tv Dateline MSNBC December 22, 2018 1:00am-2:01am PST
if you were curious, she seemed pretty well yesterday. she walked on the plane, walked off the plane on her own, spent the entire time working, and still today as it was yesterday, the wildest sentence i have now ever heard is justice ginsburg would you like anything to drink? she ordered coffee. beginader ginsburg, would you like anything to drink. that's tonight's last word. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. and this is "dateline." >> our hearts break for this money. >> she was a design original. christina. the fashionista. >> fantastic war drowardrobe. >> she went out to drink with friends and never came home. >> i sensed something was wrong. >> this is real. >> who was the last to see her? >> she went her way? that's all i can tell you. >> where was her ex-model
boyfriend? >> he doesn't call when she's missing. >> someone had something to hide. >> he thought he was getting away with it. >> she was fighting for her life. >> all i can do is pray with all that i have. tell me what happened that night. welcome to "dateline." 23-year-old christina morris had vanished without a trace. no clues and blurry security video to go on, could the clue investigators needed really be scribbled on a trash post-in note? here with "frantic" is josh makowitz. >> christina morris was afraid of the dark. >> through grade school, she woke up in the middle of the
night. we knew about it because she was in our bed. >> she was scared of the boogie man. >> it was something she never really got over. >> 23 years old. sleeping with a night light. >> always a bathroom light on. >> yeah. >> it wasn't just the dark that scared christina. it was what might happen in the dark. >> christina had a fear her whole life she would be taken. >> taken? abducted? >> yes. >> where did this come from? >> i don't know. her absolute worst fear is exactly what happened to her. how many people actually live their worst nightmare? >> from early childhood, christina morris' fears did not slow her down. >> she is not one to sit in front of the tv. she has to be taking pictures or working on the computer. she always had to be going. >> christina's parents divorced
when she was a baby. she grew up in dallas with her dad. she remain eed close to her mom. >> she is the love of my life. apple of my eye. my heart beat. she's my everything. >> it was almost like christina had two moms and later when johnny married ronnie, two dads. she has known christina since she was 3 years old. >> her personality was as big as she was. >> kelly met christina after high school. >> she was the animated and smart and beautiful fashionista. she was quirky and it drew people in no matter who you were.
>> and all her life, christina was drawn to two boys. >> she knew two guys. logan and hunter, since third grade. >> logan foster and hunter pendergrade. >> they went from buddies to high school sweethearts. the relationship continued through college. christina earned a degree and moved in with logan. they broke up in 2013, christina rebounded into the arms of hunter foster. >> almost like there were no other guys in the world? >> right? >> yeah. >> hunter has been in love with christina. always. >> it was easy and comfortable for her to be with hunter since she knew him and his family growing up. >> hunter was a skateboarder and pursued a modelling career in new york.
successful at first. it hadn't worked out. he was back in town without a job, but plenty of free time. >> he was a great skater and dirt bike rider and good looking in her eyes. he lived life on the edge. he took chances. that was her excitement. >> by the summer of 2014, 23-year-old christina was living with hunter about an hour away from family and friends. she was working in marketing at a dating service and had just earned a promotion. christina was moving up. >> she was very driven. she liked designing things. she loved photography. she was making a business for her boyfriend at the time. >> hunter had an idea to start his own clothing line. >> he had a dream of, you know, starting a business with skater gear. >> he may have had the dream,
but hunter did not have the ambition or the money. relying on christina to help him with his business and the bills. >> she worked a full-time job and manager. her boyfriend didn't do anything. she supported him. >> she had a mom and dad who worked. >> right. >> where did she get this idea that it's okay to be with a guy who doesn't do anything? >> because that's our world, not her world. >> okay. >> i know. i'm the same way. trust me. it bugged the heck out of me. >> on the friday of labor day weekend, hunter decided to drive to dallas and hang out with his friends and not christina. she went back to her old neighborhood to see high school pals. steve nickerson, another high school buddy was surprised to see her. >> i hadn't seen her in six months. we caught up. >> the group met at the apartment. >> around 11:30, we went to the
bars. >> the bars were in an upscale shopping mall in plano. it was hopping. the group headed to the bar called henry's tavern and closed down another a called scruffy duffy. >> we were all pretty drunk. a couple of shots and beers. >> steven wanted to crash on the couch and sober up. but christina wanted to get home. it was now about 3:30 saturday morning. >> she wanted me to take her home. >> she wanted you to take her home. you say i can't. i had too much to drink. she said i want to go. >> she is stubborn. i'm not going to force her to stay. >> he said christina decided to drive herself home. >> i said if she felt she could
not drive, i would walk back and get her and sleep it off or leave in a few hours and i would take her. >> she left the party and just like that, christina morris vanished. >> after she vanished without a trace, it was a race against the clock to find christina morris. >> coming up. >> i got a feeling in my stomach. >> the first clue to the mystery. >> they found christina's car. she never got in it. >> when "dateline" continues. atn s can you feel it ♪ ♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it box: woah! ♪ can you feel it woman: delivery ♪ can you feel it woman: alexa, turn on the lights. ♪ can you feel it ♪ can you feel it
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it was about 3:30 in the morning on labor day weekend. the party was over. christina morris, who didn't like the dark, was walking to her car. another guy offered to walk with a her. her buddy called her had. a few minutes later, steven texted christina. >> that means her phone's not on. >> or out of service. >> steven slept it off and drove home late saturday morning. >> i shot her a text and said let me know when you get home and whatever your phone charges. >> three days later on tuesday
afternoon, christina's mom johnny, now living in tulsa, oklahoma, got a text from christina's friends. >> asking me if i heard from christina. i said no. why? she sent me back a message. her boss called me and said she never showed up for work. >> she hadn't shown for her shifts on saturday or tuesday. >> i immediately got a feeling in my stomach that i never had before. something's wrong. i sent christina a message on her phone and hunter. >> hunter. >> he never called me back. >> johnny called christina's dad. >> i asked her father if he heard from her. he said no. anna had not heard from her. i said something is wrong. >> mark, his wife, anna and sar sarah, her sister called friends. >> your oldest daughter, sarah, and she says to hunter have you
seen christina. he hasn't since friday. >> right. he figured she was with us or with her mom. >> hunter, who is living with her, doesn't say anything? doesn't call you or sound the alarm? >> don't get me started. >> mark and anna continue to work the phones eventually reaching steven. >> her dad asked me if i had seen or heard from christina. i said no. the last time i talked to her was saturday morning and he asked me who she left with. i said enrique. >> we don't know him. >> enrique was a guy christina had known in school. he left the party the same time and offered to walk with her. >> how well did you know enrique? >> i was in high school with him. i didn't really ever talk to him. >> that was pretty much christina's relationship with him, too?
>> yeah. >> steven chased down enrique's number from friends and called. >> he said we walked together, but went our separate ways. i say you did not see her get into her car? he said no. no one has heard from her. i cannot find her. we're about to call the police. >> mark couldn't dial fast enough. >> communications. how may i help you? >> i'm trying to report a missing person. my daughter. she hasn't shown up for work. i just found out about it. >> does she own a vehicle? >> yes. a 2001 toyota celica. silver. >> about 30 minutes later, mark got a call back. >> officer called me and said they found christina's car. it was still parked in the parking garage. it never left.
>> reporter: just after midnight, mark and anna raced to the garage with a spare set of keys. >> i opened the door, i looked inside, you know, the car was locked -- >> and it was just a mess. >> and it was a mess, just like she keeps it. >> reporter: but no bag, no wallet, no cell phone. >> the car was locked. and she never got in it. >> reporter: now, police had to play catch up. >> the plano police department had a disadvantage with the four-day delay start. >> reporter: zeke fortenberry was a prosecutor in the collin county district attorney's office. >> plano police department knew that it was four days she'd been missing already. and so that kind of raises a red flag that something serious might be going on. >> there is still no sign of a missing ft. worth woman who vanished from a plano parking garage. >> reporter: by this time a lot of people in north texas were hearing about christina morris. lorraine caceras covered the story for telemundo dallas. >> people don't randomly disappear from shopping centers in plano. that just doesn't happen.
and the fact that maybe, just maybe this could be a random act. and if it is a random act -- >> reporter: then it's really scary. >> it's very scary. am i the next victim? and the unanswered question, "where is she?" coming up, questions for the friend who left the party with christina. >> you don't mind if i look in your car? >> no, it's no problem. >> very cooperative. police were very adamant that this guy was not a suspect. >> if he weren't a suspect, then who was? >> when "dateline" continues. blaf blaf blaf blaf will will will a
>> reporter: the stars at night were big and bright. but by dawn, deep in the heart of texas there was no trace of christina morris. >> i didn't sleep for 24 hours. i stayed up all night. >> reporter: by wednesday morning, four days after christina vanished from the fancy shopping center, her mom jonni was growing frantic. >> i called every police department. i called every hospital because you never know. >> reporter: the calls led nowhere, and jonni felt helpless in oklahoma, so she and her husband packed their bags and drove the four hours down to plano. straight to the parking garage where christina's car had been found. >> you came straight here. >> yes. >> even though this was the one place in dallas where you can pretty much guarantee police had searched pretty thoroughly. >> yes. >> but you're searching. you're walking all over the place.
>> yes. as a mom, i just couldn't believe that there's no way that -- there's no evidence that she didn't come out of this parking garage, that she had to still be here. >> reporter: jonni didn't find anything but she hoped maybe someone in the neighboring apartments heard or saw something. >> how many doors you knock on total do you think? >> oh gosh. 50, 100. >> reporter: christina's friends were searching the shopping center too. we walked the path that she possibly could've walked that night. >> reporter: and plano police were also hitting the streets. >> they began to contact all of the -- the friends who were at the party that night, who had been at the bars and drinking with christina. >> reporter: including enrique arochi -- the guy who left the party with christina. the detective reached him at this sprint store, where he worked as a manger. >> hello? >> hi, enrique, this is detective cathy stamm of plano police department. >> reporter: enrique was more than willing to help.
>> you said that you were leaving at the same time -- same time as christina, and you guys walked over to where your vehicles were parked, is that right? >> yeah. yeah, we walked separate ways. we walked until the end of the apartment complex, and after that we just split up because i went to a different parking lot than she was. >> reporter: that afternoon enrique arochi drove down to plano pd for an interview. >> if you don't mind, i'm just going to -- >> reporter: he never asked for an attorney and answered all their questions. >> and if you don't mind if i look in your car, that's great. and then i can say i did. >> yup. >> and i hope you understand. and thank you for being cooperative. >> no, it's no problem. whatever i can do to help. >> reporter: police took photos of enrique's black camaro and sent him on his way. lorraine caceres says reporters got wind of enrique's visit to plano pd. >> the police were very adamant about the fact that this guy was not a suspect, that he was not involved. he was very cooperative, very helpful with the investigation. >> reporter: police also wanted
to learn more about christina's boyfriend, hunter foster. her parents told police that relationship was rocky. >> she was planning on leaving him. i do know that for sure. >> she was home alone a lot by herself because he'd go out partying with his friends. and she was lonely. she was sad. >> reporter: and when police talked with christina's friend steven, he told them she'd been texting hunter that night asking him to pick her up from the shopping center. >> she had texted him a few times and then he stopped texting her back, and then she tried calling him and he didn't answer. >> reporter: as a result, steven said, christina became more and more upset as the night wore on. >> i mean, yeah, they were in a fight. >> they were definitely fighting that last night? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: police asked hunter to come down to the station. former prosecutor zeke fortenberry. >> what's he say about that fight that he and christina were having? >> hunter says he wasn't really aware of the fight. he said that he was out drinking, partying.
he wasn't paying attention to his phone. >> and yet it's the opinion of all her friends who heard her side of that conversation that they were? >> oh, yeah. the friends said she was upset to the point of even crying sometimes. she was so upset with hunter that she was tearful and upset. >> reporter: hunter told police he was out with friends in downtown dallas the night christina disappeared and 20 miles away from that mall in plano. but when cops pressed him for details, he was vague. and there was one more thing. hunter would not give up his cell phone. >> that's like wearing a sandwich board saying, "be suspicious of me." >> so it's friday night, but they're not going out together. and he doesn't call when she's missing. and he won't let you download his phone. is that about right? >> that's all true. >> reporter: christina's mom also found hunter's behavior very odd. and she confronted him about it. >> i need to know why you didn't call, why you didn't check on her? yeah. i flipped out. >> i got little anxiety right now. >> reporter: jonni kept pressing
hunter for details about that night. >> you kept in touch with him. you stayed in contact. >>yes. if he was responsible, i'm going to keep that enemy closer, so i wasn't going to let him out of my sight. >> reporter: jonni wasn't giving up. neither was christina's stepmom anna. >> somebody's seen her. something is somewhere. we just need that little bit of information so we can bring her home. >> reporter: there were no witnesses and few leads but attention grew. plano police were leading larger and larger search parties, scouring the countryside. >> there was a lot of people from the community that didn't know the family, that had no connection to christina, and they were coming to support. and dozens and dozens of people in these searches just trying to find this girl. >> reporter: days went by with no sign of christina or her belongings. more resources arrived like a
mounted search team and drones. christina's family and friends were a constant presence. >> we were told to look for her items, for a phone, for a ring, for a hat, for a bando, for anything at all because anything could be something. >> reporter: however, one person very close to christina never showed, hunter foster. >> the only person missing in this entire process was her boyfriend, her live-in boyfriend that she shared a roof with. >> not searching? >> no. >> not out there? >> no. so that was our next question. who is this guy? coming up -- hunter foster goes public. >> so nervous. >> if i would have been there, none of this would have happened. >> he gets up, takes off his mike, i can't do this anymore.
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i'm dara brown. after failed efforts to stop congress to pass a stop-gap funding measure which included money for the border wall, the government is now in a partial shutdown as of midnight. senators are told they will be given 24 hours notice before a vote. the partial shutdown relieves several agencies furloughed and expected to work through the holidays without pay until january 3rd when the government reop reopens. that is what is happening. now back to "dateline." >> reporter: reporters can smell a story, and soon they were all over this one. christina morris' face was everywhere, including on dateline's own missing in america series.
tips were pouring in. >> everybody thinks they saw something. i seen this girl at walmart. you start getting these calls all the time. then you have psychics that call you. >> reporter: and some of these people are people who genuinely want to help. >> there are. >> right. >> reporter: and some of them are just crazy. >> right. >> reporter: but no matter how crazy plano police checked out every tip every sighting. and they didn't find anything? >> no. >> reporter: reporters wanted to hear from christina's boyfriend hunter, who hadn't shown up for any of the searches. >> why can't we ask him just a routine sound byte? how do you feel? what is your hope? and to much insistence, he decides to come down and be interviewed. >> reporter: but when he sat down with nbc 5 dallas, he was a wreck. >> pretty clear that i'm not emotionally or mentally stable at all. barely enough to do this right now. i just want her to come home and be alive and safe.
>> his body is trembling in a way i've never seen anybody shake before. his voice breaking up. so nervous. >> if i would have been there, none of this would have happened. and this -- this is -- this is why i didn't want -- this is -- i can't do this. i just -- i'm done. i don't -- >> and maybe two questions into the interview, he gets up and takes off his mike. i can't do this anymore. >> reporter: was he traumatized because his girlfriend was missing? or could it be something else? so hunter walks out of there basically having done himself probably no good. >> no favor at all. >> reporter: at the same time, investigators were pulling security footage to document christina's movements that night. >> plano police department were able to piece together videos and kind of create a timeline. >> reporter: cameras captured the group of friends heading to henry's tavern. that's christina walking in front of the group. then early saturday morning an
atm camera caught christina and enrique heading toward their cars. remember they'd left the party together. the videos are blurry, but then police found this one. a clear shot of christina and enrique. >> neither of them appear to be intoxicated. they're walking normally. and it appears to be friendly. >> reporter: but that video was a big red flag for police. it shows christina and enrique walking into the same parking garage where her car was found. that contradicted what enrique had told police previously that they had parted ways long before that. he had also said he'd parked in a different garage. so they invited him back down to the plano pd and showed him a frame of that video. >> possibly, i could have gone that way and then to the other parking garage. >> so you're thinking it -- it might be a possibility that y'all could have walked through this garage? >> possibly. but, i mean, i'm -- i was -- i wasn't sober at the time. >> okay.
>> he says he must have walked through that parking garage, and he just was mistaken. but he continues to insist he didn't park in the same parking garage as christina. >> reporter: plausible. except police had another video. just three minutes after christina and enrique are seen entering that garage, this black car leaves. >> is that your car? >> yeah. >> something's wrong, enrique. >> what do you mean? >> this picture is in that garage. that picture was taken of you walking in that garage with christina. and that's your car coming out of that same garage. >> i'm -- i guess i parked there. i went to my car and she went her way. i mean, that's all i can tell you. i don't really pay attention to where people go usually. >> did you stand there and watch where she went? >> yeah, i should have done that. >> reporter: poor manners maybe,
but not criminal. detectives kept pressing. >> was she in your car at all that night? did you -- >> uh-huh. >> give her a ride like when you guys moved the car to park? has she ever been in your car? >> uh-huh. >> not at all? >> never. >> reporter: later police enhanced the video of enrique's car. can you tell if anybody's in it? >> no. the windows are tinted. there's reflection on them. you can't tell who's driving the car. and you can't tell if anyone's in the passenger seat. >> reporter: police searched his car again. they used a special forensic light on the inside of the camaro, looking for bodily fluids. but they found nothing and no blood, no hair, fibers or fingerprints. >> it was very clean. the detectives note they could see vacuum marks in the floorboard. >> reporter: sometimes a spotless car can seem suspicious. but if the driver is enrique, maybe not. mr. arochi's one of these guys who spends a lot of time with his car.
>> he was a car guy. everyone said that he loved his car. he washed his car, cleaned his car. his car was his prized possession. >> reporter: investigators turned their sights back to christina's boyfriend, hunter. a week after she disappeared, hunter finally brought his phone into plano pd. but when forensic experts went through it, the questions for hunter did not fade away. >> some things had been erased. text messages, conversations, things like that have been erased. >> reporter: could you tell what he'd erased? >> we know he erased part of the conversation with him and christina, that that conversation was gone. >> reporter: police knew little for sure, but they strongly believed one or maybe both of these men was lying. the question was about what? coming up, a crime miles away that just might help police
>> reporter: 23-year-old christina morris had somehow stepped out of this life and maybe into history. two weeks in, her family wasn't giving up, hoping to find her alive. her mother was forbidding herself to think the worst. >> i don't want -- you know, i don't want her to be out in those fields so this will let us know. i believe that she's not outside. >> what are those searches like?
>> they're -- they're rough. you never know what you're going to come across. i now can understand the difference between human bones and animal bones. still scares the hell out of you. >> reporter: christina's boyfriend hunter told police he was in dallas with friends the night she disappeared but he'd been stingy with the details. he had erased conversations on his phone between himself and christina. investigators were also trying to check enrique's story -- that he was alone when he drove out of the garage early that saturday morning. >> so you -- you know what we're working on, right? what we're trying to is a -- and you're being very helpful with -- >> yeah. >> is being able to figure out, you know, the last place she's seen. because that way we can focus our efforts -- >> right. >> -- searching in this area. >> reporter: though his memory seemed fuzzy, enrique had been cooperative, speaking with detectives down at headquarters without an attorney. and police found no trace of christina inside his car. but since enrique was the last
person seen with christina, police kept digging, even digging through the trash outside of enrique's home. >> what'd they get out of that? >> they saw several cleaning bottles that were empty, odor removing chemicals, bottles of that were empty. >> which could've been used by him on his car or somebody in the house. >> yeah. they're normal household cleaners, but the timing might be a bit suspicious. >> reporter: the trash runs continued. then in late september more than three weeks after christina disappeared, they found this. >> a post-it note written in spanish that's in the trash can. >> what's on the post-it note? >> the post-it note is a list of three or four things. it says in spanish, "a black shirt, text messages from august 29th, and bank and cellphone bills." >> reporter: august 29th was the night christina went missing. police thought this might be a list of things to get rid of. >> enrique was wearing a black shirt that night? >> the video clearly shows him
wearing a black shirt the whole night. >> and bank and cellphone records might explain where he was, what he was doing? >> right. >> reporter: plano detectives were already looking at enrique's cell phone records. now they took a close look at his bank records. and they found this transaction at 10:15 saturday morning, about six hours after christina was last seen on the garage camera. >> what'd he buy the morning that she went missing? >> he got gas at a local grocery store with a gas station attached to it. >> reporter: this video from the gas pumps shows enrique filling up his camaro. >> reporter: and while he was getting gas, he washes the back of his car where the trunk is at. >> okay, he's washing the back of his car. he's a car guy. >> it's a bit odd. it's the -- the squeegee you would use on your windshield. and he's washing the trunk area where the license plate's at. >> reporter: remember, police had already searched the interior of enrique's camaro. now, they thought he might inadvertently be pointing them
in a new direction. police obtained a search warrant, and brought the car down to the crime lab garage. and they showed that gas station video to the csi techs. >> and one of the c.s.i. investigators thought to herself -- where is a likely place that would have d.n.a., that's hard to clean, and she said that her gut told her to swab the weather stripping, the rubber portion of the trunk at the seal. >> reporter: it's that black rubber gasket that lines the opening of the trunk. >> they swab it, and send it off to the laboratory for confirmatory tests. >> reporter: as you can imagine, detectives weren't saying much about the case, not even to christina's parents. >> they're not giving you a play by play? >> no, no. >> right. and we understand they can't. but you know, we -- we had to ask questions. we couldn't just sit and wait. >> reporter: they also had questions for enrique. maybe he knew more than he was telling. from the beginning, they'd been suspicious of his story. and given christina's fear of being taken, anna and mark thought their daughter would
never have let him leave her alone on the walk to the car. >> she would have because she -- >> grabbed ahold of his leg and screamed bloody murder or she would have run back into that apartment. >> right back upstairs. >> and got steven. >> she would not have walked to her car alone. >> never. >> at 3:00 in the morning? >> never, never. >> reporter: now, christina's family wanted to speak with enrique. he refused, so they began protesting in front of his house. >> you wanted to be sure the neighbors saw this. >> absolutely. >> i needed his neighbors to know what they were living next to. >> and it worked. he didn't like it. >> reporter: enrique started talking, make the interview rounds. this one with telemundo dallas. >> what do you think about the actions of the family against you and your family? >> i feel like they're very wrong. they're accusing me of something. they're pressuring me to say something i don't know personally. they've put my name out there so much that people are starting to
see me as a monster when i'm really one of the nicest per -- people you can ever meet. >> are you afraid for your life? >> i am afraid for my life because of all the threats. >> enrique, do you have anything to do with christina's disappearance? >> no, i do not. i have nothing to do with her disappearance. >> did you harm her in any way? >> no, i didn't. i wouldn't harm anything. not even an animal, a fly. nothing. >> what happened? >> i have no idea. i wish i knew. >> reporter: denials from enrique. and no concrete evidence that he, hunter foster -- or anyone else -- was responsible for christina's disappearance. her family was losing hope. but in early december, about three months after christina disappeared -- >> breaking news, late tonight, we learned that christina morris' boyfriend is charged as part of a massive drug bust. >> reporter: officially, dallas police said hunter foster's arrest was not related to christina's disappearance.
>> anything concerning the missing person case is obviously a plano case and so we are certainly here to help them in any way we possibly can. >> reporter: still, reporters wondered if police were telling the whole story. >> we didn't know if he was being maybe arrested for that federal drug charge and there was something there that might be connected to christina. >> just to get him into custody. >> just to get him into custody? we had no clue. coming up, investigators were starting to think they knew what happened to christina morris, but could they prove it? >> she was fighting for her life. >> when "dateline" continues.
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welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. while enrique's story is unraveling, another twist in the case. christina's boyfriend hunter was arrested in a drug bust. investigators wanted the truth, but would that lead them to her body? here with the conclusion of "frantic" is josh menkowitz. >> reporter: by early december 2014, christina morris had been missing for three months. police had arrested her boyfriend, hunter foster, on drug charges. investigators had thought he might have something to do with christina's disappearance. but when they looked at cell tower and tollway records, they realized hunter's alibi was rock solid.
>> his cell phone is down in dallas. his toll tag shows that he came back to dallas that evening. everything indicates he's in dallas. >> which is not anywhere near where she was getting into her car? >> 20, 25 miles away. >> reporter: and the reason hunter was so reluctant to give up his phone? well, it had nothing to do with christina. hunter was dealing drugs that night. and the proof? one of his customers was a narc. >> hunter foster actually dealt to an undercover agent. >> so on the night christina vanishes, hunter is selling drugs to an undercover officer? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: then, less than a week after hunter's arrest, police had something else to announce. enrique arochi was under arrest for kidnapping christina morris, though police believed he had murdered her. >> i can't even explain the emotions and the pain. my whole world was turned upside down.
>> you knew she was gone then? >> yeah. >> reporter: in september of 2016, almost two years to the day since christina had vanished, enrique arochi went on trial at the collin county courthouse charged with aggravated kidnapping. zeke fortenberry was the lead prosecutor. >> why not prosecute him for murder? >> we thought about that, and i believe he did murder her. the problem is we didn't have a body to show that and we didn't have a crime scene to show murder. it's probably the most difficult case i've ever tried. >> i'm here to give you the facts. and to tell you that on august 30th, this defendant kidnapped christina morris. and that's what the facts say. >> reporter: the prosecutor showed the jury those interviews enrique gave police and pointed out his changing stories. >> why did he lie again and again and again? >> reporter: he told the jury that even though she can't be seen here, christina was probably in the passenger seat of enrique's car. >> so why did christina get in the car? my guess is he lied to her.
maybe he told her, "i'll take you home to fort worth." >> reporter: fortenberry pointed to records from cell phone towers that he said proved she was in the car. he said christina's phone battery was almost drained as she and enrique approached the garage that night. not surprisingly their phones were pinging near each other. then, it gets a bit murky. >> reporter: the prosecutor explained that after the camaro left the garage, it passed through a toll station heading north on the highway. but about ten minutes later, christina's phone pinged off a tower back near the shopping mall and then so did enrique's, almost as if they'd made a u-turn. >> and i think something changed. i think maybe he put the moves on her and started making sexual advances towards her and she was not okay with that. >> and then maybe is when the altercation began. >> reporter: detectives testified they'd seen injuries on enrique's arms and hands.
>> because as detective busby said, there was a fight. it was between enrique and christina and she was fighting for her life. >> reporter: then, he told the jury, christina's cell phone went completely dead. enrique's phone continued to ping, eventually near his house about 35 minutes later. finally, the state presented its strongest evidence. csi techs testified they did find christina's dna, a lot of it, in that rubber gasket lining the trunk of enrique's camaro. what they found was probably blood, said experts, but they weren't 100% sure. they were sure that it belonged to christina. and that's not all. >> we also found two other places on the trunk mat that also came back with christina's dna. >> where is christina morris? i told you at the beginning of this case i wouldn't be able to answer that question. where was christina morris?
in the defendant's trunk. >> you think she was alive when she was in the trunk? >> i think she was dying or dead. >> tell the defendant you got your day in court and you're guilty. >> reporter: but enrique arochi had maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. now his defense attorney keith gore was going to try to pick apart the case against him. >> the only thing that matters in a criminal case is can the prosecution prove the words in the indictment. >> reporter: lorraine caceres covered the trial. >> the defense concentrated on the fact there was no body. they concentrated on the fact there was no video of christina getting into the suspect's car. >> reporter: gore told the jury enrique had been cooperative, and as for the injuries on his arms and hands, enrique told detectives he'd been working on his car. >> when the tire landed on me because i took it off. and it was too heavy, so just landed right on -- >> oh. oh, okay, okay. it makes sense --
>> it landed where all of this -- yeah. >> okay, that makes sense. >> reporter: then the defense went after the cell phone data. >> what do you have? cell data hits. >> they brought in their own experts saying that these cell phone towers and these pings are not reliable. >> reporter: and christina's dna in the trunk? gore pointed out enrique's camaro and christina's toyota were both processed at the same police garage. >> this is a one bay, one garage and you've got all these cars coming in and out. nobody needs to tell you this. this is how cross contamination occurs. the evidence is not there beyond a reasonable doubt, and i would ask for your verdict of not guilty. >> reporter: enrique did not testify, and the jury got the case. deliberations dragged on for two days. and then a verdict. >> we, the jury, find the defendant guilty of aggravated kidnapping as charged in the indictment. >> they saw that evidence.
the right thing was done that day. >> reporter: the judge gave enrique the maximum, life in prison. >> she put her trust in you to walk her to her car. >> reporter: christina's family finally got to confront enrique in court. >> how can you sit there and not tell us what happened to our girl? >> i will make sure till i take my last dying breath that she is remembered with digni -- dignity, respect, integrity. everything you are not enrique. >> reporter: christina's family and friends are not giving up. >> i just want christina to know that she's so loved, that she has an incredible group of people, an -- an army behind her. and we won't stop until she's found. >> we still don't have her. we're still looking every weekend.
we're still missing her every day. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. k you foa g >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." known what it is about my mom that's captured so many people. there is something about her that people connect with. what was so beautiful about her, it made her a target, too. >> she was the queen of the million dollar listing, the real estate brokeer who sealed the deal. >> her customers love her. >> hand down the most gne