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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  December 22, 2018 2:00am-3:01am PST

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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 genuine
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person you ever met. >> she head out to sell a house that day, she never came home. >> i'm texting her. >> something's wrong. >> was she in danger? was someone behind this? >> i haven't been called. please don't call the police. if you call the police, it can be bad. >> you can hear how scared she was. >> suddenly an all out manned hunt. >> it sounds like a movie. >> could they reach her in time? >> i had to be strong, i had to be. >> emotions were everywhere. >> i know she pleaded. did you find her? is she alive? >> welcome to 80 dateline." beverly carter was well known in beloved arc sauce and a
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successful real estate broker with a long list of clients, then she vanished, like all too many missing person's cases, police knew it was a race against time to find her. here's andrea canning. beverly carter was making a name for self in little rock, arkansas. >> she had a billboard on one of the busiest billboards. >> she had become a local celebrity w. her infectious smile, she put house hunters at ease, trusting to find the perfect home. she awesome did. >> she was awesome. >> there was a downside to her celebrity. >> this realtor had a target on her back. >> she did and she didn't know it. >> for beverly, being a realtor was more than closing a deal.
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>> was she in the perfect job for her personality? >> absolutely. >> her sons chad and carl, jr., carl's wife women i kim, were always amazed at how many her clients loved her. >> one of her clients, she went to a baby shower. she sold them the house. >> she had a nice smile. >> she had a beautiful smile and she had a laugh that would fill a room. >> and she was hands down the most genuine person you ever met. >> 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 is that confident. people noticed. obviously, she was naturally beautiful. >> reporter: it was that natural beauty that caught the eye of carl, they met when they were kids. >> she was 16, i was 19. >> reporter: where did you meet her? >> spendover, texas, work, at a hamburger joint, named the
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violent burger. i said, wow, i knew i was going to get a laugh when i got up there and got a hamburger. >> you knew right there? >> i knew right there. >> a weding soon followed. a quick stop at city hall. it was a small wedding. she loved me, i loved her. we thought we were in love, anyway. >> their young love led to three children. later six grandchildren. they had money problems and infidelity. but they worked them out. when their 20th anniversary moved around, they decided to renew their vows and 33 big party. >> i asked her, would you marry me again if i asked you to? she says, well, yeah. i says, okay. >> you know, they wanted to renew their love and show everybody. >> 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, tracy, brenda and denise says it didn't take long to get a sell. >> she did over 12 million, which in central arkansas is very well. >> what was it that made her so good at closing the deal. >> i mean, she had that magic about her. she had such a bubbly personality that it made you foul u fall in love with the house. >> the women work together in the same office. although they say it often felt like play than work. >> we would laugh at anything, you know you get with your girlfriend, you talk about things personal or you find funny, we would tell stories. she had this huge, goofy laugh that you could hear all the way down the hall. >> and as realtors, they looked out for each other. their of the came one a secret code, a text that signaled there was trouble. >> the red folder was the code. >> do have you the red folder on
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123 main street. >> a code they hoped they never had to use. >> she is 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 she started running some of the times was the medals. >> she lost nearly 60 pound and threw herself a big birthday party and gave herself a present, cosmetic surgery. >> she had the tummy tuck. she had implants, it was a lift. it was a big joke, they were implants and they were a little larger than she wanted them to be. >> yes, they were. >> oh, we had some big laughs about that. she was going to go have them reduced. she was like, they hadn't fallen. they were sitting up here. >> but she did look good. >> oh, she looked fabulous. >> and being a real estate agent, she felt it was important to look her best.
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on an unseasonably warm day, beverly was easing back into work. she remembers brenda 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. she was hoping to get a fast close. if it's a cash close, you can close it quicker. >> this was an every day run of the mill showing? >> a no brainer. >> beverly headed off to show the property to a young couple. she told her husband he'd be home for dinner. >> you didn't hear from her? >> no. >> carl says he worried, beverly had given him the address, so he decided to take a ride over. >> he's over there. i want to drive around there, 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? >> yes, instantly.
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>> that call set off a frantic search for beverly carter. where was she? coming up. what had happened to beverly? >> all of a sudden beverly takes me, bam, bam, bam. >> our phones started beeping at the same time with texts and she says, i'm sorry, my phone has been dead. >> some simple miscommunication? the mystery was just beginning. >> i still can feel the same pain. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ 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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. >> 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's almost 9:00, he says, son, i haven't heard from your mom. have you heard from her? and you know i'm texting her, calming her, and 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 office hoping she would be there. >> there's no one there. the place is completely black
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and about that time dad had let me know 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 friends stacy 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 empty houses and checked the lock boxes to see if they had read them and opened them, nobody opened them. >> reporter: beverly's friend denise couldn't sleep. she checked her phone. >> there was ap e-mail from brenda. i can see the words, it is with a very heavy heart that i let you know that we can't find beverly, she went to show a house, she is missing. i still can read that and feel the same pain. >> police and beverly's family gathered at the property, trying to figure out where she was. how was your dad handling
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everything? ly felt he was hard to read. he would sneak away from time to time, you know, 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, beverly texted me. >> reporter: word that beverly was texting gave everyone hope especially was ecstatic. her phone died, she got it charged, it's good. >> reporter: across town her friends got texts of their own. >> our phones started beeping at the same time with texts. >> it was like such an eerie feeling. i was like, oh my gosh. >> what was she saying? >> she said, i'm sorry, my phone was dead, i sounded it back on. >> it sounded promising, bren do you used that safety tech near she sect texted beforely the special code. >> i said, can you tell me if you left the red folder on my desk? >> if beverly was in trouble,
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she would know to text back her location. >> there was no response. >> the one that i got was out having drinks with friends. i was like, wonderful, we're right here. >> reporter: the text omp beverly's husband's foreign just as deflateing. they raerksd yes, sorry, phone been dead, carl jr. knew his mom wouldn't go out and not tell anyone. >> to go from she's okay, this is all over to the second we sue that screen and saw what those texts said, we knew, someone used her phone. >> she totally flipped me out. she had been took. >> reporter: the patrol division who responded to the call decided they needed backup. the detective rushed over to the property. beverly hasn't really been missing that long, why were you showing up here? >> the division spoke up and started speaking with the husband and determined some of the factors in the case were
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odd. >> not only was beverly's car parked in the driveway. her purse was locked inside. did you have a grim feeling out of the gate that this woman did not disappear voluntarily? >> i was hopeful. i did have a feeling, yes. >> reporter: the detectives 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, you can slight a light at a specific angle. you can see disturbances and dust. there were disturbances. >> he discovered a clue outside the front door. >> there was a tire track in the grass. it looked like somebody pulled up next to the front door or the back door. >> the neighbor across the street saw something? >> she saw a black vehicle pulled into the driveway. about 25, 30 minutes, saw a skinny white male with short hair outside of the house with
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the vehicle backed to the front door. put two and two together, that's probably where the tire track came from. >> i found a notebook she kept with realtor information open it that showed a listing for that house. >> was there anything in that notebook that was providing with you any clues? >> attached to that listing was an e-mail address and a phone number. >> did you call it right away? >> i did not call it right away. >> he didn't pick up the phone for a good reason the detective had a theory there i felt beverly wherever she was, she was being held against her will. >> if there was a kidnapping, he knew they had to tread lightly with possible suspects, like the couple she had met at the house f. 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. >> they were asking questions like okay you're the husband and you just contaminated our crime
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scene, why did you do that in. >> i into you that i was suspect. >> when "dateline" continues. cs cs i need a new book for my son. stories. 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 but choosing to douggo that extra mileve. can be tough on his body. that's why he wears dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles. they provide all day comfort so he has the energy to keep moving. delivering joy every step of the day.
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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 8 by 10 colored flyers we were posting everywhere. >> she just had any head shots
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done. >> we had hundreds. >> hundreds joined search parties all over the area. >> 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. >> many realtors felt this was personal. one of their own while out doing their should be had gone missing and agents were already on alert. in recent years, there was a rice in climb i crime on real estate people, brutal assaults and murder. >> how often do you talk about safety? >> we talk about it. a lot of times if somebody called us, out of instinct you would jump up and go. >> but this was not a last minute showing, beverly said she had been in contact with the client for a few days. >> she had concerns initially, it was a man that contacted her. >> she wanted to make sure the wife was there also. >> that deal was made?
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>> i think it made her feel more comfortable the wife would be with him. the wife actually got on the telephone and told her, yes, she would be there. >> the friends pointed out the neighborhood was one beverly few well. >> she felt very comfortable in that area? >> yes, that was her stomping ground. she had sold several houses on that street. she was very familiar with that area. >> her pastor lived on that street. >> that street was knew crime scene. news agencies helped get the word out. >> did this become immediately the lead story on every newscast? >> every newscast. all kind of feedback from viewers. the biggest story online. the biggest story on facebook. viewers immediately latched onto it. >> shannon miller covered the story for nbc affiliate krrk. she says finding beverly became a national obsession. >> people came out in droves.
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wondering where she had gone. when you don't come home from work from something you do every day, what happened to her? >> her husband carl made a plea. >> i just would like to have my wife back. there's crazy people out here in the world. >> not everyone was drooi buying the hard story. >> we all watch a lot of "dateline." >> carl jr. so worried about hit mom now feared his dad could bam suspect. >> they were asking questions like, okay, you're the husband and you just went into this home to search for her, you've gone up in the attic, your fingerprints are everywhere. you just completely contaminated our crime scene. why did you do that? so you could just see their wheels turning. it was like, oh, no. >> he was right to worry. detective ellisson brought carl
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sr. in for questioning. >> do you put carl in a interview room and treat him like somebody we neat to treat seriously? >> any time you do that, you get into a setting. i'm giving an interview. so it plays on their emotions. >> did you ever consider the possibility that carl could have paid somebody to do this? >> yeah, i thought about it. >> did you know why you were considered somebody they needed to talk to in. >> once i got in there and started questioning. then i knew that i was suspect. >> as detective ellisson 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. it wasn't much there $126? >> it sound about right. >> was there a life insurance policy? >> several hundred,000. i don't remember the exact dollar amount.
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>> the detective learned about other issues he found disturbing. >> he said, well, did you have any kind of affair? i said, yeah, one. >> and something else that was troubling, years before carl says he got violent with bevly as he 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 says, i'm not going to ride with you. i said, stay here then. i go straight on into a ditch. >> did you regret snit. >> oh, yeah, i felt like pucocky as far as that goes. >> did you worry how that would look? >> i wasn't worried one thing. i wanted to find beverly. i says, you know, i hit her and it was that. but just one time out of 34 years, one slap up side the
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head, that ain't bad. >> he says that was many years ago and beverly never held it against him. >> she forgave me right then because she knew i wasn't me. >> detective ellisson said he wasn't ready to cross carl off his list. he had other work to do. the e-mail address and phone numbers of the perspective buyers were favenlth checking the couple had more dig. her cell carrier retrieved eerie know tos inside the house just before she went missing. >> what had happened inside that house? a new lead morphs into an all out manhunt. coming up. >> he jumps out of a second story window. >> it seems like a movie, a chase, kidnaping? >> oh, yeah. >> when "dateline" continues today is the day you're going to get motivated...
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you'll get a credit a month good for any audiobook, 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. . hello, i'm dara brown after
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failed members by congress to pass a stop gap measure, the government is now in a partial shutdown as of midnight. the house is expected to be in session around noon today. senators are told they will be given 24 hours notice before a vote and will not come back unless a deal was ready. it will leave nine federal department and several other agencies fur load, they are expected to work until january 3rd when the government reopens. that's what's happening. now, back to "dateline." k to "d" welcome back. i'm craig melvin. the hours had turned into days since family and friends had seen real estate agent beverly carter and it was some good old fashioned detective work that gave police their first big clue. once again, here's andrea canning with the client.
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>> detectives searched phone record, data was pouring in. they were hoping it would lead to the missing agent. there was one thing that caught investigators' attention, these blurry and dark pictures she took of the house she was going to show, not exactly showcase material. when her daughter got to a chance to see them flu is have a theory. >> you can just tell it was like quick, just quick. >> like she knew. >> i knew she knew something was wrong. >> she believed beverly was scared of those potential buyers and was rushed 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 there and helpless. you can't do anything? >> yeah. >> what they didn't know is
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detectives were about to crack this case wide opened. the information was fake, kept investigating. >> they were able to take the e-mail address and sent e send out search warrants and send subscriber information to a e-mail and phone number. >> did names pop up? >> yes. >> their real names, aaron lewis and his wife crystal lowrie. police raced over to put it under under surveillance. >> this was a delicate operation. >> we were working in the hopes she was still alive. >> detective ellisson wasn't sure if the couple was involved. he first wanted to see what he looked like. remember the eyewitness seen a short skinny man with black hair. they weren't sitting there that long. a man matching that description walked out the door. they didn't approach him. were you hoping he would lead to
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you before especially. >> we felt if he was the one we were looking for, then everything is shot. >> lewis got into his car, that's when the detective says the plan quickly fell apart. >> he actually saw us sitting there. so that's when he started speeding off. >> he knew you were following him? >> he actually went around a 90-degree corner and wreckedch he was out of the vehicle by the time we saw him. >> lewis was injured. police photographed him and rushed him to the hospital. >> we're not allowed to go back with them while they're getting certain treatment. so the detective was weight for the treatment. when they take him to get the mri, cat skan, whatever they're doing, he decides to leave the hospital? aaron doesn't come back? ? doesn't come back. >> aaron lewis bolted from the hospital, which seemed the closest link to beverly carter had slipped through their ferngers.
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police launched a city wide manhunt. >> is that the first thing you know? everybody knows you got to get this guy? >> proprietary. >> and beverly's life a s at stak stake? >> she remembers it broke into breaking news. >> were they glued to the tv sets? >> so many people knew this picture. this face. >> everyone was on the lookout. managers who knew beverly from real estate deals were discussing the case in their offi office. >> as we're standing out here, aaron lewis walks in front of the window. >> and immediately calls 911. >> 911. >> hey, i'm sitting over there, they're looking for a guy here that was involved in the realtor being kidnapped and this guy
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looks like it. he's at the bus stop. >> i made quick times and i thanked him for his time and went pack inside, one of my colleagues that is absolutely aaron lewis without a doubt. >> they spotted lewis ducking into a subway sandwich shop. he is caught on a security camera. >> when he left. >> someone from a distance had made the comment, hey, i think that's him. that's what spooked him. >> lewis took off akrot across the street towards an apartment complex. >> i think we were confident where he was, luckily for us we turned the corner and saw the police coming in. >> aaron takes off and jumps out a second story window. >> it seems like a movie. this chase.
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did it feel like that? >> oh yeah, still does. >> the cops have a suspect. what they reveal would send them on a ride to find the real estate agency. >> coming up, a haunting recording. >> i want to let you know i'm okay, i haven't been hurt. >> could before ply be alive in. >> i hope so that what keeps you going. >> when "dateline" continues.
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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.
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welcome back. when a person goes missing, many everywhere.
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police had a suspect in
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custody, his name was aaron lewis. he was an unemployed truck driver who had 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. so it was like what did this punk want with my mom? like it didn't make sense. i almost was like are we sure we have the right guy? >> 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 he was captured, we were just all like, yes, okay, now where is she? come on, where are you? we're ready to find you. >> as investigators focused on aaron louis, they backed off on beverly's husband as a suspect. now detective allison was keeping carl in the loop. >> he said we got him. i said, well, where's beverly? he said we're still questioning him. we're going to find out. we're going to keep struggling, we're going to keep on until we
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find her. >> then did you have a little burst of hope? >> just a little bit of hope. that's all i had. >> really your biggest task was to find out where beverly was? >> that was my biggest task and concern at that time. >> did louis know where beverly was? and if he did, would he tell the detective? what was his story? where was beverly? >> he said that he kidnapped beverly and it was because of money. he said that he found her on the internet, searched her out, saw that she was a broker and felt like she had money. >> louis described in detail what he claimed happened. he said 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 and told her she was going, too. >> louis said he'd asked beverly to send pictures to crystal because she couldn't be there. >> he said when they got to the top of the stairs, he pulled out
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louis said he asked her to send them to crystal since she couldn't be there. >> when they got to the top of the stairs, he pulled out a flashlight taser and said she was about to have a bad day. he said what are you talking about? he said you're being kidnapped. >> louis 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 aaron actually lived with for a short period >> did this give you hope there was an accomplice here and mean he did have beverly? >> i had hope we were going to find beverly alive. you have to. that's what keeps you going. . >> >> louis said the last time he saw beverly, he was with trevor
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and offered evidence she might still be alive. louis played a recording from his phone and it was chilling. >> carl, it's beverly. i just want 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 they love you very much. >> it was encouraging but it only proved beverly was alive at the time of the recording. the detective told louis he needed more. >> that's when he finally says well, i'll take you to where the last place where she was >> so this is a big moment now. >> yup. >> in this whole case. this is it. >> yup. that's when we load him up and he start going to cabot, arkansas. >> beverly's family prayed this nightmare was about to end. >> did you know that aaron louis was saying your mom was alive? >> yes. we knew that after they had him and they were interrogating him. >> there was a big boost of energy. when he was telling us, it was so uplifting.
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we were like, okay, we're about to get her back. it's great. >> is everybody sit big the phone, waiting for the call, we got her? >> mm-hmm. pacing. >> louis led detective allison on a nail-biting road trip 30 miles out of town, the last place he claimed to see beverly a shed on the side of the road. >> what are you thinking as you're approaching the shed? there's a really good chance she could be here or you're not so sure? >> i'm hoping like hell she's in there. we go in and she had never been in there. >> that's such a letdown. >> tell me about it. it was bad. it was bad. >> but louis 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 after i abducted her. i could tell as soon as we
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walked in, there was nothing. >> another letdown. >> another letdown. >> are you feel like this guy is taking us on a wild goose chase? >> yup. i was so mad that i couldn't drive him back. i had to ride back with another detective. >> there's a woman's life that could be at stake, he's messing with the police. >> playing games. playing games. >> while louis was leading detectives on this wild goose chase, another cop had tracked down this trevor, the man louis claimed was his accomplice. >> we figured out that he was in the military here in little rock, assigned to the little rock air force base. we did make contact with him. we interviewed him. >> they interrogated trevor for several hours, then let him go. >> he wasn't even in town. >> he had an ironclad alibi? >> absolutely. we confirmed through his job with the heir air force base, with the military's office of special investigation, he was on base that day.
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>> lie after lie. there was no accomplice. police were running out of options. then detective allison thought of one more possibility, a cement plan called argo's where louis had recently worked. i point blank asked him if beverly was at argo's. at that point he was looking down at the table, he looked up. he had this stupid look on his face. i figured right then that's probably where she was at. >> police rushed to hope to find beverly alive. >> a mad dash to the cement plant. beverly's family said they were hopeful and fearful of what they might find. coming up, another game from aaron louis. >> i was so mad about how dare you try to tarnish our sweet beverly's reputation. >> and at last, an answer for her family. >> this is where we found beverly. >> when "dateline extra" continues. -♪ he's got legs of lumber and arms of steel ♪
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hi, i need a thriller for my wife. political or psychological? psychological. small town or big city? small town. methodists...or mules? mules. how's this? signed?! no way. nobody knows thrill seekers like we do... barnes & noble what sore muscles? what with advpounding head? .. advil is... relief that's fast. strength that lasts. you'll ask... what pain? with advil.
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this is moving day with the best in-home wifi experience and millions of wifi hotspots to help you stay connected. and this is moving day with reliable service appointments
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in a two-hour window so you're up and running in no time. show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. 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 forget the look on
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their face when you tell them you found their spouse. it's hard. that's probably the hardest part of it. >> he said, we found beverly. i said, was she alive? no, i'm sorry, but she wasn't. >> we had worked so hard, i mean, to find her. we really tried to do right and it wasn't enough. >> i know she pleaded. i know she pleaded for her life and to come back to us and for her grand babies. i just have to know that god was there to comfort her. >> aaron lewis was charged with murder and kidnapping and his wife charged as his accomplice. they pleaded not guilty, but his words to shannon miller outside the sheriff's office didn't sound that those of an innocent man. >> why beverly? >> she was a rich broker. >> it was just as chilling in
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person as it was on tv. and then he gets into the car and you're going what did he just say? >> two weeks later shannon interviewed lewis in jail and he told a vastly different story from the one he 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. >> then he tried to say beverly played a role in her oenwn deat. he implied she met her at the house for a sexual hookup that went wrong. >> in your opinion, how farfetched was this new story about the sexual encounter? >> it was 100% made up. it was completely farfetched. >> john johnson was assigned the case. he believed it was a kidnapping
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gone wrong, but needed to prove it in court. he turned to lewis's wife crystal lowry. he made a deal with crystal. she agreed to testify against her husband and plead guilty to murder and kidnapping in exchange for a reduced sentence of 30 years. >> it's good for the jury to be able to hear the back story of what went on and the why of what went on. >> aaron lewis went on trial. the prosecution's star witness, crystal lowry took the stand and told the jury all the grisly details. she said it was about money, not sex. she testified that she was in class at nursing school when lewis abducted beverly. >> she got a text from aaron lewis saying, look at this or something like that and it was a
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picture of ms. carter bound in the trunk of the car. she said when she got home, he had brought ms. carter back to the house. >> she told the jury when she got home, beverly was locked into her bathroom. 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 stopped the car to just ask questions and put the person on alert. >> the officer couldn't have known that aaron lewis was the man they were looking for. >> ms. carter was still alive and he just didn't know it. >> 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 so he knew
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crystal's name. >> beverly had seen too much. they agreed she had to die. >> aaron took ms. carter from their house and put her in the back of the car and drove her out to the cement plant. >> 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 he was dead. >> and the prosecution's case, that recording of beverly pleading to her husband. if you call the police, it could be bad. prosecutors argued the recording proved beverly had been kidnapped and contradicted lewis's claim of a hookup. how would lewis's attorneys explain the tape? >> i was unable to come up with
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any explanation for the recording. >> instead he led jurors in a different direction, beverly's personal life. >> in order for our defense to be correct, she would have had to be living a life that was secret or just doing something that people didn't know about. >> here's where lewis's story got even stranger. he was no longer em pli eer imp he had sex with beverly. >> he claims he was out of the house at the time? >> yes. lewis claimed the tryst was between beverly and crystal. he said beverly accidentally died during rough sex. >> he said he was protecting his wife and trying to cover up for her. >> 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
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cadillac and getting expensive plastic surgery. >> she made some bad decisions. maybe she made another one. >> finally he took the stand. 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 done it himself, he had synthesized her voice and created this tape. >> you'll forgive me if that maybe sounds a little silly. >> will you forgive me if i remind you i didn't say it happened. i'm just saying what happened at the trial. >> to beverly's friends and family, lewis's story was not only preposterous. it was painful to listen to. >> we've been victimized over
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and over again by him. i was angry 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. >> the verdict was back in less than an hour. >> we hear footsteps running. they're like the verdict's in. what? it was very quick. >> good sign? >> yes. >> great sign. >> great sign. >> aaron lewis was found guilty on all counts and given two life sentences. >> i felt relief instantly relief that we got him. >> 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 not only raise awareness, talk about safety,
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best practices, but i also use that as an opportunity for me to kind of slide in some great stories about my mom and so kind of keep her alive. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> one woman, two men. her husband and the staff sergeant. >> he was a playboy himself. >> one man too many. then suddenly there was one man less. >> it was like bang, pause, bang, because. >> which sounds more like what, execution? >> you could take it that way, yes. >> did


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