Unsolved Mysteries   View more episodes

Aired at 02:00 AM on Tuesday, Feb 09, 2010 (2/9/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:01:25- In a remote corner of a park, a car is found stuck in the mud.
00:01:32The radio has been ripped out.
00:01:33There are small traces of blood on the dashboard and the front seat, along with shredded identification papers.
00:01:41A few torn-up photographs are scattered nearby.
00:01:45It looked like foul play, but was it?
00:01:49The photos, the papers, and the car were all traced to 22-year-old kristi krebs.
00:01:55She had worked as a chef just 7 miles from where her car was found.
00:01:59For kristi's parents, the scene was all too familiar.
00:02:04When kristi graduated from high school, she went to work full-time in a local restaurant.
00:02:09She was cheerful and upbeat, but she also became infatuated and then obsessed, with a married man.
00:02:19Then, one day, three years before her disappearance, kristi apparently began to fantasize about marrying this same man.
00:02:27She drove around for hours and lost her way on a country road.
00:02:31Her car became hopelessly stuck in the mud.
00:02:38- Have to get out of here.
00:02:52- When the car was found, it looked like this.
00:02:55The interior had been totally destroyed by flames and kristi was nowhere to be seen.
00:03:01The fire apparently sent kristi into a traumatic mental breakdown.
00:03:07The morning after the incident, railroad workers saw a dazed and disoriented young woman wandering along the tracks.
00:03:15One of the men recognized kristi and called her parents.
00:03:20 but as we were driving back into town, the behavior we were getting from her was very bizarre-uh, chanting and patting her--doing very weird things.
00:03:34And I looked at my wife and said, "we're not going home.
00:03:37" - we wondered if she was ever going to be the same again.
00:03:42At first they thought that she might have been on drugs, but they were able to test her and see that there were no drugs in her system.
00:03:55- Hey, kiddo.
00:03:56- Hi, kristi.
00:03:56- Over the next few months, kristi was in and out of the hospital and was eventually diagnosed having had a psychotic, trauma-related break.
00:04:06- Why are you doing that?
00:04:08.. my keys in my car.
00:04:09- Your car's o.k. - it's all right, kristi.
00:04:13- After therapy and drug treatment, kristi made rapid progress.
00:04:19And after six months things were looking up.
00:04:22Kristi was released from the hospital.
00:04:24And her therapists recommended that she go back to work, but only part-time.
00:04:31- I think it was suggested she work 20 hours a week to start with.
00:04:34And she did incredibly well.
00:04:36And she was very proud of herself.
00:04:37And she got herself a second job at a local fast-food restaurant.
00:04:43- Eventually kristi began working 10 to 12 hours a day.
00:04:49Three years went by.
00:04:51Kristi's parents worried about her manic pace.
00:04:54Yet kristi insisted that she was ok, right up until the night she disappeared.
00:05:00That night, kristi left work in high spirits, but she didn't go straight home.
00:05:07Kristi drove around until, at some point, she veered onto a dirt road.
00:05:12She ended up here, just 7 miles from the spot where the car fire had occurred, once again stuck in the mud.
00:05:24- I think that she probably had flashbacks.
00:05:27It was like reliving that nightmare.
00:05:29And all of that, I think, just overloaded all the circuits.
00:05:34- Kristi's father believes his daughter suffered another psychotic break.
00:05:41- In my mind, the last thing she did, she went through her wallet in total frustration, whether she's looking at pictures of family and friends, she ripped them all up.
00:05:50She ripped them up and scattered them around.
00:05:52Whether she was destroying her past and, and trying to get away from it, you know, I really don't know.
00:05:57I know that my daughter went through a really tough time out there for 2 or 3 hours.
00:06:03- The authorities think that before she abandoned her car, kristi changed into a gym outfit that she always carried with her.
00:06:13Her work clothes were found-- sopping wet and neatly folded on the backseat.
00:06:18The next morning, a full-scale search was launched, but there was no trace of kristi.
00:06:24However, over the next few months, several sightings were reported in texas, then in salt lake city, and finally, a year later, in california.
00:06:37Just outside the farming town of visalia, california, an off-duty highway worker named mike case picked up a hitchhiker who looked like kristi.
00:06:47It was 300 miles south of the spot where kristi's car was abandoned.
00:06:53- It seemed to me that she didn't have it all there.
00:06:55At first, I thought possibly she was on some type of drugs.
00:06:59But talking with her a little bit at the beginning, I knew that possibly she was in a world of her own.
00:07:10What happened to your wrist there?
00:07:13I did happen to notice that on her wrist, there was two slash marks on her wrist.
00:07:18And I asked her directly, "well, what happened " " - I had a boyfriend.
00:07:27He wasn't very nice.
00:07:29- Mike dropped kristi off at an intersection near hanford, california.
00:07:35A week later, he read an article about kristi's disappearance and contacted her parents.
00:07:40They immediately sent photographs.
00:07:43- I went through several of the pictures, and my personal feeling, that was the girl I picked up on the freeway.
00:07:49I'm positive that is her.
00:07:52I'm positive.
00:07:53And I can say that now.
00:07:54I can say it's positive.
00:07:55- I believe that kristi is out there somewhere and that she's alive because kristi is a survivor.
00:08:03She has a lot of strength.
00:08:05She's very friendly.
00:08:06I believe that she would not be a loner, that she would hook up with someone.
00:08:11- We want her back home because we know with our help she can once again recover from whatever it is that she's going through.
00:08:19And we really hope somebody out there knows where she is and can help her get home.
00:08:25- Kristi's parents now believe one of the most credible sightings is from a woman who picked up a girl hitchhiking between salt lake city and park city, utah.
00:08:35The woman was able to describe details about her clothing that had never been released to the public.
00:08:42Kristi krebs is 5'2" tall and has a deformed right thumb that is thick at the knuckle with the tip of the thumb curving inward.
00:08:52If you can help reunite kristi with her family, please contact unsolved.com.
00:09:02Next, young woman is held against her will by a cult.
00:09:07She accuses its leader of kidnapping and rape.
00:09:16Nergetic music ♪
00:09:37 insurance for your car and the other stuff that moves you.
00:12:54- The small midwestern town of liberty, missouri, just before midnight at the compound of a local religious group.
00:13:05- Hello?
00:13:07- Tim, this is julie.
00:13:08- What are you doing it's late?
00:13:10- Can you please come get me?
00:13:12- The young woman is julie cooper, and she's 22 years old.
00:13:16She made this desperate call for help to a man that she had met only once.
00:13:21She would tell him that she had been trapped " for 16 years, the "family" -- nearly 30 men, women and children -- lived together in a commune, far removed from the outside world.
00:13:37- Julie had told me bits and pieces of what had gone on, but I'm still not aware of the whole story.
00:13:42I'm thinking well you know, it's no big deal, nobody's going to catch us.
00:13:47- Julie convinced tim to help her escape from the cult.
00:13:52- She was crouched down in the grass, um, with a trash bag full of clothes.
00:14:02- Go! go! go!
00:14:03- She was very, very nervous and very afraid.
00:14:07- After 10 years, julie cooper had finally escaped from the cult.
00:14:11She then contacted authorities and told a horrifying story of her life within the commune.
00:14:17The most chilling allegations focused on the leader of the cult, nelson decloud.
00:14:23Nelson decloud was an ex- police officer from raytown, missouri, a suburb of kansas city.
00:14:30He considered himself the spiritual leader of his "family"-- that's what he called his followers.
00:14:37- Nelson thought that he was god's son and not really that he was jesus christ but that he was one of god's sons and that he couldn't do any wrong.
00:14:47- And he said to me, these are they which ..
00:14:50- Nelson had a very booming voice.
00:14:52His eyes were like, white blue with just would scare you.
00:14:57- Praise the lord.
00:14:58- Praise the lord.
00:14:59- When her family joined the cult, julie cooper was just 6 years old.
00:15:04When she was 10, she says decloud forced her to watch him have sex with a female member of the family.
00:15:13- Amen.
00:15:14- I want you to stay out here a little while.
00:15:16- He asked me to have sex with him and i didn't want to and I didn't.
00:15:20- What I want you to do, julie, is what god wants you to do.
00:15:23You understand me? - yes.
00:15:24- All right.
00:15:25- I guess he was so far into it he couldn't do any wrong, kind of deal that it didn't matter to him.
00:15:32- Now you listen to me, do you know how old mary was when she had jesus?
00:15:37- 14 Years old, 14 years old.
00:15:39Now you think about that.
00:15:40There's nothing wrong with that.
00:15:42- He put me out in this like wooded area.
00:15:44I didn't have any food or jacket or anything like that.
00:15:49- When are you coming back?
00:15:51- I'll know when to come back.
00:15:52God will tell me when to come back.
00:15:54- Julie stood in the field, alone and shivering, for eight hours.
00:15:59Only then did nelson take her back to the compound.
00:16:03- There is a sinner amongst us, and I am deeply troubled.
00:16:08- Another member of the family was publicly humiliated after she confronted decloud about his cruelty.
00:16:15- She has chosen to disobey my word.
00:16:18She has chosen to disobey god's word.
00:16:21- He was gonna make an example of her in front of me, in front of others.
00:16:26- Comes penance!
00:16:27- And that was enough to scare me.
00:16:29He knew that I was already scared.
00:16:32- No!
00:16:33I felt like it was my fault because here she tried to stand up for me and I wasn't giving in.
00:16:45He found me and he says, "well, are you ready " of course you know after all that had happened, I said, "yes".
00:16:54- Julie became a prisoner in the compound, forced to serve as one of decloud's unwilling sex partners.
00:17:01When she was 15, she made her first attempt to escape.
00:17:05- After everything had happened to me, everything that was going on um, I decided to run away.
00:17:10You know, I just couldn't take anymore.
00:17:12- Nelson decloud immediately organized search parties to find julie.
00:17:16- Julie, you stop right where you are.
00:17:19You hear me, girl?
00:17:20You stay right there. stop right there.
00:17:24Come here.
00:17:25- No, let me go, please.
00:17:31Let me go!
00:17:32- Nelson and another guy came, picked me up, handcuffed me, and took me back.
00:17:37I was so scared of him, of what would happen to me.
00:17:41- Offer your shoes!
00:17:42- Julie was ordered to take off her clothes, and later she was severely beaten.
00:17:48- Offer your shirt.
00:17:50- After that, he always kept me with him.
00:17:53I always had to sleep with him in his, in his bus, in his area.
00:17:57He wouldn't let me out of anybody's sight.
00:18:04- 7 More years passed, julie patiently waiting for one more chance to escape.
00:18:09And then, nelson decloud asked julie to contact a satellite dish repairman.
00:18:16And that's when julie cooper met tim santi.
00:18:21- As I pull into the driveway, I see several cars.
00:18:24I see um, a lot of kids running around and the first impression I get is that you know this has to be some type of party.
00:18:32- Ah, brother nelson.
00:18:33This is our brother in god nelson decloud.
00:18:36Nelson, I'd like for you to meet tim.
00:18:39- When tim was introduced to nelson, he didn't show him any respect.
00:18:43He didn't think of him as anybody or anything.
00:18:46And that made me feel good, it made me feel like I could trust in someone, I could actually talk to this person and he could understand me.
00:18:53- Over the next couple of weeks afterwards um, I'd ask her out for a date.
00:18:59And she seemed like she was willing but was not, that there was something that was holding her back.
00:19:04- Well, he had asked me out and of course I told him that i couldn't go and I couldn't go for a year you know, wouldn't be able get out for a year.
00:19:12And that was just a way of putting him off and seeing if he was willing to go on with trying to wear me down.
00:19:18- In the course of our conversations on the phone, we had, she had come up with a plan that she had, that she would need to sneak out at night undetected.
00:19:28- I called tim up and said, "i want to go " we made a time of 1:15 in the morning.
00:19:35And sure enough 1:15 hit.
00:19:38He was there.
00:19:40Go! go! go!
00:19:42After I left, I was afraid they'd take me back.
00:19:45Um, they would beat me, do something to my mom.
00:19:52I'm still afraid that he is torturing my mom in some way for what I've done.
00:19:59- At dawn, decloud and another family member went looking for julie.
00:20:03Pretending to be police officers, they drove to tim's house.
00:20:08- Hey, hey!
00:20:10Where's julie?
00:20:12- What?
00:20:13- Where is julie?
00:20:15- Who's julie?
00:20:16- Lucky for julie, decloud had the wrong address.
00:20:19The house belonged to tim's brother, ted.
00:20:22Tim and julie were just a few yards away, sound asleep in the house next door.
00:20:27- The next day, ted came up to me and said, "what the hell's " two strange people had come into his home looking for me, you know like I was a criminal or something.
00:20:41- They won't let me leave.
00:20:42- And that's when julie told us the whole thing of what was going on.
00:20:46- Why did you want to run away?
00:20:49She also alluded to the fear that any man that was physically able from that group would probably come and try to get her.
00:20:56- And they raped me and I can't stay there anymore.
00:21:01- Detective dwayne wiersma of the local sheriff's department had been suspicious of decloud and his cult for a long time.
00:21:10- I was abused.
00:21:12- I believed julie from the beginning.
00:21:14Abused, what type of abuse?
00:21:16We had a hard time trying just to focus on the charges that, of a rape at the time 'cause there were so many other things that could've been-- he could have been charged with.
00:21:24- Decloud quickly ordered the women and children to load their possessions onto four converted buses.
00:21:31Decloud then took them away from the commune.
00:21:34We believe they're still together because nelson feeds off the power of being in control of a group.
00:21:39If he doesn't have the group, then he has no power.
00:21:42- I want nelson to get caught because it's not fair to anyone else that's up there, my mom and dad.
00:21:48They need to know that he isn't the messiah.
00:21:51He's a criminal.
00:21:53What he was doing was wrong.
00:21:57- The sheriff's department issued a warrant for nelson decloud, but he was long gone.
00:22:06After our broadcast, several viewers from san angelo, texas, called "unsolved mysteries".
00:22:13San angelo is a small town 500 miles from decloud's old headquarters.
00:22:19Our viewers called to say they had seen decloud's wife in the area.
00:22:23The cult had apparently settled in this farmhouse.
00:22:26When state and local agents arrived, decloud kicked out the screen of the upstairs window to make his escape.
00:22:33- The deputies approached him and he tried to wrestle with a few of them briefly.
00:22:38There were so many law enforcement officers, though, that he didn't--that didn't last very long.
00:22:42They put the handcuffs on him and escorted him out of the building.
00:22:45- Nelson decloud was brought back to liberty, missouri, to stand trial.
00:22:50He was convicted of rape, sodomy and kidnapping.
00:22:53He is currently serving a prison sentence of 220 years.
00:23:01Next, at least three different women go on a date with this man and are never seen again.
00:27:21On an earlier program, we told you about missing fugitive, robert weeks.
00:27:26Two of his long-term girlfriends had planned to break up with him, and they both disappeared after one last dinner date.
00:27:34Their bodies were never found.
00:27:36Weeks' ex-wife, patricia, had also vanished years before.
00:27:42- Whoever he's involved with now may end up in the same situation.
00:27:46I definitely think there's a pattern and I definitely think it could happen again.
00:27:52- Update.
00:27:53The day after our broadcast, robert weeks was captured in arizona.
00:27:58He was living there with a new girlfriend, and when she saw our story about him, well, she turned him in.
00:28:05At the time, weeks was running a company called "snuff it," which made ashtrays.
00:28:11His business partner was interviewed shortly after weeks' arrest.
00:28:15- He said, "i haven't told anybody this yet, " " and he said, "yeah," he said, "i watched it, but I didn't figured any of my friends would " - weeks was brought back to nevada on a long-standing embezzlement charge.
00:28:33Shortly after, he was indicted on two counts of murder.
00:28:37He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
00:28:42Robert weeks was still behind bars when he died in 1996.
00:28:48Sadly, the bodies of robert weeks' victims were never found.
00:28:53Weeks knew a lot about mining, and authorities believe that he may have hidden the bodies in one of the many forgotten mines in either the arizona or nevada desert.
00:29:09Orthodox jews trace their roots back 5,000 years to the time of moses, and they live according to strict codes that have remained unchanged for centuries.
00:29:22To maintain their traditions, many communities have established yeshivas, which are schools that emphasize the principles of orthodox judaism.
00:29:33One saturday morning, don daly, a veteran nassau county, new york, police detective was dispatched to a yeshiva in long beach, new york, to investigate the murder of one of its students.
00:29:47The victim was 16-year-old chaim weiss.