tv Dateline MSNBC December 23, 2018 2:00am-3:01am PST
>> so he was. so he is. of "dateline" thank you for watching. tching she was a college student found on a lonely road in texas. >> we figure that she had been sexually assaulted. >> tough questions for her boyfriend. >> where was i? what had i been doing? >> i thought he could be the ki killer. >> he's shaking at me and yelling at me telling me not to say a word. >> you're a prisoner in this
department now. >> yes. >> her body had been propped up on to the bed. >> what do we have on our hands here. >> there's growing danger because police are looking in the wrong place. >> i lived to tell and nobody believed me. >> this monster is walking out free while they're wasting their time. >> can the killer be caught before he kills again? >> it makes you realize how fragile your life is and that anybody can take it. welcome to dateline. a killer was on the loose in a texas college town leaving students and their parents terrified. with the shocking discovery of jamie hart's body investigators were trying to piece together clues. was the young woman connected to
her killer or did police have an active predator on their hands. >> looking back now, this woman almost didn't make it. >> i said, if you keep doing this, you're going to kill me. and he just said do you think i actually care about that? >> is that when you think that you're locking in the face of evil? >> i knew he intended to kill me. >> he said that he would go to jail for murder before he would ever go to jail for rape. >> what was going through your mind? >> i wish i had told the people that i love that i loved them. >> but with their private horror connected to a very public mystery. >> everybody said what is going on in this community. it had people asking what is going to happen next. >> could a killer have been stopped sooner? >> i was so angry that two people had to die in order for someone to believe me.
>> the story begins in a small texas town, but it's not just any town. this is college station, home to texas a&m. and in 1999, home to 21-year-old student jamie hart. >> i was immediately struck by her beauty. >> he was her boyfriend at the time. he says jamie was the light of his life. he remembers when he first laid eyes on her. >> i could barely speak when i saw her. she was so pretty. it was like when the color came on in the wizard of oz. i had been living in a dark world, and she showed me a world full of color. >> she was a loyal friend. funny, outspoken. >> she would tell you what was on her mind at all times. >> it was early one morning in may, jamie's roommates couldn't find her. they called chuck. >> i got a call asking if i knew where she was? i said no, she didn't come over
here last night. i don't know where she is. i hnlt talked adn't talked to ht before and i went to work. >> that same night, the sheriff's office was summoned to the scene of a discovery. >> she was in her early 20s. she had extensive road rash on her entire body and she was obviously deceased. >> a jogger spotted the victim in a ditch feet from the side of the road. >> there was probably half a dozen officers here and they taped off the area and blocked traffic. at that point, we started conducting a search of the area. we figured that she had been sexually assaulted. >> less than a mile away, deputies discovered what was presumed to be the woman's clothing strewn across the entrance to an oil field. another nine miles from there, an abandoned vehicle, it's
engine still running. >> that raised suspicion. we sent a team to process the car. >> inside the car, a driver's license that belonged to jamie hart. when detectives showed up at chuck's work place that afternoon, he says his heart sank. >> when they told me that she had been found dead it felt like i had been hit by a truck. >> wow. so your sense of dread was coming true. >> realized, fully realized. >> did fear spread throughout the campus. >> oh, yes. i mean, it was front page news. >> kristen lancaster was a 19-year-old freshman. >> my brother worked with jamie at the time and i'll never forget him coming home devastated. >> a killer in a college town is terrifying. >> very much so, yes. >> this is something that happens in chicago, it's something that happens in houston, it's not something that happens in aggie land.
>> kelly brown is the editor of the eagle, the local newspaper. >> i think at the time people were hoping this was a drifter that kept on going because of the location of her body. >> sheriff's deputies canvas the crime scene, searched jamie's car and looked for eyewitnesses. >> talked to several hundred people and no one is seeing anything. >> turns out there were no longer prints inside the car. but during an autopsy the medical examiner did recover dna from jamie's body. dna which likely came from her rapist and killer. >> did you put the dna into a database? >> codus. >> any hits? >> none. >> no eyewitnesses, no finger prints, no dna matches. the investigation wasn't off to a good start. >> that's when we started contacting people at her place of employment, friends,
roommates. >> did she have any enemies? >> everybody seemed to love her. >> she was taking time off from her studies and was working at a pizza parlor. her shift ended around midnight. >> we contacted everybody she delivered pizzas to and nothing out of the ordinary. >> she headed to a friend's house. they were there watching movies and she left his house around 4:30 in the morning. >> what time do you think she was killed? >> we got the call at 7:15 a.m. so between 4:30 a.m. and 7:00. >> the male friend, a college student was the last known person to see jamie alive. the detective paid him a visit. he was upset, obviously. they were friends and had been for sometime. >> the friend's grief seemed genuine, but something seemed peculiar. when they asked for a dna sample, he said no. >> of course we wanted to know
why. was he the killer or was he not? he put the young man under surveillance and followed him to a local restaurant. >> are you hidden somewhere in the restaurant? >> i'm back in a corner, yeah. >> he watched the student had a few drinks and when he left, the detective snagged the dirty beer mugs and sent them out for dna testing. the results would take weeks, leaving a town full of young people on edge. >> dads and moms were telling their college-aged kids, be alert everywhere you go. go with people when you go out. don't be alone. that's a frightening order to give anybody. >> frightening but sound advice because in this case, connecting the dots wouldn't be so easy. >> detectives have a second possible suspect in their sights. jamie's boyfriend is invited to sit down for a polygraph test. coming up. >> failed the test. >> that's a bad sign for you, right? >> bad sign for him. >> when dateline continues. r hi.
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town, texas. jamie's hometown. >> the only thing i remember her father asking me is when are you coming down? so i got some stuff together and drove down as soon as i could and i spent most of the next week with them, mourning with the family. and then acting as a pallbearer for her funeral. >> back in college station, detective kenny elliott was working the case. >> when you have a killer on the run, it's frustrating. you want to catch the person responsible. >> one possible suspect, the male friend jamie visited the night of her murder. he refused to give a dna sample for testing. >> that's odd if he had nothing to hide. >> a lot of people will not give up dna. too much tv. >> but the detective snagged a
sample from a beer mug and when the dna finally came back, he was not a match. >> you felt confident that you could rule him out based on the dna not matching. >> yes. >> but even before the dna test cleared jamie's friend, the detective was already looking for other suspects. and his attention quickly landed on someone very close to the victim, her boyfriend. >> the questions that they asked focused on where was i the night before, what had i been doing. >> looking at you as a possible suspect. >> it didn't really occur to me that that's what was they were doing. i just thought they were asking for information. >> chuck told the detective that before jamie was killed, he hadn't seen her for two days. on the night of the murder, he said he was at home. >> i was playing computer games like a good nerd. >> did you have anyone there to corroborate your alibi? >> i think my roommates were
there, but they were asleep. i had nobody right there sitting there with me. >> so the boyfriend's alibi wasn't solid, and as they spoke, the detective was looking carefully for signs they might be hiding something. >> he was cooperative. apprehensive. he said everything was fine in their relationship. the detective asked chuck for dna and he said yes. but when they asked him for a polygraph, he agreed to that too. but here's the thing with the last part. the polygraph. >> failed the test. >> that's a bad sign for you, right? >> that's a bad time for him, yes. >> it didn't tell you that he was guilty. but he was a very strong person of interest. >> what's more, the detective was speaking to jamie's friends that said the relationship wasn't fine. in fact, the couple had a fight and were on the verge of a break up. all of which just lead to more questions. >> went over every aspect of their relationship. questioned him on his
whereabouts and try to get him to confess. >> and if a failed polygraph wasn't suspicious enough, then listen to what the detective says chuck told him next. >> he said he had done some bad things and wouldn't tell us why. >> did you look him in the eyes and say is one of those bad things killing jamie hart? >> i did. he denied it. at that point in time i thought he could be the killer. >> the more you start to think he's the killer, how does he react to that? >> he's very nervous. he acted like he was guilty. >> chuck was free to go. but as authorities waited for his dna to be processed, the detective developed a theory of the crime that made sense to him. >> he was in love with her. he didn't want to lose her, and they were having some issues in their relationship. >> so the boyfriend, a likely suspect was in the cross hairs, but when the dna results came back -- >> the dna was not a match. >> so were you able to rule him
out once you got that dna check. >> i didn't rule him out completely, no. >> that was enough for you with the friend who she was with the night before. you ruled him out after you got the dna correct? >> i did. the other guy one her boyfriend. he didn't flunk polygraphs and wasn't in a bad relationship with her. chuck was. >> they didn't arrest chuck. months went by and the detective kept investigating him. authorities seized his computer, searched his car. all the while chuck was saying they were looking at the wrong guy. >> there's a lot of people that won confess to a murder for obvious reasons. at that point, he was a strong person of interest, but i still didn't know if he was my killer, so we continued to search. >> the investigation dragged on. life for the students on campus began to go back to normal when police were called to the scene of one house party, it wasn't because of noise or underage drinking. another woman was in a fight for
her life. >> coming up. >> a student at a party ends up a prisoner in a stranger's apartment. >> he grabs me and starts choking me again. >> when dateline continues. ing >> when dateline continues let's be honest. every insurance company tells you they can save you money. save up to 10% when you bundle with esurance. including me, esurance spokesperson dennis quaid. he's a pretty good spokesperson. ehhh. so when i say, "drivers who switched from geico to esurance saved an average of $412," you probably won't believe me. hey, actor lady whose scene was cut. hi. but you can believe this esurance employee, nancy abraham. seriously, send her an email and ask her yourself. no emails... no emails. when insurance is affordable, it's surprisingly painless.
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murdered, he was immediately considered a person of interest. >> he said you were acting like you had something to hide. >> they interpreted all of these things as signs of my guilt rather than a distraught boyfriend. at the time, i had long hair and this was a cowboy town. that was considered to be weird and unusual. as for the bad things he told the detective he had done, he explained to us he was referring to a petty argument they had just days before jamie's murder and the guilt he felt for that the night she died. >> do you remember what you were arguing about. >> a loaf of bread. she was upset that the sacker had squished the bread, and i told her it wasn't that big of a deal and we picked our sides and we argued about something as stupid as a loaf of bread.
>> and now he says he could hardly grieve with police breathing down his neck. >> what is it like waking up every morning and knowing that you're under a cloud of suspicion? >> incredibly depressing. >> he left college station and moved home to be with his family near dallas that spent money to hire a defense attorney. >> the biggest thing that was going through my mind the whole time was that i didn't do it, they don't know who did it, and the guy who did it is out walking around and likely to prey on more victims. this monster is walking free while they're wasting their time on me. >> kelly brown of the eagle newspaper was writing front page stories about the unsolved crime in the college town. >> it really shook the community because this is an area that isn't used to seeing this type of crime. >> and kelly was hearing talk that the police had a suspect. >> but there was no arrest and
that's what kept people saying was it the boyfriend? was it someone that's still out there? is he going to strike again? >> it was scary of course and students like kristen lancaster followed the investigation. >> did people change their behavior patterns because of this crime? >> to a certain degree but it was short lived. people went back to their classes. you start rationalizing that maybe it's the wrong person. >> this doesn't happen to you. >> exactly. yeah. >> then it was late october. half a year since the murder of jamie hart. kristen didn't know it yet, but she was about to become part of a chain of events that only deepened the mystery. >> i think maybe i went to classes that day. i'm not sure. i know that the evening time rolled around. i think it was a friday. >> a friend invited kristen to a party. she said well, i'm having a get together at my house. why don't you come by. kristen drove over to the
apartment complex in brian, texas. that's the town next to college station. >> the doors open. there's a few people inside. music playing, people having some drinks. >> she struck up a conversation with her friend's upstairs neighbor. he was 24. hadn't been to college but mixed in easily with the students. >> was he a likable guy? >> yeah. he seemed very nice. >> in fact, he had no problem sharing intimate details with kristen about his personal life. >> he had been married and somehow the conversation goes to him telling me how he found god and i made a lot of mistakes, i wasn't a great husband. >> you guys got into quite the personal conversation for having just met. >> i was young and i think that was normal. he was drunk. >> not long after the party started, it abruptly ended. kristen's friend got into a fight with her boyfriend. there was alcohol involved so i was worried it would get out of hand. everyone left but not kristen. she was concerned about her
friend and stuck around talking to the upstairs neighbor. >> so you were feeling protective. >> he actually said to me, are you worried about your friend? he said yes i am. he said we can go to my apartment and you can have a phone to call. >> she and the neighbor walked up the staircase to his apartment. >> it's directly above her apartment and he opens the door and i was barely stepping into the door and he just pushes me in and slams the door shut. he locks the door and immediately grabs a remote that was right there and turns the stereo up to a deafening volume. >> kristen reached for the door to leave. and he pushes me back and that's when he starts making some demands. all of a sudden it's very serious and aggressive. and almost to the point where i thought he was joking. >> but he was serious and demanded she undressed. i kept saying i'm not going to do that. he said you're going to do it. he grabs me by the throat and he's choking me and the second
he lets up i scream as loud as i can and he grabs me and starts choking me again. this time he picks me up almost by the throat and pulls me back into the bedroom in the back. >> you're a prisoner in this apartment now. >> yes. he puts me on the mattress and this is the first time i black out. i wonder if this was it. >> i could die? >> yeah. his hands are still on my throat and he starts shaking me. >> she couldn't fight him off physically. so she tries to talk herself out of the sexual assault. i said you don't want to do this. he said why don't i want to do this. i said because i have hiv. he's thinking about it for a second, and he says, well, guess what, so do i. the lie didn't work. she tried something else. i said what about finding god and trying to work on yourself. i was able to stall him for quite sometime. i must have gotten off the bed and we were standing talking and
that's when i started to stomp my foot and i was trying to make it look like i was making a point in stomping my foot and he grew angry again. >> he threw her back on the bed. his grip on her neck tighter as he sexually assaulted her. >> he is squeezing so hard it felt like the bones in my throat were cracking, and i said if you keep doing this, you're going to kill me. and he sort of looked at me with this half smile and he looked at for a second, and he said do you think i actually care about that. >> is that when you think you're looking in the face of evil? >> i newcomb pleatly in that moment th -- completely at that moment that he intended on killing me. >> this was a miracle. >> i just couldn't believe that nobody believed me. >> when dateline continues. d me >> when dateline continues cascade platinum does the work for you, prewashing and removing stuck-on foods, the first time. wow, that's clean!
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plus two audible originals exclusive titles you can't find anywhere else. if you don't like a book, you can exchange it any time, no questions asked. automatically roll your credits over to the next month if you don't use them. with the free audible app, you can listen anytime, and anywhere. plus for the first time ever, you'll get access to exclusive fitness programs a $95 value free with membership. start a 30-day trial today and your first audiobook is free. cancel anytime and your books are yours to keep forever. audible. the most inspiring minds. the most compelling stories. text "listen5" to 500500 to start your free trial today. the partial government shutdown there continue after congress failed to end it on
saturday. lawmakers cannot agree on funding for the border wall. congress will reconvene on thursday december 27th. and in indonesia 168 people are dead and 700 injured and 30 missing after a tsunami devastated the region. it was triggered by a volcanic eruption. now back to "dateline." welcome back. just months after one woman was raped and killed in a texas college town, a second woman was under attack in a nearby community. kristen lancaster was certain a man meant to kill her. but what seemed like an end, turned out to be the beginning of a fierce fight for the truth. back with the face of evil, here's andrea. 19-year-old kristen
lancaster was preparing to die. >> when you're possibly in the last moments of your life, when you think that someone is going to kill you, what is going through your mind? >> i had a moment where i thought about i wish i told the people that i loved, you know, that i loved them. >> she was in a stranger's apartment being sexually assaulted, drifting in and out of consciousness. >> i black out and then i start to come to again. you know the scenes in the movies when the bombs explode and everything is really fuzzy. you can't hear. everything is coming through this fog. >> suddenly, the man stood up and left the room. ordered her to remain quite. >> and i scream as loud as i can call the police, call the police. >> turns out the bryan police were at the door. >> so my friend had heard me screaming and stomping and called the police. >> this is like a miracle. >> it was, yeah. >> in the nick of time the police show up.
that only shhappens on tv. >> i know. >> they ran in and i was just curled in a fetal position on the floor just shaking uncontrol bli and i remember them asking what happened and the words were just coming out so fast. >> the cops took the man away in handcuffs and kristen slept on her friend's couch that night. the friend called the police to see what would happen next. >> they didn't book him for sexual assault charges. in fact, kristen's attacker, the man she said almost killed her had been released. >> that must have been a tough pill to swallow. >> it was terrifying. i thought he was going to come find me and kill me. the man had given a wildly different version of events. he wasn't with the department back then, but he says the suspect told investigators that he and kristen had a fight over drugs. >> she got angry when he asked for cocaine and she went off in
a rage when that occurred. >> he told them some story about how it had been a drug deal that had gone bad so then i was crying rape. >> after the attack, police charged him with unlawful restraint. a misdemeanor. the next day, kristen and her dad went to the bryan police department to find out why her attacker wasn't charged with something more serious. >> i was furious because i had fought and i survived. this is it. this guy is going down. >> she met with a detective that asked her questions. lots of them. >> i had bruises all up and down my throat. i couldn't swallow and at one point in time the detective asked me to place my hands on my own throat. which even then, psychologically that was traumatizing. >> i did that and he looks at me and he said those could have been self-inflicted. >> what did you say to the detective coming up with these theories. >> i was hysterically crying and telling him this man tried to
kill me. and he was just saying that's not what he says. well, of course it's not what he says. >> kristen says despite her bruises, police treated it like a he said she said story. >> how angry were you getting? >> i was furious. i just couldn't believe nobody believed me. >> he maintains the detective was just doing a thorough investigation. >> everything i have read indicated the detective did believe her. sometimes when you're conducting an investigation, your job is to get to the truth as a detective, and he had to ask some hard questions. >> they interviewed her attacker again and a few months later did charge him with sexual assault. the unlawful restraint was still in place and we booked him on first degree sexual assault. >> the case went to a grand jury, but it decided not to indict him. >> so the sexual assault charges were dropped because they felt there was insufficient evidence. >> that must have been tough to hear that. >> it was very tough to hear that and it was at a point in time that when i found that out,
i just -- i didn't feel like i had any recourse. she did talk about the case later with reporter kelly brown. >> it bothered me at the time because i wondered why didn't the grand jury indict him for at least attempted sexual assault. but it seemed a little troubling to me that what were we missing? what part of the story did we not have? did the detective say something that made them think maybe it was consensual. >> he was still facing the misdemeanor charge of unlawful restraint scheduled to go to court down the road. in the meantime, he was a freeman. >> he's out walking around. >> he's out walking around. >> in the next town over, detectives at the sheriff's office were still working the jamie hart murder case. in addition to keeping an eye on jamie's boyfriend chuck, they say they followed up on hundreds of other leads and tips, but no one in that department looked at kristen's case for a possible
connection. >> you were sexually assaulted. jamie hart was sexually assaulted. did you start to think these could be connected. >> i didn't think they were connected and primarily with jamie there was a boyfriend that may have been involved and it was a romantic relationship that went wrong. it wasn't a random occurrence by a stranger. >> kristen was living with overwhelming anxiety and dread which she says manifested into dangerous behavior. >> instead of being afraid of everything i became afraid of nothing. i just became completely risk seeking. >> what kind of things would you do? >> i started drinking heavily, for awhile after that. you know, i'd hop on the back of a stranger's motorcycle had we had three beers and it took a long time to really get out of that hole. >> just as kristen was starting to turn a corner, her attacker was due in court on the misdemeanor charge, but nothing came of it. he didn't even show up.
>> i had done what i needed to do and part of me just wanted to forget it ever happened. >> but she couldn't. kristen was about to walk right into another crime scene in college station. >> coming up, a shockingly brutal murder and the suspect makes a big mistake. >> the clothing that he was wearing was different than what he had just told us. >> when dateline continues. t to. >> when dateline continues ightc. and if you get lost, just hit me on the old horn. man: tom's my best friend, but ever since he bought a new house... tom: it's a $10 cover? oh, okay. didn't see that on the website. he's been acting more and more like his dad. come on, guys! jump in! the water's fine! tom pritchard. how we doin'? hi, there. tom pritchard. can we get a round of jalapeño poppers for me and the boys, please? i've been saving a lot of money with progressive lately, so... progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents. but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us.
in the next town over detective elliott continued to work the jamie hart case. he spent the last year casting a wide net for possible suspects. >> you took dna from 70 people. >> mainly people being booked into jail for violent crimes. anyone in an area that just didn't want to talk. we took dna from everybody. >> but he also had never taken his eye off her boyfriend, chuck cruise. >> there was something that was bothering you about him. >> there was a lot bothering me about chuck cruise. >> so the county sheriff's office kept investigating chuck and communicated with the dn about possibly convening a grand jury. chuck and his lawyer spoke to the detective on many occasions and the detective continued to
think chuck's behavior was suspicious and that he still seemed nervous. >> did you ever think that maybe the reason that chuck was acting this way is you guys were coming down pretty hard on him. he's lost his girlfriend. i mean, is there a way to act? >> i don't know. but he had several things going against him and we just couldn't walk away from it. we either had to prove that he did it or prove that he didn't do it. >> but chuck says he should have been cleared almost right away. >> so even though the dna didn't match. >> there was no match but they insisted on targeting me as the prime suspect. they were trying to build a case that wasn't there. >> while chuck's life had been on hold for a year, kristen was starting to feel like her old self again. in the six months since her attack, she had taken up
running, got a new boyfriend and though kristen thought the pain of that horrible night was behind her for good, it wasn't. >> there's police tape everywhere. >> may 28th, 2000. kristen had just arrived to visit friends at an apartment complex. there was no reason, not then anyway to think her case was connected to the scene unfolding then. >> police cars and ambulances and all kinds of emergency response vehicles everywhere. >> and now, the site of police tape sent memories rushing back. >> it was just fear. >> the firefighter had arrived at the apartment complex early that morning after a neighbor reported smoke in one of the units. >> the bedroom door was open and we could see some flames on the carpet. so we had a water extinguisher that we used to put the small fire out. there on the floor, a body. >> we backed out to make sure that we preserved as much evidence as we could. >> he sensed foul play, not just a fire and called for the
detective of the college station police department. >> it looked like her body had kind of been propped up on to the bed. he was nude from the waist down. >> this is really disturbing. >> it was. >> the victim was 21-year-old carolyn casey, a daycare worker. he parents anita and larry, so proud of their eldest daughter. >> she was wonderful with kids. all the kids loved her. everyone loved her. >> never could they have prepared themselves for the dreadful phone call they received. is your daughter carolyn casey? i said yes. i think he said there's been an accident and your daughter is dead. a fire. >> when carolyn's younger sister, amanda, learned the news, she collapsed with grief. >> i just screamed really loud. made my ears ring from my screaming. >> they've got this wrong. >> yeah. something's wrong.
she didn't die. i said, no, she's not dead. >> what was the turning point. >> i called her apartment and she didn't answer. detective caps did say that it was homicide. >> i think we had a strong feeling that possibly there was some type of sexual assault that occurred and that somebody was trying to cover it up. >> kelly brown of the eagle newspaper had another story to write. >> this is a community that's not used to a lot of murders. it's not used to violent crimes like this and it certainly wasn't used to having a murder victim be set on fire. even law enforcement thought what do we have on our hands here. >> on the night of carolyn's murder, there had been a small party in one of the apartments. and now the detective was canvassing the complex looking for leads. >> so you're literally knocking on doors. >> yes. >> in one unit, two men
answered. one of them had been to the party. >> he mentioned he did attend this party. she was there. >> like many people who had attended, he agreed to an interview. he was friendly, and said carolyn left had party before he had. >> left the party, went with another female that was at the party over to the convenience store that was close by. bought some cigarettes. >> he gave the detective a dna sample and supplied the clothes he had been wearing. to verify his alibi, the detective pulled surveillance video from the convenience store and noticed something. >> the clothing that he was actually wearing was different than what he had just told us. so why is he not telling us the truth? >> he claimed he had forgotten and handed the detective the proper clothing. no forensic evidence found on the clothes connected him to the crime scene. >> so this wasn't your big moment? >> no. it wasn't.
>> the big moment did come though just a few nights later when the pieces of this puzzle finally came together. >> coming up, an arrest of a familiar suspect. >> i didn't think he would do it again. >> when dateline continues. o it again. >> when dateline continues ories. stories or quotes? time for a rhyme? or not rhyming's fine. no rhymes. skivvies. gadgets or skivvies? boxed set? perfect! nobody knows young readers like we do... barnes & noble have a skincare routine. but what about a lip care routine? pay your lips some attention. the chapstick total hydration collection. exfoliate nourish naturally enhance your lips. chapstick. put your lips first.
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grieved her loss, detectives struggled to make sense of the crime scene as they canvassed the area looking for leads, a possible suspect emerged. here's andrea canning with the final chapter of the face of evil. >> reporter: it was two nights after the murder and fire. detective caps made a discovery, one that would finally connect the dots in a series of crimes that had terrorized this college town. >> i spent that evening basically reading through all these reports. >> reporter: the detective had ordered background checks on some of the people who attended the party in carolyn's apartment complex including janobie matthews. it turns out there were several police reports accusing him of several crimes. >> mathews had a tendency to try to sexually assault females and in the process of that he would choke them.
>> how did caroline die? >> her death was ruled a strangulation. >> ynobe had never been convicted of sexual assaults but he read the attack of one brutal attack. unlawful restraint. it was kristin's. ynobe was the man she says almost killed her. >> i was certain that he had done this before but at the same time i didn't think he would do it again. >> the detective called ynobe mathews back down to the station for another interview and decided to pull a fast one with his suspect telling him he was about to get dna results from the crime scene. >> were you really about to get it that quickly? >> we weren't going to get it that quickly that day but trying to get him to believe that we had that information, that we had everything that we needed. i had contacted my supervisor earlier and i told him he would page me to say -- type in the
words that says dna matches. >> and right on cue the detective's pager went off. >> and i showed it to mr. mathews and asked him to read it. it said, dna matches. >> what's his face like when he looks at that match? >> he became pretty emotional and he said it was an accident but he had killed her. >> the detective called caroline's parents and gave them the news of the confession. >> they said, i think we've got him. i said, well, how sure? he said, i'll bet the farm on it. >> it was the next morning when kristin lancaster opened up the newspaper and learned her attacker had been charged with murder. >> i felt overwhelming guilt, just overwhelming guilt knowing that he had killed someone and that, you know, perhaps i hadn't tried hard enough to make people believe me. >> did you feel like a life could have been saved if you had of been taken seriously? >> oh, yes.
carolyn would have still been here, i mean, there's no doubt. >> and what about the woman at the start of our story? jamie hart's case had been handled by the brazos county sheriff's department, but after ynobe had been arrested it didn't take long for the college station's office and the department to determine ynobe was also jamie's killer. >> i remember the feeling of wanting to feel relieved but all i could think was this is -- this is exactly what i knew was going to happen. he struck again, another girl is dead and another family has lost their precious daughter. >> chuck says to this day he misses jamie and has never gotten over being viewed as a suspect. >> having to spend such a long time under investigation for the
death of a loved one, it hurts. >> it's like a scar. >> very much so. very much so. >> do you feel bad about that at all, that he was put through that? >> i'm sorry that he had to go through that, yes, but if i had to do the investigation over, i wouldn't change anything. i'm sorry he lost the love of his life, but we had a job to do and we had to either arrest him for murder or clear him. we cleared him. >> but before jamie, before kristin, before carolyn there was another victim who soon learned she was also connected to this horrifying series of events. her name is misty johnson. >> if i didn't let him rape me, he would have killed me. >> like kristin, misty reported her attack to the brian police department but ynobe denied it claiming it was consensual and misty was too traumatized to help police in the investigation. >> probably within a week i quit
my job and left town. i was squared. >> she now regrets that decision. her attack happened first months before jamie was murdered. >> i feel like if i would have stayed and fought him through the police department, that possibly he wouldn't have been able to go on to hurt anyone else. >> and kristin is left with the memory of an assault that according to the law never really happened. >> i was so angry that two people had to die in order for someone to believe me. >> did the system fail? >> it failed me. it failed caroline, it failed jamie. >> do you think of them a lot? they were total strangers to you? >> but they're my alternative future. they're what could have happened to me. i mean, they're what could have happened to any of us. >> a jury convicted ynobe mathews of carolyn's murder and sentenced him to death. he also pleaded guilty to
jamie's murder. kristin faced him in court in the penalty phase. >> it was terrifying and i had to testify and i met carolyn's family and jamie's family. they all came out afterwards and gave me a hug. it helped me realize that their families didn't hold any grudge against me. >> it's not her fault that my sister died and kristin should have no guilt over that. >> with the casey family as witnesses, ynobe mathews was executed three years later. if there is a lesson to take from this story, it is one that comes directly from a survivor herself, someone who has learned the hard way to cherish life's moments, each and every one. >> it makes you realize how fragile your life is and that anybody can take it, you know, in a moment's notice. the story for them, that's it. that's their life's story. the final chapter has been
written but for me i get to keep going on. >> what would you call yourself? >> people have called me a survivor. i would call myself lucky. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie moralis. >> and this is "dateline." >> i fell to the floor. i just remember like, she's dead, she's dead. i was so confused. i was like, what's going on? what happened? a small texas town, two super close friends and a summer night in the park. >> they have this lookout and you could see the harbor bridge lit up.