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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  June 3, 2018 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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what our family has been through in the last four years. >> and you've got such a nice, sunny disposition. how do you do that? >> i get my strength from my mother. that's all for now. >> cathy had been nothing but trouble. >> she couldn't tell me what had happened. she was so upset. >> it was about to get much worse. >> my mom would say you find the car, you'll find cathy. >> you didn't want it to be dark, because you wanted to keep looking. >> she had been stabbed multiple times. there was blood within the interior of the car. she was a targeted victim. >> who killed cathy? >> we had no witness.
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we had no confession. we had no dna. >> 20 years went by. >> they still had to keep looking for what i had lost. >> a lot of faith in god. >> the killer didn't have a chance. >>. in the wee small hours of the morning while the whole wide world is fast asleep mary bennett won't rest. not because she wants to be up, but because some things stay with you, whether you want them to or not. for mary bennett, it's the time. 3:40 a.m. >> every day i wake up around that time. it's embedded in my brain. >> for more than two decades
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that particular time has stabbed her in the heart, pulled her awake. it's an internal clock permanently set to the worst day of her life. it's something that should never happen to this family, this girl. >> i'm home. what's for dinner? we just finished cleaning the kitchen. she would still ask what's for dinner? >> she grew up in a small town nestled amongst the sprawling cities of southern california. >> even as a baby, she was a good baby. >> mary bennett is cathy's mother. >> she was always happy, always running, and always very loud and always smiling. >> that radiant smile shined everywhere she went.
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>> cathy was energetic, loved to laugh. >> younger brother mari and the baby, debbie. tina was the eldest. she watched as cathy excelled in school. >> cathy was compensational. cathy made her own way. she didn't follow a role model. >> nobody guide her, and nobody pushing her. >> exactly. she had her own drive. >> she used to tell her younger sister you had to leave your mark in this world so that people would remember you when you moved on. >> you teach her that? >> no, that was just her. >> that's a -- >> beautiful, smart, and social and popular. >> you knew more about her dating life than maybe your mom ask dad did. >> yes. i believe to some extent, yes. >> cathy dated a few guys in high school, but no one she was
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terribly stuck on. and then in 1994 out of high school and a young woman of 20 cathy started to see a boy named albert. a boy she played with as a child and was now interested in romantically. >> were they boyfriend-girlfriend? >> she said that they were seeing each other, but it wasn't anything serious or formal. >> cathy's plate was full. she was an honor student at cal state, holding down a job at a local drugstore and another as a t.a., trying to pay for college. just awe few days before february 14th cathy told sister tina what she wanted for valentine's day. >> she said, tina, i would just like it if somebody gave me a dozen red roses for valentine's day, and i said, yeah, that's
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you will you want? she said i would just like a dozen red roses. >> she had never received a dozen roses from anyone, but that year she was hopeful. >> thenna was trying to catch up and just missed her. to see her moments later in traffic. >> we saw each other, and she gave me the biggest smile that i will always remember. she saw me. we looked at each other, and it was a beautiful smile. >> that smile, that moment burned into her memory. cathy's shift ended at 8:00 that night. she was supposed to come straight home, but mary didn't see her. >> so 9:00, 10:00 comes.
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you're not worried? >> no, i wasn't worried. >> saturday night, she probably went out after work. >> yeah. >> but then sunday morning came, and still no cathy. >> cathy's family launches a search. >> let me just see her car. >> and the fear and the frustration. >> it's not like you -- it's time. there was no days or no nights. didn't want it to be dark because you wanted to keep looking. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years. you finished preparing overhim for college.rs, in 24 hours, you'll send him off thinking you've done
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>> mary's daughter cathy torres never came home after her shift he ended and the next morning there was still no sign of her. mary called cathy's friends, and no one had seen her. mary got in the car and scoured the streets searching for cathy and her red toyota corolla. cathy's sister, tina, saw the wrenching worry in their mother's face. snoo she was a mom full of pain. she was a mom who was hurting because she was looking for her baby. she would say just find the car. you find the car -- it was like an equation. find the karks you'll find cathy. >> just waiting. >> you don't want to tell police because that makes it real? >> that's right. it makes it real. you are still holding on to the hope that she's going to come running in through that back door. >> by monday cathy still wasn't
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home. panic was setting in. mary called the police department to report her daughter missing. >> and the police said? >> well, you know, you don't know that. maybe she went off -- >> she could have met some guy, and you're in vegas right now. and you're saying -- >> no. >> not possible. >> at that point you want to yell and scream at them and tell them that's not true. you don't know. not my cathy. >> the torres family was not going to wait for police to catch up to what they already knew. that cathy was not someone who just disappeared. they went to reporters. mary spoke to k nbc in los angeles. >> this is one thing that nobody should have to go through. >> and took the search into their own hands. >> the police department wasn't receptive, so i told my mom, okay, give me a picture. >> tina was in charge of flyers. mary worked the phones at home, and younger brother, marty, kept watch in front of savant.
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soon it wasn't just the torres family searching for cathy. >> you know god is there for you. >> police did jump on the case, and it seemed as if all of placentia did too. >> we had strangers, people coming to the house asking what can we do? where can we take the flyers? can we have some flyers to pass out flyers? >> tina drove to the school where cathy worked. all the while mary's mantra echoed through her mind. find the car, and you'll find cathy. >> i drove into the parking lot. i said let me just see her car. let me just see her car because i knew a lot of things were going on if her life, you know, in that week prior. >> a lot of things was an understatement. cathy's family was very worried about her state of mind after a strange and terrifying series of events that had happened the week before she vanished. first she had come home the previous saturday in a bizarre
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state. incoherent. unable to stand up. >> she couldn't get out of her car. my son went out to help her. >> that could not have made you happy. >> no, it didn't. because i had never seen her come home like that. and she couldn't tell me what had happened. >> she smell like alcohol? >> no, she -- that was the scary part to me that she did not smell like alcohol, yet something was wrong with her. >> even more alarming, mary later realized cathy's underwear was missing. >> what you are describing is what happened is when people come home after they've been date raped. >> yes, i know. >> they can't remember what happened. they're maybe not wearing all their clothes, and they are clearly under the influence of something. >> well, yes, i was afraid that maybe that had happened to her, but i didn't know. >> and she had no memory. >> she had no memory.
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>> do you think about going to the police? >> sadly, no. i didn't think about that. >> it didn't end there. the next morning tina saw cathy's car. >> i remember looking at the tires and saying what happened? how could this be? the way they were slashed. >> it was deliberate. >> i just kept saying what happened to your tires. who slashed your tires? >> she would say -- >> she would say she didn't know. >> the worst was yet to come. two days after cathy came home in that strange condition her new boyfriend albert rangel apparently tried to commit suicide and even left a note that seemed to be in his own handwriting. all of this just days before cathy disappeared. albert hanged himself at work, but he didn't die. he lingered in a coma in the hospital, and cathy was devastated. >> she was so upset. she was crying. she couldn't believe that someone would do something like
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that. >> and now the torres family was left to wonder if and how all of this connected to cathy's disappearance. >> just felt like you were out in this time warp. you know, there was no days and no nights. you didn't want it to be dark because you wanted to keep looking. >> the next big search was planned for saturday morning, february 19th. one week since cathy had last been seen. >> we got all the maps ready, and we had just got another box donated of flyers. everything was set. >> and then around 3:40 a.m. saturday there was a knock on mary's front door. >> coming up, police find cathy's car. >> cathy's shoe was on the floorboard, and there was blood within the entinterior of the c. >> what had happened to cathy. when "dateline" continues.
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>> the torres family had planned a marnl search for saturday, the week after she disappeared. but at 3:40 that morning mary had a visitor. >> a police officer. >> he asked for cathy's keys. >> i gave him the key, and i asked him if it was cathy's car. he just looked straight. he didn't look at me. he said he didn't know. that they had just told him to come and pick up the key. then he left. >> find the car, and you'll find cathy. it had become practically a family motto. so when another officer arrived hours later, the torres family was waiting for what they had dreaded all week. >> my mom asked him what happened? did you find cathy? and then he looked at my mom, and he said, i'm sorry.
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all i remember were the flyers that were on my mom's table in the living room and feeling so much pain. i was yelling, not my cathy, not cathy. >> mary bennett had been right all along. cathy's toyota corolla had been spotted in a hospital parking lot. a plastic bag was peeking out of the trunk. officers opened it. cathy torres was missing no longer. >> she had been stabbed multiple times. all about the upper chest and neck. >> detective sergeant darren wyatt. >> you know, there's no way to time the death, but i think it's pretty safe to assume that she had been dead since she disappeared on that saturday night on the 12th. >> it was devastating not just
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for the torres family, but for all those in placentia that had been searching so tirelessly for cathy. >> she was a vibrant, very intelligent young girl. this is truly a tragedy. >> detectives went to work trying to find cathy's killer. she set up a hotline. >> do you have any information regarding the homicide of cathy torres? >> and scoured plavcentia for clues. >> by studying her cars and her body, investigators got a sense much what happened? first, cathy was completely clothed. no sign of sexual assault. and one more thing also seemed clear. >> most likely the attacker started in the car. there were pieces of the gear shift that were broken, pieces of the center console that were broken. as if a struggle had occurred. then there was blood within the interior of the car. >> orange county prosecutor matt murphy later reviewed the case. he noted blood on everything the killer must have touched.
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the steering wheel, above the glove compartment, the driver's sidearm rest, and, of course, the trunk release. but one noteworthy place where there was no blood? the driver's side seat lever. 4'11" cathy drove her car with the seat moved closest to the steering wheel. when police found the car, the seat was racked all the way back. >> suggesting that somebody taller than cathy was operating the car. >> not only operating the car, but did that before the murder itself took place because that was touched and that seat was moved without any transfer of blood at all. the seat was moved back before the killing started started. >> if so, perhaps it was because cathy knew her killer, had opened the door for him or her. investigators also found cathy's right shoe on the floorboard of her car and her some covered in dirt. >> she got out of the car. >> yes, absolutely.
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cathy had fled from the vehicle on foot, had most likely been caught and k thatted again before she was ultimately placed in the trunk of the car. >> she fought pretty hard to get away. >> she did. she ran for her life. >> the detectives, this was not a sex crime or a robbery. more than 70 stab wounds suggested something else. >> there's nothing random about it. she was a targeted victim. >> and perhaps the most chilling clue? a letter in cathy's own handwriting found tucked away on the passenger side of cathy's car. >> she says in the letter it's a little -- >> yeah, it's 8:15. just finished my shift. today was crazy. everybody was all buying v, and the v was for valentine's day. >> that's as far as she got. >> she's sbrupd mid-sentence. >> just who had done that? detectives weren't quite sure. darren believed the letter was intended for albert, who at the time of cathy's murder was lying
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in a coma in the hospital after his suicide attempt. he never woke up and died almost two years later. >> obviously you have to look at all of that and ask is there something that's involved in that? >> it was almost too strange to imagine, except to police. >> there are rumors within the community that that may have been the motive for her disappearance and murder. was that, hey, you need to look at the rangel family. >> maebz of albert's family, the rumor said, were angry with cathy, thinking that she might have been the cause of his suicide attempt. >> because of his relationship with cathy and the fact that she wasn't as serious about him as he was with her, so that had to be examined and looked at. >> so the investigation continued. as people in placentia paid final respects to the friendly cashier they knew from savon. more than 1,000 people attended cathy's funeral. >> pretty impressive. >> the kind of person cathy was.
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she touched a lot of people. they remembered her. >> she left her mark. >> she did. >> cathy had hoped for a dozen red roses that february. instead her family remembered her with a headstone. your smile will shine forever. that wasn't the only promise cathy's mother made. >> i didn't know how long i would have to wait, but i knew that we had to do everything that we could to get the answer. >> because? >> because she was my daughter. someone had taken her away from me. someone had done something horrible to her, and that someone needed to be accountable. >> no one could have imaged at the time just how long mary's quest for justice would take. >> coming up, detectives have a few questions for one of cathy's closest friends. >> the minute i said no to her,
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she blew up. she started cussing me out. if i don't give it to you, i'm going to give it to somebody else. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years.
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. >> i'm dara brown. the "new york times" report reveala confidential memo from the prest's legal team to special counsel robert mueller. in that memo the president's attorneys claim that the president can be he exempt from being subpoenaed because of executive power. president trump and kim jong un will indeed meet on june 12th in singapore. however, the president's expectations are lower and says he doesn't expect any agreements to result from that meeting. now back to "dateline." >> cathy torres had been murder and stuffed into the trunk of her car. police were considering what role her new boyfriend albert
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and his attempted suicide may have played. they were left with unanswered questions and a town shaken by her murder. >> cathy had so much to live for and was a very happy person, a people's person. >> that was armando lopez speaking back in 1994. armando was cathy's brother-in-law, tina's then husband. but that wasn't the only connection between the two families. it turned out cathy had dated his younger brother, sam, off and on, and the families lived right down the street from each other. >> you could see one house from the other? >> exactly. >> she's going out with sam. you marry his older bror. that wasn't just another house on the street. it was family. >> right. right. >> police spoke with members of the lopez family. sam knew cathy the best. >> how long have you known
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cathy? >> i've known them for five years. >> she interview him down at the station. >> like i say, always had a smile. would always be laughing, making jokes. >> given p their friendship, detectives were curious about what cathy might have shared with sam about albert. >> albert tried to commit suicide. was she confiding in you? >> the only thing she mentioned about him was that he hung himself, and she was sorry for him doing that because she thought it was her fault. nereally sat down and talked about it. well, you ow, i think she was trying to hide from -- >> meaning she was smoking marijuana. cathy's family said that for her that would be out of character. sam told detectives -- she said
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she panled him several times that day and when they finally met up -- >> she kept on asking me, so are you going to give it to me or what? i said, you know what, the minute i said no to her, she blew up. she started cussing me out. you know, and if i don't get it from you, i'll get it from somebody else. >> then he said cathy got in her car and took off. snoo i can't go chasing after her. i never thought this was going to happen. >> sam shared his suspicion bz what had happened to cathy. the same rumors about albert that were circulating around placentia where. >> you know what, it's a possibility that, shoot, somebody else from his family -- i'm not blaming anybody. i'm not pointing the finger at anybody, but why the coincidence that after he hung himself, this
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happened? why? has anybody have ever thought of that? >> police also asked sam where he was the night she disappeared? >> can you tell us where you were saturday night? >> this last saturday? >> sure. we're asking everyone. >> that's fine. i understand. i was up in corona. i was helping my friend -- a friend of mine move. >> sam told police how he and his cousin, javier, helped their friend move in the afternoon, and then he said he dropped javier off at his home. >> where did you go from there? >> from there i weshlt to my girlfriend's store. i was there until, shoot, until they closed, which was around 8:00. a little bit after 8:00. then what did i do that day? oh, i picked my cousin up again. >> if we had to contact anyone that you mentioned, get their name and addresses, phone numbers to confirm where you
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were on saturday night. >> sure. >> and sure enough, they did. police spoke with javier who corroborated sam's story. >> javier told investigators that he was with sam, that sam had picked him up at his house in ran hiem and driven him to another house in fullerton during the time that we believe cathy was contacted and ultimately murdered. >> if you believe sam's alibi, he kwont couldn't have been the thing that interrupted cathy when she was writing that note? >> right. >> they pressed sam for more details. >> sam readily gave those clothes to the police. he let them search his house too, and he willingly gave samples of his hair and blood. something about sam's behavior the week cathy was missing bothered her family. mary said she had repeatedly paged sam looking for cathy, but he was slow to respond. >> he call you back?
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>> not at first. >> but eventually he did? >> ethwe'll, yes. >> he said he hadn't seen her? >> he hadn't seen her. >> to all appearances that was true, and the physical evidence seemed to confirm it. sam's dna was not found anywhere on cathy eor her car. >> the clothes, the ones he gave voluntarily to police, had no dna of cathy's on them, but that behavior of sam's, which bothered cathy's family, also bothered police. they focused on him. however, when investigators took their suspicions to the orange county d.a., it the outcome was not what they expected. >> coming up, sam has a new woman in his life who soon discovers his old life. >> you're a little freaked out by that? >> well, yeah. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection.
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>> police had their suspicions about sam lopez's involvement in the murder of her neighbor and former girlfriend cathy torres. there was no physical evidence tying him to the murder, and he had a solid alibi on the night cathy was killed. sam was with his cousin, javier, which is why when police took their case to the d.a.'s office, the d.a. refused to file charges against sam. police pursued other leads too, like a possible connection to the suicide of cathy's boyfriend albert. >> did you think that cathy's disappearance had anything to do with albert? >> no. >> coincidence? >> yeah, just two tragediies happening at the same time wrrks. >> but want connected. >> not connected, no. >> even though that coincidence continued to bother them, police were forced to agree. that left the investigation with
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nowhere to go. >> whoever had killed cathy was still out there walking around. >> they're out there enjoying the sun. >> breathing the same air you're breathing. >> yes. do you think about that a lot? >> i did. especially if it was a beautiful day. >> those sunny days turned dark. months passed. seasons changed. still, the torres family was left wondering who had killed cathy. >> something that never changed was mary. steadfast in her resolve to get justice for her daughter. early on a friend gave her some advice. >> she said remember mary. the squeaky wheel gets the oil. don't let anyone tell you different. you keep going. and that's what i did. >> mary and her family sought the attention of the media. they marched in rallies, lobbied officials for greater victims rights and spoke with then
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california governor pete wilson about cathy's murder. they even contributed to reward funds. some of this by selling tamales at the local fair. >> you were doing just about everything you could think of? >> yes. well, you have to. you have to because you don't have the name or the resources to do it on your own, so then you look and you knock on a lot of doors trying to keep it out there. >> the torres family says they spent thousands of hours knocking on doors, speaking at events. all in the hope that cathy's case would not lie frochk in a filing cabinet. and mary did something else too. >> i worked part-time for the city, and it just so happened that my desk was right at the door, the hallway that connected the police department to the city, and so they would see me sitting at my desk when they walked in to city hall. >> every police chief would get a meeting with you. >> yes. >> i would actually go into their office and talk to them,
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and tell them see what they could do. >> you were a pest. >> i was a squeaky while. >> your mom was relentless with the police. >> yes, she was. i went with her a couple of times to meet the new chief that would could am in to the police department. we go in there and just want to let you know that we representee torres and we have not forgotten, and we just want to make sure that, you know, her case still being worked on, and that's all basically -- >> we have not forgotten, and we want to make sure you don't either. >> right. right. >> the city of placentia didn't forget. the community learning center was dedicated in cathy's name. >> the cathy torres learning center. >> yes. >> you got to leave your mark on the world. >> she did. >> and a tree was planted in datty's memory across the street. >> they planted it in the way where from my mom's kitchen she could see the tree. >> sam lopez could see it too. he was still living in the same home that police searched after cathy's murder.
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a search that had turned up nothing. sam was also moving on with his life. in may, 1994, just months after cathy's murder, sam walked into a local restaurant. >> with his friend. i just remembered thinking that was cute. >> tina with was a hostess then. >> so i offered him some free food, and then we started talking. >> she felt the spark right away. >> i did think i would marry him when i first saw him. those were the words that came out of my mouth. imi'm going to marry that guy. >> you were taken with him right away? >> i was. >> sam and tina started dating, but in a small town it wasn't long before tina heard the whispered rumors. >> i found out that my sister went to school with him, and i asked her what she knew about him, what she thought about him, and that's when she told me that
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he was the one that they suspected. >> m murder of cathy tore wrez. >> sam emphatically dnds any involvement in cathy's murder, but just the idea spooked tina, so she made up a lie. >> i made up a lie and said i was dating somebody else. >> you were a little freaked out by that. >> well, yeah. >> but the spark that first drew her to sam was too strong. though tina had only known him a few short weeks, something in her heart said sam was innocent. >> so i gave him a call, and i started dating him. >> i mean, you are an attractive woman. i have trouble believing that there were not guys available who weren't already suspects in a murder investigation. >> i'm sure there probably were, but they didn't have my attention.
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>> they dated for a year and then married. >> i was ready. i was -- this is it. this is who i want to be with. this is who i want to grow old with, and this is who i want to have kids with. >> and they did. a year later came a baby girl. sam embraced his role as dad. >> he was like mr. mom. you know, he stayed home and took care of the baby while i worked. >> if sam had anything to do with cathy's murder, he certainly didn't act like it. he stayed put living with his wife and baby right down the street from cathy's mom, mary. >> she would sit outside and stare at us, and i felt like she was doing it to make me uncomfortable and probably him too. i'm sure she didn't want him to be happy if she thought that he had anything to do with what happened to her daughter. >> sam say anything about mary? >> no. no. he would try to tell me to ignore it. >> and was this like hatfield
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and mccoy? what happened? >> there was no communication. no association with them. . that was basically- they beca estranged. >> which made it difficult for tina, who was still married to sam's older brother, armando. police continued to work the case, but the fact was they had no solid leads, and they weren't even close to arresting anyone. then two years after cathy torres was murdered, an unexpected meeting put this investigation in the fast lane. coming up, an explorer scout with a familiar last name inspires a renewed search for a killer. >> that is a weird coincidence. >> we don't believe in coincidences. >> and then a tip that catches one investigator's attention. >> that had to make everybody sit up straight. >> it did. >> when "dateline" continues. n,
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>> reporter: it was 1996. two years had passed since the gruesome murder of cathy torrez in placentia, california. >> i had been to several places, had knocked on many doors. and all i ever wanted was the truth to come out as to what had happened to cathy. >> reporter: the case had gone cold, but its memory still clung to the breeze in this small town. daron wyatt was a patrol officer back then, and one afternoon his shift brought him to this park just across the street from where cathy had grown up. daron was about to bust a drug suspect when the guy started talking. >> he's playing the game of, you know, "i'll tell you whatever you wanna know. just, you know, ask the right questions and i'll tell you and then you won't take me to jail." so, you know, just almost as a flippant remark, i tell him,
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"okay, so tell me who killed cathy torrez." >> reporter: it was a shot in the dark. a tactic he'd picked up at a seminar for cultivating informants. >> and the patrol officer that is next to me starts kind of kicking my foot. and he's got an explorer scout who's riding with him -- a young hispanic female. and i look at her name tag and it was "d. torrez." turned out it was debbie torrez, cathy's youngest sister. >> reporter: who just heard you ask that question. >> correct. >> reporter: you had no idea it was her? >> i had no idea. >> reporter: debbie torrez -- cathy's baby sister -- was now 14 years old. eager, her mom says, to assist police because of everything her family had been through. >> she remembered that when we needed help, people came to help us. so she thought it was her turn to help others. >> reporter: which is why debbie was in the park that afternoon, and how she heard daron mention
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cathy's case. that is a weird coincidence. >> we don't believe in coincidences. >> reporter: to daron wyatt, it felt more like fate. and just months later, in january 1997, his lieutenant suggested daron apply to the homicide unit. >> so i ended up putting in for that job and being selected. >> reporter: it wasn't long before he cracked open the doors that housed the homicide files. >> and i open the cabinet and i see the torrez case. and i remembered the incident with debbie from about a year earlier. so i pulled it out and i started reading just on free time, just reading it a little bit. >> reporter: by then, the cathy torrez case had been cold for a good three years. >> and essentially no work had been done on it for at least the last two years. >> reporter: from the beginning, police had suspected cathy's one-time boyfriend sam lopez had something to do with her murder. but they had nothing connecting him to the crime. no witnesses. no dna.
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and sam had that solid alibi. tina was still married to sam's brother, armando. the two families intertwined, as cathy's family continued to search for answers. >> and then in april of 1997, i got a phone call from mary bennett. >> reporter: cathy's mom. it would be their first conversation of many. mary told daron how she'd seen reports about a new program in orange county centered around investigating cold cases. cathy's case had specifically been mentioned. >> and mary said, "if they're gonna use my daughter's murder as publicity for their program, by all means they're gonna work it. and it's your job to make sure that that happens." >> reporter: there were no new murders in placentia in 1997, allowing daron to focus his full attention on this old one. >> and because you have -- you have mary bennett and the family, who's persistent, who are very well known and very well liked within the community, it did give me a lot of leverage
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when i went forth and said, "hey look, i need time to concentrate specifically on this case." >> reporter: daron pored through the files and hunted down new leads. and then a tip came in, seemingly out of nowhere. >> so a guy from a repossession company calls the police and says, "hey repo'd this car earlier today, and there was a folio in the trunk of the car. and i'm going through the folio, there are articles in there about this murder in placentia from 1994 and there are receipts from sav-on. >> reporter: sav-on. the drugstore chain where cathy was working at the time she was stabbed to death. that had to make everybody sit up straight. >> it did. >> reporter: there was more. the guy whose car had been repossessed had recently been released from state prison and was now in custody for threatening someone with a knife. >> reporter: and what you wanted to know first was, "where were you on the night cathy torrez disappeared?"
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>> correct. >> reporter: and where was he? >> he was in state prison. >> reporter: so whatever's going on with this guy, he's not your guy. >> he -- well, he's not personally. but is he related to -- does he know? what's the connection? why is this stuff in the trunk of his car? >> reporter: when you say to him, "why would you have articles about cathy torrez' murder and receipts from sav-on in the trunk of your car," his answer's what? >> "that's all my wife's stuff." he disowns it. he separates himself from it, which now raises a little bit more suspicion. >> reporter: could you tell if he was connected to anyone in the case? >> not initially. i really had to dig a little bit deeper to see what the connection was. >> reporter: daron finally located the convict's wife. >> she was uncooperative at first, which again, now, this is raising suspicions again. ultimately she did come in and talk to us, and her explanation was that she went to valencia high school with cathy. and then upon closer examination, we were able to see that the receipts from sav-on
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were from a different sav-on than the one that cathy worked at. and this was basically, like, her keepsake file. >> reporter: she'd saved those articles just because she knew someone who got murdered? >> correct. >> reporter: so this had nothing to do with her husband who was in prison at all? who -- >> absolutely nothing. >> reporter: so you're back to basically no suspects. >> no, we're back to sam. they had to admit that sam didn't fit anyone's profile of a murder profile. no history. nothing more than a normal 22-year-old kid. >> didn't sound like a murderer. he was interviewed on two separate days. first on audiotape. >> right, yeah, i heard. >> reporter: and later, this time on video, after her body was found. >> a whole week, i haven't hardly slept. because all i do is think about
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cathy. where the heck could she be. >> reporter: he had always been cooperative. >> he voluntary gave head ir samples, he gave a blood sample, he gave finger prints. and at the end of that, he ultimately said, you know, "whatever i can do, i'll do." >> reporter: but as he read the file, daron learned there were other things sam didn't do. for example, sam lived right down the street, yet cathy's family says he never stopped by. during that whole frantic week when they were searching. he did speak extensively with police. >> i don't think anybody thought that sam was telling the truth. >> reporter: remember how sam told detectives cathy came to him looking for weed? >> the first thing she said is, uh, "could you get me any weed?" >> reporter: but -- >> there was absolutely no indication that any of that was true. >> which calls into question sam's story. >> it does. coming up -- as daron digs deeper into the case.
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>> some compelling parts of the case. he never showed emotion about the fact that she was murdered. no emotion whatsoever. that's a big red flag. huge. he learns cathy and sam's relationship was anything but straightforward. every time she mentions some guy's name, i get pissed off, okay? >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years. you finished preparing overhim for college.rs, in 24 hours, you'll send him off thinking you've done everything for his well-being. but meningitis b progresses quickly and can be fatal, sometimes within 24 hours. while meningitis b is uncommon, about 1 in 10 infected will die. like millions of others, your teen may not be vaccinated against meningitis b. meningitis b strikes quickly. be quick to talk to your teen's doctor
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