tv The Hunt With John Walsh CNN August 23, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
it's not to create paranoia. it's not to ruin the wonder of the world, but to be a little more street smart. back in 1981, i had the american dream, the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs, and a beautiful 6-year-old son. and one day i went to work, kissed my son good-bye and never saw him again. in two weeks, i became the parent of a murdered child, and i'll always be the parent of a murdered child. i still have the heart ache. i still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers. and over those years, i learned how to do one thing really well. and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. i've become a man hunter.
i'm out there looking for bad guys. [ thunder ] ♪ ♪ demons come acallin' ♪ devils come ♪ the horseman come acallin' ♪ and they bring a storm ♪ those dark clouds keep on rollin' ♪ ♪ ain't no tellin' where they're blowin', but i'll follow as they lead me ♪ ♪ to the dark side of the road ♪ whoa ♪ to the dark side of the road
she had issues with her heart. she had issues with her esophagus. the esophagus, for example, she needed to have it replaced as she grew. and so, when i first saw her i really knew that if this child lived she was going to be a fighter. >> we grew up without a father. our father was killed in a car wreck. and so we grew up with my mom and my grandmother and all my aunts and uncles. ♪ >> lori was very close to her uncle sill. he was the father figure in her life, a big role model in her life. i was lori's best friend for many years. she just had a really sweet personality. just real caring. and i saw her passion for her family and her friends, and that drew me close to her.
>> lori was a very sociable, intelligent person. people would open up to her. >> lori was in and out of school, due to surgeries. she graduated from high school at the age of 21, instead of giving up, to her and to us, it was a pride of starting a goal, setting your mind and not stopping till you get there. ♪ >> i graduated in '94. lori graduated in '95. so around '95, '96, we had moved to denton. denton, to us, was a bigger city, you know, bigger things. >> when she went to denton, i was really happy, because she was making her own money. she was becoming a young, independent person. >> lori was a fighter.
lori was a survivor, and lori wanted and tried very hard to shape her own destiny. what she wanted and what she got were polar opposites. >> when lori and i were living together in denton, she started seeing this guy. ♪ she moved in with him, and i just never heard from her. ♪ >> me and lori had been dating, i mean, everything was going okay. so we moved in, got a small apartment. ♪ >> her lifestyle was partying and having people in and out of the home. i think that she was just really
in love with him, that she thought it was just going to be them two, and it wasn't. he had a whole list of women on the side. or in the home. >> i was with jennifer first. and then i met lori. and then destiny came along. so it went from me and lori to me and her to me, her, her, then to me, her, her, her and her, and then there were at least 15 people there. i'm not going to lie. i pretty much slept with all of them at one time or another. >> lori introduced max to me, like she thought she'd met the man of her dreams. i felt, i just met a man that i would not trust to be near my children. >> her life was changing. she was doing things that wasn't
lori. >> everything was all party, party, party, fun, fun, fun. i'd always be the runner. i'd go get what the girls wanted. it wasn't just marijuana, it was x pills and cocaine. and they would come around and kick it and hang out over there to get stoned, get blazed out. ♪ wasn't the lifestyle lori was drawn to. it was me. she wanted to be with me. and i knew that, but i, wasn't at the time, i want ready to be monogamous with anybody. >> the signs that lori was beginning to distance herself from me were gradual. not communicating, not calling as often. >> you know, i would call and check on her. and she would be real quick, you
know, like she's not supposed to be talking to me. >> i think in periods of sobriety, she must have looked around and said, what happened to my life. and she's thinking, where am i going to go now? >> i believe that lori got into a position where she didn't know how to get out. >> just to watch somebody just turn her inside-out like this, it just was not her. i had received a phone call from lori, and i hadn't heard from her in quite some time. she says, beth, you know, she starts breaking down crying. i said please come to my house. i said we can have a girls weekend like we used to, watch movies. i said, just please get out of there. and i said, you know, it will be just like old times. and she's like, seriously?
i said yes, just come with me. but i'd never heard from her. >> something very violent happened very quickly. it was a horrific murder. and when you bundle your home and auto insurance through progressive, you'll save a bundle! [ laughs ] jamie. right. make a bad bundle joke, a buck goes in the jar. i guess that's just how the cookie bundles. now, you're gonna have two bundles of joy! i'm not pregnant. i'm gonna go. [ tapping, cash register dings ] there you go. [ buzzing ] bundle bee coming!
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you know, come stay with me, stay as long as you need to. and she's like, okay, i'll see you friday. but i'd never heard from her. >> i received a call from the chief of police of pilot point. and basically what they told me is we have a homicide, and this is the location. mario's garage is a mechanic shop, in the north part of denton county, in the stiff pilot point, but they worked on cars during the day and had parties at night. when we first arrived, mario took us out back. there was a suburban with the
back door open and the side doors open. mario showed us, from a distance, he pointed towards the deceased. the victim was laying on her back. she was wearing little ankle socks, little white ankle socks. her bra was pulled up over her breast. and she had some serious injuries. something very violent happened very quickly. it was a horrific murder. this lady was violently traumatized prior to her death and even after her death. and we learned that it's lori. after talking to mario for quite some time, we began to put some pieces together that we needed. so that night they were having a
party. several of mario's friends were there. the and then they'd invited a couple of ladies over. very quickly after lori got there, she left with a male person. and left the garage and went outside. he was a friend of mario's. he was only known to mario and some other people at the time as vampire. vampire had two front teeth missing, and the other teeth kind of extended a little far out of his mouth. and so the nickname and the name that most of the people who were around him knew him as, was vampire. about an hour later, there's a knock on the back door. mario answers the door. and vampire's there.
vampire has blood on his clothes. he looks at mario, and he tells him, i killed her. and that's the last time that any of the witnesses tell us that they saw vampire. there's all sorts of questions on why lori is there, what was her relationship with the killer. why would she go outside with this guy? something wasn't adding up. mario was holding something back. >> mario finally came around and says she was there for prostitution purposes. he had known lori for quite a while. he had made a call to lori and gave her an opportunity to come out and make money. and he admitted that he actually negotiated the price with her for his customers at the party. the fee was $100. >> i think that they got into
the sub urban with the intend of him paying her for sex. and something went horribly wrong. at some point, he snapped. after learning of lori's purpose of being there, we found out she had a boyfriend that's, you know, when we started finding out that she was trying to move out. she was trying to move in with a friend and get away from him. and through the investigation, we kind of felt that max might have been the real person behind lori's services as a prostitute. >> it wasn't that kind of setup. i wasn't a pimp. i didn't orchestrate or plan or tell anybody to sell themselves. that had nothing to do with max. i got sisters, mothers, nieces and aunts and cousins.
and one thing i have been taught is to respect women in that form or fashion. now i'm not going to say if she go out and sell herself and try to give me the money i'm not going to take it, yeah. i'm going to take it. i'm a man, i'm a human and i got problems and needs. but wasn't nobody going out and selling themselves and bringing money to me. >> i didn't get to her in time. you know, i could have helped her. you know, i could have. >> of course, i didn't believe it. i didn't want to brielieve that about my sister. that wasn't lori. just never hit me, i guess, the severity of it, how far that road she had taken. >> people make mistakes, but what happened to her is just uncalled for. nobody deserves that.
nobody deserves to leave this world that way. >> lori deserves the same justice as anybody else, as a homicide victim would deserve. we did not focus on her being a prostitute. we focussed on finding this hispanic man named vampire with no teeth that had just brutally killed a lady. >> mario recalled he had a friend named joe who may know the realize at this of vampire. joe tells us, hey, look here, his name is maldonado, and he lives right over there, and he points to a house in close proximity, which we learned later on is maldonado's 84-year-old girlfriend. >> maldonado had been described to us in his early 30s, and to have an 84-year-old girlfriend was shocking in and of itself. she talked to us about how maldonado had beat her and in the same breath, she would tell us that she loved him and that, you know, he was her companion
and she didn't want anything to happen to him. but she did provide us with our next best piece of information, which was some photographs. ♪ >> he's exploiting and beating an 84-year-old woman. that's bad enough. now he allegedly brutally murdered a young woman. you're capable of anything. he's crossed the line. he's going to get, keep going until somebody drives that stake through his heart. >> after getting the pictures and speaking with her, we actually got a pretty big break. >> we had a girlfriend of someone who was at the party. for whatever reason she didn't like him, didn't feel comfortable with him, and she had wrote down the license plate number of the vehicle that he normally drove. so now we have something to go with. [ sirens ] ♪ >> we get a hit immediately that says hey, this vehicle's been in
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we had a lead. we had a girlfriend of someone who was at the party who felt that a vehicle that maldonado had been driving before might help us in this case. we get our stuff entered into the computer. we get a hit immediately saying this vehicle's been in contact with plano police don't a couple hours ago and they arrested a hit panic male for dwi. the person that was arrested gave a false name. the problem was by the time we're on the phone with them saying hey, who do you have in jail, they say nobody. he's already bonded out.
so we get a book in photo from plano police department. we get the identifiers on the person that was arrested. and we quickly learn that is maldonado, the same person we're looking for. and we just missed him like within the hour. >> maldone ah dough's brother and other relatives were able to scrape up bond money and he was put on a bus to mexico. we had him. he slipped through our fingers. he disappeared. he's out there somewhere.
>> 12 years later, it still bothers me, having been that close and not being able to where i ju bring justice to this family. it's work left undone, and something i don't want to leave undone. >> i felt that lori was not being listened to. and i believe in my heart that if we'd listened, we, i could have helped avoid this early on before she got there. >> watched my mom's life just go downhill after that. i don't know what that feels like to lose a child. i pray i never do. but mom was never the same after that. that was her baby.
you know, that was her firstborn, the one that wasn't supposed to survive, who had survived all these years. to just have her life taken away. >> i want to get this guy off the streets before he hurts someone else and someone else has to deal with the pain we're living. it's just not fair. >> herbert maldonado has a large mole on the left side of his face near his nose. his front teeth are missing and other teeth protrude. he has tattoos on both his left and right upper arm. he's worked on a sod farm in the past and might be working a similar job somewhere in the u.s. if you have seen herbert maldone ah dough or have any information as to his whereabouts, please make the call, 1-866-the hunt or go online to cnn.com/the hunt. we'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities, and if
requested, we'll not reveal your name. >> it's always the most charming guy. it's always the guy that everybody loves that hides that one big dangerous, dark secret. there's everything wrong with bruce sawhill. he crossed all those boundaries. the boundaries that normal human beings don't cross. and i'll tell you what, he's still out there doing it. i would bet my life on it.
attempted it, bruce was already successful at it. he was very outgoing. easy to get along with. i felt bruce and i had a very close friendship and that i could trust him in every way and manner. bruce got married after i did. when bruce and kenny jo first got married, they bought a piece of property about a mile from us and built a house there. they were like neighbors. >> bruce and kenny jo were together all the time. i don't remember them having any other friends after they got together, except for, you know, when he come to our house. they loved each other. she was crazy about him. he seemed to be the same way about her. >> janet and i and bruce and
kenny jo were good friends, did a lot of thing together, saw each other quite frequently. had dinner at each other's houses. >> bruce was always really funny, you know. he'd laugh at everything. he just thought everything was funny, especially what he said was really funny, you know, but he was just, he would do anything for you. just, you know, the kind of friend you'd want to have. >> it's always the most charming guy. it's always the guy that's the most fun. it's always the guy that everybody loves that hides that one big, dangerous, dark secret. >> janet and i ended up having two little girls. tara the first and katie the second. >> katie was a wonderful child. she was fun.
she was bright. you know, all the kids would be outside playing, and you could hear katie over all of them, laughing, having fun. she was just a beautiful little girl. >> she was a character. i mine, very independent, strong-willed. did not want to do what she's told. and she went through a phase when she called me ken. it was funny and cute, kind of, but at the same time, it was, like, no, kate. i'm your dad. call me dad or father. okay, ken. >> ken and i had divorced when kate was probably 5. i took custody of the kids, but anytime he wanted to see them, it was fine. they could go out there, and they normally went out there like every other weekend. they would go to ken's house.
♪ >> katie got to the point where she didn't really want to go to her dad's house anymore, and i wasn't sure if it was just because she wanted to stay home and do her own thing or, you know, if she was having problems. and, you know, i would still encourage her to go to her dad's, and, you know, but then one night she called me. she goes, mom, you've got to come. you have to come right now. you have to come and pick me up. i can't stay here anymore. so i drove out there and picked her up. and i could tell she was just really upset. i don't know why, but i just knew. i said has somebody hurt you? has anybody done anything to you? she goes yes. i said who was it? and she said it was bruce. she said he's been touching me and making me touch him.
and i just can't go there anymore. >> when janet called me and told me about this, my immediate, immediate reaction was fury. i drove over there, banged on the front door. when he answered the door, i just decked him. kenny jo stood there with me, and we're both questioning him, and he admitted what he had done. >> kenny jo knew that it was going on, because she said, bruce, i told you, katie was off limits, you were never to touch katie. >> i will never be able to figure out how a woman can stay involved with a sexual predator, and in many, many ways be a co-conspirator and to say
something so ludicrous and painful saying i told you katie was off limits, but every other child was okay. i'll put up with your behavior as long as you don't molest our best friend's daughter. >> i walk in the courtroom, the courtroom's empty. >> she acted fine, you know, and she said she was fine. but she really wasn't. no sixth grader's ever sat with the eighth grade girls. but your jansport backpack is permission to park it wherever you please. hey. that's that new gear feeling. this week, these folders just one cent. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great. the possibility of a flare swas almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid,
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of any other instance in my life where i felt that betrayed. you know, somebody that i had known and trusted for so long. to do something like that to my daughter, i mean, couldn't he realize how he was hurting her, her trust and, you know, faith in him as a person. it was just, it was devastating. ♪ >> investigators ran the criminal history for mr. sawhill and found that he was a registered sex offender. this sexual abuse conviction in st. louis county involved a 13-year-old girl. >> he was in prison after he met kenny jo. and he kept telling us it was for marijuana charges, and we knew that that's what he did for
a living. >> i never questioned that, because it sounded like a pretty reasonable thing that would have happened to him. how do you know these things? they don't wear it on their sleeve, or it's not written on their forehead, you know, i'm a molester. >> mr. sawhill was charged with two counts of sodomy in the first degree. he was released on a $50,000 bond, and a court date was set for his appearance. >> kaitlyn drivgriffin had deci that she would testify in court. >> going to court can be a very intimidating thing for a healthy, competent adult. for a 11-year-old girl to get on the stand and testify, it's a pretty gutsy move, you know. >> katie told me that she wanted everybody to know what bruce
did. she wasn't ashamed of it. she just thought everyone should know what he was like, what he did to her. she was so worried that he may do it to another child. katie was going to counseling. she went there for quite a while. she really didn't seem like it was bothering her. you know, i just think she was covering it up pretty well. ♪ >> when i went out to court, i walk in the courtroom, the courtroom's empty. i thought, well, this is strange. court can't be over. and i heard voices coming from back over in like the corner of the courtroom. and i said i'm here for the trial. and he said there's not going to be a trial. mr. sawhill failed to appear.
which i knew, immediately, mr. sawhill didn't appear and has no intention of ever appearing. >> at that point in time, investigators would go to any location that they were aware of that mr. sawhill might be located. they could not find bruce sawhill or his wife kenny jo sawhill. they were both missing. >> they cut all ties with their family. essentially, they abandoned all aspects of their life, their former life, and have created a new one. >> for kenny jo to put up with it, see these little vulnerable, beautiful people like katie violated and destroyed that she could be the enabler, that children weren't more important to her than staying with her dirt bag husband, to keep him out there, to keep him on the
road doing whatever. the right thing to do would have been to turn him in. the right thing would have said, you know what? you did the crime multiple times. now you're going to do the time. ♪ >> katie was very upset that bruce left. that he wasn't going to have to pay for what he did. we were going to be moving soon from where we lived. and we just decided that kate could go to colorado and stay with her sister for a while. her older sister, pam, lived in colorado. >> katie wanted to come live with me. she wanted to get away, to hide, to runaway from missouri. my mom worked nights. she wasn't home. i didn't have anything to do at night, just be with my family, and my daughters and katie were extremely close. >> pam said she's doing good.
we'd call her almost every day and talk with her. >> she acted fine, you know, and then she said she was fine. that she got past it all. and i don't know if she just got past it all really because she's strong or if, if she was hiding it. >> she was desperate for help. she was desperate for justice. she was desperate to see this guy off the streets. but she never got any of that.
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i'm walking home. katie was home alone, and she made herself some raviolis. and then she called me, and she goes, i'm here okay. i made it home. i ate. my daughters walked in first, and i walked in right behind them, and i could smell the smell. it was so thick and strong. i mean, it was horrible, and i still didn't know what it was. i'm opening the windows while the girls are looking in all the rooms. they were looking all over for katie. they combed the upstairs first. and finally, somebody went down to the basement and said she's
down here. she was purple. you know, she was cold. she had a big towel, and she had a little spray paint all over her face, and it was gold. when the ambulance and stuff got there, they said that she was probably dead two hours before we got home. and then i had to call my mom. and tell her. that is the hardest thing i've ever had to do in my life is to call my mom and say i failed watching my little sister. i promised you she would be okay, and she wasn't, and she was never okay again. >> pam said she walked in the house, and she had a can of
spray paint. and she had been spray painting it and smelling it. >> huffing is a terrible way to get high, that kids look at the internet and see how to do it. it's the inhalation of the fumes that are in the paint can. it's a cheap way of doing it without having to buy drugs, get in trouble. and it can also kill you, and 22% of people who huff die on their first try. this poor girl, i think, was just looking for a way to mediate her pain. >> kate was 12 when she died. i was just shocked. it was the most horrible thing in the world. i don't know why she did it. >> i should have paid much, much more attention to what was going
on with her. but, you know, i failed my little girl. i failed that child. and i can't take it back. i can't do anything about it. it's horrible. >> bruce sawhill wears a set of upper dentures. he's known to enjoy casual drinking and to be very southernabsouthern ab -- sociable in bars. he likes to laugh and laugh at his jokes. he's also a skilled painter,
wallpaperer. please call 1-866-the hunt or go online to cnn.com/the hunt, we'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities and if requested we'll not reveal your name. >> i blame bruce for taking her innocence way, for making her grow up faster than she had to. just not letting her be a little girl. >> i think he set into motion events that led up to katie's death. i have no doubt in my mind about that. >> he shouldn't be breathing the same air we're breathing. he's been out there for a dozen years, and i tell you he's still out there doing it, i would bet my life on it. >> bruce sawhill, he's a predator. he's the guy that is next door that we think is our friend. and all along i think he's just trying to get close to your child. he's the guy that unfortunately
will never be cured of his sickness. and the only thing that we can do is lock him up, protect society. on this episode of death row stories, the murder of a wealthy young man in the big easy seals the fate of a petty drug dealer. >> that's the guy who did it, and there's no question in my mind. >> and gives two out of town lawyers a crash course in new orleans justice. >> first thing i asked them, do you really understand what you're up against? >> when evidence of something emerges, the system will stop at nothing to get the verdict it wants. >> we had struck out, and he was going to die. >> there's a body in the