tv Forensic Files CNN June 11, 2014 11:00pm-11:31pm PDT
i'm don lemon. thanks for watching. that's it for us tonight. a beautiful mail-order bride, her millionaire husband, and the gardener. an unusual love triangle as you will ever find, until one of them died in a suspicious car crash. was this truly an accident or something more sinister? jonathan nyce, a 53-year-old pharmaceutical executive, entrepreneur, and millionaire, met his beautiful, young filipino wife, michelle, through a classified ad. she was a mail-order bride. >> not only did he promise her or represent to her a better way of life for her, it was a better way of life for her family. he sent money back to the family. helped her nieces and nephews go
>> hello? >> dr. nyce, i'm having an affair with your wife. and here is some proof. >> i want to see you again. when can you do it? >> anytime you want. >> he clearly recognized his wife's voice. she was filipino, she had a distinctive voice. he knew it was her. >> it appears there was sexual activity taking place. >> the caller demanded $500,000 or else he would embarrass the doctor by releasing the tape to the couple's friends and business associates. nyce immediately confronted his wife, michelle. >> she states, yes, she did have the affair. that the individual she had the affair with is an employee at a landscaping company.
>> michelle promised to end the affair. just clearly and coldly said, stay way from my wife. >> but the story didn't end there. five months later, michelle nyce was found dead in her car, which was found down an embankment near a shallow creek. it looked as if the car swerved off the snow-covered road. >> very isolated. it just so happened the night prior to this we had a rather large snowstorm. but there were a number of suspicious clues. there were footprints leading away from the passenger's side
of the car. >> the footprints do say that someone was there and left the scene. it appears that someone had gotten out of the vehicle and left the scene. >> there was blood on the outside of the car. and the blood pattern on the driver's seat, inconsistent with an accidental head injury. and perhaps most telling, michelle wasn't wearing shoes. >> the bottom of her stockings were dirty. so obviously at some point she was walking around in her bare feet with the stockings, without shoes. so that was a red flag right there. >> there were a pair of women's brown shoes on the passenger's side of the car, a color that didn't match her dark blue outfit. >> it was becoming clear to investigators that this was no accident. care what age you are.
more than 5', 5'1" tall and the car's seat, driver's seat recline all the way back. >> at michelle's autopsy, the medical examiner found evidence of not one head injury, but several. >> she had four separate lacerations, three in the forehead area that were separate. one to the top of the head. this would be inconsistent with a car crash. and more consistent with blunt force trauma. >> michelle had cuts and bruises on her hands, what appeared to be defensive wounds. >> this death, in my opinion, is clearly a homicide. >> the shoe impressions found in the snow leading away from the vehicle across the creek and up to a nearby road were from a man's boot. >> this was a secondary crime scene. this is not the location where this happened. that the location is somewhere else, but this is where the body was left.
>> on the night of the murder, michelle worked the evening shift at the cosmetics counter of a local department store. she left around 10:00 p.m. she told her husband she was going out for a drink with her girlfriends. but the owner of a nearby motel told police michelle was there that night, in a room, with a man he identified as miguel dejesus. the gardener she had been involved with a year earlier. when questioned, dejesus admitted to having sex with michelle that night, but insisted he had nothing to do with her murder. he said michelle left in her car around midnight and that he went home to his wife. >> he told us what they did, where they went, and again, all of that was verified. >> dejesus did reveal one surprising piece of information. he claimed michelle planned to divorce her husband. >> i would never in a million
years believe she would leave the kids because of -- for the gardener. >> despite outward appearances, investigators learned the couple was broke. jonathan's company went bankrupt before he could bring his new drug to market. >> he was developing a new asthma type drug. and he was a successful scientist. unfortunately it does not appear he was as good a businessman as he was a scientist. >> and friends told investigators that michelle had recently caught jonathan in a huge lie. >> she went into this marriage thinking he was ten years younger than he actually was. and that did not come to light until 10, 12 years into their marriage. >> she was very upset about it. but it was one of those things that they already have kids. they were married. she can't do anything about it. >> she was a young woman and she liked to go out dancing. and he, for a couple months, tried to keep up with that. he even said, i took viagra.
he was just trying to keep up with his younger wife. >> jonathan said michelle never came home after work. he said he was home with the children and never left. armed with warrants, police searched dejesus' apartment and the nyces' home looking for shoes or boots that matched the shoe impressions or clothing with the victim's blood. >> the search went on for a number of days. and there was actually talk of knocking in walls and vents to see where these shoes could be. >> investigators now had two suspects. the question was, who had the stronger motive. and was there any forensic evidence to prove it? i mean bayer back & body. it works great for pain. bayer back & body provides effective relief for your tough pain.
when dr. nyce learned his wife, michelle, was with her lover earlier on the night she was killed, he was inconsolable. >> i just never seen him that way. he was just really sad and upset about michelle. and we all hugged each other. we were all crying. and then the kids were crying. he just told them that, like maybe five minutes ago, prior to us coming. >> but police found evidence that jonathan knew michelle had resumed her love affair with the
gardener. on his desk was this poem jonathan had written. >> your stainless steel heart like a knife rips open my soul to bleed, unattended, dying. you call me on the telephone, and tell me not to worry. when, oh, when will my dying end? >> with a warrant, investigators search the nyces' home. although they didn't find any shoes that matched the impressions found in the snow near michelle's car, they did find some suspicious items in the garage. one was a baseball bat that looked clean, but it was tested with phenolphthalein and was positive for the presence of blood. however, it was impossible to determine whether it was human or animal blood. and they found jonathan's clothes soaking in the washing machine. the water appeared to be pink.
>> unfortunately, we couldn't do a test of blood for it. was it blood that caused that pinkish tint? maybe. >> but perhaps the most surprising discovery in the nyces' home was a pair of men's loafers and on the bottom was a mysterious substance that couldn't be identified. scientist tested the substance with infrared analysis. that test revealed there were four different kinds of glue on the bottom of the loafers. but why would there be glue on the bottom of his shoes? investigators found the answer when they discovered pieces of plastic hidden throughout the nyces' home. >> pieces were hidden in children's toy boxes. there was a christmas tree box that had a couple pieces in it. >> the pieces looked like the bottoms of a pair of boots. >> you're wondering did they get all of the parts?
if i did get a part, could i put the toe to the heel, is there that one critical section missing. >> as if he was putting together a jig saw puzzle, ed gains attempted to reassemble the sole of the boots. piece by piece it came together. the pieces were to the soles of a pair of men's boots, size 12. forensic tests identified glue on the pieces of plastic that matched the glue found on the bottom of jonathan nyce's loafers. >> we found four clues on the surface. we also had a physical match between the way the glue broke when he tore the sole off of the shoe. >> gainsburg compared the reassembled sole to a scale photo of the boot print left in the snow near michelle's body. >> the problem is, it is snow and snow melts. so very quickly the detail will
disappear and that's what happened in this case. >> still, some detail remained in the photograph. >> there was enough detail to say it was the same manufacturer's design and size. >> but why were the soles of boots glued to a pair of loafers?. >> dr. nyce had a pair of moccasins and he had gotten a pair of work-type boots and he had somehow used a saw to shave the sole off the boot and put on the bottom of a pair of moccasins and glued them on there. i guess for comfort reasons. to go outside without wearing out the sole of moccasins. >> this forensic evidence suggests that jonathan nyce wore these loafers on the night of the murder, leaving the impressions in the snow. when he got home he removed the soles he glued on, he cut them up and tried to hide the pieces throughout the house thinking that no one would ever suspect what he did.
>> i think it was very crucial. it was a pretty good circumstantial placement of the shoes at the scene of the crime leading away from the crash site. >> lastly, scientists found tiny spatters of blood on the garage wall. >> and they also found bloody towels hidden in the chimney. dna testing identified the blood as michelle's. based on the forensic evidence, prosecutors now had a pretty good idea what happened on the night of michelle's murder. >> quite simply, he is just a coward. bottom line. okay, movie night.everyone wins. how do i win? because we're streaming the movie that you love. well, how do i win?
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there was no question that jonathan nyce knew his wife had resumed her affair with their gardener, miguel dejesus. the poem found on jonathan's desk proved it. but prosecutors do not believe dejesus had anything to do with the extortion attempt a year earlier. they think jonathan fabricated the call in order to make the affair public to humiliate his wife and get the court order to keep dejesus away. so he could rebuild his marriage. but jonathan's pharmaceutical business went bankrupt. michelle was forced to take a
job at the cosmetics counter of a department store, and apparently lost interest in staying married. so she resumed her affair with dejesus. and jonathan realized it when he called michelle on her cell phone and there was no answer. on the night of the murder, michelle came home around midnight. >> well, look who's home. >> and prosecutors say there was an argument. >> i live here. why wouldn't i come home? >> i've been calling your cell phone. you're not answering. >> my cell phone battery died. >> michelle packed a suitcase. whether it was to it leave temporarily or permanently is unclear. >> get back here. i'm not done. >> i'm leaving. i can't stay in this house any more. >> in the garage, the forensic evidence suggests the fight turned violent. jonathan grabbed a baseball bat and struck her repeatedly in the
head. to cover up the crime, jonathan pushed the driver's seat of michelle's car all the way back, put her body inside, grabbed a pair of her shoes and the suitcase, then drove one mile to the nearby creek. he maneuvered the vehicle down the slight embankment and staged the accident. the foot impressions leading away from the car tied jonathan nyce to the scene. prosecutors think he walked the one mile back to their home. later, jonathan cleaned the blood from the garage, the tiny amounts of blood spatter remained. he also removed the soles he glued to the bottom of his loafers, cut them up and tried to hide pieces around the house.
police arrested dr. nyce and charged him with his wife's murder. >> he just started to sob uncontrollably and admitted to causing the injuries to michelle. >> jonathan claimed that michelle attacked him first with a knife. but investigators found no evidence of a knife like the one he described. >> you had told me she was holding something. i need to you describe this action and what she was holding to the best you can. >> a stiletto. it was just, you know, a straight shot right at my neck and if i wouldn't have moved she would have gotten me all the way through. >> he said he opened the door, in this dark garage she lunges at him in this dark garage with this stiletto. he says as she comes out of the truck, falls, hits her head and that's allegedly what causes the injuries.
>> no one believed his version of events. >> i have a separate meeting with someone regarding reduction of bail. >> it was ridiculous. it just made absolutely no sense. >> if this is truly an accident, why would he go to that extent to try to hide evidence from the police. if it was an accident, you could just report it. >> at the trial, the defense team argued that michelle's affair constituted provocation. >> the judge permitted the jury to consider that possibility. >> when the defense attorney cross-examining miguel dejesus said, by the way, did you use a condom? and he said no. and i glanced over at the jury and i saw one of the women sort of like shake her head. >> the jury found jonathan nyce guilty of the lesser charge of passion provocation manslaughter. he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
prosecutors, friends and family were appalled. >> instead of getting a divorce, you can just kill your wife. i don't think that's a good -- you know, a lesson to learn from this story. >> the jury has to believe that he was indeed provoked. and also, that between the provocation and the murder he had no time to calm down. >> after you already know about the affair, if that's still passion provocation, i just -- i don't think it fit in this case. >> but prosecutors say without the forensic evidence, nyce might not have been convicted at all. >> we have the forensic evidence of the shoes actually being pieced back together to show the extent to which the defendant dr. nyce went to cover up this crime. in my opinion, without the forensic evidence, would not have been possible to even
charge dr. nyce with the case, with the murder of his wife. it took a russian immigrant just seven years to rise from a janitor to one of the most successful stockbrokers in the united states. then, he disappeared. a dog hair, a piece of plastic, and a speck of orange paint were all that remained in a crime motivated by jealousy and greed. in the 1970s and '80s, people living in the former soviet union faced a life of hardship and despair. some, like 23-year-old michael prozumenshikov, wanted more. >> he was leading a life of deprivation, of long lines for food, you know, of crowded buses. michael actually grew up in an
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