tv Dateline MSNBC August 27, 2022 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
child. but my heart, you can't tell that to my hurt. i loved that boy. and it's not fair that he was taken from his children or from his family. he had so much potential. he had gone so far. >> 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". >>. to hear that news and realizing that it's amber. how could that be? her life was just beginning. >> amber meet friends for life. >> there was just no trying with our friendship. it just was. >> but that life didn't last long. >> amber is on the floor, face down, and she has a plastic bag
wrapped around her heads. >> it still is open, the door is open. >> most people who rob a store don't kill anybody. >> my whole world just died right there. >> for months, the murder stayed cold. >> didn't have witnesses, didn't have video, didn't have the any. we had everything going against us. >> we go down and talk to the detective, we would not let it go. >> then a break. another victim. >> he would duct tape me, duct tape my mouth. >> and she knew a secret. could she risk revealing it? >> something is going to happen tonight. >> a killer ready to run, face to face with the one person who might be able to stop him. >> he just reached over the glove compartment and he pulled out a gun. and i said, please don't kill me. i'm going to get out of their. alive. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> hello, and welcome to "dateline." i'm natalie morales. amber belken was a force to
reckon with. a pet young woman whose big dreams and drive made her seem unstoppable. then she was found murdered. was amber the victim of a robbery gone bad? or was this brutal crime personal? three people knew the truth. two of them would risk their lives to reveal it. here's keith morrison with "everything she knew". >> it was a monday morning in january, 2007. 9:08 am. a young woman in san antonio texted her boyfriend, "i love you." that's all it said, i love you, nothing more. downtown, the alamo had just opened its doors. a few tourists began boarding little boats to gaze at remnants of texas is history. along urban stretches of the san antonio river. several miles away, in the for the reaches of the modern city, the manager of the video game store began his daily ritual.
his name was mariano rivera. >> the store opens at ten but the managers typically get their nine in the morning. get the chills ready, grab the money and go to the back. >> a similar process at the sister store, same company, not far away. that one managed by the woman who sent a text to her boyfriend. except this was strange. as the morning stood by, her store remained closed. mariano got a call from the district manager. >> can you go over there and maybe you can see something. see what's going on. >> he did, he saw a white car in the parking lot that looked like the young woman's car. he appeared into the store window. nobody there. >> i thought, man, this is strange. where is she? so i kept calling. >> her name was amber belken. tiny, just 5'2, 100 pounds. but energetic, ambitious. and very much in charge.
>> she was a firecracker. that's the easiest way to pocket. >> this man is in texas politics nowadays, but back then he worked in amber belken 's store. >> she would let you know what you wanted. i think she was one of the kindest souls i ever met. depends on what size you met her on and how much you made are mad. >> she could be tough? >> she loved her job. >> she did. >> monica and ashley were amber 's best friends. was she cut out to be a manager? >> oh, yeah. >> she was fierce. [laughs] but she still was friendly. she loved all her employees. and she loved all of her customers. >> she was only 25. she was a store manager. so it was a very good sense of she is doing it. she's making something of her life. she had goals, she had ambitions, she wanted to go back to school. she wanted all of it. >> not that she set out to work in a game store. she wanted to be a veterinarian. >> she was just so loving. we couldn't pass a turtle on
the road. she would have to turn around and pick it up and take it to her house. she would find these random animals on the side of the road. and it was like, how did you find that animal? >> like her little dog, buddy. amber's parents leigh and randy. she actually ran for buddy across the expressway. and the hair was all matted up. looked like dreadlocks. >> she said, well i can't put her back out on the road. >> so, i just opened the door letter in. >> amber was their only child. they dotted on her. the from the day she was born. and she was good in return. >> she helped anybody that needed it. they didn't even have to ask. >> she was going to make sure that you were protected. >> but now we're was amber? why was first or not open? why didn't she answer the phone. early afternoon, still no sign of amber. so again, district manager
called mariano. >> something is strange. >> and set him back for a second look. again mariano look through the big front window. but this time, he saw someone. amber's assistant manager brendan just standing there behind the counter. >> i knock on the door and he lets me in. i said, brandon, have you seen amber? he's like, no. but he goes something a strange. there's money on the floor. it looks like there was some kind of struggle or something happen. some things got knocked over. my first thought was, worse amber? so he said he didn't know. of course, right away i'm thinking, what is going on with this guy? he clearly sees something wrong. he must not recognize her car thinking, that's your car outside. you see it. you see there is things on the floor. why haven't you reacted right away? are you going to call someone are check the rest of the story? >> but he hadn't. so, mariano ran to the back office. the only other room in the store. not a moment he will ever forget.
not for the rest of his life. >> and i went around to the back i find amber on the floor, face down, and she has a plastic bag wrapped around her head. instantly i knew what happened. >> one mystery solved. amber was no longer missing. but a much bigger mystery remained. coming up -- >> most people that rob a store don't kill anybody. >> maybe the robbery was just a cover for murder. >> he had the classic motive. >> it does seem personal. >> when "dateline" continues. flo, you're here. this pipe just burst on me. well, you bundled home and auto with progressive, so you have round-the-clock protection on all your stuff. like that cardboard tv. i told props to switch that out. okay, everyone, that's a wrap. [ bell rings ] wait, you faked this whole thing? i knew it was the quickest way to see you. i'm sorry, jon, but i'm already in love with insurance. you know that's weird, right? well, any weirder than faking a burst pipe?
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once seen can never be unseen. amber belken sprawled in death in the back office of the video games store. her head wrapped in a plastic bag. mariano dialed 9-1-1. his mind a horrified confusion. he stared at amber's assistant manager, brandon. >> i was upset. and then i'm looking at brandon like, i do understand how this happened. you know, i don't want to blame anybody but your first thought is, who was around. who can you look and see? maybe he had something to do with it? >> it's got to be a pretty shocking thing to discover. >> i mean, is hard to describe. you just have 1 million emotions running through. you don't know what to do. >> the police came. took one look and called raymond "ray bob" roberts. then a detective with the san antonio police department. >> it looks like a robbery gone
bad. the store is in disarray. the clerk was found in the back office. she's dead. if i can get some information on her. any witnesses. >> so we hold the scene down, get the crime scene detectives out there. >> the news, indistinct, unconfirmed, spread through the texas afternoon. somebody dead in amber's store. but most people did not know who. including amber's father as he headed over there. >> i jumped in my truck and i called a friend of mine who was a defense attorney and i said, i need you to call anybody that you can. see what you can find out. i was just about there and he called me and he said, well how far are you from there? >> and that's when he realized, it wasn't that amber found someone dead. >> they found her. >> my knees just buckled and i just -- my whole world just died right there. >> it's a pretty dreadful
feeling? >> it's the worst feeling in the world because you totally realize no one can fix this. nobody can bring her back. >> not for them. not for her friends. >> and then everything just stopped. disbelief. disbelief. your earth shatters. >> i sat on the curb and cried. everything around me was just a blur. >> inside the store, detective roberts had a look around. >> and then everything just stopped. disbelief. disbelief. your earth shatters. >> i sat on the curb and cried. everything around me was just a blur. >> inside the store, detective roberts had a look around. >> there was a bunch of dvt games on the ground. where the cash register was at the front, the till was open, door was open. some change was laying around. if there was more dvds on the ground in the back. >> like somebody came in and
ransacked it. >> he went around to the back alley. >> was this the escape route? i was looking at all the games up here. either heather parked in the alley are over there. put the boxes out there. you wouldn't think robbing a game store would be worth killing somebody in the process. >> you wouldn't think anybody would rob a game store. normally during a robbery it's just a robbery. no murder. and this was certainly a robbery, given the mess in the empty safe. >> we checked the bank, there was no deposit made for that morning. there was 1900 dollars still. three or four big video games, police stations and ps3s and dvd games. all of that was taken. >> the whole total just under $6,000. maybe the store surveillance cameras could tell the detective who took it. except -- >> there was no surveillance
video in the store. there was none in the strip center that the storm was located in. there was no video anywhere. there was video at the starbucks next door. but i only showed the front door. and that's it. you don't see anything. >> who would know that? who would know it was a video game company's only store in san antonio not equipped with cameras? the answer was obvious thought the detective. an employee would know. just like an employee would know amber hadn't taken the cash to the bank yet. then mariano told a detective about encountering brandon. and that he couldn't understand why brandon didn't look for amber until he, mariano, arrived. >> his first thought should have been there might have been a robbery. let me make sure first of all, that the robbers are not still in here and could hurt me. but also, let me see where amber is. >> here's what the detective was thinking. he talked to amber's coworkers. they said she had issues with brandon. >> they had never learn to work together yet.
when you have a guy like that who is not really the same type of attitude or mentality that the rest of us were, it causes some problems. >> does she trust him? >> you know, i don't know. i think it in some instances, no. >> even embers per said they knew she was dissatisfied with brandon. >> because she had written him up. >> she had prepared a negative work review. >> she was going to turn it in that. >> it's just his last chance, mom. she said, i can't allow him to continue to make these mistakes. >> so, motive? opportunity? behavior that didn't seem innocent? >> i mean, he had the classic motive. he didn't want her to write him off. didn't want to get fired. this seemed like a personal crime. could've been? >> most people that going to rob a store logo with the intention of killing anybody. they just go in there, with a robbery, and leave. putting a plastic bag on her
head -- >> squeezing it tight, holding it. >> squeezing it tight, takes four or five minutes probably. takes a good minute. >> yeah, no kidding. >> and she's struggling. she's not just laying there. that takes a while. so, it takes it does seem personal. >> they had brandon in the back seat of a patrol car. the detective went to talk to him. >> he tells me the story is not making any sense. >> so he had him taken downtown and questioned by a colleague known for her special interviewing skills. >> she's a real good detective. she has a way with getting stuff out of people. an hour later, i'm still at the scene, she calls me back and says, something is up with this guy. >> coming up -- amber's parents were convinced it was brandon. >> everything pointed to him. >> would that explain what amber's mom says he saw at the funeral? >> he put one of the gamestop
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>> a very big comfort. that she touched that many lives. >> they loved amber. they said, we love amber. >> as amber's parents watch, they could not stop seeing in their heads, another scene. the one in the back room of the video game store. the way she was killed. >> they told me it was personal. >> she had to be so frightened. and when she tried to pick up the phone, i know it was to call us. and he yanked the phone out of the wall. >> was it brandon biel? by the day of the funeral, they were sure. >> we definitely thought brandon did it. >> everything pointed to him. >> and then, as mourners filed by to pay their respects suddenly, where he was at the funeral. in front of them.
brandon biel. did you think, my god her killer has come to the funeral? >> oh, he came in and shook my hand. i got up and my knees just felt weak and i fell. >> then said amber's mother, she was sure she saw brandon walk right up to the casket and put something into it. >> he put one of the gamestop tag holders that had their i. d. on it. he put one of those in her casket and i got that thing out of there as fast as i could and put it in a tissue and put it in my purse. because i thought, that's the last thing i want buried with my daughter. >> was that i. d. potential evidence, she wondered? was brandon trying to bury evidence with amber's body. >> so we are already thinking brandon did it. >> a week after, detective roberts question brandon on videotape. >> i'm going back over everybody we talked to trying to figure this thing out.
>> brandon repeated the story he told from the start. he was nowhere near the store that morning. >> just got up, let my dog out, watched "sports center." then at 9:45 i left, because i had to go to my fiancée's parents move. the big island that goes in the kitchen. >> he didn't get to the store, he said, until after 2 pm. for the afternoon shift. and when he got there, he insisted it was still closed. so, he panicked. was he supposed to open that warning? >> so, i'm about to put my stuff you know, to check the computer. >> he looks around and sees the dvds on the floor, the cashiers jar open. he sees all of this and thought, so he starts going around to open the store. >> he thought -- >> you know, he's not looking for amber are not looking for anybody. >> brandon told attractive roberts he had no idea amber
was in the store. no idea amber intended to submit a negative worker review about him that very day. didn't notice her car in the parking lot, he said. didn't think the obvious mess in the store and they had been robbed. >> you saw the disagree? if the an employee saw the disagree. >> a normal person you think in would say something is a. >> something is wrong here. >> yeah. >> so, roberts got a search warrant for brandon's house, car. maybe they find some of the stolen dvds and game councils there. they did not. but there has to be something. for weeks the detective looked for evidence on brandon biel. >> randy and the mom called me 24/7, every day, two or three times a day. >> brandon, brandon, brandon. >> detectives questioned his fiancée. her parents. they scoured his phone records. >> we did everything we could to try to get some kind of evidence on brandon. and there was none there.
>> yeah. >> there was none there because he didn't do it. >> that alibi about helping his fiancée's parents checked out. and his phone records revealed he was miles away from the store when amber was murdered. finally, brandon biel was cleared. did you at some point think, i'm going to be charged with murder? >> yes, i did. >> the memory still fresh. >> had nightmares of going to jail. you know, it was hard for me to sleep. >> that terrible day -- >> my whole thought process was, let me get the store open because -- >> i think i screwed up. >> right. i screwed up. >> why didn't he notice they have been rocked? >> some stores are messier than others. >> maybe that meant that whoever was on the night before didn't put things away. >> right, that was my thought process. totally opposite of hey, there's somebody dead, or there was a robbery. >> brandon was 23 then. and terrified. >> i'm just thinking, you know, the really just trying to put
this on this young black man. you know? >> when they questioned his fiancée, now wife -- >> it was trying to convince her that i didn't do it. they were saying thanks to her like how can you sleep with a murderer? you know he did it. your possibly next. >> when they searched his house -- >> a seemed like a scene out of a movie. just going through drawers, throwing clothes. they left my house a mess. >> even when he was finally cleared, he said, no one told him. nor he said was he told amber had written him up. though he agreed they hadn't always seen eye to eye on some things. then until we spoke with him, he said, he had no idea amber's mother believed she saw him put something into embers coffin. did you walk over to the casket and put a lanyard or something in there? >> that's the most absurd thing i ever heard. no. no. that was my very first funeral. so, i don't even get close to the casket. >> but brandon is a father now, two kids.
so, he told us, he thinks of amber's parents and understands. >> i couldn't imagine losing one of my children. >> but if brendan biel didn't kill amber belken, then who did? >> coming up -- >> i am sitting at the office and a phone rings. >> a caller reluctant to give his name, but gives up someone else is. >> he said, "well i know who killed this girl." >> when "dateline" continues. ontinues nexgard is the flea and tick protection that's #1 with vets. your vet trusts it for her patients and her own dog. plus, its delicious beef flavor is #1 with dogs. use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. ask your vet about nexgard.
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this after a federal judge in fort worth, struck down the state law barring people under 21 for carrying handguns. now back to dateline! back t o dateline >> welcome back to "dateline." i'm natalie morales. brandon biel believed he was gonna be charged with the murder of game store manager amber belken. but detectives verified his alibi and phone records placed him miles from the crime scene. police initially played out a hunch that the culprit must have had a game store connection. now, a call from an anonymous tipster was about to breathe new life into that theory. once again here is keith morrison with "everything she knew". >> that brandon biel did not kill his boss amber belken was, very clear. which meant that the detective ray bob roberts had a big problem. >> we had everything going against us. didn't have witnesses, no video, no danny, didn't have fingerprints. nothing.
>> he went public then, had to. >> we held a big news conference with the parents, them and at. pleading for help. crime stoppers put up a lot of money. nothing. i was hoping, you know, money talks. >> 100 grand reward. >> a hundred grand reward is a lot. but nothing. >> we put flyers up all over san antonio. >> we wouldn't let it go. >> but as months went by without a single solid lead, detective roberts sank through frustration into a kind of despair. >> this little girl, she looked like my girl. and she resembled my daughter. same build, same color here. her amber's favorite book is if -- you give a mouse a cookie. i read that to my daughter 1 million times. you know, you do this for an extended period of time, you
try to distance yourself. >> for sure, you have to. >> and the worst mistake you can make is getting too close to it. i got close to the family, mentally, physically. for the detective, you do that every case -- you're no good. >> you're no good. burnt out. >> then, about seven months after amber's murder. >> i'm sitting at the office and the phone rings. >> the caller claimed to know something. >> what's your name? >> i don't want to tell you my name. just call me joe. okay, joe. what do you got? he said well i know who killed amber. he said okay again geovany. i said okay, what makes you think the guy did it? he asked me if i wanted to do a robbery with him before. i said, okay. >> fascinating. >> he says, we used to both work for eb games. i said, why did he want to do this robbery? he wanted to rob this store
because there's no cameras. so i call a big aims and both of them did work for eb games. some thinking, finally got a break. >> the detective asked joe to come in for a top. joe told him that at first he didn't think geovany's request was serious. >> i just kind of blew it off. i did it you know, think he was actually going to do. something >> back after he heard about amber, said joe, it clicked. geovany must of killed her. but how much stock could roberts put in this guy joe, who initially wouldn't even give his full name. and who was this geovany anyway? the detective checked for priors. there wasn't much. >> had a record as a juvenile. his fingerprints that we lifted from the crime scene. there is hardly any lady any that were. legible >> and none was a match. >> now you're stuck as an investigator. this is all you got, and you've got this one witness and you want to tie the to suspect to the scene. but there's nothing to time.
i mean, nothing. i had nothing to hit him on. >> but worth a try. they brought geovany in for an interview. >> water? >> no. >> of course, he denies it. >> i'm real comfortable thinking that you responsible for this murder. >> that's crazy, sir. >> was it crazy? no way to prove really. and then a couple of days later, detective roberts brought the tipster, joe, back in. this time joe poured it all out. said geovany actually told him straight out that he killed someone. >> i just was a shock when he told me that. i was like, wow. i was scared, too, because like, i was a car alone in him thinking like, you know -- i freaked out. was he going to do to me? >> now that was huge. if joe was telling the truth. but -- just one guys accusation. no idea how credible it might be. was it much to go on. still it was all they had. so -- >> i draft out the rest arrest
warrant and i drive to a search warrant. i bring it to the magistrate, she reads it, says it's about time. this was in the news, this was a high profile case. you know, rich wild white girl dies at work, everyone goes crazy. it shouldn't matter but people want generous. they want justice. go get the search warrant sign, get the arrest warrant sign. it's my birthday. >> oh my. >> i said man, this is the best birthday present ever. >> but then he got a call from his sergeant. >> he says ray bob, i want you to keep your mouth shut. don't say anything. i just want you to do what i'm telling you to do. he said, i need you to get the arrest warrant washed. >> wow. >> geovany would not be arrested after all. just not enough evidence. the prosecutor had made it clear he didn't want to try him and fail in court. but the detective still had a warning for geovany's danny. so, they went to his house, unannounced.
>> he opens the door and i said, got a warrant for you. didn't say a search warrant or arrest warrant. and he slinks. he turned back to his wife and said, i'm going with him. and he was defeated. >> he put his head down. >> head down, shoulder sent down. he put his hands behind his back. >> like he was getting ready to be handcuffed? >> like his getting ready to be handcuffed. get ready to go to jail. >> that's certainly telling. >> oh yeah. >> geovany gave up a dna sample. afterwards he clammed up. wouldn't say a word. >> i was disgusted, so i had somebody else take him back home. then i called my friends at swath. and i said hey, keep an eye on this guy. >> and sure enough, just hours later, he got a call -- >> swat calls me says hey ray bob he's loading everything up in a car. he's moving. >> they pulled geovany over, traffic stop. asked him, where was he heading? >> he says i'm going to laredo. getting out of here. >> geovany is going to laredo, texas. along the mexico border. nothing rainfall could do about it. and the case went pretty much nowhere after that. for many months. until there was a woman.
she was terrified. and did she have a story to tell. >> coming up -- a young mother locked up with a killer. >> he just reached over the glove compartment. he pulled out the gun. i said, please don't kill me. >> when dateline continues. tinues please... this is my life. it's not always “picture perfect.” plus i'm dealing with bleeding from uterine fibroids. enter myfembree, a once-daily pill for women with heavy menstrual bleeding due to uterine fibroids. with myfembree, heavy bleeding went down by 84%. serious risks include heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. don't take myfembree if you've had any of these, or have uncontrolled high blood pressure, are over 35 and smoke, could be pregnant, or have or had osteoporosis, liver disease, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, certain cancers, or an allergic reaction to it.
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their case was getting colder by the week went out of the blue investigators got a break. a tipster told police that his friend geovany rivera killed amber belken while robbing the store where both men once worked. detectives believed the story but didn't have enough evidence to make an arrest. now someone else close to geovany was about to step forward. and her chilling tale would blow the case wide open. here again keith morrison with "everything she knew". >> late june. almost a year and a half after the murder amber of belken. detective ray bob roberts roared down the highway to laredo. he's just gonna call from the police there. here geovany's wife wanted to talk. her name was veronica. and what a story she told. >> i made a dumb choice. i was really young. i got pregnant really young. >> she tried to resist him he
said. was attracted. but he was so insistent. once she was pregnant -- >> our family would insist that we get married. i listened to everyone except my own feelings. >> once they were married, she said, he demanded sex whenever he wanted a. >> whenever he touched me, i would feel sick and i would tell him to stop. there were times when he would get angry and frustrated and, then he would force himself on me. >> and right beside sleeping children and their one small bedroom. >> he would duct tape me, duct tape my mouth. duct tape my wrists to the lake of each year. just to keep me quiet. i was very afraid. and again, i was young. >> much too afraid to tell. >> and while detectives search for more clues in amber's death.
>> then one day in late january 2007, as she watched tv, she saw the news of amber's murder. >> and i said, look at this. wow, isn't that crazy. and he just looked and said, wow -- he mirrored my reaction to. it said wow, i can't believe it. i never thought for one second -- he just acted normal that whole time. >> that is until after the police knocked on their door in the fall of 2007. after joe reported geovany. after detective roberts got that search warrant for geovany 's dna. >> we were asleep. it was early in the morning and then we hear a pounding at the door. boom, boom, boom. that woke us up. that woke me up. he got up first and went to go check. >> that then he returned and told her, it's the police. >> i think they think i killed someone. i said did you. >> what's it like to hear that? >> i was shocked and mortified. he says, it's because i did
kill someone. >> what? >> he said, i kill someone. that's what he said. who, why, i'm assuming this maybe had an altercation with someone. maybe a friend or guy down the street. i don't know. >> but geovany only said -- >> we're going to move to laredo. just go. >> that very day? >> the next day. yes. a very rapid move. unprepared. it was just fast. >> veronica was beside herself. paralyzed by fear. >> how do i tell somebody? do i call the police? do i tell a family member? what do i do? i just stayed quiet. i was so afraid to say something. >> and then one night she worked up the courage to ask him a question. >> i said did this have anything to do with what i saw on the news that day. he said yes. i did that. that was me. >> what was that like to hear? >> i just started crying. sobbing oh, my god. i go, why, why did you do that?
he said, we needed the money. >> she begged him, turn yourself in. instead, he went to his mother. >> she would cry to him, please don't go. you don't want to leave your children. you're never going to see them again. and i'm just like, why, why. inside i'm just -- trying to do as peacefully as i can without making him angry toward me. >> and then, around dinnertime one evening veronica finally told him she'd had enough. the marriage was over. >> then he said, you know what, let's go for a drive. let school get the kids something to eat. >> instead, he drove her to a secluded area. >> it was just dirt all around. empty. no people. no one inside. that's when he pushed the auto lock. >> yeah, the karluk. >> and he locked all the doors and that's when i was like, ok
-- something is going to happen tonight. something is going to happen. because we were in the middle of nowhere. i was thinking am i going to get out of this? i look over and he just reach for the glove compartment and he pulled out the gun. i said, please don't. kill me he said, don't worry, just do what i say. >> get into the backseat, he ordered. he followed her. >> and then he raped me back there. i started crying. started praying. i said god, i wanted to get out of there alive. >> but it was an veronica who would die. it was geovany. he pulled her out of the car. take the gun, he said. shoot me. >> i said, i can't do that. he's like yes, you're going to do it. because if you don't do it, i'm going to come after you. and i'm going to come after the children. i'm good to come after your family. and whoever you end up with,
i'm going to come after you to. so you need to end my life today. i said, i can't do this, i can't do this. i cannot be like you. i can do this. >> she tried to reason with him, she said. told him, if she killed him and went to prison, their children would have no parents. >> i just said anything just to get him out of this mentality. >> and it worked. he drove home. told her what she had to do. >> he had me lay down next to him to make sure i was right there. i was way awake the whole night because i was afraid he would do something while i was asleep or to the children, or just do something crazy. the next morning he said, i'm just going to disappear. >> he drove veronica and the kids to her mother's house. and he took off. >> what does it feel like to walk away from him? >> like i'm almost there. it's almost over.
i run in there and i said, i need to make a phone call. i need to tell the police what happened. >> and she did. >> they asked me why didn't you take so long. i said, i was just so afraid. i said but i'm here now. and i'm going to tell you everything i know. everything he told me. >> but now he was truly gone. >> a manhunt goes into overdrive and stretches across the border -- coming up -- >> you're in a jail. cold, stinky, loud. >> confronting a color. healing a wound. >> very grateful that i said something. that i did the right thing. >> when "dateline" continues. ontinues enamel is the hardest tissue in the body. it's the protective layer outside your teeth. pronamel repair is our first line of defense. it goes deep into the surface of the tooth to actively repair it. i personally use pronamel repair every single day, morning and night.
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veronica rivera had gone to police with a horrific tale. her husband geovany confessed to her that he killed amber. and when the terrified mother of two told them their marriage was over, he raped her then begged her to kill him. she couldn't do it and now geovany was on the run. here is keith morrison with the conclusion of "everything she knew." >> the day veronica call the police was the beginning of the end for geovany rivera. >> i wanted to get him. >> not that easy. all they knew was he had gone somewhere. probably mexico. but it was a full six weeks before they tracked him down. surprised him at a relative's house, sure enough, in mexico.
as he played one of the video games he stole four members store. detective roberts got his suspect exactly where he wanted him. >> we're in a jail, a cold jail, i'm detective roberts -- all this background noise i read him his rights, you have the right to remain silent. and he starts talking. >> i've had this guilt for a long time. i've been wanting to turn myself in so -- but i always put the needs of others before me. >> put the needs of others before me? really? >> he says this is the past christmas, i needed money. i did that one there because there was no money. he drives there and says that he had tape and a knife. i said what's the tape for? he said tie him up. >> he claimed he didn't know it
was amber belken running the store that day. >> in my heart i knew he did. >> after all, geovany had worked for the game store company, knew who manage the store and he knew amber. if he was going to pick somebody to rob, why wouldn't he pick this five foot two, 100 pound young woman? instead of the big guy? >> instead of all these -- he knew. >> when he got there, said geovany -- >> she recognized me and i -- when i was in there, i asked for the money and i tried explaining to her, look i'm having some problems. and she said, just take the money. >> but then he claims she reached for the phone and he took her down, take tourist with duct tape, like he had often gone to his wife. >> and then that's when she panicked, she wanted to scream and i just covered her mouth, please don't scream, don't scream like that. and now i'm faced with --
i don't like saying that. i can't, i can't lose everything -- i've already hit the point of no real turn and i've just took the bag and choked her. >> he put a back over her head and squeezed tight around her neck. he held there. >> and when she stopped moving i just heard her gurgling and i didn't hear her scream and i just stopped and said you know what's, okay. i turned around and i am tighter and i said are you okay? and she wasn't breathing and i heard her gasp, but you didn't respond anymore. that's when i left. i had already had the money and i put the stuff so i could sell. i left out of the back door. >> geovany story would not be tested in court. he took a plea deal murder, life in prison with parole possible beginning in the year 2038.
at the sentencing, the balkans finally confronted the killer of their only child, their darling daughter. is it helpful? >> it is, it is. >> no. >> not for you? >> he sat back on the constables desk, tapping his foot, just looking around -- >> like you're wasting my time. it would've been beneficial if i had heard him say, i am really sorry. i am so sorry mr. and mrs. belken. amber didn't deserve to die. i'm so sorry. >> what did he say? >> nothing. >> but, the belken did get an apology from someone else. geovany's now ex-wife, veronica. >> hi. >> they met for the very first time when we shot this story. >> i've blamed myself for not saying something sooner, for waiting too long. i always felt like they had some anger towards me. >> but, blame her? no. they knew she was a victim to.
in fact, geovany pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting veronica. >> they're really nice. they were grateful that i said something. that i did the right thing. >> we don't have any ill feelings. she is a wonderful girl. >> they are, they told us, broken, still, and always will be. they clink now to ember's best friends, ashley and monica. >> they are our adoptive doctors. >> they have each main daughters after amber, and they hang on to memories, like gold. >> it's like you have to put it in a box and then keep it there for safekeeping because that's what you have, that's what you hold on to.
>> it hurts. it hurts. life will never be what it was with her. >> that's all for this edition of dateline i'm natalie morales, thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> this is dateline. >> she is and will always be my sister. i don't know what happened to her. i don't get to say goodbye. it was awful. it makes your whole world follow part. >> if you took her, please just let her come home. >> her name is heather elvis. it was news nationwide when she vanished. >> she had a new job. she was going on a first date. >> it was overwhelmingly