tv Dateline NBC NBC June 9, 2014 2:00am-2:59am PDT
everything just began to shake. just kept asking where is she? have you seen her? i wouldn't know what i would do without her. >> it looked like the world was ending. >> growing up in indiana, tsunamis and earthquakes are things that you only see in hollywood films. >> he was sure his world had ended. the love of his life was missing. >> the feeling that she's not all right began growing as each moment went by. >> strangers in a strange land. they'd fallen in love, then the quake hit. and all he knew was that her town was gone. >> and come hell or high water i
was getting into that damn town. >> fire on the water. >> but could he get there in time. >> i never loved someone the way i loved georgia. >> i'm lester holt, and this is dateline. here's keith morrison with swept away. who can say what lurks out there past the horizon, waiting impersonally, utterly at random as thousands of lives tick to their unknowing ends. and simple coincidence, a young man from middle america made a single decision >> could you imagine back there in indiana that you're about to make your life flip on its head? >> no. never. >> how could he know that on the other side of the world a young woman made exactly the same
decision. or that they'd meet practically on the eve of one of the biggest natural disasters in recent memory. or how could he know that in the middle of disaster he'd lose her. >> i wouldn't know what i'd do without her. >> so coincidence? love? disaster. there is no fairness about these things. they just are. zack turned 23 in 2010. had just picked up a degree in history in a college in indiana. no idea what to do next. then he saw a job offer in japan. a two-year stint teaching english to japanese kids. no japanese english skills required. why japan of all places? >> i don't think there was any rhyme or reason. it was just offered to me, and i
jumped on it. >> the town they sent him to in japan was a long way from nashville, nashville, indiana. how did he seem to be doing? >> it was rough at first. the language thing was the big thing. >> you were a stranger in a strange land. >> yes. >> was it a lonely feeling? >> yeah. it was. but it was made better by the fact that there were other foreign teachers in town. >> along with the teachers, there was one other person, a volunteer who helped the foreign teachers adjust. a local english-speaking businessman named kenji. he found out that zack was an accomplished guitarist too. >> i was amazed by his songs,
his original songs. and also he played guitar very well. >> kenji pulled out an old gibson, handed it to zack. >> and he said consider it yours while you're here. >> zack took that guitar to school, trying to break the ice. >> i would play music for them. i think that kind of helped break down that barrier a bit. >> but just three weeks in, overwhelmed by homesickness, he called his parents. he'd had enough. >> as embarrassing as it is, i was actually crying, and i said to them, i can't do this anymore. i want to come home. >> and we said no. you made a commitment. you're a man. you gave your word. >> how hard was it to say that? >> it was really hard. >> and i may have hung up the phone a bit angry at him because it wasn't the answer i wanted to get. but in retrospect i'm really glad. >> but zack tried to make it work. then one night when the teachers got together, there was someone new. another teacher just returning from a sunny vacation. >> there was this beautiful,
tanned georgia coming back from croatia. >> 23-year-old georgia robinson, a recent university graduate herself from new zealand. she'd been teaching and living in a nearby town on the coast called noda. they all went to a karaoke bar. >> i found out she was a huge fan of kiss. myself loving rock and roll that sparked my interest. >> did it seem to be the same way the other way around? >> no, actually, because i didn't hear anything from her after that night. >> no idea that back in new zealand georgia's cousin chelsea started hearing about a guy named zack. >> she said he was really outgoing and nice person who was interested in the same things, same music and same movies. >> then a few weeks later she called him. here they are practicing with
the other teachers for a december dance performance. >> and then from then on we ended up spending progressively more and more time together. >> it was a happier young man who went home to indiana for christmas. zack introduced his parents to georgia, sort of. >> i met her on skype. bless her heart, she had the flu and had her bathrobe on and was not feeling well and -- >> right, yeah. >> what a way to meet us. >> what did you think about this relationship with a girl so far away? >> we weren't putting that much stock in it. >> we were grateful that he had someone to spend time with. >> i was talking to my mom. and she's like, so you really, you really care for georgia, don't you? and i was like, yeah. and my mom got a bit choked up. and she said well, what happens if you move to new zealand. and i had to assure my mother and say that's never going to happen, mom. >> come january, zack seeme eager to get back to japan.
then two months later, friday march 11, 2011, the day before his father's birthday. >> i'd actually spent a lot of the day writing my dad a big birthday e-mail. i had hit send on that e-mail and was talking to georgia on gmail chat. i'll see you after this rehearsal, and boom. >> boom. >> everything just began to shake. i was in an office chair with wheels. and so immediately as it started, the chairs just kind of began to slide. things began falling off the shelves. >> zack had never been in an earthquake, but his co-workers knew this one was big. worried that the building might collapse, they ran downstairs and out to the parking lot. but soon they were told it was okay. it was over. but when the shaking stopped, the disaster was just beginning. there was a monster out there over the horizon. called fate. and it was coming very fast.
almost as soon as zack got back to his desk warning sirens went off. and even zack knew what that meant. and if the tsunami was heading to his town of kuji, 2 miles inland, what was it going to do on the coast in noda where georgia was. >> what had happened to georgia? had anyone in her town survived the tsunami? >> it was unrecognizable. the buildings were destroyed. >> zack knew he had to find her. and a world away, zack's parents still hadn't found him. >> this can't be happening. are you sure it's where zack is? i grew up with three brothers, so i figured hey, i get it, kids get stains. but we have these three beautiful little girls, and they make us look like amateurs. so i'm living in a world of tiny sweaters and dolphins and weird greasy mystery stains. i'm gonna get you.
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friday morning, march 11, 2011. in nashville, indiana, john and terry whitcomb had barely had a sip of their morning tea when the news jolted them awake. an epic earthquake had hit japan. 9.0, near the top end of the richter scale. and then a huge tsunami crashing up the coast. it was like watching a disaster movie, this one horribly real, and john and terry's son zack was now in the middle of it. >> what did you think? >> unreal, this can't be happening. are you sure it's where zack is? are you sure it's in the same region? and we were looking at maps and,
you know, everything was pointing to, yeah, it's exactly where zack is. and. >> so we just prayed. >> enormous waves you see here were hitting noda and kuji, the towns where they were teaching. the frantic calls began to no avail. >> what happened when you would try to call his phone? >> it would say all circuits are busy. and you'd get a busy signal. >> and the minutes went by. >> uh-huh. >> and then an hour and two hours. what did that feel like? >> hell. >> as a parent, you never think oh, my child's been killed. you don't think that. you just wait. just wait and pray for the best. >> and remember, zack had wanted to come home months earlier but terry and john had encouraged him to stay, to live up to his commitment. >> how much did you beat yourself up about that?
>> i did. >> seemed right then. but now? >> it was just the helplessness of we're way over here, and there's not a thing we can do. >> georgia's family in new zealand, including her cousin chelsea were just as scared and just as helpless. >> one of my friends got a text saying there'd been a massive tsunami in japan. obviously we freaked out because georgia was over there. >> they turned on the tv and saw images from noda. the little coastal town where georgia was based. >> it was unrecognizable from images she had sent to us. the buildings were destroyed. there was debris everywhere. >> and georgia, though they tried and tried, was unreachable. >> we really thought that she'd gone kind of lost hope, i guess. >> tonight, we're watching the rising death toll. the world is watching japan and our coverage. >> back in indiana that night, the news ever worse, john turned
on his computer and read that last e-mail from zack. >> he sent it at, literally two minutes before the earthquake hit. >> what was it? >> a birthday greeting. >> that said what? >> happy birthday. love you. >> it said much more than that, though. >> dearest rockin' poppy. happy birthday. woo-hoo, the big 5-0. the more and more time we spent apart the more and more i realize how amazing of a father and friend you've been to me over the years and have always given me a perfect example of how a man and husband is supposed to treat his wife. and i'm thinking my god, is this the last thing i hear from my son. >> and it's that. >> yeah. >> good morning. disaster in japan. >> saturday morning. more than 24 hours since they'd had any communication from their son. >> by 8:30 we still hadn't heard
anything. still woke up to more, even more horrible images. and then had time to think about the death tolls and all that. it was just compounding and compounding and compounding. >> and then? about the moment all seemed lost, another e-mail arrived. not from zack. it was from kenji, that volunteer mentor in japan, just a few words. and they meant everything. >> brandon-san survived. >> what was that like? >> he went into more detail. >> it was relief. >> zack was alive. all they needed to know for now. but georgia? still no word. well, his parents worried about him at home. zack was riding out the chaos in kuji. >> i wasn't really sure what was going on at first. >> after the shaking stopped,
zack and his co-workers moved up to the top floor of the kuji city hall, a sort of crow's nest with a view of the whole city and the coastline. >> so if something's going to happen, this is where you'd see it. >> yeah. >> and then he saw it, something about the rivers that split the city and normally flow out to the sea. >> the river was beginning to flow in the opposite direction. the water began to change color as well. going from this kind of bluish color to being very murky. >> even four stories up, zack could hear the roaring river. >> it went from just having small debris like trees and other rubbish that was around the harbor and stuff coming in to boats and to vehicle, you know, to much larger and much more substantial things coming. >> cars and things coming along. >> yeah. must have been picked up along the coast. >> that is getting scary then, right? >> yes. >> of course zack hadn't seen the footage that everybody else
outside the country had seen. >> did your mind turn at all to what's going on down there where georgia is? >> i hoped she would be doing the same thing that i was, that she would be in a safe location. >> a safe location. was there such a thing where georgia was? as the water around them began to recede and zack and his co-workers came downstairs, he realized everybody was incredibly quiet. >> and people's expressions had changed so drastically to these looks of genuine fear. that's when i thought, you know, i myself was scared. >> now he understood. if the wave got as far as his town further inland, it had to have hit georgia's town, right on the coast. what happened to all those people there? to georgia? and suddenly, he knew. he had to find this girl. just had to. >> i wanted to see her and i
wanted to comfort her as well. >> no idea what would be waiting for you at that end. >> no. not the slightest. >> there's a moment in some lives that defines everything that comes after. a test, a trial. this was zack brannen's test. to pass or fail. >> coming up. >> i never loved someone the way i loved georgia. >> but sometimes love doesn't conquer all. >> fire's on the hill, fire on the water, and it was a c
yet. >> i just wanted to find georgia, my best friend, and i wanted to make sure she was all right. >> zack kept telling himself she was all right. noda was protected by massive concrete sea walls and barriers. >> so your first thought wasn't oh, god, she's in trouble. it was more thank god there's a wall there. >> yes. yeah. it's there. there's just no possible way that it could have gotten over that. >> how did you find out that you were wrong? >> well, i decided, i just left, i left work. >> back in indiana, zack's parents, relieved their son was alive got another e-mail. zack was going to look for georgia. >> now a whole new set of concerns, like, i wasn't even exactly sure where she was. so once we figured that out and we looked it up on the map, well, it wasn't far away, but we just didn't know. >> it was even closer to the coast. >> it was closer to the coast. >> wondering what he might find.
and he was over there by himself, you know. and what would he do if he didn't find her. you know, it was just, it was all those things. >> zack hopped in his car and began the 8-mile drive down the winding road from kuji to noda. >> as i come down the hill, i start noticing people are walking on the side of the road. no cars. but they're just walking. whole families walking. and i just saying to myself, that's odd. you know, that's strange. as i got closer, i could see what looked like to be a house on its side, just in the middle of the road. i was really confused. because where were the tsunami walls? >> police had set up a barricade. and beyond it -- >> what did you see over there? >> it was just complete
destruction. you know. there had been, like, for a lot of the houses, they're heated with kerosene. so kerosene tanks have been knocked over because of the tsunami and because of the downed power lines sparked fires. >> fires on the hill, fire on the water. >> debris everywhere. >> yeah. so i mean, it was just a complete scene of destruction, really. >> zack, almost in shock walked toward the barricade blocking the road. >> there was a police officer. and he just said to me, dangerous. no and just kind of began trying to escort me back towards where i had parked my car. >> so zack got in his car and drove back to kuji, trying to tell himself it would be okay, that georgia was fine. >> the scene behind the barricade was chaos, disaster, it was obvious that there were many casualties. it was pretty clear how many was impossible to know. but zack understood as he was turned away by the guard that one person's anxiety could not
be allowed to trump public safety. and yet, at that very moment, he understood with absolute clarity, he had to find out what happened to the girl behind the barricade. he had to. if she was alive or dead or injured. had to, because she was the love of his life. he sent message after message by text. >> in vain, you know, knowing that they weren't going through, but just hoping. you know, little messages of encouragement. i love you. i hope everything's all right. i'm going to come look for you. i've tried. just know i'm coming. >> but what were you thinking? >> i wouldn't, i wouldn't know what i'd do without her. >> guess that's the first time you really had to confront it in a serious way, right?
>> yeah. i had, i never loved someone the way i loved georgia. and so i, i guess i just hoped that she was going to be all, you know, she was going to be fine. i was going to -- >> probably didn't sleep much that night. >> no. >> the aftershocks went on all night. so did tsunami warnings. >> so you're thinking, is there going to be another tsunami coming through? you know, so i didn't really sleep. >> at 5:30 in the morning, he knew what he had to do. he left a note on his apartment
door just in case georgia made it there. >> and i said, georgia, i'm coming to look for you. if for some reason you make it into kuji stay here. if i haven't found you by sundown i'm coming right back here. so know i'm coming back. >> and then he got in his car again and headed toward the coast. >> and i just decided, literally come hell or high water, i was getting into that damn town. >> but how? he'd certainly be facing hell and high water. but perhaps the biggest problem was the japanese army blocking the road. >> coming up. was time running out for georgia? had zack lost the love of his life? >> that feeling that she's not all right. it began growing as each minute went by. [ female announcer ] the harshness of the sun, the cold wind,
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as the sun rose over the ruined coastal towns of northern japan, zack approached the barricade of noda, determined to get past it with no idea how. >> i parked a little farther out and started walking in. and they still had the police officers and the defense force there with their roadblock. but i noticed what looked like a group of locals with shovels and other gear. i'm assuming to try to go in and start clearing paths through the town.
so i thought that's my way in. >> those civilian volunteers seemed to have official permission to get in, and clearly knew where they were going. >> so i, i just pulled my hood up and hopped in line with them. and at that point no one was really kind of looking around. >> he slipped past the police line, followed the group up a path away from the main road. he knew where he'd go first if he could. >> so your first destination was her apartment? >> yes. yeah. hoping that i'd find her sitting there on her floor reading a book. >> the path led up a hill past this shrine, descended back down to a horrific scene, noda was almost unrecognizable. >> there were these massive walls of debris, of these houses toppled over. of boats. just anything you could imagine, i mean, metal, electric poles just bent as if someone had just come through and just -- >> but he knew georgia's place was on a hill.
if she'd gone there before the tsunami hit, she'd be all right. but when he got there -- >> no sign that she was there. everything was still left exactly the way we had left it from the previous morning when we both went to work. >> as he went back outside, zack could see down into the center of town. that's where georgia's office was, where she was, when the earthquake hit. and what he saw chilled him to the bone. >> what i could see in the central part of the village, i could not see how -- >> nobody could survive. >> yeah. >> he thought georgia might have gone to help out at one of the three schools that she taught, but when he got to the kindergarten, his heart sank. >> kindergarten was completely gone. >> wiped away? >> yeah. all that was left was a bit of the fence and some of the
foundation. so -- >> a kindergarten that would have been occupied? >> i had hoped not. >> later he found out those children were safe, evacuated before the tsunami hit. but now zack went to another school, found a group of teachers huddled in their office. unable to speak japanese, he passed around georgia's business cards with her photo. >> and i went in and just kept asking, georgia, sensai, where, have you seen her? >> they had not. but they did give zack some hope. >> they said junior high. junior high. so i take that as oh, she's at the junior high. >> so zack sprinted there. made his way to the teachers' room. >> and i asked them, you know, have you seen georgia. and they said they hadn't, had not seen her. and i kind of lost it at that,
at that point. >> zack staggered outside. out of options. his despair now total. >> what was happening in your mind in there? >> just, just feeling so lost. that feeling that i'd been trying to suppress, the feeling of she's not all right. it began growing in size, immensely, as each minute went by. >> one of the teachers came outside to comfort him with a cup of tea. >> telling me, you know, it's okay. it's okay. it's okay. hugging me and patting me on the back, because i'm crying. and, yeah. >> then, out of nowhere, a van pulled up. two men hopped out. zack recognized one as a colleague of georgia's. they didn't look happy. zack tried to ask them. >> georgia? where is she?
where is she? and they didn't say, because they spoke no english, and i spoke no japanese, just pretty much like let's go, pointing to the van and pushing me into the van, you know. >> they were taking him to city hall. >> as were you being driven in that van. >> yeah. >> did you have any idea what they were driving you to see? >> no. >> did you know that they had been taking bodies to the city hall? >> no, i -- no. >> didn't know that. >> didn't know. >> city hall had in fact become the temporary morgue. was that where he'd find georgia? >> coming up. the news everybody had been waiting for. >> he was very brave for what he did. very brave. but you do that for people that you love. >> when dateline continues. geico's been helping people save money for over 75 years. they've really stood the test of time. much like these majestic rocky mountains. which must be named after the... that would be rocky the flying squirrel, mr. gecko sir. obviously! ahh come on bullwinkle, they're named after...
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two men had pushed zack branham into the back of a van which was now picking its way through canyons of urban rubble, apparently to the city hall. had zack known it had been turned into a temporary morgue he'd have understood the looks on their face. the van stopped. the men got out. >> they said don't get out, like motioning for me to stay in the van. that was it. >> he steeled himself for
whatever was coming next. what he did not expect was what he saw. >> around the corner walked out georgia. >> and i saw this baseball cap over, over by a car. and there he was. the last person in the world i expected to see, trudging across the mud. there was zack. >> how was that? >> it was a pretty awesome moment. after the absolute insanity of the last 24 hours, it was surreal, but it was an amazing feeling at the same time. to see him there. >> hair all a bit frantic, you know, like she'd had no sleep, like the rest of us. >> big hug. >> yeah. >> of course. >> she cried. and i cried. and just one of the best hugs ever, you know.
knowing that she was safe. >> go through the barricades, do whatever is needed to get to you. >> i just couldn't understand how zack had arrived with his baseball cap in the middle of all this. >> yeah. >> it was insane. >> well, that's the way to a girl's heart. >> yeah. yep. >> and georgia's story? well, if zack had been ring side, georgia was center stage. and although she'd been through earthquakes before in new zealand, this one was much, much different. >> that's the first time i found it hard to walk or stand in an earthquake. >> still, everyone around her seemed okay. she thought it was all just kind of exciting. even when the tsunami siren went off. >> i was like, oh, cool, like
this is really exciting. >> but others knew better, and georgia soon learned this was very, very bad. >> they said you need to go upstairs. so i followed everyone. we went upstairs. looked out the window, and noda was gone. >> oh, my god. >> this is what georgia saw captured on her cell phone camera, much of the town of noda flowing by the window. >> we're standing right here looking out there. >> that's the exact spot, yeah. >> it's quite awesome, like half the town is up there. >> yeah. >> and there's a roof here? >> there's actually a house wedged under the entrance. almost broken in half. >> unbelievable. and there's another house. >> another roof. >> drifted across the rad here. >> this house is not usually there. that's in the middle of the car park. >> just phenomenal. wow. >> she felt safe up here. somehow detached from the horror she was witnessing.
and then it hit her. >> there was this moment where it was absolutely silent, and you could hear a dog barking off in the distance. and occasionally, there'd be a shout. but other than that, it was so surreal, so silent. >> wow. >> yeah. i won't forget that moment. >> water and debris piled up almost to the second floor. no one could leave. >> what was that like? >> that was the worst night of my life. >> a sleepless night, huddled in her boss's office, missing saza, thinking he was safe inland. but then zack found her and together they looked at what was left of the town. georgia took these pictures. 38 people lost their lives in
noda, a tiny percentage of the more than 18,000 who died up and down the coast. but half of noda was simply gone. >> it was like someone had just driven a bulldozer through, and it was all gone. it was, how a wave can do that, i don't know. >> lifting complete houses off their foundations. so all that's left is the shell. >> the front stairs leading up to nothing. >> then they went to the safest place they could think of, their mentor kenji's office in kuji where the other teachers had gathered. >> and kenji being kenji, he found all the food that he could find in his house. anything that we could eat, which included lots of beer and sake on hand. >> and music. zack and kenji got out the guitars and tried to shut out the world. >> try to give ourselves a bit
of sense that everything was all right. >> and then cell phones chirped back to life. >> so everybody had their cell phones out sending e-mails to their family, to tell them we're okay. >> back in indiana, zack's parents finally got the news they'd been praying for. >> it took me hours and hours, but i found her, and she's alive. and the first thing i did was called brenda, georgia's mom. and she was in bed. she wasn't asleep. she was trying to sleep. but i said zack found her. she's alive. and she just screamed. started crying. >> mom came in and told me that zack had found her. and that she was safe and she was alive. and it was the most amazing feeling i've ever experienced. he was very brave for what he did. very brave. but you do that for people that
you love. >> the danger wasn't over, of course. we all know what came next. >> so you find out that he's okay. she's okay. now what? i mean -- >> fukushima. >> coming up, a different kind of aftershock. >> he said, you have checked your e-mail yet? and i said no. he said why don't you guys look at your e-mail together. and so i said oh, zack, what now?
the fukushima nuclear disaster. >> we are covering a full-blown nuclear scare. >> it filled the air waves. potential meltdown. nuclear armageddon. the president was calling for americans to get out. >> yesterday we called for the evacuation of american citizens who are within 50 miles of the plant. >> we seeing on the news that it's melting down. it's just a matter of time. they can't stop it. >> it could affect the entire
country, the entire region of the earth. >> zack had thought the worst was over. >> you never think you'd ever experience a tsunami or earthquake. and now you're experiencing a meltdown of a nuclear power plant. >> but we, we wanted him to come home. we wanted him. >> yeah. >> here we were the ones saying you have to stay. you made a commitment. >> now it's time for to you come home. >> but there was no travel, of course, anywhere. >> then zack got a call from a u.s. air force officer. >> he said we'll take you to the air force base and we'll fly you to a safe location. >> so what'd you say? >> well, i said, you know, i actually lied and said georgia was my fiance. i said my fiance is a new zealand citizen. >> can i bring her along? >> yes. and he said i'm sorry. we can only offer this to u.s. citizens at this stage. and i can't leave her behind.
>> zack and georgia were 200 miles from fukushima. and they felt the danger was subsiding. so they stayed, even helped with the cleanup. and then about a month later, funny how these things go, zack and georgia got another shock, another one of those life-changing developments. zack told his parents about it during one of their regular sunday phone calls. >> and he said, have you checked your e-mail yet? and i said no. and he said why don't you guys look at your e-mail together. and so i said oh, zack, what now? >> after all the worry and dread they'd experienced over their son's time in japan, zack branham's parents weren't quite prepared for the next bit of news. >> so we opened the e-mail, and there's an ultrasound picture. >> a baby was on the way. >> we were literally speechless.
one of the few times in my life i've been speechless. >> and we nicknamed it baby bean because it looked like a little bean. >> it just, it felt right. in a way. we were obviously, obviously in love. and the timing wasn't amazing, but it had happened. so let's just go with it. >> still, it was one last step. zack hadn't been quite ready to take it before, but when he came home to indiana to see his family -- >> while i was in indiana in june my mom and high sisters went with me and we went engagement ring shopping. >> did he intend to do that? would he have done that without a little push you think? >> i don't know. i know that i said, would you marry her if she wasn't expecting a baby, and he said yes. >> and i said, then she needs to
know that. she needs you to ask her to narry yonar narry marry you, not just to be expected that i'm doing the right thing. so yeah, maybe i did push him. >> when zack went back to japan, he was ready. or so he thought. georgia met him at the train station. >> as we walking to the car, i, i don't though. i just, i said, you just have to stop. >> and i was like, what are you doing? it's freezing. let's get in the car. let's go. he said just wait. and then all of a sudden, he turned around, and he's shaking, but he's holding a ring box. >> and i got down on my knee, and i just said i love you. and i want to spend the rest of my life with you. i don't care if it's in japan or in new zealand or if siberia. i want to spend the rest of my life with you. and i, will you marry me? >> and i said yes, of course. i had to put him out of his
misery. he looked like he was going to collapse. >> so, i was engaged and we didn't really know what we going to do from there or where we were going to go, but we knew we were having a baby and going to get married. >> you got married twice? >> yeah, we did. >> yes. two weddings. the first in indiana. the send one in new zealand. and there was a special guest at that one. two month old sebastian. >> yeah. getting a good distance. >> after promising his mother it was never going to happen, sure enough. zack and his family now live in new zealand. he works for the government. georgia at a tv company. >> we brought them back to japan for the first time since it all happened. >> my name is georgia. >> georgia! yeah! >> this teacher and her students knew about georgia and zack.
many here looked upon their story as one positive thing that came out of that horrible tragedy. >> do you ever -- and this is a totally unfair question. do you ever sometimes sit together at night and say, boy, if it hadn't been for that day, would we be here? would we, would we have sebastian? would we be in this life together? >> all the time. >> if someone would have told me three years from now you will be living in wellington. >> married to an american. >> married to a kiwi, with a 2-year-old son. >> i would have said you're crazy. >> would have thought they were crazy, you know. so, i could never have imagined this. >> helped along by an earthquake, a tsunami, and god knows what else. >> yeah. yeah. yeah. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt.
thanks for i'm lester holt. thank you for joining us. he's a monster. he's pure evil. he is that character in those horror movies. >> he his in the shadows, a kill never a mask. >> he's clearly a brilliant. individual, a brilliantly scary individual. >> his target a doting young mom. >> she was a gorgeous strawberry blond who loved her son more than anything in the whole world. >> she was so scared. >> reporter: he struck once, would he kill again and would she be next? >> you're just so shattered and hurting so bad. >> narrator: imagine being hunted in your own home, held a virtual prisoner, your children in danger from a man with a blueprint for murder. i