Cold Case Files - Friend of the Family; Remains of Murder   View more episodes

Aired at 01:00 PM on Tuesday, Oct 20, 2009 (10/20/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:001984, kids across America are popping, locking, and moonwalking-- in other words, breakdancing.
00:00:0914-year-old Angelo Wong and his friends are no exception.
00:00:13>> We lived it and breathed it morning, noon, and night.
00:00:16I probably thought about it and practiced it more than I did my schoolwork at that time.
00:00:20>> KURTIS: Tuesday, July 17, 1984-- a local disco has scheduled a breakdancing contest for that evening.
00:00:28Angelo and his crew spend the day practicing while Angelo's kid sister Angela tags along.
00:00:34>> She was definitely an athletic girl for her young age, headstrong.
00:00:40She kept me on my toes.
00:00:42>> KURTIS: Around 4:00 PM, practice breaks up and the kids scatter.
00:00:46Angelo goes inside to clean up for the night's contest.
00:00:49His sister sets out on foot for a nearby mall.
00:00:53That night at the disco, she's a no-show.
00:00:56>> And then, when we got home and my mother started making phone calls, and we were looking around the neighborhood-- not around the neighborhood, but on the block-- asking around if anyone had seen her.
00:01:06And the phone calls-- we were getting nowhere with the phone calls.
00:01:09I guess concern really set in then.
00:01:12>> My gut feeling was there was something seriously wrong.
00:01:15>> KURTIS: Angela's father joins local cops in the search for his daughter.
00:01:20>> As the morning pressed on, more police officers came, and my heart started just, you know, getting tighter and tighter and tighter.
00:01:29>> KURTIS: Shortly after 11:00 AM, police scanners crackle to life.
00:01:34Just a few hundred yards from the tidy bungalows of Camp Road, officer Lynda Kurtiss has made a discovery in the woods.
00:01:42>> When I first saw it, I thought it was a mannequin.
00:01:44And when I took a harder look, I realized it was a body.
00:01:51>> KURTIS: The body is that of a young girl partially clothed, lying face down beneath a log at the edge of the pond.
00:01:59She is pulled from the swamp and taken to the morgue, where her father is waiting to make a positive I.D.
00:02:07>> There's a certain essence, there's a certain feeling when you walk into an M.E.'s office.
00:02:14And as soon as I walked in, I had that dreaded feeling.
00:02:18And there was an M.E. there with the body of my daughter in front of me.
00:02:25>> KURTIS: Nassau County medical examiner Leslie Lukash performs the autopsy on Angela Wong.
00:02:33>> The cause of death here was determined to be drowning, homicidal drowning.
00:02:39>> KURTIS: Cuts and bruises on the victim's face indicate a severe beating before death.
00:02:44>> She was beaten about the face by blunt force, probably by a fist, and she sustained a myriad of contusions and abrasions.
00:02:54>> KURTIS: Despite the fact that Angela was found partially naked, her body yields no evidence of rape.
00:03:01The autopsy does, however, provide one clue that will prove crucial later.
00:03:06>> She liked to eat potatoes and rice.
00:03:10>> KURTIS: Angela had her last meal at home sometime before 4:00 Pm.
00:03:15The contents of her stomach tell investigators she was dead shortly thereafter.
00:03:20>> So the degree of digestion was... to be reasonable, was less than an hour.
00:03:26As a matter of fact, it was even less than that.
00:03:28It was recently consumed.
00:03:30>> KURTIS: Nassau County detective Jack Sharkey picks up the case.
00:03:34He begins by constructing a timeline of Angela Wong's last day on Earth.
00:03:40>> She had gotten up kind of late that day, around 12:00 noon, and we had her activity right down until 4:30, when she was last seen, heading off towards the mall.
00:03:51>> KURTIS: The detective pounds the pavement, looking for the answer to a simple question: who was the last known person to see Angela Wong alive?
00:04:01After hundreds of leads, tips, and interviews, the trail leads right back to the victim's inner circle of family and friends.
00:04:09>> We zeroed in on that breakdancing team, and also the five youths who really hung out in the Angela Wong household.
00:04:17>> KURTIS: One by one, members of the breakdancing team are interviewed and asked to account for their whereabouts between 4:30 and 5:00, the time when Angela was most likely murdered.
00:04:28All are cleared save one.
00:04:31Manny Pacheco is a 15-year-old friend of Angela Wong and self- styled ladies man.
00:04:37>> Manny says that he leaves alone, and he started walking north towards his house, and at some point, at some point he turns and looks back, and he says that he sees Angela walking with another young youth who he only described as wearing a black cutoff T-shirt.
00:04:56>> KURTIS: Pacheco can provide no further details about the mysterious teenager in the black T-shirt.
00:05:04Pacheco claims he spent the next hour getting cleaned and dressed for the breakdancing contest.
00:05:11It is a statement that cannot be corroborated and one that leaves a veteran detective feeling uneasy.
00:05:18>> The thing that bothered me was Manny basically was the last one to see her.
00:05:25Two, I also learned that he was the only one who did not participate the next day coming back to the household to look for her.
00:05:32You know, it had been raining out.
00:05:34There were six or seven... there was a group of eight kids went into those woods.
00:05:37They split up four and four, right, but there was no Manny.
00:05:42>> KURTIS: Adding to Sharkey's suspicions: the location of the crime scene.
00:05:46Angela's body was found near a well-worn shortcut to the mall.
00:05:51According to friends and family, it is a trail that Angela never would have walked alone or with a stranger.
00:05:58>> I knew my sister very well.
00:06:00I knew how she felt about those woods and going back there by herself.
00:06:04It never happened.
00:06:05Her going back there with someone we trusted, she trusted, especially a male figure?
00:06:13>> KURTIS: Suspicions aside, investigators have nothing solid on Manny Pacheco, or anyone else for that matter.
00:06:22As time passes, leads dry up, and the murder of Angela Wong drops into the cold files-- that is, until the ladies man begins beating his ladies, and his ladies start talking.
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00:08:17o >> KURTIS: On a summer day in 1984, 11-year-old Angela Wong sets out on foot for the local shopping mall.
00:10:06The following day, she is found dead in the woods.
00:10:11>> She had a heart of gold, would always say what was on her mind.
00:10:15>> She was always that... a bubbly type person and personality.
00:10:20And she always had that smile that was just a radiant thing about Angela.
00:10:25>> KURTIS: Nassau County detective Jack Sharkey works the case, focusing on the last known person to see the victim alive, a neighborhood Romeo named Manny Pacheco.
00:10:37Despite a lot of hard talk, Sharkey can never make his case against Pacheco, and the investigation goes cold.
00:10:44>> Yeah, it is frustrating.
00:10:46So you just keep... you just keep working.
00:10:48You just keep working.
00:10:49Time is on our side.
00:10:51>> KURTIS: Six years later, Sharkey decides to give the case a fresh look.
00:10:56Buried in the files, he comes upon a bit of information perhaps overlooked or misunderstood in 1984.
00:11:04It is the eyewitness account of a local neighborhood girl placing Manny Pacheco with the victim not far from the woods where her body was found.
00:11:14>> At approximately 4:20, she positively identifies Manny Pacheco and Angela Wong walkin together going into that entrance into the back woods-- no doubt about it in her mind.
00:11:24>> KURTIS: Sharkey tracks down the girl, who tells Sharkey she remembers that day because it was the day before her 13th birthday.
00:11:31She remembers the time because she was on her way to see a 4:30 showing of the filmGremlins, and she remembers Manny Pacheco, because she, like so many other neighborhood girls, had a crush on him.
00:11:44>> So I wanted to brace Manny with all those.
00:11:47Of course, naturally he just denied-- she was mistaken.
00:11:50I said, "Not really mistaken, because of the fact that she knew you, even to the point she knew what beautiful brown eyes you had." >> KURTIS: Sharkey offers the suspect a ticket off the hot seat.
00:12:02All he has to do is pass a polygraph exam.
00:12:05Pacheco agrees to take the test, but he won't agree to sit still.
00:12:10>> Now he's fidgeting.
00:12:11He's constantly moving.
00:12:13After the first test, he's told, "Please, you have to remain, or I cannot get good readings on you." He deliberately does it again, and then the third test, he does the exact same thing.
00:12:23>> KURTIS: Pacheco's constant fidgeting throws off the polygraph, and the examiner marks the suspect down as unsuitable for the test.
00:12:32>> I said, "Well, the bottom line is, really, he's lying." He's lying through deception.
00:12:37He's not listening to instructions, and he knows how to beat it only by constant movement.
00:12:44>> KURTIS: Detective Sharkey is now convinced that Manny Pacheco is both a liar and a killer, but with no hard evidence, the detective is at yet another dead end.
00:12:55Shortly after the polygraph exam, Manny Pacheco packs his bags and jets off to a new life in California, while the murder case of Angela Wong once again goes cold.
00:13:12Detective Michael Kuhn was a 35- year-old patrol officer when Angela Wong was killed.
00:13:18Working out of a different precinct at the other edge of the county, Kuhn knew very little about the case.
00:13:24That begins to change one day in 1997.
00:13:29>> We received a phone call from a local village police department.
00:13:32They had arrested a pedophile, and they still had the Angela Wong reward poster hanging in their office.
00:13:39And they called us, and they asked us if we were interested in interviewing this person, thinking there may be a connection because... because he was a pedophile.
00:13:47>> KURTIS: Detective Kuhn pulls the cold file, immerses himself in the details and interviews the suspect.
00:13:53He finds no connection between the pedophile and the murder, but he does begin to feel a personal connection to the case.
00:14:01>> Well, the worst part of it was there was an 11-year-old girl that was murdered.
00:14:05It looked like she was...
00:14:05someone tried to rape her.
00:14:07That was horrific enough.
00:14:09So I became interested in trying to solve that particular case.
00:14:15>> KURTIS: Detective Kuhn returns to the case file and quickly finds his investigative theory rolling along the same tracks laid down by Detective Sharkey.
00:14:24>> Well, one thing that was very interesting was they called her a scaredy-cat.
00:14:27She was afraid to go into those woods where she was eventually found dead.
00:14:30She wouldn't go in there alone.
00:14:31The only person she would go in there with is a male that she trusted.
00:14:35>> KURTIS: On the short list of people who fit that profile: Manny Pacheco.
00:14:40Kuhn runs a criminal history, and finds Pacheco living in California on the wrong side of the law.
00:14:47>> I found out that he had two orders of protection against him out in California, and those orders of protection involved women that he was living with.
00:14:55>> An order of protection is something that... another name for... it's a restraining order.
00:15:00>> KURTIS: L.A.P.D. detectives Mike Berchem and Eric Mosher are conducting a separate investigation of Manny Pacheco on charges of battery and molestation.
00:15:08They help Detective Kuhn fill in the blanks with regards to Pacheco's legal troubles in the City of Angels.
00:15:15>> In this case, it was an order that was to Manny Pacheco from one of his girlfriends that said, "You are not to be within a certain distance, you are not to have contact, you are not to call," and those things usually stem from some type of domestic violence kind of situation.
00:15:36>> They told me Manny was living with two women.
00:15:39He abused both of them, according to the women, and that he also had been accused of abusing his own nine-year-old daughter.
00:15:47Now, that piqued my interest.
00:15:48You know, we have an 11-year-old girl who was apparently abused and murdered, and now he's allegedly abusing his own daughter.
00:15:55>> So our plan was to go out and find these people and interview them and start sort of building a profile on what Manny Pacheco was all about.
00:16:03>> KURTIS: Detective Kuhn catches a westbound 747 to Vegas eager for a chat with one of Manny Pachecho's scorned women and a chance to see if she knows anything about the murder of Angela Wong.
00:16:21It's been a rough road for Maureen Geoghegan.
00:16:24After a decade of physical abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Manny Pacheco, the 31-year-old single mother is working to put her life back on track.
00:16:33When detective Kuhn talks with her, she takes him back to Long Island in 1989, where she was a high school senior swooning for a dreamboat named Manny Pacheco.
00:16:44>> He was a really attractive guy and very charming, had all the right words to say.
00:16:49I fell for him-- fell for him fast.
00:16:52>> KURTIS: Maureen recalls an event early in the relationship where Manny showed up at her parents' front door in the middle of the night.
00:16:59According to Geoghegan, Pacheco was in a highly agitated state-- shirtless, shoeless, and wearing only a pair of longjohns.
00:17:07>> He had came to me completely in hysterics, and he said that his friend's sister had been killed and that he wasn't there for her when she needed him and that he wished he was there and he'd never be able to forgive himself that he wasn't there to help her.
00:17:22>> KURTIS: According to Geoghegan, Manny clammed up and ran away when she pressed him for details.
00:17:28One week later, Maureen says Manny brought up the subject again, this time painting a much fuller picture.
00:17:35>> She had been laying in the water with a log over the back of her head, face down, with her pants pulled down.
00:17:50>> He describes what she's wearing that day.
00:17:52He tells her that the person drowned her because she was screaming too much.
00:17:56These are things that really weren't in the paper, and he was bringing up things to her that only the killer would probably know.
00:18:04>> KURTIS: Maureen's statement, while certainly incriminating, does not provide enough for Kuhn to cuff Pacheco.
00:18:10To do that, the detective must track down yet another one of Manny's many ladies, one who can tell police in detail about the day Manny Pacheco confessed to the murder of Angela Wong.
00:18:21>> And he just began to talk about it like it was what he had for breakfast that morning.
00:20:43>> KURTIS: Long Island, 1984: 11-year-old Angela Wong was murdered, and a family began its long wait for justice.
00:20:52>> I never lost hope.
00:20:54It slowed down a lot.
00:20:56I definitely felt it slowed down, but I never lost hope.
00:20:59I never said to myself, "They're never going to find him." >> KURTIS: Early on, suspicion fell upon a friend of the victim named Manny Pacheco.
00:21:07The case, however, stalled due to a lack of evidence, until Manny began to talk, and the investigation began to heat up.
00:21:15>> I had asked, I said, "Did he kill someone?" >> KURTIS: Maureen Geoghegan lived with Pacheco for more than a decade.
00:21:21Although Manny never confessed to Maureen, he spoke of the murder often and provided her with details that placed him at the crime scene.
00:21:30>> And she said whenever he talked about Angela, he would always get very depressed.
00:21:34At one point, he even wrote a song about her.
00:21:36He called it, "Oh, Angela," beautiful girl, 12 years old, and would go on like that to her.
00:21:41>> He would refer to her sometimes as "Angela," and he would refer to her sometimes as his cousin.
00:21:47>> KURTIS: On one occasion, Maureen tells police, she witnessed Manny mention the murder of his so-called cousin in a threatening way to keep yet another woman in line.
00:21:56>> During one of the arguments, one of... where there was the...
00:21:59physical abuse was going on, he told the other girl that he was going to do to her the same thing that he did to his cousin.
00:22:07>> He was very physically abusive.
00:22:10>> KURTIS: Meet Raluca.
00:22:11Like Maureen Geoghegan before her, Raluca fell victim to Manny Pacheco's charms and soon found herself on the wrong side of his fists.
00:22:20>> Every day was just a struggle with him.
00:22:23>> KURTIS: After one particularly brutal beating, however, Raluca tells police Pacheco was overcome with remorse, and his apologies suddenly morphed into a murder confession.
00:22:33>> That was the first time he mentioned Angela and sort of referenced her and was kind of like, "Well, you know, it was...
00:22:40you know, I don't know why I do these things, I just...
00:22:42something comes over me, and it was like when I killed my cousin," you know.
00:22:47And he just began to talk about it like it was what he had for breakfast that morning.
00:22:52>> KURTIS: On that occasion, Raluca tells police, Pacheco offered up a tearful, detailed confession to the murder of Angela Wong.
00:23:00Ten months later, the topic surfaced again when Raluca tried to leave Manny.
00:23:05This time, according to the witness, Pacheco's mood was far more sinister.
00:23:10>> This time, he was using Angela in a threatening way, you know.
00:23:14"I killed my cousin.
00:23:15What makes you think I won't kill you?" >> KURTIS: Raluca's statement provides cold-case detectives with enough probable cause to finally arrest Manny Pacheco.
00:23:25Hoping to hear a confession from the suspect's own mouth, Detective Kuhn sits down with Pacheco and a picture of Angela Wong.
00:23:33>> And I showed him that picture of Angela.
00:23:35He became very belligerent: "I know nothing about her.
00:23:38Why are you asking me about her?" And to the point where he... he stood up a couple of times.
00:23:44He wasn't cuffed in the room, so we had to tell him, you know, "You've got to calm down, you have to sit down, or you're going to have to be handcuffed," you know.
00:23:49>> KURTIS: Pacheco stiff-arms police and calls for a lawyer.
00:23:52The ladies man pleads not guilty and decides to take his chances in court.
00:24:03Nassau County prosecutor Bob Hayden is a man with his work cut out for him.
00:24:07Hayden must prove Manny Pacheco's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt using only eyewitness testimony and admissions allegedly made by the defendant.
00:24:17>> Well, understand that under the law in New York State, any kind of an admission is direct evidence, because this is a witness, the person who committed the crime saying, "I did it." >> KURTIS: In prepping for trial, detectives are able to track down two more women who claim to have heard Manny Pacheco confess to the murder of Angela Wong.
00:24:36In addition, Angela's autopsy helps the prosecutor set her time of death at some point between 4:00 and 5:00 PM.
00:24:43Hayden then cinches the circumstantial noose with an eyewitness who can place the defendant and the victim together in close proximity to the crime scene at approximately 4:30.
00:24:54>> She had seen Manny Pacheco, the defendant, and Angela Wong, the victim, walking from between where the Wongs' house was and a gate leading into the wooded area where Angela's dead body was eventually found.
00:25:09>> KURTIS: In closing statements, Hayden arrives at motive, casting the defendant as a rejected Romeo filled with uncontrollable rage.
00:25:18>> Mannyever set out to rape Angela.
00:25:20Manny believed that he was going to have consensual sex with Angela.
00:25:26He considered himself irresistible to young women.
00:25:29He thought this was just going to happen, and instead of going along with it, she was revolted by what was going on.
00:25:36He had lost sight of the fact that she was a child.
00:25:39She was only 11.
00:25:41And when she resisted, he became infuriated.
00:25:44He did lose control of himself.
00:25:46He did lose his temper, and when he did that, he beat her up.
00:25:48It was then that he made the decision he was going to have to kill her.
00:25:53He was terrified she was going to tell her parents.
00:25:56That's a motive.
00:25:58He has to kill her.
00:25:59He chose to take her life rather than expose himself to punishment, and it takes a very cold-hearted person to do that, and that's the kind of person we submit he was.
00:26:11>> KURTIS: After only seven hours of deliberation, a Nassau County jury agrees with Hayden and finds Manny Pacheco guilty of the murder of Angela Wong.
00:26:20Because Pacheco was a juvenile at the time of the crime, he receives a sentence of nine years to life.
00:26:27>> I was upset.
00:26:28>> KURTIS: For Angela's family, the sentence seems light, but all are in agreement that something is better than nothing.
00:26:35>> I think he got the maximum sentence, which, if that's the best we're going to get, we got it.
00:26:41>> KURTIS: As for others who may be going through a similar ordeal, seeking justice for someone who's been murdered, Angela's father offers a closing thought: never give up.
00:26:52>> There is a detective out there.
00:26:54There is evidence out there.
00:26:55There's clues out there that can put this case together.
00:26:59Call them on a regular basis-- not to haunt them, but to call them on a regular basis, on anniversary dates, birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and remind them that we're still here and without our loved ones, so that these cases will still be... not cold anymore, maybe lukewarm.รบ >> The last thing he said was "Good-bye" and "I love you, Mom; see you tonight," and that was the last time I ever saw him.
00:31:39>> He learned that dead kids don't talk.
00:31:43>> Seeing the braces, that bothered me.
00:31:46>> There's no blood.
00:31:47There's no witness.
00:31:48There's no smoking gun.
00:31:50>> I said, "That son of a (bleep) killed Jamey." >> KURTIS: In the beach towns of southern California, the sun shines early and often.
00:32:05But in the spring of 1979, the sky is about to darken for a single mom.
00:32:11Barb Brogli is newly divorced and spending a few nights in a local motel with her 13-year-old son, Jamey.
00:32:19On the morning of April 19, Barb dresses for work and Jamey hustles off to school.
00:32:25>> He had his lunch money and his bus fare and a book bag and his skateboard, and the last thing he said was "Good-bye" and "I love you, Mom; see you tonight," and that was the last time I ever saw him.
00:32:38>> KURTIS: After work, Barb returns to the motel to find that Jamey never made it to school that day.
00:32:44Checking with Jamey's friends, Barb discovers that her son is nowhere to be found.
00:32:50Concerned to the point of panic, Barb calls police but gets no immediate help.
00:32:56>> Back then, it was 72 hours before they would take a report, and then they wouldn't consider him a missing person unless they were seen being abducted.
00:33:06They were considered runaways.
00:33:08>> KURTIS: Three days later, Jamey's disappearance warrants police attention.
00:33:13Detective Dave Walker works the case.
00:33:16>> A lot of times, you know, you get a case like this, and let's say that there is a typical runaway where they are gone for a few days, and then one of their relatives or friends will spot them, and you'll hear about them.
00:33:31>> KURTIS: Detective Walker turns his attention to Jamey's classmates at school, where stories about Jamey are spreading like wildfire.
00:33:38>> I'd received several different scenarios, one of them being that he'd been kidnapped.
00:33:44Another one was that he merely ran away from home.
00:33:48Another one was he'd been injured and was in a hospital somewhere.
00:33:52Long story short, nobody had actually seen any of this.
00:33:56It was all rumors.
00:33:59>> KURTIS: Six weeks into the investigation, detective Walker becomes convinced of what a mother knew in her heart after six hours.
00:34:06>> At that point, I'm thinking that there's probably foul play involved in the case, that someone has taken him against his will.
00:34:15That's based on the fact that he has not voluntarily contacted any of his friends or relatives.
00:34:22>> KURTIS: The months become a year, the years a decade.
00:34:27Jamey Trotter has vanished from the face of the Earth.
00:34:30>> That's the worst part, is year after year of looking and not knowing.@ >> KURTIS: In January of 1990, Larry Nielsen works as an investigator for the Riverside County sheriff.
00:36:35Late one Sunday afternoon, Nielsen takes a report from a deputy responding to a call from a hiker named James Crummel.
00:36:44>> Crummel said that he had found what he thought were human bones, because there was a jawbone with braces or dental appliances.
00:36:52>> KURTIS: T The next morning Nielsen and his partner follow their hiker into the wilderness.
00:36:58>> He brought us to one location on the side of the hill, and he pointed down on to the ground, and there was a portion of the skull that was visible.
00:37:08Near that portion of the skull there was the upper jawbone, and a little bit farther away we found the lower jawbone with the braces on it.
00:37:18>> KURTIS: Smaller bones are scattered along the side of the hill.
00:37:21The gravity of the discovery is realized immediately.
00:37:25>> Seeing the braces, my initial reaction was that it was probably a young person, and that bothered me.
00:37:32Somebody was missing a son or a daughter.
00:37:35>> KURTIS: Police send the remains to forensic anthropologist Dr. Robert Hegler.
00:37:40The doctor cannot name a cause of death, but he does point to the pelvic bone as a clear identifying factor.
00:37:47>> He concluded that we had a female, and it was a young female, early teens.
00:37:55>> KURTIS: Investigators commence to search for a missing adolescent female.
00:37:59None of their open cases, however, match the teeth found in the Ortega Mountains.
00:38:04Eventually the pile of bones is marked down as a Jane Doe and set aside.
00:38:08It will be almost five years before investigators take a second look at the remains and realize they made a mistake.
00:38:22In the early 1990s, the state of California begins processing unidentified human remains through a new computer database called MUPS, or Missing Unidentified Persons System.
00:38:34>> Debbie, take a look at these again.
00:38:36>> KURTIS: Dr. Judy Suchey is a forensic anthropologist working on the project from her lab at Cal State Fullerton.
00:38:42>> Where did we put that ileum?
00:38:44>> KURTIS: In the summer of 1995, she comes across the remains found in the Ortega Mountains, along with a report classifying the bones as female.
00:38:53>> I was rather surprised that he had tried to determine a sex.
00:38:58This particular individual was ten to 12, 13, in that vicinity, which is virtually impossible to sex accurately.
00:39:09>> KURTIS: Reading deeper into the report, Dr. Suchey sees that sex was determined using a pelvic measurement system known as the Weaver method, a method that is perhaps less than reliable.
00:39:22>> And this particular method, we were running around 80%, which isn't too good.
00:39:28An 80% method I would not use in forensic cases.
00:39:33And I actually talked to Dr.
00:39:35Weaver and said, "Well, would you use this method in a forensic case?" And he said, "No, I would only use it for archaeological material or maybe not at all." So he was the first to say it's an interesting method but not too reliable.
00:39:50>> KURTIS: Dr. Suchey reclassifies the bones with a sex of undetermined and kicks them back to Riverside County.
00:39:57Investigators expand their search to include girls and boys with braces.
00:40:02Almost immediately they get a hit.
00:40:07>> When we were able to enter the correct identification into the MUPS system, we immediately got a hit out of Orange County on Jamey Trotter.
00:40:17>> KURTIS: Jamey's dental records are sent to Dr. Doug Wyler for comparison with the unidentified remains.
00:40:24>> Right here, he has a small filling.
00:40:27>> KURTIS: In most cases, dental records can be conclusive.
00:40:30>> These are the postmortem.
00:40:32>> KURTIS: But in this case, Wyler has only parts of the jaw and teeth for comparison.
00:40:36>> You couldn't tell anything definitive.
00:40:41You couldn't tell if it was him for certain, but you could not eliminate him.
00:40:47>> KURTIS: Unable to match up teeth, Dr. Wyler turns to the braces.
00:40:52A practicing dentist, Wyler is sensitive to certain signature characteristics that could distinguish one doctor's work from another.
00:41:02>> As I looked at the teeth and the braces, I immediately knew that I did not do the work, and so it hit me that his orthodontist would know whether that was his work or not.
00:41:16>> KURTIS: Wyler tracks down Jamey Trotter's orthodontist, and indeed, the doctor recognizes his own handiwork.
00:41:24Jamey's family provides DNA samples, and forensic testing confirms what a dentist already suspects-- the remains found