tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC December 25, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST
could shadow him for the rest of his life. >> that's all for this edition of identify dateline extra. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. >> on a conveyor belt, only her feet were exposed. her last hours on earth were not pleasant. >> young families, murdered. her family in anguish. >> a serial killer at work and maybe he had a friend. >> that's crazy. they don't work together. >> two suspected killers on the
hunt, hunting them a detective devoted to justice and more. >> it's almost like you adopted these young women. >> there was a lot of visits to my local church saying please don't let me screw this up. >> good and evil. >> hello. welcome to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. they were horrific crimes. young women with their whole lives ahead of them sexually assaulted and murdered. they left behind families who loved them and it would take a determined detective willing to visit dark places to unravel this mystery. here's keith morrison. >> i love her as much as i could. >> how to measure love as advice
rahal as the beating heart in her own body. >> she was my first born, my best friend. >> how to understand the four mothers and their connection, not one that one of them could ever have thought possible, not in a million years, any more than they would have expected to meet her, their guardian angel. >> if i don't bring her home, who will? >> it's as rare mystery that's truly a confrontation of good and evil. >> we have to go to the dark places to find answers. >> a rare mystery that needed an urgent answer before the evil struck again. >> it was march 14th. their destination, a land fill that is a literal mountain of garbage, 500 feet high.
and then mid-morning, an attendant separating debris on the conveyor belt saw something. is that a human foot protruding from the pile of trash? surely not. >> she was on the conveyor belt, only her feet were exposed. >> you but it wasn't a man i can as jolisa could plainly see. it was or had been a worm. her body wrapped in a blue plastic tarp. >> we had no idea who she was. we had no idea where she came from, how did she end up there? >> something about the dead girl got to detective trapp, ending up this way, an anonymous child of god in a garbage dump. so the detective did what she always does. she bought a rosary. >> it's a way for me to kind of connect to my victims.
>> unusual? maybe. that a detective should lean on her catholic faith to help solve crimes. but she does. >> cases don't always get solved in 48 hours. >> surprise, surprise. >> they need time and they take work. >> and that little rosary helps you? >> it does. >> if she could solve this case, she'd give that rosary to the dead woman's family. >> just one identifying mark on her neck, a tattoo, jody. was that her name? she pulled up the anaheim police department's database of tattoos. yes, they have one, descriptions from anyone they encountered. there was a match. but her name was not jody.
it was gerai. >> she had been contacted a year prior here on beach boulevard. >> beach boulevard? suddenly the detective's case took on a whole new direction. >> if you want to buy drugs, beach boulevard is where you come. if you're looking for a girl, beach boulevard a where you come. a lot of them came from good, stable families that just happened to run into the wrong guy who somehow got them into the job. these pimps are really good about breaking down the women and getting control over them. >> making them a prime target for predators. >> a lot of predators will start with prostitutes. because they think that people won't miss them. >> somebody does. >> yes, somebody does. somebody did. >> like gerai's mother, who records revealed live in --
lived in a tiny home in oklahoma. and even before the detective got the words out -- >> i felt it. she was gone. >> her daughter been so happy, charming, outgoing. then a boyfriend convinced her to please him she'd have to turn tricks. this is gerai. >> he just honked trying to get her attention. >> a self-proclaimed vigilante group in oklahoma city caught her on camera back in 2012. but gerai left the boyfriend, turned her life around, so jody thought. but then that awful phone call from detective trapp. >> i was screaming, like screaming. >> the detective made a promise to that mother. department matter what joyces gerai may have made. she, the detective, would work this case as hard as she ever had. >> we literally went from each
little motel to each little motel showing her picture and having the clerk run her name to see if she had stayed there. >> and eventually she found the room where she had been staying, in which were $700 in cash, mascara, contact lens solution but nothing to lead her to a suspect. not here anyway money fr. from the disposal company, she got a list of dumpsters they serviced that morning. they went dumpster do i haiving. >> no luck. waste of time. then back on the conveyor belt, an odd thing turned up in the trash collected near her body's. >> they got a print hit. >> you're talking about a
fingerprint? >> yes. >> it was on a caulking tube and it matched someone, a window installer who worked for a company called hardy windows. >> he tells us we never throw trash out at customers' homes. we always bring it back to hardy windows. >> where they found one dumpster no one had checked. the trash company inadvertent had left it off the list they gave the police. detective trapp looked inside. >> that same blue plastic wrapping. and it was almost like i was looking at the same trash i had seen on the conveyor belt. >> bingo. and if not for that lucky fingerprint, they'd have missed it. >> what was that like? >> it was a combination of frustration but, okay, all right. we're moving somewhere? >> so gerai was dumped here sometime before the morning of march 14th, miles and miles from the spot where, according to cell phone records she placed
her very last outgoing call at 7 p.m. the night before. >> how far away would it have been? >> 20 miles. >> but that's all the detective knew, a week gone by. everyone at hardy windows was cleared so no suspects at all. detective trapp went to church, said her rosary, worried, prayed and wondered. >> i had heard a story on the news that there was three missing prostitutes in the city of san ana. >> what if it wasn't the killer's first time or last. >> now coming up, four young women missing or dead. was there a link? >> what are the odds that they're related? >> when "good & evil" continues. .
welcome back. she was just 21 years old when she was found dead on a garbage dump conveyor belt. investigators discovered a fingerprint near the body that led them to a local business. that's where the leads dried up until the detective working the case got a hunch and one thing became clear, she would need more rosaries. here again is keith morrison. detective julissa trapp couldn't sleep, kept awake by the puzzle of the girl someone threw away in the trash. that's when something jogged her restless mind. hadn't some young women vanished in the town next door, santa ana?
>> we were like, "well, you know, what are the odds that they're related?" >> reporter: so she looked them up and learned about kianna jackson, just 20 years old when she disappeared five months before jarrae's death. her mom is kathy menzies. >> she was just a very fun-loving child. always made you laugh. >> reporter: just look at her childhood photos. that silly grin. she loved her dog, her little brother, playing softball. and then it started happening, said kathy. eighth grade or so. >> she was kind of getting, you know, typical teenage. you know, mouthy. and then, you know, high school came, getting around the older kids, she kind of got a little, you know, worse. >> reporter: how did you cope with that? >> one day at a time. love her as much as i could was about the only thing. >> reporter: after high school kianna went to college, about a three-hour drive from home. a year later, she moved to las
vegas. but though far from home now, she got closer and closer to her mom. >> she would call me every day, talk to me every day, you know, text message. >> just a loving daughter? >> yeah. i didn't think anything bad was happening. >> reporter: no idea. even in october 2013, when kianna called to say -- >> she was on the bus towards santa ana. >> did she tell you why? >> visiting friends is what she told me. >> reporter: but then, the girl who called her mother almost daily stopped calling. >> anything over a day or two, i would start going, "wait a second. this isn't right. something's not right." i would text her. and she would text right back. but this time, nothing. nothing. >> reporter: gone. not a peep to her mom, to her friends, to her boyfriend. kathy went to the police. >> when i called to file a missing persons report, they said, "she's an adult. and -- and there's nothing we can do for you." >> but you knew there was a problem. >> yeah. >> reporter: so kathy started doing her own digging -- tracked her daughter down to a motel in orange county, where the trail ended. her clothes were there, but she wasn't. again, she called the police. >> and they said, "well, that happens. sometimes prostitutes just work circuits.
>> prostitute? >> at first i was like, no -- okay, no. that can't be. >> reporter: but then the truth came crashing down, undeniable. kianna had missed a scheduled court date in santa ana -- for a prostitution charge. but wait a minute, you talked to her every day. >> that -- >> texted with her all the time. >> exactly. and she-- >> ask you knew nothing of this secret life of hers? >> nope. nothing. >> what does it feel like as a mother, to hear that has been going on all that time and you didn't know? >> heartbreaking. >> reporter: when she heard kathy's story, detective trapp began to think she was on to something. and then she discovered that just two and a half weeks after kianna disappeared, there was another one -- josephine monique vargas. >> she had a beautiful personality. they used to call her giggles 'cause she always made people laugh. >> reporter: josephine's mother priscilla had been on the local news, searching for answers for months, ever since her daughter left a family barbecue, telling them she was walking to buy groceries. >> that's the last time we -- any of us heard of her or saw her.
>> reporter: priscilla went to the santa ana police department, filled out a report. >> but they didn't really do anything to look for her. >> reporter: so she did. >> nothing was gonna stop me from looking for my daughter. nothing or no one. >> reporter: and it was pure chance when priscilla ran into another mother desperate to find her daughter. martha. 28 years old, and a mother herself, who just vanished one day. >> there's no way she would have left. to just say "i'm going and i'm leaving everything behind." >> reporter: so martha's mother herlinda and priscilla went together up and down the boulevard. >> we made thousands of fliers. me and her were on our mission to find our daughters. >> reporter: but no sign of their daughters anywhere. detective trapp collected their portraits, hung them on her office wall, and she stayed awake and prayed in her catholic way.
do you ever wonder why god would allow this to happen? >> i do. there's been plenty of times that i've been angry with our maker because you have to wonder why does this happen. i mean, i wish he would talk back to me and tell me, that would be very helpful. but i just have to figure out what happened. just read the clues, collect the puzzle pieces, and the more you can kind of keep a neutral mind, the easier the puzzle pieces fit together. >> reporter: no getting around it -- the pieces pointed to a chilling conclusion. those three missing women, like jarrae, may have been murdered. and if that was true, it would mean there was a serial killer out there in the night. had to be. more deaths would be coming, unless -- one idea. it was grasping at straws, yes, but -- >> you know what, it might work now. why not? it's a hail mary, but let's try it. coming up -- all sex offenders on parole, they will have an anklet, a gps
monitor. >> reporter: tracking a killer victim by victim. when "good & evil" continues. es what does help for heart failure look like? ♪the beat goes on it looks like emily cooking dinner for ten. ♪the beat goes on it looks like jonathan on a date with his wife. ♪la-di-la-di-di entresto is a heart failure medicine that helps your heart, so you can keep on doing what you love. entresto helped people stay alive and out of the hospital. heart failure can change the structure of your heart, so it may not work as well. entresto helps improve your heart's ability to pump blood to the body. don't take entresto if pregnant; it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren,
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welcome back. one woman dead, another three missing. detective julissa trapp believed the cases may have been linked. if she was right, she might be able to tie one potential suspect to all of the victims. here again is keith morrison. the autopsy came in. the one for jarrae estepp, the girl on the conveyer belt. >> it's bad, it was bad. it was bad. >> reporter: strangled, beaten, sexually assaulted. viciously, according to deputy d.a. larry yellin. >> should have been a college girl. should be worrying about grades and boyfriends, and football games and -- and those things. >> reporter: one wrong turn, and you never know, huh? >> yeah. >> reporter: but almost three
weeks in, detective julissa trapp seemed stuck. >> i think she got a little frustrated, and got a little desperate, and came up with the idea of using the computer database. >> reporter: that is the computer database of sex offenders. if they had a serial killer on their hands, there was at least a chance he'd already run afoul of the law at some point. it was a bit like just poking a finger into the haystack frankly and hoping to encounter a needle. but worth a try. so trapp called this woman. sexual assault detective laura lomeli. >> all sex offenders on parole, they will have an anklet, a gps monitor. >> reporter: trapp asked lomeli, were any of those gps monitors here, where jarrae placed her last phone call, or here, where she wound up in a dumpster? and if you find the same guy at both locations, you're getting somewhere? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: lomeli ran the search. and what were the chances? she got a hit. in both locations. she called detective trapp.
>> "there's only one person." she's like, "i know him." i said, "who?" and she's all, "his name's franc cano, he's a registered sex offender." >> reporter: in 2007, franc cano pleaded guilty to committing a lewd act on a minor. he was now on parole wearing a gps monitor. but now next question, did franc cano's monitor put him near the places those other three women, according to phone records, made their last calls? kianna, josephine, and martha? one by one, the detective entered the coordinates. >> and every intersection for the -- that date and time that they gave me, franc cano came up. >> wow. >> for every single intersection. >> it was -- it was -- i was shocked. >> reporter: but something about that man, franc cano. he had a buddy. and lomeli had run into them both. >> i mentioned, "you know, i do know that he has a friend --
that's steven gordon." >> reporter: steven gordon. he'd done time for molesting a minor and later for kidnapping. he and cano were inseparable, apparently. once again, detective lomeli pulled up the gps coordinates. she checked the place martha was last seen in santa ana, and? no gordon. not there. but when she checked locations for kianna and josephine, sure enough, there he was. so why not at that first location? she checked the record and discovered that at that particular moment, gordon wasn't on a gps monitor, but he was wearing one at the other three places, and so was cano. the electronics made it absolutely obvious, here they were, cano and gordon driving together up and down beach boulevard and all around santa ana and anaheim. >> i mean, even when they're on the freeway -- >> they were in the same car? >> they were in the same
vehicle. >> reporter: julissa trapp had prayed for a hail mary, but she never expected anything like this. >> i soon realized, "i'm not just dealing with one, we're dealing with two." two sex offenders wearing gps bracelets. >> reporter: but for all the electronic cross referencing, the case against cano and gordon was purely circumstantial. detective trapp could not arrest them. not without more evidence. and that was terrifying. i mean, there were young women who were at real risk here. >> yes. >> reporter: and if you waited too long -- >> yes. >> reporter: how would you feel if somebody else was attacked? >> let me just say, there were a lot of rosaries that were being prayed, for sure. >> reporter: she set up a surveillance team to watch cano and gordon around the clock. and got authorizations for wire taps and pulled cell phone records. >> when we started reading the text messages and started seeing how prolific they were at hunting. >> hunting?
>> hunting, on almost a daily basis. and how nonchalant they were about it. it was almost like ordering takeout. when you start reading, what do you feel like today, asian or mexican? >> oh, boy. what would they call these girls? >> that was the other thing, cats. >> cats? >> cats. be careful, when the cat knows it isn't getting away, it's going to fight. >> reporter: the next victim couldn't be far away. because gordon texted cano, "kitty cat later, yes." to which cano responded, "ok." and then a sudden change. had they spotted the surveillance? as trapp listened to the wiretap she heard gordon talk to cano about skipping town. >> i could hear the desperation in franc cano's voice. that desperation just kind of sent a hair on the back of my
neck and i said, "no, i'm not waiting anymore." >> they're going to run. >> they're going to run. >> reporter: time to move. fast. they caught up to franc cano as he was boarding a bus. and steven gordon? they found him where he worked, an auto body shop next door to hardy windows. but -- >> he made a run for it. and -- >> ran out the door? >> on a bicycle, yes. he had a little collision with one of our surveillance units and a little flying over the handle bars. and he was taken into custody. >> reporter: both men were charged with four counts each of first-degree murder and forcible rape. and detective trapp prepared to confront a suspected serial killer. coming up -- i knew this was going to be a lot different than any other interview i had done. he's cunning, manipulative. >> he didn't have to talk to
and keep the public safe. u.s. troops in south korea dined on roast beef and donned christmas sweaters today celebrating the holiday 60 miles north of the border of north korea. >> and buckingham palace just released the queen's christmas message. queen elizabeth shared her thanks to those who served and referenced a personal highlight of 2019, the birth of her eighth great grandchild. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline extra." registered sex offenders were in police custody, arrested on four counts each of first degree
murder and forcible rain and detective trapp was about to go face to face with steven gordon in the interrogation room. they would go to dark places and she hoped to come out with information for the victims' families. here again is keith morrison. for six months, kathy menzies waited for news about her daughter, kianna. still woke up every day hoping she'd call or text. and dreading a knock at the door. which, in april 2014, is what happened. >> my heart sunk when they came because i knew right away that it wasn't gonna be good news. >> reporter: no. not good news at all. anaheim police told her that two men, franc cano and steven gordon, were now under arrest for the murder of her daughter and three other young women in orange county. >> what were you like that night? >> i just wanted to sleep. i wanted to, like, go to sleep, and wake up, and pinch myself,
and -- >> and make it a different world. >> exactly. >> reporter: detective julissa trapp wanted to speak with both men, of course. but cano lawyered up. so she tried gordon, still in a wheelchair after his bike accident. >> hi steven. >> hi. >> how are you? >> i knew this was going to be a lot different than any other interview i had done. >> are you cold? do you want a blanket? >> if you don't mind. >> no, not at all. >> detective trapp has a way, as they say. >> you were compassionate. you were kind to him. you brought him a blanket. food. >> here are your chips. >> yes, we actually shared two meals together. >> it is spicy. >> i told you, i told you to be careful. >> reporter: even so.
gordon was reluctant at first. >> i can't talk to you. >> would you rather talk to somebody else? >> i don't want to talk to anybody. >> he watched me very carefully. if i swallowed too hard or looked at him differently, he would say, what's wrong? >> you had a weird look your face what i said where. why? >> when i said where? so he was constantly trying to keep a poker face to continue to elicit information from him and -- did he try to play you? >> he definitely thinks he did, for sure. >> reporter: bit by bit she pulled out answers. for herself and for those four mothers. >> did she go by the name kayla? >> kianna. >> she told me kayla. >> reporter: detective trapp presented him with photographs. he identified all four women. >> so, her? her? her? right?
>> reporter: each murder went the same way, he said. he and cano picked them up in the suv, drove them back to the auto body shop where gordon worked. they took turns having their way. then, just as each woman prepared to leave -- >> i strangled her with my hands. >> you strangled her? >> some of the details in the 13-hour interview were almost more than even a seasoned detective could stand to hear. >> as he was hurting martha, she told him, "i didn't believe in god, but i do now." there is a part of me that's grateful that she found god at the end. it's disturbing to me that in response, he said, "you picked a hell of a time to start believing in god." i'll never forget that. >> reporter: but she had it, a full confession.
she called jarrae's mother, jodi. >> i dropped to my knees. detective trapp gave me her word that she would find who killed my daughter. >> reporter: detective trapp had kept her word. now she bought three more rosaries and wondered, could she bring those women home? gordon had told her all of them had been left in the same dumpster, the contents of which were brought here, orange county's brea olinda landfill. where, except for jarrae, they all still were, in there somewhere. >> we did a lot of research, and we had every intention to try to dig for them. >> reporter: but the bodies had to be 40 feet deep by now. digging for them would cost millions. they might never be found. and the county couldn't afford that. >> and they're -- they're just over there
somewhere, 40 feet down. what's that like? what's that feel like? >> frustrating. it's frustrating knowing that they're here and we can't bring them home. that it's like the one thing that the mothers want. and i get it, and to not be able to do that, it feels -- it's incomplete. >> does it drive you crazy? >> yes, it does. >> reporter: kathy menzies knows, logically, her daughter kianna must be dead. but how to truly accept it without her body? >> i would go there today and start digging if they would let me. >> matters, doesn't it? >> it does matter. >> bringing them back. you give birth to them, you have to see them right through to the end. >> exactly. >> reporter: in an attempt to
make sense of it all, she asked the detectives to be driven to the last place they took kianna. >> she wanted to go to this last spot. may i ask why? >> it was the last known spot that she was at. that i was told she was alive at that spot. so, kind of a closure. you know, just to see where she was at when -- before they took her. >> reporter: about broke her heart to do it. take this tour of her daughter's last hours. >> i think this is the dead-end street that gordon cano entered and turned around. and somewhere in here -- >> in here. >> -- in this intersection right here is where she was at. >> reporter: just an ordinary place. but so painful. >> it was hard. difficult to see, i mean, not what i expected, the area.
i mean, of course, what she was doing is no mother's wish. but just to see this area, to know that it wasn't what i envisioned. it wasn't a dirty, dark, nasty, gross area. >> reporter: kathy found some peace in that, the knowing, the seeing. but why kiannas life was taken. so much harder to comprehend. >> i don't think that i will ever be able to accept it. it's hard. it's hard. >> reporter: criminal trials are one way that the grieving find answers. and with a confession on tape, the trial of steven gordon looked like a formality, or the prosecutor might have hoped. and then the judge made that ruling. oh, boy.
a suspected serial killer acting as his own attorney turns the case against him up side down. >> it's the piece that brings everything together and now it's gone. >> when "good & evil" continues. . 1 in 5 people you meet wear dentures. yeah. that many! but right now, is not the time to talk about it. so when you're ready, search 'my denture care'. poligrip and polident. fixed. fresh. and just between us.
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orange county deputy d.a. larry yellin liked his chances against accused serial killer steven gordon. especially when gordon decided to act as his own defense attorney. >> he's very bright -- very bright. >> smart enough to know he shouldn't oughta be doing that sort of thing? >> definitely smart enough to know -- that he shouldn't be representing himself. >> reporter: but, expectation can be a dangerous thing. before the trial even began, gordon struck the prosecutor's case a major blow. remember that moment early in his interview when he seemed to reject detective trapp's questioning? >> i can't talk to you.
>> would you rather talk to somebody else? >> i don't wanna talk to anybody. >> reporter: gordon argued that continuing the interview at that point was a miranda violation. even though detective trapp had read him his rights at the outset. the judge agreed. ruled that the jury could not see a frame of gordon's confession. >> when he makes the ruling that it's out, it's a punch in the stomach. >> oh, man, because what are you missing then? everything. >> well, a confession. it's the piece that brings everything together and focuses on the four girls and now it was gone. >> all of these women have a special meaning for me. and when it got thrown out, i had a really hard time. >> reporter: but then gordon asked for a meeting, and sprang another surprise. he wanted yellin to drop the rape charges. and what would he give you in return? >> he said, "i'll give you a statement that you can use against me in this case."
>> okay, mr. gordon -- >> reporter: and so on the eve of trial, detective trapp once again sat face-to-face with steven gordon. and he once again took her through each crime. >> fair to say that your intention was to pick up a prostitute and ultimately kill her? >> yes. >> okay. >> reporter: that was played for the jury. and then? how bizarre was this. gordon suddenly decided he wanted the jury to hear his first confession too. which meant that the mothers had to hear every graphic detail of their daughters' murders. >> then i thought maybe i prayed that rosary a little too hard because now we have two statements in. >> the jury wasted no time convicting gordon of four counts of murder. >> guilty of the crime -- >> reporter: they recommended the death penalty. >> i'll order that the verdicts be recorded. >> reporter: for four mothers, a measure of justice. kathy menzies had sat through the entire trial. as brutal as it was.
what has it done to your understanding of human beings? >> they're evil. there's lots of evil in this world. lots of it. >> reporter: the mothers will have to sit through another trial, franc cano is still waiting for his. he's pleaded not guilty. but for detective trapp, there was a measure of relief. and finally, she gave those rosaries to four grieving mothers. it's interesting to discover in this line of work that homicide detectives are actually softies. >> i think that the more you allow yourself to feel, the better you're going to be as a detective. and we have to go to the dark places in order to find answers. the quicker we can get in and out, you know, the better it is for all of us. >> reporter: answers from dark places. we went to the jail where gordon was kept before his transfer to death row. here he was, a man who claimed to know the nature of his evil
acts. but, did he, we wondered. >> i screwed up. >> is "screwed up" the right expression to use? >> huh. probably not. i just didn't want to say -- what i really think. >> well, why don't you? >> it's -- it's beyond evil, what happened. what -- what me and him did was beyond evil. >> reporter: but then came, sure enough, the excuse. he's worked it out in his head that the parole system is somehow to blame for his crimes. after all, as sex offenders, he and franc cano shouldn't have been permitted to be together. that was a parole violation. and the fact that their parole officers didn't prevent that violation, he said, means the state is responsible. >> we chose to be together. >> yeah. >> but we were allowed. there's a difference. >> but no, no, i mean -- are you 3? >> what do you mean? >> that's what little kids say to their parents, you let me do a bad thing, it's your fault. >> no, i didn't say they let us do a bad thing. i said they let us sleep and
hang out at the same spot. and they did. beside what anybody believes -- >> you're going to parse that argument? >> i -- till the day i die, because i know for a fact it's true. >> what i want to know is, because that's on you. what was going on in your head to make you want to do it? to make you participate in whatever way you participated. what was the thrill? what was it? >> i don't think there was a thrill. >> well, if there's no thrill, why'd you do it? >> there's no thrill in watching women die like that. but i'm gonna go back to it again and again. it was my anger issues that i have from everything that happened while we were on parole and probation. >> reporter: we may never know exactly why jarrae was killed, or martha, or josephine or kianna. but there's one more mystery hiding somewhere in this mountain. the final mystery.
>> coming up -- to me she's an angel in disguise. an angel that carries a badge and a gun. >> an angel whose job isn't done. >> he looks at me and he goes, "you're missing one." and i feel like if i don't look for her who will? i know there is a family out there wondering where she is. >> when "good & evil" continues. what'd we decide on the flyers again? uh, "fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance."
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welcome back. after a disturbing trial steven gordon was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder. but for detective julissa trapp this case was far from over. she would soon find that there was one more secret buried in that mysterious landfill. now with the conclusion of our story, here's keith morrison. >> reporter: four mothers. four dead daughters. there is sorrow, of course.
>> when they killed her, they killed me. >> reporter: and a measure of solidarity to have each other, especially priscilla and herlinda. >> now that we know what's happened to our daughters, i know we will still be friends until the end. because she's walking in the same shoes i am. >> reporter: we ask them about julissa trapp. >> translator: this case was solved because of her. >> to me, she's an angel in disguise. an angel that carries a badge and a gun. >> reporter: their own guardian angel, who brought all of them answers. but how, the moms wonder, did two men who were supposed to be under supervision by parole officers, who were being tracked in real time by gps ankle bracelets, how could they have committed the terrible crimes they were charged with?
how could this happen? >> how can this happen? why were they not being monitored? >> reporter: but -- >> but it was definitely a hard question to get from the mothers themselves as well. why wasn't it caught sooner? >> reporter: jarrae's mother, jodi, sued the california department of corrections and rehabilitation, claiming it failed to adequately monitor gordon and cano. the state denied the claims, and the case was dismissed. jodi also sued the u.s. government and agents of u.s. probation. that case was dismissed as well. and the administration office of the u.s. court published a report that said federal probation officers followed policies and procedures. >> we actually look at the 14th. >> reporter: as for detective trapp, there was one last mystery to solve. >> yes. yeah. >> reporter: because when she first talked to steven gordon he revealed something she wasn't expecting. >> he looks at me and he goes, "you're missing one."
which caught me off guard, and i tried not to show too much emotion. and i said, "okay." and that was the first time i learned about jane doe, was from him. >> reporter: jane doe. according to gordon, there was a fifth victim. >> did she say where she was from? >> she said she was from compton. >> i feel a responsibility, because jane doe is not a missing person. she's -- she's an unknown. and i feel like if i don't look for her, who will? i know there is a family out there, wondering where she is. >> reporter: and so she looked. she combed through missing persons reports, she put up flyers, searched, prayed, and yes, bought another rosary. why is it so important to give jane doe a name? to you, personally.
>> i -- i just think because she's so helpless. you're on the street, you're working as a prostitute and you run into steve gordon and franc cano and your last hours on this earth are horrific. and then they discard you like trash. >> reporter: trash. detective trapp is still haunted by trash. and that keeps bringing her mind back here. >> even though it is a landfill, i mean, it is quite peaceful when it's quiet. >> reporter: somewhere under here, in addition to kianna, josephine, and martha, there was victim number five. and so detective trapp worked her sources until she had a name. it would be reasonable to say, "okay, that's her." >> absolutely. >> she's here. >> logically, yes, absolutely. >> reporter: and yet, when we spoke with her, she couldn't quite bring herself to tell yet
another mother her suspicions. >> i not only have to go tell her she's dead, i have to tell her that she's one of these girls. so that's going to be hard, i think. >> reporter: out here with us, she seemed to be willing herself, pulling strength from jane doe herself. >> i think in her own way she'll help me. she'll help me. i don't think she wants to be jane doe forever. >> reporter: and then a couple of months later she let us know she'd called on the fifth mother and delivered the news. that sable pickett, just 19 years old, crossed paths with gordon and cano on the streets of orange county and did not survive. no charges are pending for her murder, but another family can finally stop wondering. homicide detectives often tell us they work for the dead.
up here on landfill mountain, we understood that a little better. as detective julissa trapp gripped her rosary, the one for sable, we walked away and gave her time. and our microphone picked up something. >> hail mary, full of grace, god is with thee. blessed is the -- >> reporter: mountains of trash, things we use and cast away. but for detective julissa trapp, this will always be hallowed ground. >> it's hard to look at that and know that's where you ended up, and i know you guys are in a better place and i know that you're together and you're helping each other. you can rest now. and i can take it from here. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching.
♪ she can lie to you, make love to you, kill you, all in the same week. and not even cry at the funeral. >> she was living that dream california lifestyle. you talk about "housewives of orange county." she could have been on the show. she wrapped him around her finger. just like she wrapped so many men around her finger. >> reporter: she had it all, waterfront home, fancy cars, millionaire boyfriend. quite the life. until -- >> the shots were in sets of two. he saw his attacker. >> reporter: her lover gunned down. who wanted him dead?
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