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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  July 14, 2018 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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that's it. that's their life story. the final chapter's been written. but for me i get to keep going on. >> reporter: what would you call yourself? >> i mean, people have called me a survivor, i would call myself lucky. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, good night. i don't know what it is about my mom that has captured the heart of so many people. there's just something to her that people connect with. what was so beautiful about her it made her a target, too. >> reporter: she was the queen of the million dollar listing, the real estate broker who sealed the deal. >> her customers love her. >> hands down the most genuine person you've ever met.
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>> reporter: she headed out to show a house that day and never made it home. >> i'm texting her, i'm calling her. >> oh gosh, what's happened here? >> something's wrong. >> reporter: was she in danger? was someone behind this? >> it's beverly. i haven't been hurt. please don't call the police. if you call the police, it could be bad. >> you can hear how scared she was. >> reporter: suddenly, an all-out manhunt! >> this is like a movie, this chase and this kidnapping. >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: could anyone reach her in time? >> i had to be strong for everybody. i had to be. >> emotions are just everywhere. >> i know she pleaded. i know she pleaded. >> did you find her? >> is she alive?
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here's andrea canning with "the client." >> reporter: in this southern >> her face was in the paper every week. >> she had a billboard on one of the busiest interstates, you know, with her face on it. >> reporter: as a top selling realtor, beverly carter had become somewhat of a local celebrity. with her infectious smile, she put house hunters at ease. trusted to find the perfect home, she often did. >> beverly was awesome at it. i mean, nobody could do it like beverly could. >> reporter: but there was a downside to her celebrity. >> this realtor had a target on her back. >> she did. and she didn't know it. >> reporter: for beverly, being a realtor was more than just closing a deal.
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>> was she in the perfect job for her personality? >> yes. >> absolutely. >> yes. >> reporter: her sons, chad and carl jr., and carl jr's wife, kim were always amazed at how much their mom's clients loved her. >> well, one of her clients, she had gone to their wedding and then went to a baby shower. so she just sold them a house. it was a newer client. and i think that that speaks for itself. >> she had a nice smile. >> she had a beautiful smile. and, um, she had a laugh that -- that would fill a room. >> and she was hands down the most genuine person you've ever met. >> reporter: chad, beverly's youngest son, says it was like his mom glowed. >> she was very radiant. i think that's what spoke out to people was that confidence, and people noticed. obviously, she was naturally beautiful. >> reporter: it was that natural beauty that caught the eye of her husband, carl. they met when they were just kids. >> yeah, she was 16. i was 19. >> wow. where did you meet her? >> splendora, texas. she was working at a little hamburger joint named the bionic
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burger. i said, well, did i know i was going to get a wife when i got up there and got me a hamburger. >> you just knew? >> yeah. like that, right there. >> reporter: a wedding soon followed, a quick stop at city hall. >> it was very small wedding. but she loved me and i loved her. we thought was love, anyway. >> reporter: their young love led to three children, all boys, and later, six grandchildren. they had their share of marital problems, including money issues and infidelity, but they worked them out. so when their 20th anniversary rolled around, they decided to renew their vows and throw a big party. >> i just asked her. i said, "how about you -- would you marry me again if i asked you to?" she said, "well, yeah." i says, "okay." >> you know, they wanted to renew their love and show everybody. and it was a way for her to get her dream wedding. gosh. >> reporter: a few years after
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that, she got her real estate license, and her best friends stacey, brenda and denise say it didn't take long for beverly to build a loyal clientele. >> did she sell a lot of properties? >> she was the top listing and selling agent in 2013. she did over $12 million, which, in central arkansas, is very well. >> what made her so good at closing the deal? >> i mean, she just had that magic about her. >> she had such a bubbly personality that it made you fall in love with the house. >> reporter: the women worked together in the same office, although they say it often felt more like play than work. >> we would laugh at anything. you know how it is when you -- with your girlfriends. you know, you talk about things that are personal or things that you find funny. we would tell stories. um, and she had this huge goofy laugh that you could hear all the way down the hall. >> reporter: and as realtors, they looked out for each other. their office even came up with a secret code, a text that signaled there was trouble. >> so "red folder" was the code?
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>> you would say, "do you have the red folder on 123 main street?" >> reporter: a code they hoped they'd never have to use. >> super runners coming down the home stretch. >> reporter: as her 50th birthday approached, beverly was determined to get in shape. she started running, working her way up to 5k races. >> the reason that she started running some of the times was the medals. >> she loved the medals. >> she had this -- >> reporter: she lost nearly 60 pounds and threw herself a big birthday party. and she gave herself a present, cosmetic surgery. >> you know, she'd had the tummy tuck, but she'd also had implants because she'd had -- >> a lift. >> --a lift. and it was kind of a big joke, because when they put the implants in, they were just a little bit larger than she wanted them to be. >> yes, they were. >> and we had -- >> oh no. >> oh, we had some big laughs about that. and she was going to go have them reduced, because she was like -- i mean, they hadn't fallen, and they were like sitting up here. and it was -- >> but she did look good. >> oh, she looked fabulous. >> yeah. she did. >> reporter: and being a real estate agent, she felt it was important to look her best.
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on an unseasonably warm september day in 2014, beverly was easing back into work. brenda remembers beverly telling her she was going to show a house not far from her home. the potential buyers were offering cash. >> she really didn't want to go. she was tired. but she was hoping that she'd be able to get a fast close. because if it's a cash close, you can also close it quicker. >> so this is just kind of an everyday, run-of-the-mill showing. >> right. >> it's a no-brainer, yeah. >> reporter: beverly left the office and headed off to show the property to a young couple. she told her husband she'd be home for dinner. >> but you didn't hear from her. >> uh-uh. >> reporter: carl says he started to worry. beverly had given him the address, so he decided to take a ride over. >> if she's over there, her car will be there. well, i went over, drove around there. and there was her car. >> beverly was not in the house? >> that's right. >> so this is panic time for you. >> yeah. i thought it was weird because beverly wouldn't leave unless she was in her car. >> do you call the police?
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>> yes, instantly. >> reporter: that call set off a frantic search for beverly carter. where was she? >> when we come back, what had happened to beverly? >> all of a sudden, beverly texted me. bam, bam, bam! >> our phones both started beeping at the same time with text. she said, "i'm sorry, my phone has been dead." >> was this some simple miscommunication? the mystery was just beginning. >> i still can feel the same pain. you got it from your parents. and they got it from theirs. it's your skin, and it can protect you from millions of things. so we're here to help you protect your skin. walgreens pharmacists and beauty consultants are specially trained to know what works for the health of your unique skin. walgreens. trusted since 1901.
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carl carter was worried about his wife beverly. she had promised to be home for dinner after showing this house not too far away. but it was dark now -- she wasn't answering her phone and at the property for sale, her car was in the driveway, but there was no sign of her. carl says he called the police, then his son. >> he says, "you know, it -- it's almost 9 o'clock." and he says, "son, i haven't heard from your mom. have you heard from her?" and, you know, i'm texting her, i'm calling her, and i -- i can't -- i can't get any response. and my first thought was, "dad, this is just the nature of the business." >> reporter: to reassure his dad and himself, carl jr. and his wife kim drove over to beverly's office hoping she'd be there.
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>> there was no one there. i mean, the -- the place is completely black, and -- about that time dad had let me know that he had made it to the property where mom told him she was going. and her car was there, but she wasn't. >> reporter: carl jr. figured there must be an explanation, as did beverly's friends, stacey and brenda. being real estate agents themselves, they thought maybe she had gone with the potential buyers to show them other houses. >> we went to the two vacant houses that were beverly's listings, and went and checked the lockboxes and read 'em to see if anybody had opened 'em, and nobody had opened 'em. >> reporter: as the hours ticked by beverly's friend denise couldn't sleep, so she checked her phone. >> there was an e-mail from brenda. and i can still see the words that said, "it is with a very heavy heart that i let you know that we -- can't find beverly. she went to show a house and she is missing." and i still can read that and feel the same pain. >> reporter: police and beverly's family gathered at the property, trying to figure out where she was.
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>> how was your dad handling everything? >> i felt like he was hard to read. he would sneak away from time to time. you know, get some -- collect his thoughts. >> reporter: then, around 1:00 a.m. -- >> all of a sudden bam, bam, bam -- three texts. >> i hollered at the officer. i said, "come here, man. come here. beverly texted me." >> reporter: word that beverly was texting gave everyone hope. >> i was ecstatic, like i was like, "this is done. her phone had died, she got somewhere, it's charged. it's good." >> reporter: across town, beverly's friends brenda and stacey got texts of their own. >> our phones both started beepin' at the same time with text. >> and it -- i mean it was -- >> it -- >> like such an eerie feeling. >> uh-huh. >> i was just like, "oh my gosh." >> what was she saying to you two? >> she said, "i'm sorry, my phone has been dead." >> yes. >> "and i just turned it back on." >> reporter: it sounded promising, but a little off. concerned, brenda used that safety technique the office had come up with -- she texted beverly the special code. >> i said, "can you tell me if you left the red folder on my desk?" >> reporter: if beverly was in
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trouble, she would know to text back her location. >> there was no response. >> the one that i got was -- "i'm out having drinks with friends." and i was like goin', "well, we're right here." >> reporter: the texts on beverly's husband's phone were just as deflating they read -- "yes", "sorry phone been dead", and "having drinks now." carl jr. knew his mom would never go out and not tell anyone. >> i can't even tell you, like, to go from this -- this she's okay, this is all over, to the second we saw that screen and saw what those texts said, we knew someone has her phone. >> totally flipped me out. i said, "she's -- she's been took." >> reporter: the patrol division who'd responded to the call decided they needed backup. detective jeff allison rushed over to the property. >> beverly hadn't really been missing for that long. so why were you called here that quickly? >> the patrol division showed up and started speakin' with the husband and determined that some of the factors in the case were -- were -- were odd.
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>> reporter: not only was beverly's car parked in the driveway, her purse was locked inside. >> did you have just a grim feeling right out of the gate that this woman did not disappear voluntarily? >> i was hopeful, but it -- i did have a feeling, yes. >> reporter: the detective searched the vacant house. it was pitch black, the electricity was off. >> i got down on the floor and with my flashlight when it's dark, and you can shine a light at a specific angle, you can see disturbances in dust. there was disturbances, but it just looked like somebody had walked through there. >> reporter: no signs of a struggle inside, but he did discover a clue outside the front door. >> there was the tire track on the grass. so it looked like somebody had pulled up against -- next to the front door or back into the back door. >> the neighbor across the street had seen something. >> yes. she looked out the window, saw a black vehicle pulled into the driveway. and about 25 to 30 minutes later, looked outside, saw a skinny white male with short hair outside of the
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house with a vehicle backed to the front door. i put two and two together, and that's probably where the -- the tire track came from. >> reporter: the detective found more to go on in the back of beverly's car. >> i found a notebook that she kept with realtor information on it that showed a listing for that house. >> was there anything in that notebook that was providing you with -- with any clues? >> attached to that listing was an email address and a phone number. >> did you call it right away? >> i did not call it right away, no. >> reporter: he didn't pick up the phone for a good reason -- the detective had a theory. >> i felt that beverly, wherever she was, she was being held against her will. >> reporter: if this was a kidnapping, he knew they had to tread lightly with any possible suspects. like the couple she met at the house, if they were involved, the last thing he wanted to do was tip them off. and the detective says there was someone else he had his eye on. coming up -- >> people were saying "oh, the husband must have had something to do with it."
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>> i knew that i was a suspect >> when "dateline" continues. as the sun rose the next are you ready to take your wifi to the next level?
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xfinity xfi, simple, easy, awesome. as the sun rose the next morning, there was still no sign of beverly carter. her family and friends were out searching. >> we had beautiful eight by ten color flyers that we were posting everywhere. >> yeah. she had just had some new headshots done.
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>> we had hundreds. >> reporter: and hundreds of people joined search parties all over the area. >> her family, her office family, came together, and we had realtors from all over the state helping us. and by that afternoon, we had the search set up and everybody had an assignment. >> reporter: many realtors felt this was personal. one of their own, while out doing her job, had gone missing. and agents were already on alert. in recent years there'd been a rise in crimes against real estate brokers across the country -- brutal assaults and even murder. >> how often did you talk about safety? >> i mean we always talked about it. but a lot of times, if somebody would call and ask us to go show a house, it was just kind of out of instinct, sometimes you would jump up and go. >> reporter: but this was not a last minute showing for beverly. brenda says she'd been in contact with the clients for a few days. >> she did have some concerns initially, because it was -- it was a man who had contacted her. >> she wanted to make sure that the -- the wife was gonna be
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there, also. she wanted to show 'em both at the same time. >> that deal was made that both parties would be there. >> i think it made her feel more comfortable that the wife would be with him and the wife actually got on the telephone and told her, "yes, she would be there." >> reporter: and her friends pointed out the neighborhood where she was showing the house was one beverly knew well. >> she felt very comfortable in this area? >> yes. >> that was her stomping ground. >> she had sold several houses you know, on that street. so she was very familiar with that area. >> her pastor lived on that street. >> reporter: and that street was now a crime scene. news stations helped get the word out. >> an akansas real estate agent remains missing this evening. >> did this become immediately the lead story on every newscast? >> every newscast. all kinds of feedback from viewers. the biggest story online, the biggest story on facebook. viewers here immediately latched onto it. >> reporter: shannon miller covered the story for nbc affiliate kark. she says finding beverly became a local obsession. >> people came out in droves,
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looking for her, wondering where could she have gone. >> to not come home from work after doing something you do every single day, it left a huge mystery. what happened to her? >> reporter: beverly's husband carl even made a televised plea. >> i just would like to have my wife back. >> reporter: he sounded heartbroken. >> there's crazy people out here in the world. >> reporter: but not everyone was buying the distraught husband story. >> people were saying, "oh, the husband must have had somethin' to do with it. the husband must have hired somebody." you know, we all watch a lot of "dateline." >> reporter: carl jr., so worried about his mom, now feared his dad could become a suspect. >> they were asking questions like, "okay, you're the husband and you just went into this home and -- to search for her. you've gone even up in the attic. your fingerprints are everywhere. you just completely contaminated our crime scene. why did you do that?" and so you could just see their wheels turning. it was like, oh, no. >> reporter: he was right to worry -- detective allison brought carl sr. in for
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questioning. >> did you put carl in an interview room? >> yes. >> and treated him like this is somebody we need to take seriously. >> yes. anytime you do an interview like that, it's always best to get into a setting -- you're down at a detective's office in an interview room and i'm givin' an interview. so it -- it's -- it plays on their emotions. >> did you ever consider the possibility that carl could've paid somebody to do this? >> yeah. i thought about it. >> did you know why you were considered somebody that they needed to talk to? >> once i got in there and -- started questionin' me, then i knew that i was a suspect. >> reporter: as detective allison continued to question carl, he discovered some skeletons. >> they were having financial issues. >> yeah. >> how much money did beverly carter have in her checking account? >> i don't know the exact dollar amount, but it wasn't much. >> $126? >> yeah. sounds about right. >> was there a life insurance policy? >> yes. several thousand dollars. $100,000. >> $100,000. >> yeah. but i don't remember the exact
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dollar amount. >> reporter: the detective also learned about other issues he found disturbing. >> he said, "well, did you have any kind of affair?" and i said, "yeah." i said, "that one." >> reporter: and something else that was troubling. years before, carl says he got violent with beverly as she tried to stop him from driving drunk. >> i mean, i even hit her. one time. that's when she got out of the truck. she said, "i'm not gonna ride with you." i said, "well, stay here then." i mean, i just drove off, just straight into a ditch. >> did you regret it? >> oh yeah. like, i felt like -- pooh cocky as far as that goes. honestly, i really need to roll in it. >> so did you worry how that would look? >> no, i didn't worry a bit. i wanted to find beverly. one thing, i wanted to find beverly. i said, "you know, i hit her. and it was that." but just one time out of 34 years. you -- one slap upside the head.
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that isn't bad. >> reporter: he says that was many years ago and beverly never held it against him. >> she forgive me right then. because she knew that it -- i wasn't -- wasn't me. >> reporter: detective allison says he wasn't ready to cross carl off his list. he had other work to do. the email address and phone numbers of the prospective buyers found in beverly's notebook were fake. tracking the couple required more digging. and he had a new clue to follow -- beverly's cell carrier retrieved eerie photos from her phone taken inside the house just before she went missing coming up -- >> she knew something was wrong. >> what had happened inside that house? a new lead morphs into an all-out manhunt! >> the guy jumps out of a second story window. >> this is like a movie, this chase and this kidnapping. >> oh, yeah. the moment you realize your paint isn't laser proof.
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>> reporter: detectives searched computer and phone records and data was pouring in. they were hoping it would lead to the missing real estate agent.
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beverly carter's cell carrier turned over everything on her phone, and there was one thing that caught investigators' attention -- these blurry and dark pictures she took of the house she was trying to sell. not exactly showcase material. and when her daughter-in-law had a chance to see the them -- >> you have a theory about why they're badly-taken photos. >> you can just tell that it was, like, quick. just quick. >> like she knew? >> i knew she knew something was wrong. >> reporter: she believed beverly was scared of those potential buyers and was rushing to finish showing the house. it was all bad news. beverly carter had now been missing for three days. >> i've never felt that kind of loss of control. you feel utterly hopeless. >> and helpless. >> yeah. >> you can't do anything. >> uh-huh. uh-huh. >> yeah. >> reporter: what they didn't know was that detectives were about to crack this case wide open. the team that had discovered the buyers contact information was fake kept investigating.
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>> and they were able to start takin' the email address and the phone number, start working that, sendin' out search warrants, and obtain scri -- subscriber information to those -- email and -- and that phone number. >> did names pop up? >> uh, yes. >> reporter: their real names -- arron lewis and his wife crystal lowery. police raced over to put the couple's house under surveillance. >> this was a very delicate operation. >> yes. we were working with the expectation and the hope that she was still alive. >> reporter: detective allison says he wasn't sure if the couple was even involved, he first wanted to see what arron lewis looked like. remember their eye-witness had seen a skinny white man with short brown hair the night beverly disappeared. they hadn't been sitting there long when suddenly a man matching that description walked out the door. but they didn't approach him. >> were you hoping he might lead you to beverly? >> yes. >> is that the idea? >> we felt that if we made contact with him too early, then -- if he was the one we
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were lookin' for, then everything's shot. >> reporter: lewis got into his car and that's when the detective says the plan quickly fell apart. >> he actually saw us sittin' there. so that's when he started speedin' off. >> he knew you were following him? >> oh, yeah. yeah. >> and he actually went around a 90 degree corner and wrecked and was alm -- he was out of the vehicle by the time we went around the corner and saw him. >> reporter: lewis was injured. police photographed him and rushed him to the hospital. >> we're not allowed to go back with them while they're gettin' certain treatment. so the detective is sittin' out waitin' for the treatment. and when they take arron back to get mri or a cat scan or whatever they're doing, he decides he's gonna leave to the hospital -- >> arron doesn't come back. >> doesn't come back. >> reporter: arron lewis bolted from the hospital. what seemed the closest link to beverly carter had slipped through their fingers. police launched a citywide manhunt. >> was that one of the first things you did, get his photo out -- >> yes. >> to the news media? >> yes. >> everybody knows that -- >> everybody knows.
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>> you gotta get this guy -- >> right. >> and beverly's life is at stake. >> reporter: reporter shannon miller remembers her station cut into programming with the breaking news. >> authorities are searching for a man wanted for kidnapping beverly carter, a realtor. >> was the whole city kinda glued to their tv sets as the -- the hunt for this individual was on? >> absolutely. so many people knew this picture and knew this face. >> reporter: and everyone was on the lookout. ben boyette and conan watters, managers at a mortgage company, who knew beverly from real estate deals, were discussing the case in their office. >> and as we're standing inside this room, looking out with the window open, arron lewis walks right in front of the window. >> reporter: ben immediately called 911. >> 911? >> hey, uh, i'm, i'm sittin' over here. they're, they're looking for a guy here, uh, that was involved in the realtor being kidnapped. and this guy looks like -- and he is nervous and he is out here at a bus stop. >> reporter: conan went out to the bus stop to confirm it
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really was lewis. >> i approached him. and he -- he was a little standoffish at first. so i -- i made quick conversation about the bus routes and the times which put him at ease and i thanked him for his time and then i walked away and went back inside. and told my colleagues, "absolutely, that is arron lewis without a doubt." >> reporter: they spotted lewis ducking into a subway sandwich shop. he's caught on a security camera. and when lewis left -- >> someone from a distance outside had made the comment. "hey, i think that's him" and what spooked him. >> reporter: lewis took off across the street towards this apartment complex. >> maybe five people chasing him. we knew we were in different areas. so i think we were confident where he was. and luckily for us when we turned the corner we saw the police coming in. >> when the police get there, arron takes off runnin' into an apartment and jumps out of a second story window before he's taken into custody. >> this is like a movie, this chase and this kidnapping and >> reporter: did it feel like that? >> oh, yeah. yeah. still does. >> reporter: the cops finally
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had a suspect. and what he revealed would send detectives on a hair raising ride to find the missing real estate agent. coming up -- >> it's beverly. >> reporter: a haunting recording. >> i just wanted to let you know i'm okay. i haven't been hurt. >> reporter: could beverly still be alive? >> i had hope, you have to! i mean, that's what keeps you going. >> when "dateline" continues.
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he was an unemployed truck driver who'd been convicted of petty crimes in several states. to beverly's son, carl jr., he didn't look like a kidnapper. >> he just looks like a regular guy. and so it was like, "what did this punk want with my mom?" like, it didn't make sense. and so i almost was like, "are we sure we have the right guy?" >> reporter: detectives believed they did, but the roller coaster ride for beverly carter's family and friends was far from over. >> i can remember the feeling when -- when he was captured, we were just all like, "yes! okay. okay now, where is she? come on." where are you? >> uh-huh. >> you know, we're ready to find you. >> reporter: as investigators focused on arron lewis, they backed off on beverly's husband as a suspect. now, detective allison was keeping carl in the loop. >> he said, "maybe we got him." and i said, "well, where's beverly?" he said, "we're still questioning him. we're -- gonna find out. we're gonna keep -- we're gonna keep on till we find her." >> did you -- then did you have a little burst of hope? >> just a little bit of hope. i mean, that's all i had.
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>> really, your biggest task is to find out where beverly is. >> that was my biggest task and my biggest concern at that time. >> reporter: did lewis know where beverly was? and if he did, would he tell the detective? >> what was his story? where was beverly? >> he said that he -- had kidnapped beverly and it was because of money. he said that he found her on the internet, searched her out, and saw that she was a broker and felt like she had money. >> reporter: lewis described in detail what he claimed happened. he says when he contacted beverly about the house showing, she told him she didn't feel comfortable meeting just him, so he got his wife crystal on the phone to say she'd be there too. >> aaron shows up. he goes in and makes some excuse as to why crystal couldn't come. and aaron tells me that -- he had beverly take photographs of the house with her phone. >> reporter: so that explained why those photos, the detective had seen, were dark and blurry, lewis said he'd asked beverly to send them to crystal since she
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couldn't be there. >> he said they walked upstairs and when they got to the top of the stairs, he pulled out a flashlight taser and told her that she was about to have a bad day. and she asked, "what are you talking about?" and he says, "you're being kidnapped." >> beverly must've been just absolutely terrified. >> i-- no doubt. no doubt. >> reporter: lewis then claimed he had an accomplice, and he wasn't talking about his wife who had set up the meeting with beverly. it was someone else. >> he said if anything happened to beverly, trevor done it. >> who's trevor? >> trevor is a guy that -- that -- aaron actually lived with for a short period of time. >> did this give you some hope that maybe there was an accomplice here and that maybe he did have beverly? >> i had hope that we were gonna find beverly alive. you have to. i mean, it's -- it's what keeps you going. >> reporter: lewis said the last time he saw beverly, she was with trevor. and then offered evidence that she might still be alive. lewis played a recording from his phone, and it was chilling.
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>> "carl, it's beverly. i just wanted to let you know i'm okay. i haven't been hurt. just do what he says, and please don't call the police. if you call the police, it could be bad. i just want you to know i love you very much." >> reporter: it was encouraging but it only proved beverly was alive at the time of the recording. the detective told lewis he needed more. >> and that's when he finally says, "well, i'll take you to wh -- to where the last place that -- that she was." >> so this a big moment now-- >> yeah. >> in this whole case, this is -- >> yeah. >> --this is it. >> yeah. so -- we -- that's when we load him up and we start going to -- cabot, arkansas. >> reporter: beverly's family prayed this nightmare was about to end. >> did you know that aaron lewis was saying your mom was alive? >> yes. we knew that after they'd had him and they were interrogating him. >> that was a big boost of energy. >> when he was telling us, he, it was like, it was so -- uplifting. we were like, "okay, we're about to get her back." [ claps ] "that's great."
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>> is everyone just sitting by the phone waiting for the call -- >> uh-huh. >> yes. >> "we -- we got her"? >> uh-huh, pacing. >> reporter: lewis led detective allison on a nail biting road trip thirty miles out of town to the last place he claimed to have seen beverly alive, a shed on the side of the road. >> what are you thinking as you're approaching this shed that there's a really good chance she could be here or are you not so sure? >> i'm hoping like hell she's in there. we go in and she wasn't in there. she had never been in there. >> is that -- that's such a letdown. >> tell me about it. it was bad. it was bad. >> reporter: but lewis wasn't done. he had a captive audience and he knew it. he took the police to a new location, a house about 35 miles away. >> and he says, "well, this is where i initially took her when -- after i abducted her." i could tell as soon as we walked in, there was nothing. >> another letdown. >> another letdown. >> are you feeling like -- we -- this guy is just taking us f --
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on a wild goose chase? >> yep. i was so mad that -- that i couldn't drive him back. i had to ride back with another detective. >> there's a woman life that could be at stake. he's -- >> playing -- >> -- messing with the police. >> playing games. playing games. >> reporter: while lewis was leading detectives on this wild goose chase, another cop had tracked down this trevor, the man lewis claimed was his accomplice. >> we figured out that -- that he was in the military here in little rock, assigned to little rock air force base. we -- we did make contact with him, actually interviewed him. >> reporter: they interrogated trevor for several hours, then let him go. >> he wasn't even in town when this happened. >> he had an ironclad alibi. >> absolutely. we -- we -- we confirmed through his job, through the air force base with their office of special investigation that he was on base that day. >> reporter: lies after lies. there was no accomplice. neither location turned up anything. police were running out of options.
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and then, detective allison thought of one more possibility, a cement plant called argos where lewis had recently worked. >> i pointblank asked him if beverly was at argo's. and at that point, he was looking down at the table. when i said that, he looked up, and he just had this stupid look on his face. and i -- so i figured right then that that's -- that's probably where she was at. >> reporter: police raced over to the factory, hoping to find beverly alive. >> coming up, another game from aaron lewis. >> i was so mad. i thought, "how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation." >> and at last, an answer for beverly's family. >> he said, "we found beverly." what does life look like during your period? it's up to you, with tampax pearl. you get ultimate protection on your heaviest days and smooth removal for your lightest.
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>> reporter: four days after beverly carter disappeared, police pulled up to this remote cement plant. they frantically searched for the missing real estate agent. >> you just now have this gut feeling that that's where she's at. >> yeah. >> reporter: shortly after arriving, an officer stumbled on something straight out of a crime novel. an elbow sticking out of a shallow grave. it was beverly. detective allison went to see carl. >> you never f -- forget the look on somebody's face when you tell 'em that you found their spouse. it's -- it's hard. that's probably the hardest part of it.
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>> he said, "we found beverly." i said, "well, sh -- was she alive?" and -- and, "no, i'm sorry. but she wasn't." >> we had worked so hard, i mean to find her. i mean we just we really tried to do right and it wasn't -- it wasn't enough. >> i know she pleaded. i know she pleaded for her life and to be sent -- come back to us. and for her grandbabies. and i just have to know that god was there to -- comforting her. >> reporter: arron lewis was charged with murder and kidnapping. and his wife crystal lowery charged as his accomplice. they pleaded not guilty, but his words to reporter shannon miller outside the sheriff's office didn't sound like those of an innocent man. >> why beverly? why beverly? >> she was a rich broker. >> it was just as chilling in person as it was on tv. and then he gets into the car
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and you're going, "what did he just say?" >> reporter: two weeks later, shannon interviewed lewis in jail and he told a vastly different story than the one he'd told detectives. >> was he willing to cop to anything? >> no. >> i didn't kill her, i didn't murder her and anything that did occur was an accident. >> reporter: then he tried to say beverly played a role in her own death. he implied she willingly met him at the house for a sexual hook-up that went wrong. >> it's didn't have nothing to do with her showing the home. just a place to meet. >> in your opinion, how farfetched was this new story about the sexual encounter? >> well, it was 100% made up. so it was completely farfetched. >> reporter: assistant district attorney john johnson was assigned the case. he believed it was a kidnapping gone wrong, but needed help proving it in court. he turned to lewis's wife, crystal lowery. >> i thought from -- from the
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very beginning that we would need to flip crystal, and it would be important for the case for her to testify. >> reporter: he made a deal with with crystal. she agreed to testify against her husband and plead guilty plea to murder and kidnapping -- in exchange for a reduced sentence of 30 years. >> it's good for the jury to be able to hear, you know, the the backstory of what went on and the why of what went on. >> reporter: in january of this year, arron lewis went on trial. the prosecution's star witness, crystal lowery, took the stand and told the jury all the grisly details. she claimed it was all about money, not sex. >> she said he came up with the idea of kidnappin' someone. but she even went so far as to suggest real estate agents. >> reporter: she testified that she was in class at nursing school when lewis abducted beverly. >> she got a text from arron lewis saying, "look at this," or something like that. and it was a picture of ms. carter bound in the trunk of the car.
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she said that when she got home he had brought ms. carter back to the house. >> reporter: she told the jury when she got home beverly was locked in their bathroom. and what she said next showed how little thought went into this plan. lewis had forgotten beverly's purse with her atm card at the property, so he went back to get it. crystal says when he got close to the house cops were everywhere. one even pulled him over. >> this particular officer just stopped a car that was comin' in to say, "hey, if you -- have you seen --" you know, just to ask questions and to put the person on alert. >> reporter: the officer couldn't have known that arron lewis was the man they were looking for. >> ms. carter was still alive, and -- and he just didn't know it. >> reporter: when lewis returned home, crystal told the jury that's when the couple ran out of options. >> she was in the bathroom with crystal's medication, and so that she knew crystal's name. >> reporter: beverly had seen too much. they agreed she had to die. >> arron took ms. carter from
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their house in -- and put her in the back of the -- of the car and drove her out to the cement plant. >> reporter: that's when prosecutors believe lewis did something horrific. he wrapped beverly's face in duct tape and let her suffocate >> he came home and told crystal that she was dead. >> reporter: and then the heart of the prosecution's case -- that recording of beverly pleading to her husband. they played it for the jury. >> just do what he says and please don't call the police. if you call the police it could be bad. >> reporter: prosecutors argued the recording proved beverly had been kidnapped and contradicted lewis's claim of a hookup. so how would the defense explain that tape? attorney bill james chose to ignore it. >> i was unable to come up with any plausible explanation for that recording that helped us. >> so was this one of your biggest obstacles then? this recording? >> i mean, everything came back to the recording. >> reporter: instead he led jurors in a different direction
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beverly's personal life. >> you said this case is about secret lives. what did you mean by that? >> in order for our defense to -- to be correct, she would have had to be living a life that was basically secret or at least doing something that other people didn't know about. >> reporter: here's where lewis's story got even stranger. he was no longer implying that he had sex with beverly. he claims he was out of the house at the time? >> that's i mean that's what he said, yes. >> reporter: lewis said the tryst was between beverly and crystal he said beverly accidentally died during rough sex. >> she died while with his wife and that he was only just protecting his wife and trying to cover up for her. >> reporter: to further bolster this story, james suggested to the jury that beverly had been prone to poor judgment. he pointed out that she was broke but driving a brand new cadillac and getting expensive plastic surgery. >> i'm just saying, she made some bad decisions.
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maybe she made another one. >> reporter: finally, arron lewis took the stand and told the jury the story about the alleged rendezvous with beverly and his wife. during cross examination, prosecutors pounced. they questioned him about every detail including that one piece of evidence that seemed to contradict his entire story beverly's voice on that tape telling her husband she'd been kidnapped. >> what he ultimately told the jury was that -- he had -- he had done it himself. he had synthesized her voice and created this tape. >> you'll forgive me if that sounds maybe a little silly? >> well, you'll forgive me if i'm -- in -- i remind you that i didn't say it happened. i'm just tellin' you. what the evidence was. i'm just saying what happened in the trial. >> reporter: to beverly's friends and family lewis's story was not only preposterous -- it was painful to listen to. >> we had been victimized over and over again by him. and i was angry that -- not only that he was able to do it, but
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that he continued to be able to hurt my mom. >> i was so mad. because i thought, "how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation." >> reporter: the verdict was back in less than an hour. >> we hear footsteps running. and they were like, "the verdict's in." what -- what? it was very quick. >> good -- good sign? >> yes. >> great sign. >> great sign. >> reporter: aaron lewis was found guilty on all counts and given two life sentences. >> i felt relief -- instantly relief that we got him. >> reporter: and beverly's family is working to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else's family. they started the beverly carter foundation. her son travels the country training real estate agents about safety. >> it's a blessing for me. because i get to -- to not only raise awareness, talk about safety, best practices, but then i also use that as an opportunity to sort of slide in
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some great stories about my mom and so kind of keep her alive. and in this million dollar home, a mystery. > they call it the gold coast. the sun, the sea, and in this when he heard a loud bang. keith morrison: a woman, murdered, her husband left blind. keith morrison: but who? everyone is somewhat of a suspect. keith morrison: and why? what brings someone to make a decision that they're going to do this? keith morrison: was is love? what we learned was that he was having an affair with mrs. sutton. keith morrison: was it money? nobody knows what really happened except for him and garrett. keith morrison: or was the truth hidden

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