tv Dateline MSNBC December 20, 2020 1:00am-2:00am PST
of halloween is the real thing. >> that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. craig m. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> i got a call from allison, she told me that he was missing. >> why would anyone want to hurt him? i knew that my dad had been on match.com. >> this is not going to end well. this is a crime scene. >> miles of nothing up here. it's an easy place for a man to go missing. >> what do you mean you can't find my brother? >> he was the superintendent. not the type to play hooky. >> he really loved teaching and working with kids. >> turns out he wasn't missing, he was dead. >> your missing person case has become a homicide.
>> correct. >> that solved one mystery but left another. why would anyone want to kill him? maybe it had something to do with a woman in his life. he'd broken off his engagement with one. >> i just found out he was dead this morning. now i feel like i'm a suspect. >> and there was somebody else nobody knew about. >> i was lonely, just needed someone to talk to. >> did it also get a little steamy, mary? >> yes. >> passion and a secret that the wrong person discovered. >> her face looked like she'd seen a ghost. she said, sheriff -- >> stay with me. >> -- you have a phone call i think you need to take. >> hello, and welcome to "dateline." keith reed was a school superintendent who was respected by his students and adored by friends and family. when he didn't show up at an
out-of-town conference, it set off alarm bells. investigators would take a hard look at keith's love life for clues. and it would be another person off everyone's radar who would help detectives piece together this puzzle. here's dennis murphy with "at close range." >> reporter: winter comes early and stays late in far western new york. the farmlands tilled by amish and dutch families are encased in snow and ice for months at a time. but in this place of frozen stillness, the hottest of passions, boiling jealousy came to call one day. and tiny climber, 1,700 residents in the southwest part of the county, is still shaking off it all. >> my 35 years in law enforcement, can you ever remember a homicide in climber? never. >> reporter: it began quite simply. the new school superintendent in town went missing one weekend
just a few weeks into the school year in september, 2012. keith reed, 51 years old, was a longtime educator who landed in the sweet spot of his professional career. the up until then school principal had applied for the top administrative job in the climber district with his big brother kevin urging him on. >> this little school out called climber. says, i don't know whether i should apply. i said, you know, apply. >> reporter: you might think a close-knit community like climber would be standoffish to newcomers. but parents and students quickly embraced the on hands-on mr. reed. his eldest daughter caitlyn -- >> greeted the kids in the morning coming off the bus. he talked to them during the day. he was in the hallways. he really loved teaching and working with kids, and he was wonderful at it. >> reporter: the new superintendent had three grown daughters and a painful divorce behind him. but he'd never let life's difficulties distract from his
primary role, dad. megan is the middle child. >> he loved to have fun. he would always dance crazy with us like pick us up in the air and supplies us between his legs and throw us up. >> reporter: and the old family snapshots, hiking in hawaii, disney world, all the christmases seemed to show a dad over the moon with his three girls. caitlyn was a star volleyball player, an all american, and knew without a doubt when her dad was in the stands game days. you could hear him? >> i could. yeah. everyone could. >> reporter: her dad was in a long-term relationship with a single mom named kimberly roush. >> he had three daughters, and i had two boys. and a lot of our time was spent being involved in their sporting events. >> reporter: they'd been on again off again for years, but flow sooner had they decided to take one of their periodic romantic time-outs then they'd rubber band back together.
>> a song would come over. he would take me out of the car and dance along the side of the road. being with him was amazing. >> reporter: now that his girls were grown, keith reed was at long last finding his special place, getting comfortable. he bought a big house in town, assign that the superintendent wasn't just using climber as a career stepping stone. >> he found where he wanted to be finally, after years and years of looking. they'd have to pry him out with a bar. >> reporter: on saturday morning, september 22nd, 2012, when climber's school principal, ed bailey, drove past his friend and colleague's house, he was surprised to see both of keith's vehicles in the driveway. the superintendent was meant to be across the state at an educators conference. >> i made a mental note. i thought if both are there i'll stop in and see what's going on. >> reporter: when all looked the same on his return trip, the principal pulled into the drive. >> i actually went in the door of the house and yelled, yelled his name. and of course, there was no
answer. >> reporter: someone who started to wonder what was up that saturday was caitlyn. the two spoke by phone every day. >> he didn't answer my phone call on that saturday. i thought that was strange. i was busy and kind of forgot. >> reporter: by sunday his middle daughter hadn't heard from him either, worrying. >> i was like, aanswer your phone. time to answer your phone. we were -- i was confused because he always just answers the first time we call. >> reporter: that sunday night, her uncle kevin, a former fbi agent of 20 years, was being called to the house in climber by a school official. >> said weta can't find your brother. what do you mean? he was supposed to be at a conference, both cars at the house. okay, we're coming. >> reporter: kevin was hoping for a simple explanation, that they'd come upon his brother on the property hurt and maybe unable to get up. >> my hope was that he had gone out back, there's a huge tract of land behind his house, and had fallen down and was laying
out there and couldn't get home h. >> reporter: when he walked into the house, the former fbi man didn't like what he saw. >> i started looking around, and here's his $600 and his wallet, suitcase is partially packed. i came back downstairs, sent everybody out. everybody out. what are you talking about? just go out in the garage. this is not going to end well. and this is a crime scene. >> reporter: principal ed bailey was taken aback by kevin's comment. >> i understand we have an issue here that keith's not where we thought he should be. but what do you mean it's not going to end well? >> reporter: the principal had called the sheriff's office to report keith missing. deputies had responded to the scene. >> nothing added up. he had a bag packed, it looked like he was preparing for his trip. but nothing else that was out of place. >> reporter: deputies broke out flashlights and searched the house, the grounds, but no luck. keith reed was flat-out gone. it's a mystery to them when they
leave the house. >> correct. >> reporter: sunday night ended in drenching rain. darker than usual around the house. they hadn't yet figured out why the exterior lights by the garage weren't working. they hadn't talked to the neighbors about some loud voices they'd heard. where was the school superintendent, mr. reed? coming up -- as the search continues, police make a startling discovery. >> you're missing person has become a homicide. >> correct. and it was like wow. ♪ here's to the duers. to all the people who realize they can du more with less asthma thanks to dupixent, the add-on treatment for specific types of moderate-to-severe asthma. dupixent isn't for sudden breathing problems. it can improve lung function for better breathing in as little as 2 weeks and help prevent severe asthma attacks. it's not a steroid but can help reduce
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one dunown, mr. bailey. >> this snippet of video shows school superintendent keith reed at the end of the first day of school in october, 2012. in three weeks' time, the high-profile educator would be reported to the sheriff's office as a missing person. >> the school superintendent that everybody loved. the kids loved him. he was there greeting them as they got off the bus. >> reporter: keith's last-known whereabouts was dinner with a friend friday night. he was a no show at a educators conference across the state. his brother, kevin reed, a former fbi agent, had a bad feeling when he arrived at his brother's house sunday night. >> i went right into fbi mode.
i didn't -- didn't have time to get emotional. >> reporter: his brother, grounded, stable, reliable, was no one's candidate to one day go missing, especially not then. just a few weeks before, he'd had the moment every dad lives for, walking his eldest daughter, caitlyn, down the aisle. >> it was one of the most momentous days of his life. he was just -- i've never seen him that happy. >> reporter: at the reception, he'd even busted out his signatures dance moves. >> he lived it up on the dance floor. >> reporter: he was a very happy guy. >> he was. >> in 2012. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: but now as down bre broke monday north, september 24th, keith reed had vanished. the sheriffs were dispatched to do a daylight search of the grounds. it wasn't long before a k-9 handlers reported back. keith reed, his body, had been found. >> immediately the dog and he found the body in the shrubs. >> reporter: keith's girlfriend, kimberly, was driving to a new job that morning when she got the news.
she couldn't believe what she was hearing. >> he's dead. they found him. and i just started crying, and i said, no, that's -- that's not possible. >> reporter: but tucked into the hedge row about 50 feet from his driveway, lay keith reed's body. he had been shot three times. twice in the back, once in the chest, all at close range. >> it was like wow, how could this happen? who could have done this? why would they do it? >> reporter: those same questions were roaring through the halls at keith's school. principal ed baily had gotten the news from the sheriff's office. >> i just about dropped the phone. just couldn't believe it. >> reporter: talking about keith reed. >> yeah. my friend. >> reporter: along with the shock in the community came an unnerving question -- given the national climate of school-related shootings, could keith reed have been targeted because of his work leading the district? an angry student, a disgruntled parent? was any of that even remotely
possible? >> i'm thinking of going back through, did he have enemies, who possibly could have been upset enough or crazy enough to do something like this, you know -- >> did you come up with any possibilities? >> there was one incident that i know that the family was very upset with him. >> reporter: school-related beef -- >> school related. nothing out of the ordinary. you know, nothing that should have ever rose to this level. >> reporter: neighboring districts were understandably on edge, too. were they next? >> my phone blew up from other schools. are we endanger, is this the -- in danger, is this the start of something bigger. >> reporter: concern only heightened, the sheriff said, when word spread that an unknown man had stopped by keith's school around noon that friday asking to see mr. reed. >> he had told them that he was applying for a job as a substitute teacher, that he was -- came in from connecticut looking for work. >> reporter: the man seen here was captured on school surveillance cameras. was this visitor a piece of the
puzzle? detectives didn't know, but given the potential nightmare of schools and children in jeopardy, it was more important than ever for the sheriff to have all hands on deck at the crime scene. david foley was county direction attorney at the time, and he was there when a door-to-door canvas turned up a critical clue for the timeline. >> a neighbor couple had heard gunshots, three gunshots, friday evening, somewhere around 9:00 p.m. >> reporter: on the property itself, though, detectives found themselves frustratingly short of clues. but they did recover in the grass a soggy piece of paper that looked like a receipt. it would be work for the lab to figure out. and around the garage, investigators took note of something perplexing. three exterior lights, the bulbs, were missing. >> why are the bulbs gone? this is odd. there is really odd. >> reporter: somebody had done some planning. >> rang the doorbell, can't see who's out there. flips the lights on, nothing happens. opens the door, there's the assailant.
>> reporter: so the shooting of the school superintendent for a grievance unknown became one theory to pursue. detectives were about to hear a story that would make them look at the crime scene in a completely different way. something more traditional. was it possible that keith reed was the victim of a bad romance? as it happened, a candidate for a suspect, someone on again/off again was about to pull into the drive. >> coming up, angry texts put a girlfriend in the hot seat. >> i just found out this morning, and now i feel like i'm a suspect. today's ways of working may work differently tomorrow.
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go to watchcroods.com. right the body of keith reed, the admired superintendent, had been found in a hedge by his house. he'd been shot three times. keith's brother kevin, a law enforcement veteran, had caravanned to the house monday morning with his 80-year-old parents, expecting to search for a missing person. the sheriff broke the news. >> so now i've got my mother wanting to go and cover him up with a blanket because he's cold. try that sometime. it's a crime scene, mom. you can't go up there. it's tough. >> reporter: as the reed family struggled to make sense of the horror, investigators would put the question to keith's daughters. did they know of anyone who had a reason to hurt their dad? >> we could not think of anyone
to tell them. no one. >> everyone was just -- no. >> reporter: a name had occurred to their uncle kevin. of the leads to sort through, he suggested investigators look at keith's on again/off again girlfriend of many years, kimberly roush. >> i said, first thing you need to do is talk to kimberly. >> reporter: where did that come from in you? >> experience and knowing the relationship. >> reporter: the investigators learned from kevin and others that the superintendent's relationship with kimberly had at times been rocky. they'd been engaged to be married, but keith recently called off the wedding. >> by the time summer was over, no, we're not doing this. >> reporter: was this what was crime scene was all about? a deadly confrontation between a man and his lover, upset over a canceled wedding? kimberly, who was almost two hours away, raced to the house. >> said, kevin, what happened? i said, did he have a heart attack or something? and he said, no, somebody shot
him. and i just started sobbing, and i started to go down to my knees in the road. >> reporter: investigator randy bolland was assigned to talk to her. >> she is crying and very, very, very emotional. so i immediately go and speak to her, but i give her some moments. >> reporter: but in the investigators' eyes, kimberly quickly went from grieving girlfriend to potential suspect. he asked for her phone. >> i said, okay, is there a reason why? you know, i just was kind of shocked. >> reporter: it turns out that keith had asked kimberly to join him at the educators conference that weekend. she said they'd never finalized the plan, but she'd been mad at him for not returning her calls. >> she gets very upset in her text messages back, like i can't believe you're not talking to me, you know, and they're like half violent. like why are -- why are you not calling me?
>> reporter: flaming stuff, huh? >> yeah. >> reporter: and something else -- in kieeith's bedroom, crime scene analysts noticed a frame that toppled over and taken apart on a bookcase. whatever flfs it was gone. you can put a story together -- >> the pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together. >> reporter: investigator bolland brought kimberly in and she was read her rights. >> i'm still in shock. i barely have my head around that he was kid. and now i -- was killed. and now i feel like i'm going right from that into are you the one that killed him. i just found out he was dead this morning. and then i show up and found out he was shot. and now i feel like i'm a suspect. >> reporter: kimberly said she'd been three hours away at her parents' house at the time they believed keith was shot. she admitted that while she did get angry with him, she would
never hurt him. >> never in a million years, no matter what he said or did it i ever consider or conceive of the thought of harming him or hurting him or living without him. i remember feeling absolutely terrified, and i thought, i have two little boys at home, i need to get home. they don't even know he's gone. >> in some of your messages, you displayed that -- >> you say things in anger. >> angry. >> i had been angry. you could tell i'd been angry. anybody would be in certain situations. that doesn't make them a killer. >> reporter: but had there been a trigger leading up to friday night? the investigators saw in kimberly's text messages that she was intent on getting back from reed a high school diploma, something she thought might be at his house. >> the "f" word, i said, obviously you're there with another woman. and i don't -- i don't even care. i just need my [ bleep ] diploma.
why won't you just pick your deep deep phone up? you think i'm going to show up and shoot him over my missing diploma i can't find? i would just go there, look through the bins, find it, take it, and leave. >> reporter: but what about that picture frame? detectives thought it might have been toppled over during a fight. >> no. we've never broken pictures of each other. so i really had no idea what they were talking about. >> reporter: investigator bolland confronted kimberly with a working theory -- thinking keith was away, she stormed over to his house with a male friend to get her diploma back. only keith was still home, an unhappy surprise. >> there's an issue with two males going at it. did you see something you didn't want to see? seriously? >> i wasn't there. >> not at all? >> not at all. they were thinking i was guilty of this, and i loved him so much. i could never have even thought of doing anything like that. >> reporter: the nearly
three-hour-long interview was over. kimberly was still in the cross hairs, and the thought was terrifying to her. >> am i going to go to jail for something i didn't do? >> reporter: but investigator bolland had his doubts that she had anything to do with keith reed's death. >> she didn't leave my suspect list, but at the same time, she seemed genuine that she didn't -- she would never do something like this. >> reporter: meanwhile, there had been a very puzzling development in the investigation. the sunday night the superintendent was reported missing, the cops had asked the phone company to ping keith reed's cell phone to ask if the technological question -- where are you? the phone answered back electronically, i'm in harrisburg, pennsylvania. >> this man is dead in the hedges by his house, and his phone is in harrisburg, p.a., hours away. >> yes, hours away. >> reporter: a school superintendent dead at his home. his phone more than 200 miles away. what was going on? >> things get way more
complicated when a second woman makes a phone call to the sheriff. coming up -- >> i don't know. i don't -- >> just relax. she was very, very upset. ♪ are you ready to join the duers? those who du more with less asthma. thanks to dupixent. the add-on treatment for specific types of moderate-to-severe asthma. dupixent isn't for sudden breathing problems. it can improve lung function for better breathing in as little as 2 weeks and help prevent severe asthma attacks. it's not a steroid but can help reduce or eliminate oral steroids. dupixent can cause serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. get help right away if you have rash, shortness of breath, chest pain, tingling or numbness in your limbs. tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection and don't change or stop your asthma treatments, including steroids, without talking to your doctor.
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hello, i'm dara brown. here's what's happening -- united airlines is working with the centers for disease control and preenz to contact passengers who might have been exposed to covid-19. they say a man suffered a medical emergency during an orlando to los angeles flight monday and died from coronavirus. paramedics transported the male passenger to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. the passenger had filled out a required checklist before boarding saying he had not tested positive. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline." i'm natalie morales. police discovered that kimberly roush and her on again/off again
boyfriend keith reed were going through a rough patch around the time he was shot dead. detectives had their eye on kimberly, but they were about to hear from another woman in keith's life who would change the course of the investigation. once again, here's dennis murphy with "at close range." >> reporter: of the many details concerning the homicide of well-liked superintendent keith reed, perhaps none was more perplexing than the mored man's cell phone. why was the phone company reporting its location as harrisburg, pennsylvania, four hours southeast of the crime scene? >> i thought maybe it was a mistake. no one knew of anyone that he would know in harrisburg. >> reporter: in the hours after keith's body was found, relatives frantically called, desperate to get a voice on the other end. the sheriff was shocked monday when one hit pay dirt. >> said i just called keith reed's phone, and bus stop
answered it. >> reporter: a holy cow moment. >> yes. >> reporter: it was a construction foreman on a bridge near harrisburg. the phone had been found on scaffolding which suggested to detectives someone in a car had tried to toss the phone in a river. >> it landed on a bridge deck set up to do repairs to the bridge. it was a very lucky break for us. >> reporter: what are the odds? >> one in a billion. >> reporter: while the recovered phone was on its way to the fbi lab, crime scene analysts spent the next day at reed's house scouring the property for clues. district attorney david foley knew the climber community on, edge about a school-related shooting, was anxious for the case to be solved. but an arrest was a long ways off. you can't calm people don'wn, c you? >> no. >> reporter: then something out of the blue happened that turned the investigation upside down. the sheriff was in a closed door meeting when his secretary interrupted. >> i thought it was a family emergency.
her face looked like she'd seen a ghost. she said, sheriff, you have a phone call that i think you need take. >> reporter: a panic-stricken woman was on the phone. she needed to speak to the sheriff immediately. the sheriff returned to his office to take the phone call. >> i don't know. i don't -- >> just relax. >> reporter: her name was mary. she was call reguling from virg. no one in keith's life including his daughter megan had heard of her. that name mean anything to you, this mary woman? >> not at all. >> reporter: anybody in the family, did it ring a well. >> no. >> reporter: megan's older sister caitlyn didn't know the name either but would realize this mary was a woman her dad had taken to dinner back in 2010 during an off period with kimberly. >> i remember him saying that he was going out to dinner. but yeah, no, nothing ever came from it. >> reporter: but now this mary was on the phone. >> she was very, very upset. stay with me. this is going to be okay. relax.
i kept her on the phone purposely as long as i could, and while we were talking, i had my staff scrambling to get somebody in law enforcement to her home. >> reporter: almost 400 miles south, officers in virginia brought mary to an interview room. she was the second woman in three days investigators were speaking to about the murder of the superintendent. >> i'm glad they have these here. i might need them. >> okay. >> reporter: mary says she and keith first developed a relationship on match.com. she'd separated from her husband and had moved with her four children to upstate new york. after 11 years of marriage, she says she was trying to figure out how to get back into the dating game. >> i was lonely, and just needed someone to talk to. friends. >> reporter: mary says she was intrigued by the superintendent and responded when he sent her a message saying hello. >> i said, you know, you're really good looking, but we started talking, and we had some
things in common. and then he asked if he could call me. >> reporter: they talked on and off for a couple of months, she says. keith, who always had a soft spot for someone in need, provided emotional support as shoe struggled to find her footing as a newly separated woman. >> i kind of felt lost. i didn't know what to do or where to go next. he was great. he was really encouraging. >> reporter: it was sometime in the summer of 2010, she told the detectives, that she met her online match for their one and only date. >> he took me to dinner, and we had a night sergeant. >> reporter: it was little more than a one-night stand. mary says she decided to try to make things work with her husband. keith reconciled with his girlfriend. >> we both just kind of said good luck to each other. that's about it -- >> reporter: like a handshake and good-bye? >> pretty much. yeah. >> reporter: a couple of years later, mary said her marriage
was coming unundone again. in spring of 2012 she tried to friend keith on facebook. he didn't accept the request. but the superintendent did write her a message. >> he sent me a message back asking me how i was and i told him that i wasn't happy. and things weren't going too well. >> reporter: she says they started calling each other on the occasional evening. keith struggling with his relationship, and mary lonely in hers, confinded in each other. was that something nice in your life at that time, mary? >> yes. it was a piece of happiness. like i felt a little more fulfilled. >> reporter: but she says their phone conversations did at times get sexual. was it hi, how are you, but did it also get steamy, mary? >> yes. >> reporter: still, it hardly seemed like a big-deal relationship. could a single date and some suggestive phone calls really add up to murder? in mary's mind, yes, but she hadn't called the sheriff to confess to the crime. nor had she called to point her finger at a potentially jealous
girlfriend. no, mary had someone else entirely in mind. and the clue to who killed the superintendent could be found on his computer. coming up -- the secret comes out. >> it was this long thing about don't -- don't you dare contact my wife ever again, and if you do, you're going to be sorry. new advil dual action with acetaminophen fights pain in two ways. advil targets pain at the source... ...while acetaminophen blocks pain signals. the future of pain relief is here. new advil dual action.
here's to the duers. to all the people who realize they can du more with less asthma thanks to dupixent, the add-on treatment for specific types of moderate-to-severe asthma. dupixent isn't for sudden breathing problems. it can improve lung function for better breathing in as little as 2 weeks and help prevent severe asthma attacks. it's not a steroid but can help reduce or eliminate oral steroids. dupixent can cause serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. get help right away if you have rash, shortness of breath, chest pain, tingling or numbness in your limbs. tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection and don't change or stop your asthma treatments, including steroids, without talking to your doctor. are you ready to du more with less asthma?
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>> reporter: the internet had given renewed life between the cyber relationship between school superintendent keith reed and mary taglionetti. now mary would plaexplain why s feld their amorous digital trail led to his death. mary had met her husband, rob, in college. he was an historian with the marines. she was mostly a stay-at-home mom to their four kids. she told detectives that their 1 11 years together had been difficult at times, but something happened that august that pushed the marriage to the brink. she was at the doctor's when her husband discovered an email. his wife thanking reed for the previous night's phone sex. >> he said, do you mind telling me who keith reed is. >> reporter: you knew what he'd come across, huh? >> yes. >> reporter: mary who had struggled through the pain of separation once decided to try
to keep her family together. >> i was really thinking about the kids, and i just thought, you know, they deserve to be in their home with their father and the mother. >> reporter: but her husband was adamant, she says, if he was going to stay, there was a condition attached. she'd have to hand over her passwords. mary told detectives he later logged on to her email account and fired off a blistering message to reed. >> it was this long thing about don't -- don't you dare contact my wife ever again, and if you do, you're going to be sorry because i have the emails. and i'll post it all over your school. >> reporter: the superintendent responded simply and directly. back off. stay away from me, or i'll take action, and tell your wife the same. that should have been the end of things. >> it should have been the end of things. >> reporter: but it wasn't. >> no. >> reporter: after reading keith's email, mary said rob started getting dressed. she asked him where he was going. >> and he said, where do you think i'm going? i said, you're going to go see
keith? and he said, well, i guess you know me. >> reporter: does he take off in the car? >> he leaves late. 11:00 at night. >> reporter: that all happened, she said, the night before investigators suspected keith reed had been killed. >> i had thought in my mind like there's no way he's going to go all the way up there just to try to beat in guy up. >> reporter: that's what you thought this was, confrontation, a fist fight? >> yeah. he had gotten in fist fights before. >> reporter: for the past few years, mary says, she had been concerned about her husband's tripwire behavior. >> there would be times when we were afraid of him. >> reporter: had caused their separation two years before, up and now she worried her husband have lost all perspective. you hear you saying it may have been a love triangle in his mind but that's not what was going on. >> no, it was a connected friendship. it was flirting. >> reporter: she emailed keith several warnings and tried to reach her husband throughout the next day, but her went straight
to voicemail. >> i was just thinking i was going to get a phone call from the police saying your husband was acting like an idiot. but i didn't hear anything from anybody. >> reporter: mary says rob returned home saturday morning, telling her keith had been out of town. >> instantly i was like, oh, good. i was so happy. like i was so relieved. >> reporter: relieved, she told the detectives, until four days later when she ran an internet search to see what her husband could have found out about the superintendent. >> there it was. keith's picture saying 51-year-old keith reed shot to death -- i couldn't believe it. like i -- i lost my breath, and i was shocked. and i knew right away that it had to be rob. >> reporter: to investigators looking for the killer in upstate new york, mary's husband made more than a lot of sense. there was keith reed's cell
phone found off this bridge in pennsylvania. >> harrisburg is on the way to virginia. see now, that makes sense, too. that piece of the puzzle. >> reporter: and something else clicked. remember that man who'd appeared at climber central school asking to speak to the superintendent? investigators sent a freeze frame from the school security cameras down to the interview room in virginia. >> does this look like him? >> yes. >> that's him? >> yes. >> mary identifies those stills as being her husband. so we know that it's him in the school. >> reporter: now authorities had a suspect, but where was he? mary said that a few days after her husband returned, he told her he got a new job and had quit his position as an historian at the marine base in quantico. rob, she said, had packed up some things and taken off, leaving behind a cryptic note about going on a camping trip to clear his head. at the time, it hasn't made sense to her. >> i didn't understand why he
king counhe didn't want to take us. if he's taking a couple of weeks off for a vacation, why wouldn't he take his family. >> reporter: now everything added up. the authorities issued a bolo, a be on the lookout for anthony rob taglionetti. a manhunt was under way. >> we are actively looking for this individual to pick him up for questioning. and we consider him to be armed and dangerous. >> reporter: where were you, where were the children? >> we were at a hotel. they were worried he was going to try to lock for us. >> reporter: as the authorities searched for rob taglianetti, keith reed's family in new york state gathered to say their good-byes. the church in his hometown was too small for the hundred of mourners, all the people whose lives the educator had touched. brother kevin was pay pall bear er. >> you were a wreck? >> kneelment. >> reporter: -- intellectual. >> reporter: keith's daughters
spoke. years before they'd almost lost their father in a motorcycle accident. he persevered. now they were determined to make him proud. >> i knew that he wouldn't want us to be sad and depressed. i knew he would want it to be a celebration of his life. >> reporter: it was that same afternoon that taglanetti's gold buick was caught speeding down a road near a national park in virginia. >> make the plate, pull it over, and take him into custody without incident. >> reporter: anthony rob taglianetti was charged with the second-degree murder of keith reed. to the prosecutor, the theory of a jealous husband killing his perceived rival connected all the dots. but wait, the defense said, the real story of who was to blame had yet to be heard. rob was merelily the puppet, the defense would argue. it was his wife, mary, a cunning and manipulative woman who had pulled the strings. >> all she wanted was to be with keith reed which means she's got to get rid of rob.
she's got to get him out of the picture. coming up -- an angry husband or, as the defense argued, a scheming wife. >> this is the story about manipulation and exploitation. these are real people, not actors, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic, and not a cream or steroid. many people taking dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin, and, had significantly less itch. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them
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on trial for second-degree murder. he pleaded not guilty. >> ladies and gentlemen -- >> reporter: the prosecutor told the jury that this case was about an explicit email that provoked a husband to kill. >> he sought out keith reed and shot him to death. >> reporter: the prosecutor laid out his case. taglianetti caught on tape at the superintendent's school the day of the murder. a gold buick like taglianetti's driveway that afternoon. and the soaked paper on reed's lawn, an atm receipt linked to taglianetti's bank account. >> wonderful. >> reporter: there were more incendiary emails, too. a flurry of them, the prosecutor said, sent to keith reed the night before the murder. capital letter stuff, exclamation points. >> i'm going to get you. i'm going to -- to take care of you. you don't mess with me and my family. >> reporter: and all but say giept fre good night forensic evidence found in his car. in the driver's seat lay a .357
revolver wrapped in a printout of his wife's steamen ema ey em. >> and we had keith reed's blood not only on the barrel but in the barrel. that was the gun pressed up against reed's back. >> reporter: a surprise on the laptop, the prosecution said. an exit strategy. hours before his arrest, rob taglianetti bought a one-way ticket to israel. >> his ultimate idea was to get out of the country. >> reporter: as convincing as the prosecution's case appeared, defense attorney ned borone told the jury it was not what it seemed. >> this is about manipulation and exploitation -- >> reporter: rob taglianni was a u.s. marine with a sterling record. a devoted husband who loved his wife and wanted nothing more than to keep his family together. his wife mary, on the other hand, was a master manipulator, he said. dead set on destroying the marriage any way she could. >> rob taglianetti she wanted
out of her life. keith reed, she wanted to be with him. she did whatever she needed to do to accomplish both those ends. >> reporter: take rob's discovery of his wife's suggestive email. the defense said mary left the email open on purpose. why? maybe because a confrontation between the two men was her goal. why else, he said, would she not have alerted the authorities to her husband's impending showdown with the superintendent? >> if you're really worried of what you're husband's going to do to another individual, wouldn't you call the officials, wouldn't call the police? she waits literally days to call law enforcement. >> reporter: mary, a prosecution witness, says she's appalled by the defense's theory and finds it preposterous. how was killing keith reed and getting her husband thrown in prison supposed to solve any problems? >> i didn't do anything of that on purpose. >> reporter: did you willingly provoke him, as the attorney suggested, even leaving open the email to -- >> no. no, no. i wished i would have never left
that email open. >> reporter: that's a story the jury's hearing about you. that you're driving the events. >> yeah. that's -- that's not true at all. >> reporter: but the defense attorney went even further. maybe those blistering emails from taglianetti to reed had been written by mary. while she denies it, he implied it could be a way to frame her husband, to show that he left the house with murder on his mind. >> there's no corroborating evidence whatsoever of mary's. that rob authored those emails. >> reporter: to try to prove that point, the defense attorney cited a phrase in one of those messages that he said rob taglianetti would never have used. >> a marine doesn't reform to himself as a former marine. once a marine, always a marine. >> reporter: as for what did happen on keith reed's property the night he was killed, the defense did not concede that rob was there. but if he had been, he said, maybe the superintendent was the aggressor. after all, he argued, it was his
reputation that was at stake if the phone sex with mary was exposed. >> when someone's confronted with that situation, who knows what they could do. >> reporter: no, there were too many unanswered questions to justify a guilty verdict, the defense told the jury during closing arguments. >> the prosecutor has failed to establish this case and every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. >> all rise -- >> reporter: it didn't take the jury long. just three hours to come to its decision. >> how does the jury found the defendant? >> the jury finds him guilty. >> reporter: guilty of the second-degree murder of school superintendent keith reed. rob taglianetti received 25 years to life in prison. he is appealing the case and declined an interview with "dateline." outside, kevin reed embraced his niece, a brother and father killed by the husband of a woman he had dinner with one time in his life. a woman they're convinced keith believed to be single. so overwhelming.
>> i thought i would feel relief or happy, but it just -- it wasn't -- it was tough. >> reporter: among those thinking about keith reed's family is mary taglianetti. >> he heart goes out to thm almost every day. and it's just -- it's a tragedy. and my heart breaks. >> reporter: the reed family is far from the only victim in this case. kimberly roush had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime, yet she says she had to endure being questioned as a suspect while simultaneously struggling with the grief of losing a man she loved and admired. >> he's an incredible man who loved life. his girls always came first. he was a wonderful father figure to my children, as well. >> reporter: keith reed's three daughters now face a future without their dad. he won't be there to walk the two younger girls down the aisle
or be a loving granddad to their children or take their daily phone calls. when do you miss your dad the most? >> when i drive home from work. i always grab my phone to call him. >> it's just hard without that person there that i talked to so often. >> reporter: it has been close to impossible for his family to understand it. a devoted educator who did so much good for so many students ripped from their lives for something so mundane. some online flirtation, a single dinner date, more flirtation two years later, and then three quick shots. >> it was a complete waste. lives of kids he could have helped -- who knows what path they would have taken if they had contact with him. >> reporter: the homicide brewed in cyber space may sound perfectly modern, but the combustibles are as timeless as the winter fields here. one woman, two men, and a
jealousy that was all consuming. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> my friend called me and she was hysterical. she said sandra's been killed. i was like, oh, my god. as soon as she was killed we all knew who did it. as the months went on we realized this guy is going to get off. how is this happening? just keep praying. that's all we can do. >> there aren't a lot of murders in paradise. people still talk about this one. >> just a darling girl with two darling children. >> it is a story keith morrison followed for nearly ten years.