mean things. >> before long, michelle valdez stopped showing up in her father's videos, sometimes because she avoided the camera. other times because she simply didn't show up. >> she knew that there was events at the house because she'd call and ask if she could borrow $25. she was hungry or whatever. she was at a hurting spot. so i gave her the money. >> even though you knew -- >> even though i knew that it could be going for drugs. it was my gateway to making contact with her and seeing her in person. >> dan may have had the patience of jobe, but by 2004 camille, the tagalong little sister, had had enough. when michelle asked dan if she could move back home for a while, camille put her foot down. >> he was going to let her stay with us. and i remember telling him no. if she comes and stays, i'm going to leave.
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i couldn't handle it. >> i remember that. >> i didn't even -- i didn't even want to be around it anymore. i was so tired of it. tired of seeing him hurt. >> so you told michelle she couldn't come over? >> i told michelle that she couldn't come over, that i took her to a friend's house and dropped her off there. i know in my heart i didn't do the right thing, but i knew that common sense in my brain said that i had to. i had to take that avenue. >> they call it tough love. for dan valdez, it was pure t torture. every night he knew she was out there. and every time the phone rang, his heart stopped hoping that hers had not. ♪ ) i'm 65 and healthy. i'm not at risk. even healthy adults 65 and older are at increased risk of pneumococcal pneumonia.
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without word from his oldest daughter, michelle. >> when was the last time you saw her? >> it was in september of 2004. >> how did she look? >> thin. wired out. strung out maybe. had spots on her face. >> did you see her then. >> honestly i don't remember the last time i seen her. i don't remember the last words we spoke. >> you don't remember? >> no. >> but it might not have been a nice thing? >> no. as erratic as michelle had come, she'd somehow always shown up for the moments that mattered most to her daughter. that changed when michelle failed to show up for angelica's 7th birthday party. that day it fell to 15-year-old camille to fill in for michelle and act as mom. that christmas angelica opened her presents alone with no sign
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of her mother michelle. >> i thought maybe she'd turn up a few days later or a few weeks. >> it was breaking angelica's heart that day when she wasn't there. >> in february five months after michelle was last seen dan went down to the albuquerque police station and formally reported his daughter missing. detective ida lopez was on medical leave at the time. the valdez family was at the mercy of the police department's bureaucracy. >> she didn't want to be found. >> i understand they don't just deal with missing. they deal with all kinds. >> for a long time the news would be full of stories about girls who were missing and everybody was looking for them. one of the things those girls all had in common was that they were all attractive and blond and white and didn't have any criminal record.
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i just kind of wonder whether police and everybody else would have sort of stepped up their game a little bit if that had been the case here. >> yeah, that did cross my mind numerous times. but, you know, you have to have faith in your law enforcement. if you don't have faith in your law enforcement to treat everybody equal, then what do you have? >> what you have in dan valdez's case is a search you do yourself. as spring turned to summer that year, dan, his ex-wife and his daughters plastered fliers with michelle all over central avenue asking anyone who had seen her to call the albuquerque police department. at night dan drove through the war zone sometimes into the wee hours of the morning looking for michelle.
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>> it was real hard because, you know, i'd be circling the block or whatever, see somebody that may appear to be the size of michelle, a small person, and go around the block two or three times and me wondering who they were as well as them wondering who i was. >> it had to be brutally difficult to think of michelle living that kind of life. >> definitely. definitely. it was not the way that her mother and i raised her. >> those were long nights filled with bitter sweet memories of michelle and the way she used to be before the drugs took over. and thoughts of rare moments together before she went missing. >> she came over to the house one day and i had given her a few dollars and she stood up. she said dad, i'm going to run. i said all right. and she said -- she went up to put her arms around me and i hugged her. she said no, dad, squeeze me tight.
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squeeze me like you've never squeezed me before. and i got her and i gave her the biggest hug a father could ever give his daughter. >> remembered moments like that sustained dan and drove him to continue his lonely search for michelle. then in july, 2005, about five months after dan had first reported michelle missing, he got a call from a detective who had only recently been assigned michelle's case. a detective named ida lopez. >> i thought ida being a police officer was awfully small. she's a short lady. but other than that, it had seemed that she was on the up and up and that she was doing what she could in her power and the time that she had to go out and -- out to the streets. >> it would become a close working relationship based on frequent phone calls and mutual admiration. >> dan is a strong, quiet man.
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this is a man who absolutely loved his daughter no matter what. he didn't see her with the track marks. he didn't see her strung out. >> he had no idea she'd been arrested. >> well, he did see her that way, but that's not the eye -- what he saw in his eyes or his heart. >> dan continued to cruise the war zone welling himself to believe that his daughter was still out there. >> i thought she was alive and well and doing good. but just didn't want to have any contact with the family. maybe i did something wrong. maybe it was me not letting her come back to the house. maybe it was camille saying no or whatever. >> but dan's confidence that michelle would turn up alive was suddenly shaken one night when the phone rang at the valdez home. the caller on the other end of the line had heard something shocking. >> we had gotten a call from a
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family friend of ours that i grew up with and, you know, i pick up the phone and she's, like, oh my gosh, i'm sorry about your sister. i said what are you talking about? she said michelle. michelle's -- michelle and cinnamon were stabbed and buried on the west mesa. >> did you know who that was? >> no. never heard of her. >> did you ask who she was? >> yeah. michelle had ran the streets and knew certain people and they had heard it from her aunt. >> dan called detective ida lopez with the tip but she was unable to find the aunt or to pin down the source of the rumor. it was all just unverifiable street talk. the kind ida lopez had heard before except for one tantalizing tidbit. cinnamon was a name on ida's list. cinnamon elks. missing since august of 2004.
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but even if those rumors were true and human remains were cooling in the desert night on albuquerque's west mesa, the detective knew it would take a miracle to find them. coming up, was a serial killer stalking the women, working the war zone? >> i just always felt that they were going to be together. if you find one, you're going to find them all. >> when "dateline" continues. friends, colleagues, gathered here are the world's finest insurance experts. rodney -- mastermind of discounts like safe driver, paperless. the list goes on. how about a discount for long lists? gold. mara, you save our customers hundreds for switching almost effortlessly. it's a gift. and jamie. -present. -together we are unstoppable. so, what are we gonna do? ♪ insurance. that's kind of what we do here.
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two amtrak employees were killed and more than 100 others injured when a train derailed in south carolina. the train was given verbal approval to proceed down the set of tracks but the switch was in the wrong position. the countdown is onto another potential government shutdown. congress has four days to keep the government open past thursday. returning to "somebody's daughter" --
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every morning the sun rises over the mountains east of albuquerque and begins baking one of the most celebrated stretches of asphalt in the united states. historic route 66, the highway famous for carrying dust bowl refugees and beat generation oddballs west to california. the mother roads glory days are behind her now. the city's down scale drug and prostitution trade flourishes. cops call this section of central avenue the war zone. the women who work its shadows prostitutes. but ever since her early days in uniformed patrol, ida lopez has called them her girls. >> i got to know a lot of them. we could chase them out, but for me there was always a story to them. >> ida says the story she heard back then were heart breaking
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tales of abuse and neglect this almost always had drugs at their core. >> these are hurting women. you'll see some out there that they need that fix. you know, it's not what you see in vegas. it's not the call girl. it's not the pretty woman. >> by the end of 2005 ida had five women on her list who were roughly the same age with similar backgrounds. young hispanic women with arrest records for drugs or prostitution. >> i start going out there and talking to the girls. at first some of them were hesitant. i said i'm not running you. when is the last time you saw her, did you know her, what you tell me. >> how much of your time is this taking? >> it's taking all my time. >> working alone, the detective distributed fliers with the womens pictures at truck stops, convenient stores, even the new mexico state fair.
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but she kept coming up empty. >> i went to some drug rehab places who were not willing to help me. i sat in many waiting rooms. i said i don't want to know what their sessions were about. all i want to know is a timeline. >> some of the women had been missing for so long to ida started comparing notes with a detective in the department's cold case unit. eventually they were able to persuade the department to let them form an unofficial task force where once a month they met with other agencies including the fbi to discuss leads on missing persons, on cold cases, on sexual predators, and on unidentified remains. >> so we were able to communicate with each other anything that came up, any trucker initiatives or murderers that the fbi sent us, we posted on the wall. our girls we posted on the wall. >> are truckers a particular problem? >> yeah, they can be.
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they travel interstate. they pick up a lot of girls. we know a few that have a history of murdering the girls who frequent the truck stops. >> so at one point at least you're sort of looking at truckers. >> looking at everybody. >> by the end of that year, ida's list had grown to more than a dozen women. ida knew the odds of finding any of the missing women alive were not good. but that's not what she told the families when they called in looking to hear something encouraging. >> i would tell them every single day we're one day closer to finding your daughter. yes, i pray they're okay and hopefully they've been in a commune in some town or in a rehab center or a jail or with friends that they're actually doing okay. >> did you believe any of that? >> i held on to the hope and possibility. >> reality, however, demanded that the detective do more than just hope for a happy ending.
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so with the tact of a parish priest, ida lopez began making the rounds. asking family members such as dan valdez for dental record and dna swabs. >> when you go to some family that's got a missing daughter or sister and say i need some familial dna and i need your child's dental record, you're essentially saying i do not expect to find her alive. >> right. i also think that they knew the lifestyle, which puts them in harm's way, and so nobody denied the dangers that their daughters were in. >> out in the war zone, where the human urge towards self destruction is strongest, death is just another occupational hazard. >> how many cars a day would you get into? up to 20, 30 cars a day. how many guys is that? but they know.
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they know the dangers out there. >> rumors that albuquerque might have its own jack the ripper who was snatching prostitutes off the streets was still common currency among the women working the war zone. >> there was a handful of urban legends, human drug dealers, it was a cop from california. a number of thing. they heard some of the girls had been chopped up in pieces and dumped in another county south of here. >> chilling if true. but in the light spangled darkness of albuquerque's war zone where women sell themselves for as little as $20 a trick, truth and rumor are interchangeable commodities. still, in her quieter moments, ida allowed herself to fear the worst. >> i've always felt they were going to be together. >> in death as in life? >> yeah. i just -- you know, there was nothing that led me factual to
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believe that. i just always felt that if you find one, you're going to find them all. >> coming up, unfortunately ida's theory would soon be put to the test. >> one of our violent crimes detectives said oh, they found a bone. >> when "somebody's daughter" continues. and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time for power e*trade. the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. looks like we have a couple seconds left. let's do some card twirling twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online.
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welcome back. returning to our story, here's josh mankiewicz. for four years detective ida lopez tended her list of missing women as if it were a garden plot. >> did you notice when the girls were going missing? >> mostly she just watched it grow. but occasionally she was able to do some pruning whenever a lost soul was found.
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>> i find a girl with the same background, but guess what? i find her months later. i get to call the dad and say we found her, she's been arrested. >> kind of weird to be able to call a family and say great news, your daughter's a prostitute and she's alive. >> but i get to say this is where she's at. >> the families of the 18 women now on ida's list prayed for happy endings like that one. but most of the women who worked albuquerque's war zone, fellow travelers who might have helped ida find them missing, were too drug addled to provide useful leads. some passed on grizzly rumors to ida that the missing women were dead and had been dumped in the desert west of town. >> it's like a little dark hidden evil city out here. >> desiree gonzalez said she used to hang out on the streets and knew several of the women and had also heard several of the rumors.
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>> i calm out here looking for my cousin and i had bumped into cinnamon and she had told me that the girls were getting their heads cut off and taken to the mesa. that was the last time i seen cinnamon. i got scared. it seems like they knew or something. >> ida didn't completely disbelieve what her girls were telling her. but the mesa, a vast expansive desert west of town, where people frequently dump things they no longer have any use for, was simply too big an area to launch a search based on just a rumor. and so this case was going nowhere. until late in the afternoon on february 2nd, 2009 when christine ross decided to take her dog for a walk. they strolled out of her new subdivision, one of many that
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had recently sprouted up on the desert west of albuquerque. and then over to an abandoned construction site where christine let the dog off the leash to run. >> she ran up ahead of me and she was messing with something on the ground. and then she left it. we came upon it and it appeared to be a bone. it didn't look like the normal animal bone you find out here. so i took a picture of the bone. i sent it to my sister who's a nurse. she confirmed that looked like a femur bone and i should call the authorities. >> finding a bone, even a human bone, is not unusual out here on albuquerque's west mesa. this is storied territory where native american tribes and cowboys once roamed. the bone could easily have belonged to one of them. but the police who arrived at the scene shortly after nightfall soon determined that this was no ancient artifact. this bone belonged to someone who had died in the not too
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distant past. >> one of our violent crime detectives said oh, they found a bone on the mesa, i'll let you know. >> i saw it on tv. on february 2nd when christina ross and her dog was reported on the local station as finding the femur bone. >> i was on a ski trip and when i came home i had seen it on the news and i told my boyfriend, i said, you know, what if that's michelle. >> when you heard it, what did you think? >> hoping again, the old parental feeling is hoping that it wasn't. >> dan valdez was not alone. there were other homes across albuquerque that night that were suddenly filled with a similar stew of hope and dread.
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over the next few days investigators would find more bones scattered over a 30 yard swath of that abandoned construction site. one mystery was ending. another was just beginning. shawn evans: it's 6 am. 40 million americans are waking up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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so all you pay for is data. choose by the gig or unlimited. and now, get a $200 prepaid card when you buy an iphone. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to for five years dan valdez prayed at the end of each day that the next sun rise would bring news of his daughter, michelle. >> police have set up a tip line. >> then in february, 2009, came unsettling news. a thigh bone had been found out on albuquerque's west mesa. within days evidence of one body had become evidence of two and then three, then four, then five, then six. >> six sets of remains were found within 20 yards of each
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other. >> dan valdez who had been wondering for years where his daughter saw his most cherished hopes and dreaded fears placed on a collision course. >> when they found the second, third, and fourth sets, i said to myself i have to look at this that michelle i'm sure is probably out there. >> at times detective ida lopez was out there too along with practically every other member of the albuquerque police department and forensic experts from the fbi digging, scraping, sifting. >> the reality of it was kind of like, this is not happening. it's stuff you read about. >> then came seven, eight, nine, ten, 11. it turned out all were women. and all with the same name. jane doe. ida lopez couldn't help but
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wonder if these dry bones were the women she'd been looking for. >> i just didn't know. there was so much going through my mind. >> over the years, ida's list of the lost had grown to include close to two dozen women who fit the same basic profile. young, drug addicted hispanic women who were known to wander the streets of albuquerque's war zone. for ida walking through the bone yard it felt as if she was watching a horror story unfold in real time. >> you're wondering i wonder if it's going to be the rest of the girls and i carried this little flier in my pocket and in my car for the last four years. >> and within weeks ida's early work of collecting dental records of the missing women and dna samples from their families began to payoff. bones started to get names. >> the only body that has been identified so far, victoria chavez. >> she was on your list. >> she was on my list.
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>> and you thought this is it. >> i thought this could be it, yeah. >> but there was more. something that surprised even veteran crime seen investigators. in the grave of jane doe number eight, investigators found a tiny second set of bones. it was a fetus. jane doe number eight had been four months pregnant at the time of her death. >> they would say we found a skull. it had a lot of hair. she's pregnant. this is michelle valdez. but they hadn't made an i.d. yet. >> michelle valdez, after years of having only her rap sheet and her father's bitter sweet memories to go on, ida lopez was sure she knew where michelle val dez was. >> did you know michelle was pregnant when she disappeared? >> i did. >> a few days later lab work confirmed ida's hunch. jane doe number eight was michelle valdez. >> i had to tell dan.
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the hardest part of this whole thing is having to go to somebody's house and say we found her. and she's not alive. >> i see her pull up out front and i go out and stand on the sidewalk. she gets out of her car and comes up to me and ida says dan, she says i have some bad news for you. >> dan, she was i.d. and it was her and she was pregnant and the baby. it was just very difficult. >> i looked at her in disbelief. but knew it was reality. i just could feel all the strength in my body just kind of just drain all of a sudden. and i kind of was wobbling a little bit and ida consoled me a little bit and said it's okay, you know, it's okay. and then she says is there anything that we can do?
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do you need anything? i said no. i said just the information you gave me was plenty. >> of course there was more dan needed to do that evening. he would have to tell michelle's 12-year-old daughter angelica. >> and i said angelica, i said, detective lopez just told us that your mother has been positively i.d. as one of the west mesa women. and that's when angelica looked at me and started crying. she said no, don't tell me that, you're lying to me. don't lie to me. i said honey, i'm not. i'm telling you the truth. >> it was a scene that no doubt had played out earlier at the family home of victoria chavez, but for the families of the other women on ida's list, the waiting and wondering would go
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on for months. for ida lopez, there was the fear that her nightmare prediction was coming true. >> i just always felt that if you find one, you're going to find them all. >> and for albuquerque's homicide detectives, there was the most pressing question of all. who was responsible for turning the west mesa into an unmarked cemetery and was he still at work? coming up, searching for clues in a crime scene big enough to be seen from space. >> it's kind of eery looking at those satellite photos. when "dateline" continues. ush! easy! easy! easy! (horn honking) alright! alright! we've all got places to go! we've all got places to go!
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and it's exactly what you're looking for. ( ♪ ) welcome back to date line extra. in 2005 in new mexico, a detective named ida lopez set out to find a group of women who had vanished. the women fit a similar profile. all young and most of them had a arrest records for drug or
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prostitution. the fearless detective always assumed if she found one of the woman she would find the rest. she was working on the biggest case of her career and one of new mexico's most infamous crime stories. every fall as the south western summer heat begins to ease, hot air balloons rise like spring flowers over the surrounding desert. it's the city's annual balloon. a money making spectacle that draws tourists from all over the world. for one week in october. it's unlikely any of the balloonist who float out over the western me sa area spend much time studying the details of the sandy desert floor below. if one of them had, during the 2003 or 2004 festival, they might have actually seen
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evidence of a murder. moonlighting as a grave digger. even though that evidence was long gone by the time the bones were discovered in 2009. a birds eye view was the perspective in fact investigators needed to search for a killer. >> when you see the scarring on the desert floor, knowing what we know now, it's obvious. those look like graves. >> this is what police chief ray shults says investigators saw when they looked at old pictures. in this 2002 image of the area of whered bones were discovered there's nothing unusual. desert and sage brush. two years later in 2004, when most of the women on the list were disappearing, the images showed tire tracks, leading from this road to a few bare spots in
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the vegetation. spots that weren't there before. this photograph taken the following year shows nor bare spots. clustered within 20 yards of each other. >> it's eerie looking at the photographs. >> that really sends a chill up and down your spine. >> the conclusion was inescapable. police were looking at the work of a serial killer. >> this particular individual made sure that he went back each and every time. when he was going to dispose of the body and disposed of it the same area. >> somebody who lives here. >> we don't know. or something that would come back and frequent on a regular basis. >> whatever the killers permanent address. the photographs were a huge break. that told police when he was active. and most importantly when he quit. >> there could be somebody up there now. and just depending on where
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they're at. >> detective and sergeant drew the job. of trying to track down the killer. all they knew he killed at least eleven women. and the 2005 housing boom that brought sprawl to the west mesa probably forced him to abandon this burial ground. and find another one where there would be no neighbors around to watch him work. >> you're up. half a mile from any populated area. back in the time frame. >> a al time frame. 2003 to 2005. and 11 sets of bones. not a lot to go on. the detectives knew simply finding the bones in the first place had been an incredible lucky break. >> all the stars aligned. >> oddly enough, the west me
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investigators good fortune began in the fall of 2008. when crumbling financial markets on wall street caused home construction on the west me sa. to grind to a halt. >> the company left town. and just kind of left the land the way it was. >> if those houses had been built they would have been right on top of the graveyard. >> correct. >> nobody would be the wiser. >> august 2008 we have a really bad rainstorm. >> the rain run off from the deserted site flooded the new neighborhoods that surrounded it. the company returned to the site to fix the run off problem they brought some bones to the surface. where five months later, those bones were discovered by ross. and her dog. >> you look at how many things had to have happened for these victims to be located. the development at first the housing downturn. the company leaves.
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a big rainstorm comes. and now with locate the victims. >> you got lucky? >> yes. very lucky. >> february 2008. kmnder and his small army of volunteers weren't feeling lucky at all. they spent weeks in the trenches looking for the bones at that abandoned construction site. >> it is a lot of shovel and pick work. sifting and in the dirt. >> two women on lopezs list had already been identified among the eleven sets of remains. now, between the bulldozers and her prayers. the department was moving heaven and earth to find out if there were more women from the list. out there. >> commander knew every scrap of evidence recovered from the giant crime scene would have to
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be cataloged and stored until it came time to prosecute. >> the size and scope was way beyond. as it unfolded. >> it was a crime scene that covered the equal of 75 football fields. and because construction drews had once levelled and filled a dry stream bed where some of the bodies had been buried, the team had to dig deep to finds what had once been sha low graves. >> we are police officers. we're not archaeologists. something in this level was overwhelming. >> the learning kifcurve was st. an earth mover dug deep and dumped a load of dirt. only to see a human skull roll down the hill and stop at his feet. it was an eye opener. that taught everyone from seasoned criminal investigators to back ho operator. to tread lightly. >> from a time that bone came.
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every single remaining victim came out in tact. >> they were using the best technology the department could bring to bare. such as lasers and grounds penetrating radar. the work was slow and the commander would feel as if the eyes of the nation were watching every move he made. >> i'm wondering how many more am i going to find and how many names am i going home with tonight. coming up. >> these women had families. parents and grandparents. and children. >> parents who lost a child find a call. >> our daughters. when somebody's daughter continues. ♪ that you'll ever need ♪ staying ahead isn't about waiting for a chance. it's about the one bold choice you make, that moves you forward.
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welcome back to date line extra. returning to somebody's daughter.
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once again. before february 2009, cha and michelle valdez had been virtually invisible to everyone. except their families. their customers. and detective lopez. who had their names on her list of missing women. but for the most part the public didn't know there was a list. the news had shown little interest in the story. when desperate family members had come to them asking for help. >> they wouldn't even put a picture on the news or nothing. that's all we wanted. just to flash her picture. >> of course, all that changed once bones started turning up. >> a few years before the first body was found, a colleague of mine and i had heard about a list of women that were missing. as it turns out. a columnist for the journal had
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gotten a copy of the list a few years earlier. now the two women from the list had been identified. she had an idea. >> i said to one editor. maybe we ought to run the list. we ought to be a little more proactive. and i thought well, i'll write it. and we'll see what happens. >> the resulting column which for the first time publicly connected the missing women on the list. with the west me sa foubone fie >> the response was amazing. for the first time we started to put faces on the women. and we had explained to the citizens that there weren't just two women that were missing. there were bunches of them. >> suddenly families who once felt isolated in agony, now felt a communal bond. and at the center of it all was
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dan valdez. >> i said let's gather the families together and get to know them and to be each others support system. let's exchange phone numbers. >> an impromptu memorial came to life alongside the wall that bordered the desert crime scene. and the newly organized families which included everyone with a daughter on the list. began holding monthly vigils to keep public attention focussed on finding all of the missing women. by now dan was emerging as the videographer and spokesman for the family. >> we all had a common denominator. our daughters. some of them. it was comforting it didn't just happen to me. >> six weeks after the digging began out on the west me sa, even more sets of remains were identified. and sure enough they too were names on lopezs list of missing
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women. >> investigators are looking frfor connections. >> by now street alongside the crime scene was a media encampment. reporters were live at 5, 6 and ten. sometimes reporting details that crime scene commander preferred to keep secret. >> all of the victims buried were buried with no clothing on. >> we had things we wanted to keep very secret. or things we want released. they had a telescope lens. they were there constantly. there were processes that did pose a concern. >> caught between the pressure to keep the public informed. and the need to prevent key details from leaking out to cranks and copy cats who clog tip lines. commander found himself scheduling sensitive excavation work in the off hours. when he knew cameras wouldn't be
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looking over his shoulder. >> i knead need to know where they were all the time. eyes of america in that hole with me. >> mid-april after two and a half months of intensive searching, mapping and aerial photograph. commander finally felt confident that his team had found all the bones there were to fine. and began shutting down the crime scene. >> just a few minutes ago police left the dig site. after they met all of the goals they set. >> the total body count stayed at 11 set of adult remains. and one fetus. for lopez, the discovery and identification of seven women from her list meant that years of careful detective work were finally paying off. >> she's very passionate about her job. and she realized these women had
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families. they have parents and grandparents and some had children of their own. she wanted to be able to provide them with answers. >> in addition to chavez and valdez. the others from the list were cinnamon elks. monica, and mar kez. >> a lot of people said they were drug addicts and prostitutes. well, if they were so be it. i didn't choose the lifestyle. the first thing is they were human beings to begin with. >> commander who tried to keep the local press at arms length during the excavation finally allowed them to cross under the yellow tape and onto the crime scene. along with crews from america's most wanted. >> media coverage could be
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helpful now. and might generate badly needed tips from the public. because not only was there a serial killer to catch. but also because one set of remains was about to unset everything detectives thought they knew about the killer. coming up. >> when they told us they had a young black girl. i thought i didn't have a young black girl on the list. >> who was she? where did she come from? not all those questions have been answered yet. was it possible lopez's list was just the tip of the iceberg? >> maybe there are women out there who weren't on any list. when somebody's daughter continues. [car accelerating] you can switch and save worry. ♪ you can switch and save hassle. [vacuuming sound]
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you know how painful heartburn can be. for fast-acting, long-lasting relief, try doctor recommended gaviscon. it quickly neutralizes stomach acid and helps keep acid down for hours. relieve heartburn with fast- acting, long-lasting gaviscon. welcome back to date line extra. returning to our story. after months of digging for bones in the desert. detectives wanted o get on with the work of catching a killer. so far, all the remains identified had been names on lopezs list of missing women. and all had worked as
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prostitutes. on the mean streets of the city's war zone. for police, that seemed like a good place to start their search for the killer. >> looking for people who have had history of showing violence. against prostitutes. >> that's more than a few guys. >> it's more than a few. >> it had to be someone local. investigators assumed. a meticulous man. whose grim will brought him back again and again. to bury his victims. >> everything was in a pretty contained area. all the bones. all the remains. >> yes. >> because this guy had complete freedom or thought nobody will come out here? >> probably because he felt safe out here. >> for detectives, it all seemed to add up. except for one thing the crime lab determined one of the remains, jane doe number 7.
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was a young black female. >> when they told us they had a young black girl i thought i didn't have a young black girl on the list. >> for medical investigator the bones of jane doe number 7 and her pirng tipped nails, were a puzzle. >> she's like a lot of other cases. that we have skeletal remains that come in. and there's so much work that's always done behind the scenes to get the identified. that nobody really ever sees. >> for the detectives who were trying to catch a serial killer, those remains represented a wild card. with staggering implications. what if the west me sa grave digger was a prolific transient? what if jane doe number 7 was first of many victims the grave digger brought from somewhere else. >> who was she? where did she come from?
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not all the questions have been answer ds as of yet. >> it would take more than diligent detective work to find the answers. but within a few months of receiving the remains, the lab coated sleuth at the office of the medical investigator began unraveling the riddle of jane doe number 7. >> since her skull was in tact, one of our senior investigators who is able to do forensic sketching started doing a profile for her. >> based on photographs of the skull, and a partial hair weave that was recovered from the grave. the sketch artist imagined that jane doe number 7 must have looked something like this. >> he was able too define her ears that the chin was specific for me. her nose and her eyes were very important. >> jane doe number 7's nose had
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been broken. that was represented in the sketch. and because her wisdom teeth hadn't fully developed, wendy knew she was probably only 14 or 15 years old. when she died. >> i started looking into the missing and exploited children web site. and was able to search through as many african american females that matched the possible stature. where they might have been when they went missing. >> from a pool of hundreds. wendy narrowed the field to 30. then to ten. and one. one girl who is face, age and biography seemed to match what she saw in the sketch. her name was edwards. according to to the web site, she had been a 13 year-old run away from a group home in oklahoma. in 2003. >> it was her ear. her ear was exposed in the
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photograph. and her eyes. that was what kept me bringing me back to her. >> dental records confirmed that jane doe number 7 was in fact edwards. one answer found. that generated more questions. like when did the oklahoma teenager get to new mexico. and who brought her? >> don't know. that's what we're trying to figure out. >> possibly the killer? >> don't know. no idea. >> detectives started checking with police departments and jail throughout the southwest. on the hunch that as young as she was, might have been in tang ltd in a prostitution circuit that shuttled women from city to city. >> the women involved the circuit. they'll move from phoenix to los
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angeles to las vegas and maybe not return fur several years. >> it was in denver. another city on the circuit. that detective hit pay dirt. >> one point she had been arrested in the denver area for prostitution. by a different name at the time. had been booked, they were able to get a booking photograph. of what's she looked like around the time she died we believe. >> edwards was released from the denver area jail in july, 2004. the same year almost all the other women had gone missing. >> the next time anyone heard anything about et wards. she was here in the makeshift grave site outside. sharing it with ten other women she never knew in life. but will be forever linked with. in death. >> she's not local girl. all the victims were local. they had ties to new mexico.
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>> she was last seen in denver. >> last known police positive contact was in denver. >> suggesting possibly the killer met her in denver? brought her here? >> i don't think so. >> she came on her own? >> she had been to new mexico one prior time. to her ending up out here. possibly two prior times. >> nine months after of the discovery of the first bone on the west me sa, the detectives were back to square one. the odds were good that edwards like the others had simply strolled out into the war zone. and climbed into the wrong car. her presence in the bone yard raised a troubling prospect. >> there were other girls from out of state. in the same we'll find another repeat. we don't know. >> now investigators feared the serial killer they were hunting may have buried ore bodies elsewhere in the vast desert
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west of town. >> it's a desert. there could be very realistically a will the of bodies. >> this in way suggests that maybe there are women out there who aren't on any list. >> that's a possibility. >> could be others. coming up. a suspect caught in the act. >> we approached the vehicle. opened the door. and first word out of the girls mouth he was trying to kill her. when somebody's daughter continues. to think that all money managers are pretty much the same. but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management.
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after an exhaustive digging effort, nvkt tors announce they were shutting down the crime scene. they had found eleven sets of adult remains. and one fetus. now a full blown murder investigation was under way to catch a serial killer before he struck again. >> from the moment the west me sa murder case landed in their laps, detectives knew they would be chasing a phantom. and grasping at smoke. the killer whoever he was. and assumed he was male. had a five year head start. >> you think we're dealing with wup guy? >> i think there's no doubt it's
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one guy. based on our experience, when you have multiple offenders more than one of them someone will talk. >> this killer had seemingly left nothing behind but a pile of dry bones. and a few old hazy satellite images. of tire tracks on the desert sand. >> it's almost frustrating. you look at this picture and you see the disturbed earth which later we learned are grave sites. and you see the toir tracks. but you can't get your hands on anything else. >> no witnesses. no fingerprints. no dna. >> we went back started 2002. we got the records from the local jail. anyone arrested for prostitution. anything like that. and we got a list of names. >> what kind of man is capable of killing and disposing of
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eleven women? without somebody noticing something. >> fbi behavioral sciences and agents came in. took a look at the crime scene and the evidence. they came up with their profile of who they thought we were looking for. including that profile was a white male. >> 35 to 50? >> typical profile. >> lives alone or away from home for periods of time? probably had some brush with law enforcement. probably familiar with the prostitution trade. >> yes. >> i'm still right down the middle on this. that's a lot of people. >> it's a lot of people. and do you use that profile in rule somebody out because they're not on the profile? you can't. >> the detectives needed a solid tip. and by the summer of 2009, the fbi and the city were offering
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$100,000 to anyone who could help them catch and convict the man responsible for killing the west me sa women. >> for the detective who long maintained that everybody counts. the existence of that kind of reward was a sign of progress. >> though the police tip line buzzed with hundred of calls from a trail mix of nuts, cooks and the merely misguided. nobody who actually knew something about the five year-old missing persons cases was dialing the phone. >> there were numerous rumors that certain individuals had killed several of them. and then one in particular had been killed by drug dealers. >> were all the victims killed the same way? >> we believe so. >> can you tell me what it is? >> homicidal violence. >> you're keeping that quiet because you don't want somebody
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to confess who didn't do it. >> that's correct. homicidal violence. >> homicidal violence. there was no shortage of names on the police list of potential suspects who were capable of that. but one name stood out. a name and face detective babcock knew well. from an encounter in 199. when he was working the vice unit. >> vice unit was watching a particular prostitute. the vehicle picked this girl up. drive to a remote location. with approached the vehicle. opened the door and first words out of the girls mouth who is a known prostitute was he was trying to kill her. >> and the man in the car was? >> a short powerfully built man in his 30s. who was known to have an equally short temper. and a taste for prostitutes. babcock saw marks on the woman's
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throat and she told him he looked like he was enjoying it. >> did you believe her story. >> yes. >> he was arrested for charges beyond just patronizing a prostitute? >> yes he was. >> that felony assault charge went nowhere. because the victim later refused to testify. it was what happened next that really focussed the detectives attention. in 2006, years after being caught in the act of choking one prostitute. he was caught in the company of a dead one. >> on the surface, seems like a good suspect. >> yeah. we don't know if it's him or not. >> according to to police, he lured the woman to his home near the west me sa burial ground. he killed her. wrapped her body in a blanket. and was preparing to dump her in the trunk of the car. when the woman's boyfriend showed up. >> we would just love to have
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the opportunity to interview him. and treat him just like any of the other individuals we're looking at in the case. >> that unfortunately will never happen. the boyfriend shot and killed mono-toy ya on the spot. it was a bit of frontier justice. who was about to literally get away with murder. years later his death would be just as tough a break for detectives investigating the bodies found on the west smae. >> there's nothing to connect him to the eleven bodies. >> not directly. >> just he committed that kind of crime. >> hard to get over a guy getting shot with a dead prostitute in his arms. it is. >> as tempting as it might be to pin the murders on a dead man. the detectives say there are a few disquieting facts starting with this one. one woman on the list had
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vanished after he died. >> if you close this case, and you say we decided it was him. and later you find out it was somebody else. a lot harder to prosecute that person. >> absolutely. >> as 2009 drew to a close, two more women from the list were positively identified. virginia clover. and sal czar. there was only one set of nameless remains left to identify. but now it seemed likely whoever she was her name was probably already on the list. >> the new year began with a detectives knowing they needed a break. and they were prepared to follow any tip anywhere. if that's what it took to solve the case. >> police and fbi agents are now in missouri. >> then a news flash came from
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missouri. that had everyone in new mexico glued to the tv screen. >> that's a long ways away. from new mexico. coming up. is the answer to the mystery blowing in the wind? >> he's in the area where the prostitutes frequent. it's a photographer. now through the investigative leads or other sources, we find something that tells us more about their lifestyle as well. which gives us the kind of immediate gut reaction. it's got to be. when somebody's daughter continues. to most people, i look like most people. but on the inside, i feel chronic, widespread pain. fibromyalgia may be invisible to others, but my pain is real. fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i'm glad my doctor prescribed lyrica. for some, lyrica delivers effective relief for moderate to even severe fibromyalgia pain.
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welcome back to date line extra. detectives investigating the west me sa murders had no idea if there were more victims out there. or if the serial killer was on the loose. one thing they did know however,
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was that they were playing catch up on a crime spree that had been going on for years. in late january of 2010, nearly a year after the first bones were discovered on west me sa. the last set of remains was matched to another name. on the list. >> university of north texas. 15 year-old was not a prostitute. she was last seen with one. her cousin. who's remains were also found on the me sa. there were still seven missing women who fit the profile. on lopez's list. and if they weren't on the me sa, where were they? with the investigation now focussed on finding a serial killer, ida thought back to her late night chats with the women of the war zone. had there been anything she over looked?
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anything specific about a car? a smell? a tattoo? or an accent. something that might be significant. >> when you ask how many bad dates have you had? i have had 17. i have been choked i have beaten. i have been raped a number of times. you get a lot of of that. is it somebody that's nice in picking them up? >> investigators had plen it of leads. none that had gotten them closer to answering two questions. who was he? and where was he now? to find out, commander guyer head of the criminal investigation unit says the department chased leads all over the country. from texas where women with profiles similar to those of the west me sa women have gone missing. to states as far as pennsylvania. and florida. where the backgrounds and travel patterns of certain types of men
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seemed to warrant close attention. >> there's probably people in new mexico during the time frame. and now through the investigation and other sources we find something that tells us more about their lifestyle. which could give us the immediate gut reaction is it's got to be. it's got to be that person. >> it was that gut reaction to led detectives to joplin, missouri. in august 2010. >> investigators are treejsly tight lipped at this point. we know is in connection with to the west me sa murders in new mexico. >> the target of the search warrant was a local missouri photographer. who allegely had been in new mexico to take pictures during the 2004 balloon festival. police think it wasn't just the balloons he was photographing. remember, 2004 is when almost all of the women found on the west me sa disappeared. >> he's in the area where the
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prostitutes frequent. he's a photographer. he's going to have close contact with the people. whatever else draws that direction to them. we have to look into him. >> it was intended to be a low key search of the man's home and offices. it didn't turn out that way. >> it gathered a lot of attention. because we had to utilize the fbi. we had to utilize the police department. and one of the locations that was searched was right next door to the newspaper. if that same individual was here in new mexico, the media wouldn't have known about it. >> fbi abouts searched this home. >> is the man a suspect? >> no. i wouldn't say he's a suspect. he's an individual that came to our attention that we had to follow through. >> this guy takes photographs of the part of town you're looking at. is that what we're looking at? interested in seeing the photographs the man took and whether he found anything in them. >> we can't say why. >> detectives spent months combing through all the evidence
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taken from the photographers office and home. nothing definite was found. mon months later. most of the boxes were the disc of bones on the west mesa, albuquerque police are sure of only one thing. if the serial killer who preyed on their city is still alive he's probably moved on to another hunting ground. >> my personal opinion, i believe that person is still out there. coming up -- >> he may be waiting in some other community to start doing the same thing again. >> if he is, it may only be a mat ir of time when somebody's daughter continues. bibs on people! lobsterfest is back at red lobster... with the most lobster dishes of the year. new dueling lobster tails has two tails that'll fight to be your favorite. one topped with creamy shrimp and scallops, the other... steamed with lemon and herbs.
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ai'm begging you... take gas-x. beneath the duvet, your tossing and turning isn't restlessness , it's gas. gas-x relieves pressure,bloating and discomfort in minutes !! so we can all sleep easier tonight. so a few years ago, me and my wife were actually saving for a house. but one day we were sitting there and we decided that, you know what? something needed to be done about what was going on in our inner-city. instead of buying a house, we decided to form this youth league. what is he doing wrong? he should shed the block. exactly. it's volunteer, we don't get a paycheck. it's one hundred percent from the heart. football shaped my life and i'm praying that it will shape these kids' lives as well. ♪ ♪ and now with the conclusion
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to "somebody's daughter," here's josh mankiewicz. >> it's been years since those summer nights when albuquerque took to the war zone alone searching for a couple of missing women. these days she patrols with a partner, still looking for the lost. >> the majority of our girls were street level prostitutes. >> in that time, the case has gone from a nightmare for a few flawed souls to a nationwide search for a serial killer a man detective schultz says may not have succeeded into killing every woman he coaxed into his car. >> he may be waiting in some other community to start doing the same thing again. what we hope to happen is someone who had an encounter with this killer will make that phone call to us and we can link that individual to these crimes in albuquerque. >> if these women had been blonde, white, from the right part of town would you guys have
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sounded the alarm sooner? >> what makes this unique, several of these victims were missing for months before anybody reported them missing. also it goes back to the lifestyle, women in prostitution not often for them go missing for weeks and month at a time. >> that was true then and true today. out in the war zone, there's a new crop of ragged women on the streets willing to sell themselves in return for a puff of smoke from a glass pipe. >> i want to talk to you. >> most of the new girls either never new or barely remember the women whose places they've taken. >> whatever you tell us, it's no judgment at all. >> some do. in spite of their example they can't quit the life. >> did you notice when the girls were going missing? >> though police say they have a half-dozen suspects on their radar at any give.time, so far they haven't been able to eliminate or arrest any of them. >> it's a cold case.
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so you have to recreate and you have to kind of go back in the time machine so to speak to that era or that time in these people's lives. memories fade and witnesses disappear and some just don't want to be part of it anymore. >> many who lost friends and relatives to the west mesa grave digger are convinced there is still someone somewhere who knows something because they supposed all those earlier rumors about the women being abducted, killed and dumped in the desert had to have started somewhere. was it all hot air or did someone with knowledge of the murders mix a kernel of truth into those rumors? >> we're not the only family that got a call saying that their sister, daughter was murdered and buried out there. >> somebody was trying to send a message at some point. >> count ever trace them back or led them to a dead-end.
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>> though they both believe michelle's killer is still alive, dan prefrps these days to dwell on the things he knows for sure. >> i love you, michelle, is miss you, hon. >> that he once had a daughter named michelle, who was the light of his life. that once she was lost and that now she's found. >> we will see justice served. i love you, hon. >> i know 100% that my daughter is not alive, i know and i'm comfortable with the fact that they identified her as my daughter. i am comfortable with the fact that we gave her a proper buehrle, as a human being should be buried. and i'm happy and satisfied with that. >> ida lopez began this case with the mantra that everybody
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counts. it took years, but in the end, ida was able to make everybody care. to this day, above her desk hang faded photos of the women on her list, alongside a line of scripture that reads nothing is hidden except to be revealed. it's a quote familiar to homicide detectives everywhere. >> what information do you have? >> it's not just there for inspiration. for ida lopez, that's a mission statement. >> i have to keep believing that we'll find an answer soon. soon could be months or soon could be years. i have to keep believing that today could be the day. today could be the day. >> what about the last seven girls, do you think you will ever find them? >> i think we will. >> one of those women, sefura, was found alive and well after
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this story first aired in 2010. remember, she had been the one woman who had gone missing after prime suspect montoya, had been shot and killed. these are the women still on ida's list. anna, shawn tell, filippa gonzalez, nina, vanessa reed and leah peebles. >> we're looking and we'll keep looking. i pray i don't have to tell another mom or dad, but the same background, same area. they're somewhere out there. >> maybe ida lopez will find those answers here in the same sun-baked desert sand that once hid this mystery and later revealed it. but the problem, then as now, is time, and this desert doesn't give up its secrets easily.
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xxx >> that's all for this edition of of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. >> america's prisons, dangerous, often deadly. there are 2 million people doing time. every day is a battle to survive and to maintain order. >> down! on your feet! down! >> among the nation's most notorious institutions, san quentin state prison. our cameras spent months documenting life on the inside where gangs, drugs and sheer boredom make up a violent mix. this is "lockup: san quentin, extended stay."


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