The craziest cases to rewatch from ‘Dateline’ NBC
While true crime documentaries are currently all the rage, with a new feature making its way onto Netflix on the daily, Dateline NBC has remained steadfast as the OG television true-crime docuseries
While Lester Holt serves as the anchor of Dateline NBC, the real star is undeniably Keith Morrison. Known for everything from his soothing bedtime story voice to his patented “lean”, Morrison is the granddaddy of true crime. His delivery somehow makes even the grisliest stories palatable, and his head tilts say everything we can’t to his dubious interviewees. Fun Fact: Morrison is Matthew Perry’s stepdad.
Morrison and his fellow Dateline NBC correspondents, including Josh Mankiewicz, Dennis Murphy, and Andrea Canning, are no strangers to the wild and wonderful tales of the lengths people will go to cover their tracks, cash in on an insurance payout, or avoid a lengthy divorce. Here are the craziest of Dateline NBC’s murder tales.
“Twin Revenge” – Keith Morrison
When the troubled Lisa Seabolt married successful oil-field mechanic, Bryce Thomas, her twin sister, Teresa thought her problems were over. However, Lisa’s marriage becomes troubled, and Lisa becomes addicted to methamphetamine, eventually leaving Bryce for a fellow addict.
When Lisa suddenly disappears, her sister Teresa knows something is seriously wrong. As the police pursue Lisa’s disappearance at a leisurely pace, Teresa pulls out all the stops to find out what happened to her twin, including breaking and entering and impersonating her missing sister. Hell hath no fury like a sister suspicious of her brother-in-law.
“At the Bottom of the Lake” – Keith Morrison
A rented Cessna 150 is found submerged under 220 feet of water in Montana’s Little Bitterroot Lake with the body of 18-year-old Diane Babcock inside. Diane had been traveling with her boyfriend Jerry Ambrozuk, on a flight path that was supposed to take them from Penticton, British Columbia, to Vancouver, B.C. So how did the plane end up in a Montana Lake?
The young couple had a secret plan to elope and begin new lives in the US. They had packed a rubber dinghy and extra clothes in watertight bags, along with about $20,000 in cash. However, Jerry is nowhere to be found. What happens when the double life he lived for decades finally becomes uncovered?
This story is 100% why no one needs to elope at the age of 18. Your mom was right about that boy, he’s nothing but trouble.
“Under a Halloween Moon” – Josh Mankiewicz
When Joel Lovelien and his fiancée, Heather Eastling head out to a bar to celebrate Halloween, they expected nothing but a party and some slutty cat costumes. Little did they know that the party bus that was transporting 40-50 young drunks would lead to the worst night of their lives.
As the party bus heads out, Joel notices a partier who had been left behind. He kisses Heather and then heads outside to go check on the straggler, only to be rewarded for his efforts by being severely beaten, eventually choking on his own blood.
Nine years later, police’s persons of interest list sounds like a low-rent Village People cover band: a drunken lion, a weeping clown, an aggressive cowboy, a hunter, a gangsta rapper, and a construction worker. Will Joel’s killer ever get the justice he deserves?
“The Best Man” – Keith Morrison
At 28, Andrew Bagby’s life plan was mapped out. His medical studies in Newfoundland were complete. He had moved to the quiet town of Derry Township, Pennsylvania, and discovered a passion for the people-focused work of family medicine. All of that ended when he was found in hospital scrubs lying face down in the state park not far from the hospital in which he was a resident. Andrew had been He’d been shot five times, including once in the back of the head, execution-style.
Police almost immediately identify Andrew’s universally despised ex-girlfriend, Shirley Turner as the killer. Andrew reportedly dumped Shirley two days before his death as he put her on a plane back to her home in Council Bluffs, Iowa, only to have her reappear on his doorstep the next day.
A complicated series of hearings and granted bails not only keep the killer “rebound girl” free, but the circumstances get even more complicated when Shirley reveals she’s pregnant with Andrew’s baby. Andrew’s parents to move to her hometown to care for their grandchild and with the intention of ensuring Shirley meets justice, but there are just more tragedies to come.
“Disappearance Before Dawn” – Dennis Murphy
Newlyweds George and Jennifer Smith were six about halfway through their honeymoon on the enormous Royal Carribean ship Brilliance of the Seas. As the Mediterranean cruise left the Greek Island of Mykonos, in the Aegean Sea, Jennnifer and George settle in at the casino, where they gamble and party with a group of young, hard-partying vacationers they had befriended on the trip.
The young couple argues, and Jennifer storms off. George is never seen again. His body, which left bloodstains on an exterior overhang of the ship was never found and nobody was ever charged in his disappearance.
The disappearance of George Smith is full of salacious details, including bloodstains, a missing wife, troublesome “Russian boys” and a bottle of absinthe. Nothing good happens after a bottle of absinthe.
“Beyond the Sea” – Keith Morrison
Olivia Newton-John’s ex-flame who went missing on June 30, 2005, may still be alive. One of the few cases where Dateline NBC promotes its own investigation and theories, the disappearance of Parick McDermott left the Dateline NBC producers feeling something was off.
Patrick was last seen on the charter fishing boat Freedom, and Dateline NBC hired its own group of private investigators to prove that he staged his own death. Scouring the Mexican and South American coastlines, the investigators have 17 confirmed sightings of McDermott.
Chief investigator Philip Klein believes he may have plotted his death so his son, Chance, could receive his $100,000 life insurance policy. Even better? They think Olivia Newton-John may have something to do with it.
“The Mystery in the Master Bedroom” – Dennis Murphy
While Ryan Widmer watched a football game, his wife of four months Sarah headed upstairs to take a bath. When he went upstairs to check on his new bride, he finds the unthinkable has happened. In Ryan’s call to 911, he tells the dispatcher he’s pretty sure that Sarah had fallen asleep in the bathtub and drowned.
The EMT team who arrives felt like the situation was off. Sarah didn’t appear to be wet, especially for someone who supposedly fell asleep in the tub and pitched face down in the water, and the bathroom itself was both dry and undisturbed
While all signs point to the typical “the husband did it” case, Sarah’s borderline narcolepsy, and chronic headaches make this case anything but simple.
“Detective Story” – Josh Mankiewicz
The murder of newlywed Sherri Rasmussen went unsolved for 23 years, with the Los Angeles police assuming it was a burglary turned violent. Then, one morning in 2009, when a detective opened the cold-case file, he got his first clue that the main suspect had been patently ignored.
The burglary theory for Sherri Rasmussen’s murder never completely added up. The front door showed no sign of having been forced, and the alarm was off, so Sherri would not have heard anyone entering stealthily. She was confronted by the intruder upstairs. Whoever had come looking for Sherri had come to kill her.
Despite years of insistence by Sherri’s father that he knew who the killer was, police insisted he didn’t know what he was talking about. Meanwhile, the killer was closer to the case than they wanted to admit.
“The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos” – Dennis Murphy
Fotis Duos, husband of missing Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos is accused of “lying in wait” for his estranged wife before her presumed murder and transporting her body in her Suburban, according to police. However, he maintains he thinks she’s still alive.
Meanwhile, Fotis, and his girlfriend, were arrested a week after Jennifer’s May 24 disappearance after video images were discovered showing a man looking an awful lot like Fotis dumping more than 30 trash bags into multiple trash receptacles not far from Jennifer’s home hours after she went missing.
The very best part of this episode is watching what a terrible liar Fotis is, as he keeps having to correct himself from saying things like “She was a very good mother”, and then adding “And I hope that she continues to be an excellent mother.” Sure, dude. No one caught that.
“Missing in Paradise” -Josh Mankiewicz
Robyn Gardner was supposed to be in Orlando with her parents. At least that’s what she told her boyfriend, Richard Forester. Then she told Forester she actually had gone to Aruba on a surprise family trip.
In fact, the 35-year-old blonde beauty had traveled to the Caribbean with a man named Gary Giordano, a 50-year-old businessman that she had met on the “swingers and singles” website Adult Friend Finder. Ew.
Now, Gardner is missing and presumed dead, Giordano is being detained, and questions are mounting about what happened during their island stay, and about the 1.5 million dollar insurance policy he took out on his traveling companion.