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tv   The Hunt With John Walsh  CNN  August 28, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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>> back in 1981 i had the american dream. the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs, and a beautiful 6-year-old son. 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 heartache. i still have the rage. i waited years for justice. i know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers. over those years i learned how to do one thing really well.
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that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. i've become a manhunter. i'm out there looking for bad guys. ♪
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♪ run for a long time ♪ running for a long time ♪ one day going to hunt you down ♪ ♪ ♪ >> here in waxahachie, you know, it's a very nice town. lived here almost 31 years. me and my wife, cynthia, we've
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had four girls. >> genica, danielle, rosalynn, and the baby maria. >> we were always at each other's homes. we were a family. >> out of the all of the girls maria was just like the leader. even though she was the baby. >> we talked about everything. talked about boys and what car we would want to drive, what jobs we would want to do. she was my ride or die. she was my best friend. >> maria read the bible a lot, and she would be reading it to sabrina. she's the one that actually got me going to church. i went to church with her and her mom and her dad on sundays. >> you know, with the church
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that we were involved we weren't allowed to wear makeup, but moriah would wear it, and she did such a good job when she would do it. she looked so pretty. >> fashionista is what i would call her. she would dye her hair any color she felt. one day it was black. one day it was red. it worked so perfect for her. >> i don't know why she looked -- i think the first tattoo she showed me of the hello kitty one. why would you get a tattoo? she's, like, i love hello kitty. it's my body. i can do what i want. okay. >> she acted older than she was. she did. we drank sometimes. we smoked some pot. that's what we did. we smoked bud. >> she grew up faster than, well, i did, but if she didn't, it wouldn't be the moriah we had. >> she was a dime piece.
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she would pick a fight with anybody that started anything with anybody that she loved. >> moriah was like her dad. i used to love boxing. i was a professional fighter. >> she had always said i want my dad to train me. he is going to teach me how to box, and i'm going to be able to whoop somebody's ass. >> i would always say, no, baby. i want you to grow up, and when you are fully developed and strong muscles and stuff like that, then, you know, you can do -- i'll show you. >> she came up with this name, mia g out of nowhere one day, and it just stuck with her. >> i asked her, what does mia mean? she says it means missing in action. just in case i have to go missing in action, and, plus, i'm a g. >> of course, she was moriah to family. she was moriah to me, but to a lot of other people she was mia
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g. >> but underneath all that mia g, she was moriah. just little sweet moriah that always helped everybody. ♪ september 2011 our whole world just changed. genica was going through some rough times feeling kind of depressed. >> moriah called me, and she said, thea, genica is in the hospital. she had overdosed. when she was drinking, she was mixing with her anxiety depression pills, and that's how it all happened. >> then she goes into a coma. we spent almost two weeks there at the hospital with her. >> moriah stayed by her side day and night. she wouldn't leave her.
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>> genica passed on september 17th, 2011. >> when i lost genica, i thought it was the end of the world. >> that's their oldest daughter. they were just devastated. >> moriah went through a very drastic stage. i can just see it in her eyes. she wasn't the same. >> when a child dies, that always seems to affect the siblings so deeply. i could see where moriah would be rutterless. she was just looking for an out to dull that pain. >> so i just wanted to move away and start somewhere else, and so we decided to move to enus.
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we never should have made that move. >> we all went our separate ways because we were hurting. mriah, she was gone. she was hanging out with friends, so-called friends. i believe that moriah hung around with the older crowd because she missed her sister, and i guess jennifer gave her that. >> jennifer puente was kind of on my right arm. >> alpha female, i guess. >> jennifer puente had some tattoos. the one that stood out the most to me was the one that said f everybody on her shoulder, indicative of her mentality. >> moriah had met jennifer back
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in january 2012. this young girl, she's 18. my daughter is only 15. >> i met jennifer once, and she came to pick up moriah. she was, like, every little young mexican little girl looks like, you know, to me. nothing unusual. >> but one thing i noticed about jennifer that she never gave me the ce. you know, just gave me this look like, well, okay. i'm jennifer. >> me and moriah never did no bad drugs. whenever she started hanging out with this girl, i kind of had a sense that she was doing some drugs like cocaine or meth because she was more kind of like angry. things that would not really
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piss her off as much [ bleep ] her the [ bleep ] off. i knew she was going through a hard time, but she is only 15. she thinks that she's invincible, but nobody really is. >> she gravitated to somebody that she thought would look out for her. terrible choice. the worst choice. >> jennifer was making threats. you know, wanted to kill people, burn bodies.
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hi, pete. i'm glad you called. (announcer vo) all your phones can work together on one number. you can move calls between phones, so conversations can go wre you go. take your time. i'm not going anywhere. (announcer vo) and when you're not available, one talk helps find the right person who is. hi, john. (announcer vo) so wherever work takes you, you can put your customers first. introducing one talk-- another way verizon connects your business better. learn how at >> jennifer was in high school. jennifer was asking, hey, let's hook up. that's when i was getting to know her and going to her house constantly. she told me shortly after knowing hadder for a short
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period of time she was pregnant. having a child, it was a big responsibility that i was willing to take, you know, and go ahead head on and be the father. after jennifer had the baby, i was finding out that my child was at parties, around drugs, he is being left alone, being neglected. i don't think anybody would want a regular child to witness or see certain things taking place in that household, you know what i mean? joni wells and jennifer puente were in a custody battle over their son, visitation rights, over child support. >> when a custody battle was going on, certain immature things took place, as in people breaking windshields, flattening tires, making threats. i was, like, oh, no, i already
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know this is going to turn ugly. >> jennifer had sliced his tires, so i had arrested her for criminal mischief, but she was bonded out. >> jennifer was making threats, you know, wanted to kill people, burn bodies and so forth. i was thinking in my head this stuff must be serious. >> accusations were being thrown on each side. there was not any actual written proof or physical evidence. we didn't let it hold a lot of validity. >> a murder took place due to nobody listening. guess what happened. >> nobody did anything about jennifer puente. even when she went around and said i would like to kill people. not only would i like to kill
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people, but i would like to burn their bodies. that would be a red flag to me, but the problem is what could you do? what could you really, really do? zblo >> moriah, she had came out from the shower and came in the room and looked at me and said, mom, i love you. she had gave me a hug. i had told her, well, i'm going to go to sleep already because i always wake up at 3:00 because i had to be at work at 5:00. i was working here in the donut shop. >> she said, hey, bitch, we should try to come back tonight. we can kick it. i told her around 10:00 something, hey, they're not going to let me come back tonight. i'm sorry. what are you doing? she never messaged me back. >> i get up, and i go to the kitchen, grab me a glass of water, come back out. she's inside her room. i said, okay, baby, i'll see you
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tomorrow. she says, okay, dad. i love you. i said i love you too, baby. >> i woke up at 3:00, and i would always go to her room. i saw tha she was not there. i had technicaled hxted her and where are you at? no response. 3:30, i text, call. nothing. >> 911, what's your emergency. >> i'm on my way to work, and i'm on a road right here, says and there's a fire, and it looks like a human body on fire. >> you're pretty sure that's what it is, right? >> i can't tell, but -- you can see a face. >> okay. okay. they're on the way. >> my lieutenant called me up
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en. >> the body was laying on the west side of a gravel road. it's a well known dump area. couches, washing machines, old furniture, old clothes. body from the midchest down had been burned pretty much beyond recognition. you could tell it was probably of a young person or a child. who would do that to somebody that young?
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the dallas medical examiner's office had cleaned the body where they could see it better. she had several tattoos, but the main one was a crown tattooed on her chest that said royalty above it, and she had been as fixated where, she said there were several bones broken if her neck, or there was a lot of pressure. she had postmorte cuts on the body. probably either made with a very sharp item like a razor blade. across her chest it said [ bleep ] and then a five-pointed star had been cut into her abdomen and the letters k.a. and v. were beside it too. we had no idea who this person was. we had no missing people that matched that description. we got a phone call from the detective at the police department. he is asking for some resorgss that we had in order to attempt
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to identify unidentified persons. >> so for the first three or four days, it was just trying to figure out who she was. they sent dna to austin, to maybe there's a hit to try to figure out if she was in the system. >> we got no hits. i guess it was because it turned out to be a person that hadn't been reported missing yet. >> i didn't want to call the police because to me i thought she was, you know, with somebody else. >> you knew that she hanged around with kendall, her best friend, here in waxahachie. so i said, okay, try getting ahold of kendall. >> we can't find her. no, i haven't heard from her. i thought she was with you. >> i didn't want to believe that something could happen to her.
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>> something popped up in the newspapers. they found a body burning. >> i said that's it, robert. you know, i know it's her. no, no, don't -- don't be saying that. >> so i said, okay, i'm going to stop at the police department, and i tell them i'm missing a child. >> police officer sherman asked him does she have any distinguishing marks or tattoos or anything, and they advised she had a tattoo of a crown on her chest that said royalty above it. here we were having to explain to this family that had just lost one daughter a year before that now your youngest daughter is deceased also. >> mom broke down. i just couldn't help it. just broke.
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>> you don't expect to lose your sisters like that. ♪ >> i have nothing but empathy for that family. it's just beyond a greek tra tragedy. it's two parents of very humble means trying to raise their daughters and now they've lost two of their daughters. it's just the worst ending. >> the next step at that point once the victim had been identified is to learn who she had been with, where she had been. >> they were able to get her cell phone records, and then it was discovered that the last person that moriah had called or had called her was this jennifer puente. >> another detective, jason york and i went to speak with
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moriah's friends and acquaintances, people at the school. >> several of them gave the name, jennifer puente, and that she had a hit list to take people out. they said that one of her fantasies was to stab or choke somebody and then take their body out on the gravel road, dump it on the side of the road and set it on fire. >> we spoke to jennifer's sister, joslyn puente. >> joslyn told the police that jennifer had gone to work with joelle that day on march 16th. right? and at that point that was the first time joe's name came up where. >> i have never heard the name joe alverado before. not out of her mouth. >> joe alvarado was the  boyfriend of jennifer puente. >> they had worked together at
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the sterileite corporation. >> joslyn mentioned she had a conversation with jennifer on march 17th at about 9:00 in the morning. she tells her sister that her and joe killed moriah. >> several days later jennifer had called her and said that her and joe alveredo were leaving town. >> how can this little person, this young kid, being a kid herself do such a heinous crime? >> joe didn't seem scared. he didn't seem shocked. he just seemed numb.
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bad guys usually steal something or pawn something. the first thing cops do is they search their database for pawn shops in the area. >> we found out that jennifer puente had pawned a television and a sony playstation in grand prairie, texas. we started looking in the grand prairie area for jennifer puete and joe alvarado. joe was from there. >> grand prairie police department had deputy with joe alvarado over the course of time, over multiple years. there was some fraud lent use of identifying charges, but i don't believe he had a violent criminal history in grand prairie. >> i received a phone call in the early morning hours from one of the grand prairie officers. they had located joe
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alvarado's -- at the pashing lot. the doors were unlocked. the car was dusty. it appeared to have been plain and simply abandoned there. >> joe alvarado tended to frequent the area of north grand prairie off main street. it's known for drug traffic and drug sales, prostitution. >> grand prairie dispatcher sees an unknown 911 call from a payphone outside a gas station off main street. caller wanted to remain anonymous, stated that the people that wrp looking for, joe alvarado and jennifer puente were staying at a hotel off main street. i'm driving main street. that's when i saw a suspect walking east towards the payphone that matched his description. he gave me an id belonging to somebody else, and andrew lopez,
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i looked at the picture on the id, and it didn't look like him. i asked him what's your real name? he told me his name was joe. he didn't seem scared. he didn't seem shocked. he just seemed numb. we put him in handcuffs and then when we were searching him, we found a hotel key in his pocket. i asked what hotel, and he said maybe i have something in there that i don't want you guys to see. he said it's for the relax hotel in grand prairie. we immediately sent three officers over there. jennifer was not in the hotel room. >> everything was in disarray. fast food sacks, empty beer bottles, drug paraphernalia. she had left everything. her purse, her wallet, her id,
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social security card. >> inside the room there was hair dye. joe's hair color was the same, so we believe that it was jennifer who was attempting to change her appearance. >> i think she got caught by surprise. i think she saw the lights. she might have even saw them pick joe up because it was just a block or two away from the hotel. we transported him back. he didn't look right the first time i saw him. he kind of had that look. kind of like the lights were on but there wasn't anybody home. but he was very forthcoming in his confession. we recorded it, and joe basically went through what happened that night. >> you know -- you know, growing
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up my family was -- majority was -- were women. whenever they told me to do something, you know, i would probably -- i would mostly do it. >> she was killing her friend. ♪ is it a force of nature? or a sales event?
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>> i met jennifer while working at sterilite. i had only known house of representatives for two, three wee weeks. we got along pretty well. that morning she told me she didn't want to go to work. we pretty much just chilled and
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smoked some k-2 and stuff. >> k-2 is a synthetic legal form of marijuana. k-2 is made different ways by different people. it has different effects. >> later on that night she wanted to g to moriah's house. >> joe gave her a ride over there. >> i never met moriah before that night. >> they went back to his mother's house on smith street. >> we were just kind of hanging out. we started smokie k-2, and jennifer was doing some cocaine. moriah and i were talking and stuff on the bed, and jennifer kind of, like, just put the knife under moriah's chin and asked her what is that hit that you said about not being afraid
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to die? moriah told her she wasn't afraid, that jennifer didn't have the balls to do it. jennifer was telling her that she was going to die, you know, like, shut up, bitch. that's when i told her that she shouldn't do it. it's just drugs and stuff, and that's when she turned the knife on me and, you know, told me i was a pu[ bleep ] and i was alws up in her ass. it was somewhat of a struggle. it soeeemed like jennifer stabb her in the abdomen. kind of just i let them, left them alone. i sat in the chair in the middle of the room. moriah was telling her you're [ bleep ] crazy, get off me. i was under the influence. i really didn't want to be
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involved. i mean, i don't want to sound like, you know, i just -- i did absolutely nothing, which was almost the case. i was more listening than anything else. it got real quiet after that. i just turned around, and i seen moriah just laying there pretty still, and jennifer was still on top of her. jennifer seemed kind of out of breath but, yet, she was, like, pretty satisfied with herself. >> jennifer fits right in that path of that remorseless sociopath that says i'm going to kill another human being. i'm going to take their life right in front of my eyes.
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that's a very deeply disturbed, violent, dangerous sociopath. >> i kind of asked her what the hell? what did you do? why did you do it? she said she got a sense of power. now that she had done it that she knew she could do it again. >> from that point he decides he is very distraught at what he saw, you know. not enough to where he tried to stop any of this, by the way, but he was very distraught, so he had to go smoke a cigarette. >> the first thing that went through my mind was i'm going to go to the officers. whenever i came back into the room, moriah was no longer on the bed. now she was on the floor. like spread eagle. jennifer had carved a pentogram, some other stuff on moriah's body. i picked up moriah.
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it's not like picking up somebody that's sleeping, you know? it was very, very, very strange feeling. we agreed to dump the body on this one road that we had taken to and from work. i instructed jennifer how to pour the gas. she just kind of did it carelessly. then we set fire to her.
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♪ >> after that we had went to a gas station where i could get gas and buy some more cigarettes. we went back to the house and chilled for a little while. genfor smed pretty nonchalant. you can definitely notice she didn't feel any remorse over it. she was proud of what she had done.
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jennifer continued to go to work. me, to numb myself from the experience, i just got high every day. a couple of days later looking on the internet we seen that they had found a body. that's when we decided to leave town. we went to grand prairie because i know the people that work in the pawn shops. we got stuck in grand prairie, and we ended up staying in the hotel. it was always my intent to fess up to what transpired that night. i had called the police and told them where they could find the murder suspects. >> i don't believe joe made that phone call. when i found joe, he was walking towards the payphone where the phone call was made. i felt like he was still trying to elude officers.
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>> i had called the hotel room just to be sure that jennifer was still there and she was. i can't say how or why she got away, but she ended up getting away. >> there was a towel in the hotel room that was over the dresser mirror, and i asked him what was that about? he said he put it there. >> i was seeing moriah in the mirror whenever i would look at myself, so glancing up at it, i could see her there. >> this is probably the worst homicide case i've ever been on. i just want it -- i want it closed. i want it finished.
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i prosecuted joe alvarado for the murder of moriah gonzales.
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we also charged him with tampering with the body by physically moving her, setting her on fire. >> we were sitting in the front of the court, and they brought him in. he had no remorse. for us. >> to see him it was just like, how could you? >> how desensitized and zombie-like can you be when your girlfriend tells you to turn your head while she is brutally murdering an innocent 15-year-old girl? what the hell kind of man is that? >> i mean, you know, it is what it is. everybody dies. i guess somewhere inside me there's a regret of not doing something. i mean, i could have done
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something. i could have done something. i know that i could have. >> i just looked at him. i said, you know what? you have broke us, you have broke my family. i said but all i'm going to say to you, i will forgive you. the reason that i said that, because i had to let go of my anger. i had to. i couldn't hold it up. i just couldn't. >> in the end, based upon plea negotiations between us and his attorneys, we agreed that he would plead to the murder for 34 years and then he pled to 20 years on the tampering case to run concurrent. >> it felt good to have at least one be accountable for what happened to moriah. >> the case isn't closed until she's apprehended and gets her jail sentence. >> they're still tracking down
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every lead that they had to see if they could find out where she was. >> this is probably the worst homicide case i've ever been on, and i just want it -- i want it closed. i want it finished. we were following up leads that went to houston and nuevo laredo, mexico, but no sign of her. nothing was panning out. >> it became pretty frustrating. we were getting pretty close to her, it seems. you know, we were within hours of her and then sometimes within 30 minutes of her. people claiming that she was nearby and had been seen. my full belief is jennifer puente is most likely living under an alias name. because at this point no traces of jennifer have been determined. >> i thought a mother's instinct would want her to let her come back to try to visit her child. but evidently there's been no contact because we're in contact with the father, johnny wells jr., and he would surely let us know. >> jennifer being out, that made
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me very concerned. concerned about my child. but at the end of the day, you know, i wanted custody of my son. i really have high hopes for him. he's a smart kid. a lot more than i was when i was 5. you know? >> that really broke my heart. i'm not the same person. i'm not. >> it's hard at times, but we're trying to keep our family because that's all we have. that's all we have. >> i have so much i would tell them. that i love you. that i miss you. and that i will never stop loving you. i would tell her can i make
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something for you to eat? tell her let's walk to the store. and yes, baby, i'll teach you how to fight. let's do whatever you want to do. whatever it is. >> jennifer puente has several tattoos, including one that reads "baby john" on the back of her neck. she has family across texas and in nuevo laredo, mexico. authorities believe she could be armed and dangerous. so if you've seen jennifer
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puente or have any information as to her whereabouts, don't take any action yourself. please, call 1-866-the-hunt, or go online at you can remain anonymous. we'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities and, if requested, will not reveal your name. >> it's crazy because she often talks about that she would die young. >> she said, whenever i die and you all see a butterfly, i'm going to be flying around everywhere. >> i remember when we were putting her in the grave, there was a butterfly that kept flying around. i told mom, there's moriah. she's that little butterfly. >> that was actually my first tattoo, was a butterfly for moriah. >> i put mia g rip on my foot. it's my first tattoo and it's about her. she would love it.
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as a former fbi agent and chairman of the house intelligence committee, i had oversight of all 16 of our nation's intelligence agencies. my name is mike rogers. i had access to classified information gathered by our operatives. people who risked everything for the united states and our families. you don't know their faces or their names. you don't know the real stories from the people who lived the fear and the pressure, until now. it's not a fear as in petrified. it's more like, make sure you do everything you need to do. and don't have any mistakes or fail


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