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tv   Dateline Extra  MSNBC  December 25, 2018 9:00am-11:00am PST

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one day, he will be found. he will be found. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. a gorgeous evening, girls night out. >> she loved to have fun. >> yes. >> kenya was bright and pretty and adored by frn. >> i adored her. she was my friend. >> she said, are you with kenya, and i said, no, i thought that she was with you. >> confound iing evidence and
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strange stories from a witness. >> not one word of what he told me made any sense to me. >> and then another beauty, and this one left for dead. >> she was unrecognizable. >> was evil stalking young wome women? >> both dark haired and pretty girls and chillingly similar. >> a case that led to unheard of places. >> and in the history of my department, that has never happened. >> and then far from the scity, the truth revealed on a quiet country road. >> he got out of the car and let out a scream. >> in an act of courage from a woman who refused to be a victim. >> i won. "chilling connections." h hello. welcome the "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. kenya monge and lydia tillman were intelligent and hard working young women who were adored by friends and family. they didn't know each other, but their lives would be forever
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connected in tragedy both falling victim to a smooth talking stranger with a soul as dark as they come, and even he would be left speechless by the final twist in this case. here is keith morrison. >> the woman in the icu was barely alive. her jaw shattered in a dozen pieces. a once beautiful face unrecognizable after the brutal beating, the rape, the fire, the massive and nearly fatal stroke. someone thought that she'd be dead now. someone who had fled into the night, someone killing women. this one with deep in a coma at the threshold of death has their only chance to catch him before he does it again. what happened here was spawn ed
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in a very dark corner of the human condition. by that terrifying flaw that forces us to admit that, yes, virginia, there really is a boogeyman. and against him were the only weapons they had was the power of one family, a determined cop and one remarkable gift in the face of evil. here's where it began. three months before that scene in the icu. this is the nightclub district denver, colorado, and people call this part of town lodo and short for lower downtown and very trendy. it was tonight before april fools' day 2011 and a warm springy evening in denver. girls night out. an attractive 19-year-old kenya monge was headed to lodo to
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party with some girlfriends. >> she was very kind, friendly, outgoing, and just a happy person. >> among the party yiers, janet gomez, one of kenya's closest frie friends. she loved to have have fun? >> yeah, she e loloved to have >> underaged fund and no trouble sneaking in, they charmed the boun bouncers and flashed fake i.d.s and kenya and her crew had an unwritten safety rule, go together and leave together and look out for each other, but on this particular night, things didn't go as planned. >> we had planned to meet at lavish. we went in there and she wasn't in there. >> kenya had gotten a ride downtown with two other girls she didn't know well, and the plan was to meet janet and the
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others at lavish, but she didn't show up. >> i started texting her and she did not respond. i kaled her three times, but nothing. >> what janet didn't know is that kenya and the two other girls couldn't get into the club, and the bouncers were not buying their fake i.d. clubs. so they went to a club nearby and even took a few pictures, but they did not tell anyone that they were there. >> i sent her the last message about 11:30, and nothing. >> so when the clubs closed, janet headed home without kenya who she assumed was with some other friends. >> i thought, okay, they are probably having fun, you know, and she is going to call tomorrow. she would always call me in the morning. >> did youer worry about her when she went out like that clubbi clubbing? >> no, she was very smart and everything. >> she would not take chances? >> no. >> let mee see how i look. >> no, because though she loved to party, kenya was known as the responsible one, reliable,
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ambitious, hard working and not flaky at all. she had recently graduated from one of colorado's top high schools and now considering careers in tv production or criminology. and here she is directing a student film. all of the more remarkable, because just seven years earlier, kenya didn't know more than a word or two of english. and not a single person at denver, apart from her mother that is, maria who had migrated from honduras a year before, and when she and kenya were finally reunited. >> just a happy day in my life, when i held her, and hold her, and oh, my god, i was so happy, and we went home and i was telling her how much i missed her and she said, i miss you sh, too, mom, and now we are together, and nothing is going to separate us. >> by the time that kenya came to colorado, maria was married to tony lee and they had two children, and now kenya made
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three. >> i remember meeting her for the first time, and the first words that she said to me were thank you, daddy. i will never forget that and she hugged me. >> so connecting with the family took no time at all. >> i always thought about a song from the "brady bunch" how we all came together and became a family, and that is kind of how it worked out. it clicked from day one. >> and there's all of the girls that are all of the wonderful women in my life. >> thank you, daddy. >> and for kenya's little sister, kimberly, it felt like the best thing that ever happened. >> to myles and kenya, this is one year in america. >> i thought that she was going to be the big sister that people dream of, but it was even better than i dreamed of. >> better?
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>> yes, i felt like she was my twin and we texted all day and through tonight and just call and say i love you. >> but she was independent, too. after high school, she moved out to make it on her own. >> she always want ted to be something big. she wanted to be a ceo or something. that was her goal in life to be somebody. >> she came from having nothing to being somebody, and i on one of the calendar, it says, study, study, study, and party on the last day. she was balancing the job and balancing school, and balancing like her party life. >> but on the morning of april fools' day 2011, nothing was balanced. something was wrong. her friend janet gomez desperate to hear from kenya dove for the phone the moment that it rang, but it was not kenya, but
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another girlfriend. >> she was like, are you with kenya? and i said, no, i thought she was with you. that is when it all started. >> started. oh, it had more than started for kenya monge, swallowed up, by, well, whatever it was, some dark presence haunting the happy streets of logo. >> kenya's family starts to worry. had that dark presence whatever it might be come for their own daughter. coming up -- >> something is definitely wrong. something is wrong. >> that is when i went on the high alert. >> when "chilling con nnections continues. continues.
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welcome back to "dateline extra." she was known as the responsible one, and so when 19-year-old kenya monge vanished after a night of clubbing, her friends and family were concerned. no one with seemed to know where she was, but they were about to get a clue. kenya's cell phone turned up and
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on it, her father would discover a mysterious text from a stranger and who was it and could he lead them to kenya. here again is keith morrison. >> april 1st, 2011, dawn in denver, colorado, bright, springlike and for the friends of 19-year-old kenya monge, terrified. >> i just kept calling her and calling her. we were all worried and scared. >> where was she? kenya was supposed to have met her friends in a downtown bar tonight before and didn't show. and now she did not answer her phone, and not like kenya, not at all. >> we didn't know what happened and nobody knew nothing. kenya's friends truly frightened now kept texting, calling. but not a single lead turned up, no tips, no clues and no kenya.
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>> we were just trying to be strong, because we did not want to think negative or anything, and we had a lot of thoughts, and i don't know, maybe we should haven't done that. >> should haven't done what? >> going out tot, you know, we were just 19 and we were not 21. >> yeah. and you should have looked after her? >> yeah. she was not with me, because i know that if she had been with me, she would have been safe. >> even her sister, kim, with whom kenya texted constantly did not hear a word. but she did get a call from kenya's boyfriend who had been talking to kenya's worried friends. >> he was like have you seen your sister and i was like, no. and he was like, have you talked to her, no. and he was like, she is missing. and i was like, shut-up, this is not funny. and he was like, i am serious, you need to call the police and have them file a missing persons
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report. so i call mid mom. >> i started to call my sisters and family, and my sister was worried and said, no, i don't think that this is a joke. >> when i got that call from my daughter kim, and she said that she had not heard anything from her that day, that is when i went into high alert. >> but when tony called kenya's friends, they were not exactly straight with him about the underaged bar hopping the night before in the lodo nightclubs. >> it was very, very confusing, because these girls were not telling me the truth about what they were doing and where they were at, because they were covering their asses. >> and so tony turned amateur detective and he was able to confirm that kenya had spent the e evening not with her close friend, but with two other girls she bare ly knew and -- >> she had left her purse and phone and i.d. and all of that stuff in the bar. >> her stuff. kenya never went anywhere
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without it, and especially her cell phone and she would not leave it with two people she did not know. >> something is wrong. something is wrong. >> tonight after kenya was last seen here in lodo, one of the girls who she was drinking with showed up at the lee's house to drop off the belongings, and kenya was happily dancing until 1:00 in the morning with some guy, and then disappeared. they looked for her, but they could not find her, and so when the bar closed they took her purse and cell phone and just kind of assumed that kenya would get home on her own somehow. >> i was looking through the text messages from the day befo before. and these conversations that she was having with the friends, and hey, this is where we are going to hook up with. >> the phone showed that kenya s suddenly stopped sending texts right after 11:00 p.m., and of course, the phone kept receiving texts practically all night.
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>> and her boyfriend kept text her, hey sh, are you being good? you are not contacting me. >> and then the next day, the texts continued from her friends, where are you? >> and then there was a dead r area, and the next text that came in was at 7:00 p.m. that night. >> but this one, it jumped off of the screen and it was plain weird. >> the message said, hey, this is travis, the guy that creepy white van and smily face. did you get home okay. >> travis -- who was travis? nobody in the circumstanle of f had ever heard of travis. >> i kept calling him and leavinging these messages. >> no answers, and no calls back. at this point, the mysterious travis in the creepy white van is the only possible lead in their daughter's disappearance. they filed a missing person's report, but it was too soon the police told them to start an
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investigation, and so alone, they panicked. >> and we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off. we didn't know what to do first. we were trying to figure out what to do first. >> and then one day later the mysterious travis returned tony's calls, and he had some stunning news about kenya's whereabouts and just who she might be with. >> coming up, otony on a mission that would leave his wife paralyzed with fear. >> immediately, i was so afraid. i was like, oh, my god. >> i grabbed the 9 millimeter pistol and i packed it in my waist and i said, i am on my way to meet this guy. >> when "chilling connections" continues. in in nd stay. febreze one. if your moderate to severeor crohn's symptoms are holding you back,
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welcome back. kenya monge was missing and her father tony was trying desperately to retrace his daughter's steps, searching her phone for clues, tony noticed a text from someone named travis, a name unknown to friends and family. now, tony was about to set up a meeting with the mystery man. did travis know what happened to kenya? continuing with our story, here's keith morrison. >> oh, that is what you got. >> kenya and kimberly, as close as two sisters could be. always together, always talking,
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texting, facebooking. at first when the messages suddenly stopped. >> i did not really take it seriously and i did not think that she would be gone that long. >> but after 48 long hours. what is that like, that feeling? >> it is a feeling of being like desperate to know where your sister s because it was not only my best friend, but it was my sister, my other half and everything to me. >> and then that second night after kenya vanished, there was this call from a total stranger named travis. >> travis called me back about 8:00 p.m. >> the guy who left that odd text message on her phone to see if she had gotten home safely from the club. >> he told me the story, that yeah, i have seen her out there, and asked her if she needed help, because she was really drunk and out of it. and soy decided to help her, and she got into my van.
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>> but then he told travis that she asked to stop at the gas station for cigarettes, but something strange there happened. she met up with another guy who said that he would take her home, and so he left her there. >> that is the last he saw her. >> yes, that is what he said, the last he saw her, and i got off of the phone, and i said, that is the most fantastic story of what i heard and not one word of what he told me made sense to me. >> tony called the denver police, and he was told, remember, that the cops could not open up an investigation, because kenya was not missing long enough. >> i was just sitting there pissed and so i decided to take matters into my own hands. i called him back and i said, "travis, i have some questions for you, and tell me again where you last saw her." he said, the conoco station, and why don't you meet me there. i said, i am on my way.
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>> immediately, i was so afraid, i said, oh, my god. >> i grabbed the 9 mill mitre pistol and i packed it in my waist and i told her, i am on my way to meet this guy. maria was down on her hands and kn knees begging me literally, tony, don't go down, there and this is dangerous, and it does not sound right. i said that i have to go. they won't do anything. i have to go. >> i grabbed the phone and i called 911. >> tony roared over to the conoco station, nerves on edge, and hands on the gun and expecting what, a standoff, a weirdo? and then he met up with travis and he looked normal. >> he was a good looking guy. my first impression was that he is a decent enough guy looking, and would help your kid if they
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needed it. >> seemed like a decent guy. >> and because maria called 911, the denver police were there at the gas station and so the cops and not tony did the talking with travis. >> he told them the same story that he told me on the phone, and very consistent. i told the officer, i said, man, everything that he has told me it just don't sound right. it don't sound right. >> it did not sound right to the cops either, but they had nothing to hold travis on, because he had been co-op opera and forth coming and concerned for kennia, so they lett him go. as the meeting wrapped up, travis saddled up to tony and he talked to him. >> he started crying and he said, i feel responsible for this, and i wish i could have done more. >> and travis seemed sincere, and the story though strange was consistent and maybe he was telling the truth, and maybe that man that kenya meat at the
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gas station had abducted her. >> i stuck out my hand, and i said, i appreciate it, and we shook hand, and when i shook his hand it was like an earthquake was going on underneath, and it was after the hand was not shaking for the body was not shaking, and i knew that i was shaking the hand of the person who last saw her alive. i knew it. >> you knewt that moment that she was dead? >> yes. >> was tony right? the detectives were about to the come across a disturbing clue, because inside of that creepy white van they turned up something strange indeed. >> he was trying to erase something? >> everything. and so we are going through the van, and taking off doors and crawling underneath it. >> when "chilling connections" continues. s.
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i'm ali velshi and this is with what is happening.
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president trump said the partial shutdown of the federal government that began last weekend will last until congress approves funding for the promised border wall. and he says this many federal workers want the wall which is going to be only about 500 to 550 miles long. and he repeated the criticism that the federal reserve is raising interest rates too fast. that happened after he called troops to thank them for their service. now, back to "dateline." welcome back to the "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. tony lee was on a mission to find his daughter kenya now missing for nearly 48 hours. he had just met with travis forbes a mysterious stranger who claimed that he had given kenya a ride tonight before she disappeared. they had stopped at a gas station when she walked off with another man, but was travis
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telling the truth or was he the last person to see kenya alive. here again is keith morrison. >> kenya monge was downtown at a denver nightclub with her friends one week ago -- >> her disappearance was big news in denver. >> last seen with a black skirt and black jacket and red high heeled shoes. >> kenya's family was frantic and desperate that she was still alive. >> i could not sleep, and down on my knees everyday, god, please, bring kenya home. >> her close friends kept looking and hoping that someone would come forward with a clue. >> we kept just putting flyers everywhere. we had to do it. you know, she is our friend. >> and got nowhere. >> you just have to be strong, a and, and just pray for the best.
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>> but by now family and friends were not alone in the search for kenya. a veteran police detective named nash started looking, too. to say that the detective is imposing is perhaps an understatement. he looks more like a character from the "sopranos" with but he hates when children go missing. >> i want find her. give her family closure, the city of denver closure, and i was determined to bring her home. i was determined to bring her home. >> gary lombardi was the deputy d.a. assigned to the case. >> we had to do something and time was sort of the essence because they were hoping that she was alive. >> the focus of course on the good samaritan the guy who had given kenya a ride, travis forbes who was 31 and had a rap
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sheet for drugs and theft, but now he was running a bakery selling gluten-free bars. >> travis was energetic, and seemed friendly, and he wanted to have a business. he launched into to granola bars, and i thought that it with because great idea, because they were not existing in the marketplace the way that he was making them. >> travis could bake, but he was not the best businessman and often in debt, and missed deliveries and deadlines. one day he came to work and s m seemed a little frazzled and told monica about the odd en koucount er the night before. >> he said that i gave some girl a ride home, and she is missing and she is gone. i thought, wow, that is strange, whatever whatever. >> and then a few days later. monica's bakery was crawling with cops. >> when the police showed up i thought, wow, that must be the
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missing girl. >> the detectives looked around and shot the video of this place and didn't find much. travis was there and so they took him downtown for questioning. >> travis, this is detective grewen. >> he is talkative. >> and very, very manipulative. >> and he talked and recited the very same story he told tony lee about picking up a lost and distressed kenya downtown and then left her at a gas station when another man said that he would go home. >> they talked spanish, and she said that he would take her home, and so i left. >> travis was cool an concite and leaving her at that gas
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station. >> if she had made that decision to go back home or get in my van, i would have taken her home. if i felt any sort of weirdness about her going off with that guy, i would have done something. >> he was really worry died abo this whole investigation about this missing girl, but we believe you, you didn't do anything. >> and in fact, there is no evidence that travis did anything wrong. and he certainly was not a suspect and barely a person of interest, and he had an alibi for his whereabouts after he dropped off kenya. >> he said that he had gone to his girlfriend's house at the time that she disappeared, and the girlfriend came in and she supported his statement. >> so of course, they let him go. had to. and what about the mysterious man that travis said that he left kenya with at the gas station. >> we could not find him. he was gone. >> wow. >> we sent out bulletins, and put it on the news, and we could
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not get anybodyb to come forward to say, yeah, i know this guy. >> but d.a. lombardi did get a search warrant for travis's white cargo van to see if it held any clue, and inside, it wreaked of bleach. >> to the point that when you spray something on the ceiling or the roof and you spray it so much that it drips down. that is how much bleach was inside of this van. >> he was determined to erase something. >> everything. everything. so we are going through van and taking off doors and vacuuming and crawling underneath it. >> and the van for the most part was spotless except for something odd that caught the cop's attention. >> we found some weeds underneath, a underneath, and we found some dirt, and some dust, and different things. >> what did that tell you? >> that he has been on a dirt road or at least that van has. >> and so gurule and the
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detectives went around the time of where he was near the disappearance. they pound ofound out that he h a call near keansburg. not one of the stops near his granola route. >> we sent 20, 25 detectives up there running the the fields and checking the gulches and the ponsd and talking to the neighbors to see if they saw a white van. we were check everything. >> but no sign. >> nothing. >> but back in the bakery are, another clue surfaced. on surveillance video, it showed travis forbes doing a lot more than baking granola bars. >> coming up. just what was he doing. >> that seemed strange. >> and then, another piece of videotape. >> we were all watching, and we lost it. >> when "chill iing connections
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welcome back. detectives suspected travis forbes was involved in disappearance of 19-year-old kenya monge, but the alibi that he was with his girlfriend at the time checked out. and then a chilling clue. surveillance video of travis recorded in the days after kenya went missing. police now wondered had the camera captured the young man
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covering up a crime. here again is keith morrison. >> the trouble started before k kenya monge went missing. the trouble at the denver bakery that is, the one where he rented space to bake his granola bars. somebody had been pilfering money. and monica pool was puzzled and then thought there was a thief in the shop. and she accounted for that possibility and installed surveillance camera, and now a couple of days after kenya disappeared she went to check the tape to see if that would tell her who took the cash. but for some strange reason, the record er was unplugged. >> i plugged it back in and i wound it back to the place to see who had unplugged it. >> it was travis forbes turning
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off the system. and so monica rewound the tape a little farther, but if she expected to see travis stealing, shet got a surprise, because it looked like he had beenb scrubbi scrubbing. >> so as he is coming into the office with these gloves on his hand, and not just like little gloves when you are handling food, but they are cleaning gloves and rubber latex and the kind that go all of the way up to the the elbows, and i thought what in the world is he wearing those for. >> monica stopped the tape and called the cops who took a look at the whole security dtape and saw this intriguing scene which showed travis with the granola bar cooler. >> he puts the cooler on the cart and duct taped shut. there are employees walking around. >> and the owner monica
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contacted detective gulute. >> no, it is not something that needs to be frozen, so that is strange. >> and so en this he checked with the other employee s s to what else he was up to that evening. >> he burns some stuff in the barrel, a barrel, and we found that barrel at the alley to the other end of the parking lot. monica pool told one of the detectiv detectives, hey, that is my grease barrel, and what is that doing down there? >> he claimed he was using it to burn some moldy marijuana. the barrel was sent to the crime lab lab. >> we ran it for dna and fingerprints. >> but nothing turned up. if there were any clues in that barrel, they had been burned. travis forbes despite all of the suspicious behavior and the
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strange story was still just a person of interest. >> people do weird things in their normal life, and how do we know that he is just not a weird guy? >> and then a few days later, gulute's investigation turned up more surveillance video, and it showed a different story, because there was kenya with anothert m man near tonight clu where she had been drinking. and then she showed up in another surveillance video weaving insteadly, and the way she was acting caught the attention of d.a. lomlombardi. >> from all of to surveillance, she was clearly intoxicated, and it is scary, because you think that this is a victim waiting to
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happen. >> this according to family and friends was not like kenya, because she did not drink to excess and she would not run off with a strange guy and leave her phone and purse and keys behind, and in fact, when tony saw this video, he was convinced she was not drunk but something was done to her. >> i am 100% convinced that she was slipped a date rape drug, because everything she did in the club was against everything that she had done before. >> so they tracked down the young man in the hotel lobby, and he did admitt to dancing with her and she came to his loft, but she left right away. the video cleared him. so that left two possible suspects the mysterious man at the gas station and travis forbes. and apparently travis was feeling the heat. >> i, man -- >> so out of the blue, he
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decided to go public. you know, the truth is all we have. >> he went on camera with the denver tv station. >> at this point, it has been two weeks, and nobody has heard from her, and there has been no trace of her, and like, it's, it's surreal. i don't even know what to think of it. >> since you are a person of interest, let me ask you this, did you do something with her? >> no. >> did you kidnap her? >> no. >> did you is sexually assault ? >>, i did not. >> did you murder her? >> no, i did not. no, and having that on you, and you know, having that energy on you is very stressful. >> detective gulute was watching this of course, and he was focusing on travis' actions as much as his words. >> he lied. it is in the demeanor and the body language and it is all
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there. >> man, i'm sorry that i was indifferent and that i didn't think anything. i didn't think anything. i didn't think that she would -- i did not think that she would disappear. >> when the reporter asked him -- >> did you murder him? >> no, i did not. no. >> he says, "no." >> and as the interview is wrapping up, travis who seemed to remember every little detail that night had trouble recalling one small but critical fact. >> what is her name? >> kenya. >> kenya, yeah. >> and we were all watching, and we lost it. that is the only name in town, and i wanted to go talk to him about that interview, and that is another time when she got down on her hands and knees and begged me not to go and this time i did not go. >> so tony and his family waited. let the investigation run its
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course hoping that kenya would walk in the front door safe and sound. and travis forbes remained free not even aware quite possibly at what the detective and the d.a. were up to. >> we had a lot of conversation, and we did a lot of warrants and pouring through the phone records, and you know, they continued to interview people constantly, and we were just waiting for the one thing, something that we could arrest him with. >> but even if they could arrest travis, first they had to find him. because not long after that tv interview, travis forbes disappeared. >> coming up, travis is gone. >> i put out a teletype saying if you find any bodies, give me a call. >> and then another surprise -- >> my lieutenant said, grab your search warrant for his dna. so i hopped a plane that night.
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when "chilling connections" continues. continues.
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welcome back. travis was the main person of interest in the disappearance of kenia. during a about hbizarre tv inte he proclaimed his innocence. then just as they were closing in, travis vanished. now, detectives were determined to find him. but where to even start looking? here again is keith morrison. he was the bogey man. and that's what we called him. everybody was looking over their shoulders, looking who was behind them, looking who -- they were afraid of him. as long as he was on the street. >> reporter: the bogey man was travis forbes. the last person known to have seen kenia monge alive before she disappeared.
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the man whose strange behavior had ramped up detective gurule's suspicions even though the evidence did not warrant an arrest. but now weeks after kenia vanished gurule had two problems. kenia wasn't the only one who was missing. so was travis. >> he was gone. i couldn't find him anywhere. i was scrambling to find him. i was checking news. i put out a teletype online for law enforcement saying, you know, you find any bodies give me a call. >> this guy was that dangerous in your mind, that there could be just more -- >> i was calling everybody. i wanted to find out where he was. >> reporter: days passed, then a week. no sign of travis. detective gurule was now working the case almost 24/7. even his wife was involved. >> there was nights where i'd jump out of bed and it would scare her. i'd jump out of bed, grab the phone ring. she'd say did you hear the phone ring?
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i'd say i'm leaving myself a message because i need to do this. he she said i'd talk in my sleep about it, kenia's name or travis's name. she said you're dreaming about this. >> you're obsessed. >> tenacious. >> reporter: kenia's family wasn't sleeping much either. >> i thought that she might have been like kidnapped and like put in the basement and like they weren't letting her get any contact with anyone. i had dreams and things i still felt like i had that sister connection, that she was just still here somewhere needing my like -- needing me to come help her, just save her and just bring her back home. >> were you thinking about it all the time? >> yeah. it's hard going from talking to someone every day and then not being able to talk to them anymore. it like breaks your heart. >> something is seriously wrong here. >> reporter: kenia's father tony made himself a public fixture on local media. but privately, he conducted his
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own very lonely investigation. >> i went dumpster diving. i was looking at trash cans for her body. up and down the alleys, all over. >> and yet you couldn't tell maria. >> i couldn't tell her. i could not share what i was feeling because that early in would have removed the only thing that right now everybody had. and that one thing that everybody had was hope. i was hoping that she would pop up and say here i am. but as time went by and she wasn't contacting anybody and -- i knew it was bad. >> reporter: he also knew that the key to finding kenia was finding travis forbes. the denver police had no idea where travis was, whether he was in hiding here in town or had left the city, left the state, left the country. he was just gone.
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wasn't much they could do. he was a person of interest but not officially a suspect. and then two weeks later out of the blue detectives got a call from austin, texas. >> and my lieutenant walked into the office and said, okay. i said what? she said austin p.d. just called our fugitive unit. we might have him in austin, texas. i'm like, what? >> reporter: travis, it turned out, had borrowed a car from an old girlfriend in colorado. when he didn't return it, she went to the police and filed a report. which more often than not would have led nowhere at all. except a policeman in austin with a little time on his hands decided to check up on an out of state license plate he just happened to notice. and discovered first the report for the missing car and then travis forbes. >> so my lieutenant said, grab your search warrant for his dna and head to texas.
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so i hop a plane that night. >> reporter: a few hours later gurule was face to face with travis forbes again. >> you know what? they sent me to texas because they think you're running to mexico. >> i was thinking of mexico. >> and he'd call me nash. i'd call him travis. it was similar to you and i just talking. i wasn't confrontational with him. if he asked me a question i'd give him an honest answer. >> you didn't fly all this way out here just to ask me some questions. >> well, actually, i did. did you do anything to her? >> no. >> did you hurt her? >> no. we never touched. >> at all? >> not even a hug. and i usually hug people. >> reporter: gurule questioned him for more than three hours. but travis stuck to his original story. >> so does she have sex with you?
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>> nash, i think at this point i -- my lawyer should be present. >> reporter: travis refused to talk anymore. but he didn't have a choice about providing his dna. thanks to that warrant detective gurule brought from colorado. >> i'm going to swab the inside of your tongue. >> reporter: and though a stolen car charge seemed hardly enough to warrant extradition, it was in the end just enough. and a few weeks later travis was back in a colorado jail. >> i didn't want him in texas. i wanted him here. i wanted to have access to him. >> where you can continue the conversation. >> absolutely. >> reporter: but detective gurule was in for a big surprise. slippery guy that travis forbes. >> coming up -- the story moves on to another chapter. a different city. and another young woman. >> fort collins is a college town. and it has a lot of young women there.
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welcome back. i'm craig melvin. the tenacious search paid off. he tracked down travis in texas on a stolen car charge and was able to get him extradited back to a colorado jail.
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but the smooth talker wouldn't stay there long. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: travis forbes was right where they wanted him, behind bars. they were holding him on suspicion of stealing a friend's car, not for kenia monge's disappearance. but at least he was here, back in colorado. >> getting him back, how important was that to you? >> very important. i wanted to know where he was. >> and you wanted him in your town. >> yes. >> reporter: detective nash gurule was hoping to coax travis to tell the real story of what happened to 19-year-old kenia monge. by this time kenia had been missing for several weeks. >> he was the person. we had eliminated pretty much everybody else. >> reporter: but just as detective gurule was closing in on travis, as he geared up to pry out a confession, or at least evidence sufficient to lay a charge, he got a nasty little surprise. >> his friend dropped the
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charges on the stolen car. she was very adamant that he didn't do anything wrong. >> why did that happen? >> i would talk to her sometimes daily, and she was his biggest supporter. >> she wouldn't believe that he was a dangerous guy. >> absolutely not. not the travis forbes she knows. there is no way that he did anything to kenia. >> but here was the problem. without the stolen car charge there was no way to keep travis in jail. they had to let him go. deputy d.a. kerri lombardi was -- >> nervous. i mean, i was really worried about what he would do. it was very stressful because i really wanted to be able to find her and we really wanted to get some evidence that we could hold him on. >> reporter: at least, vowed detective gurule, they would not lose him. not again. >> we put surveillance on him for a couple days. and he went up to that area in keenesburg. >> reporter: keenesburg.
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that little farm town an hour east of denver. >> he used his credit card. and i had his bank records. so i saw that he swiped it at this gas station. so we went up there and got the surveillance tape, and that's him trying to get gas. >> reporter: this was not travis's first trip to keenesburg. remember, he was tracked here soon after kenia disappeared. so what was he doing here? had he brought kenia out here? was there a body hidden somewhere on the high plains? detectives scoured the fields again and found nothing. and then gurule discovered travis was on the move again. this time he headed north, 60 miles up the highway to his home town. a team of undercover cops on his tail. >> we found out he was going to go to fort collins and stay with his dad. fort collins is a college town, and it has a lot of young women there, and they like to party. yeah, i was worried. >> reporter: it was now july
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1st, exactly three months since kenia disappeared, and gurule had good reason to worry. >> our detectives are watching. he goes out to the bar district in fort collins, and he's acting like a fool. jumping on people's cars, you know, raising -- just trying to get a lot of attention. >> reporter: so fort collins police, unaware that travis was the subject of a denver investigation, pulled him aside there in the bar district, had a little talk with him, nothing serious, no charges, just conversation. >> after they finished the contact with him, our detectives go up and say hey, we're watching him, he's a person of interest on our case, you might have heard of the case, explained the case to them. they're like, okay, okay, i'll let everybody know. >> reporter: denver police kept an eye on travis, hoping he might lead them to kenia's body. but he stayed in fort collins, crashed at his grandparents'
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place, and so from an already overstretched police department a decision. >> he was pretty much keeping a low profile. so we pull our surveillance. >> reporter: they couldn't know, of course. couldn't know what was coming. 4th of july. fireworks lit up the fort collins sky. and then early the next morning at an apartment complex a fire of a different sort altogether. >> we've kicked -- we just kicked the door in, we're screaming for somebody. the upstairs is -- we're just calling for somebody to see if there's somebody in the apartment. >> reporter: oh, yes. there was someone in that building. and this much we can tell you. that someone is not travis forbes. >> "chilling connections" returns after the break. a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin... i want that too. eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin.
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[ sirens ] predawn, july 5th, 2011. the fire in the apartment building was visible blocks away. >> it was a really hot fire. and all of the handles and the closet doors were basically melted because the fire was so hot. >> reporter: fort collins, colorado police detective jaclyn shaklee drove over to investigate. >> when i got there, there was a burned building and several fire trucks and a lot of people working. lydia was actually gone from the scene. >> reporter: lydia was lydia tillman, 30 years old, a well-traveled wine company representative. the lone occupant of the burned apartment.
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and now barely alive. >> she had been beaten severely and had jumped out the second-story window to escape the fire. the crew got there, they found her in the backyard. and she stood up and ran straight to the ambulance and got in the back. >> looking awful. >> looking awful. she had been beaten severely, and she didn't have any clothes on. >> reporter: lydia, as paramedics discovered, had also been raped. but that wasn't all that happened. once she got to the hospital, she suffered a massive stroke. it was because of her injuries that she suffered the stroke. she was severely beaten. she was stomped. some of her injuries were indicative of like a high-speed car crash. >> reporter: lydia was airlifted to an intensive care hospital in denver. her sister esther got the news and rushed to the hospital. >> she was unrecognizable when i first saw her. i couldn't believe it was her. i would look at her, and nothing looked like her. she has a tattoo on her calf. i knew it was her. >> reporter: lydia's condition was critical.
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quite possibly, even probably terminal. the doctors induced a coma, an attempt to keep her alive, stabilize her, treat her horrendous injuries. >> her jaw was crushed, and her eye sockets. and her wrist was broken, shattered. and then she had broken ribs. probably more than we even know. >> what's the emotion that comes with that? >> i didn't want to lose my sister. i wanted her in my life. what did we need to do to help her, to get her back to us? >> reporter: lydia was single, attractive, very popular. but now here she was raped and beaten. nearly burned to death in her own home. >> when somebody is beaten that severely it just sounds very personal. so we thought for sure it was somebody in her inner circle that was close, it had to be somebody she knew. >> reporter: the next two days detective shaklee combed fort collins checking with anybody who knew lydia.
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>> we had talked to ex-boy friends. we had talked to who she had dated, we had talked to who she worked with, her families, and crickets were chirping. >> crickets were chirping? >> crickets were chirping. it was a whodunit. everyone loved her and said there's nobody that would do this to her, we can't imagine this would happen. >> reporter: the crime scene offered very few clues. >> it was so destroyed from the fire, especially where the actual assault and sexual assault took place in her bedroom. it was so burned. you could basically make out where the bed was. >> reporter: fingerprints, footprints, any forensic evidence, all up in smoke. or destroyed by something else discovered in the apartment. >> he did a really good job of cleaning up. and he did quite the job with the bleach. >> reporter: bleach. the apartment still smelled of it despite all the smoke. but in spite of all that bleach, they did find microscopic evidence that the attacker left behind. his dna. >> and the majority of that dna was under lydia's fingernails. so no doubt she put up a fight.
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>> she was trying to defend herself. >> yeah. >> reporter: now lydia was continuing that fight. odds not good. >> she was not out of the woods is what the doctor kept telling us. every day i would ask him, are we out of the woods yet? no, we're not out of the woods yet. and out of the woods is life or death. the hardest thing is not knowing whether she was going to live or die and if she was going to live what kind of life was she going to have. >> reporter: and then three days after the attack, still no suspect, no leads, detective shaklee heard about the man police talked to just a few days before lydia's attack. the one who was acting up in the fort collins bar district. and wasn't that the man that denver police had under surveillance? >> this possibly could be related. he's wanted for murder and he's in fort collins. i don't know, it could be a long shot, but they may want to know about it. >> what did you think when you heard that? >> i thought thank goodness, we have something that we can maybe look into. >> reporter: so long shot, she figured, but detective shaklee
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called detective gurule in denver. >> so i laid out what had happened, some of the evidence that we had found. >> he set the place on fire and he used bleach on her, around the house. >> and he was silent on the other end of the phone. and then finally he said, oh, my god. >> and she said, what do you think? i said i think it's him. >> i get chills now talking about it because it was quite the moment. >> who was travis forbes? a serial offender hunting women? was he hunting another even now? the two detectives were convinced of it. but as badly as they wanted to lock him away, they just did not have sufficient evidence. so travis was a free man, roaming fort collins at will, and at night. >> coming up -- a relentless investigator more and more worried he's been outwitted. because energy touches so many industries,
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welcome back. detectives believe travis forbes was responsible for attacks on two women, 19-year-old kenia and 30-year-old lydia. lydia had been raped and severely beaten, then jumped out her window to escape a fire set by her assailant. detectives assumed the place had key evidence. as lydia clung to life in the hospital, they discovered the
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flames did not destroy everything. here again is keith morrison. on the fourth floor of the denver critical care hospital lydia tillman was still alive, if barely. still in a medically induced coma. still suffering god knew what damage from her massive stroke. but all the while her family sat by her side and talked to her. >> we'd say, lydia, you're doing great, you're healing, you just rest and heal, that's all you have to do. we'd play classical music for her. we'd talk over her so she knew we were there. we just wanted that ever presence for her. >> do you think she was aware of any of that? >> i think deep inside she knew that her family was fighting for her.
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>> reporter: as if worrying about lydia's fragile condition wasn't enough, her family also feared the attack wasn't over. >> it was really scary. since we didn't know who had done this, i kept looking out of the hospital room and seeing if someone would come to finish the job. and so we had to keep her completely anonymous in the hospital. we had a code that we had to say to go see her. only family members and only ones that were listed. >> you were always kind of looking over your shoulder. >> definitely. >> reporter: lydia's family was quite unaware that police did have a prime suspect, travis forbes, who was also a suspect in the disappearance of a girl lydia's family had never heard of, kenia monge. >> the similarities were definitely the bleach. i don't know what it is about forbes, but he has an obsession with bleach, and we'd actually heard that from his past girlfriends as well, that he would obsessively clean his house with bleach. and there was bleach used in kenia's case as well. the fact they were both dark-haired, both pretty girls, around the same age, it was chillingly similar. >> reporter: but the truly frightening fact was that their
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suspect was still out there somewhere on the street at large, potentially targeting his next victim, and it would stay that way unless detectives could prove that the attacks were both the work of travis forbes. there was one possibility and really only one. sitting at the denver police crime lab were several swabs of travis's dna, which detective nash gurule had obtained when the two talked in texas. >> we needed that obviously quickly to compare it to what had been collected from lydia tillman when she was transported to the hospital. >> but she'd been sprayed with bleach and every -- and she'd been burned. i mean, was there actually any dna left? >> there actually was. it was pretty amazing. it's amazing how resilient dna is. >> reporter: so on a friday evening just four days after lydia's attack the dna found under her fingernail and the sample taken from forbes were sent to the colorado bureau of investigation for processing to see if they matched. >> i didn't sleep. i couldn't sleep. there was no way. it didn't really matter. i didn't care. and it was amazing because we had technicians at colorado bureau of investigation who had no necessary buy-in into this
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case, but they were working around the clock as well because they knew what a big deal this was. >> reporter: 60 miles away in denver detective nash gurule was also awaiting those dna results, anxiously. but he was also angry. >> at myself. >> at yourself? why? >> thinking to myself, what else could i have done to prevent this? >> what other evidence could i have gathered that would have got him arrested? >> did i miss something that could have kept him there? i could have had something concrete to arrest him on. what did i miss? and i threw that around in my head. >> you take this stuff personally. >> this one i did. and i'm thinking to myself, is he that smart? is he that smart? >> reporter: and now forbes was out here, somewhere. friday night, dark now. it was warm in fort collins. a college town, remember. in the old town bar district
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young people gathered around favorite watering holes. plenty of young women, carefree, drinking, celebrating a weekend, unaware. unworried. but this time the police were watching because they were very worried. >> we had the surveillance set up on him over the weekend. we were not going to let him out of our sights. so we had teams that were rotating while we were waiting so we could actually make an arrest. >> reporter: all weekend surveillance teams followed forbes as he cruised the nightclub district. >> he had a bottle of whiskey he'd been carrying around with him all night. he didn't go into any of the bars. he basically just walked around and -- >> he was trolling. >> trolling. yeah. that's a good way to put it. >> reporter: late at night the undercover cops spotted travis following a young woman walking home alone. so without revealing the surveillance team one of the cops approached him, and travis gave him a fake name, called him travis kennedy. the officer let him go. but travis did not go home. and before very long began following a second woman.
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she appeared to be drunk. travis closed in. >> they're like, this guy's too much of a danger, we've got to figure out a way to get him off the street. so they ended up arresting him for false reporting, for giving a false name. >> reporter: in fact detective shaklee's husband was part of that surveillance team and actually put the cuffs on travis. >> what was it like when you two kind of got together to compare notes? >> it was pretty emotional. and it was actually an emotional phone call. he called me to let me know that -- i'm going to get emotional now. that he had taken him into custody and that he was off the streets. just some closure to five days of really scary, really scary for our community and our home. >> reporter: but there was a catch. when the cops arrested forbes for giving a false name, it was only a misdemeanor. without some new charge he'd be out on bail in no time. >> coming up, a determined detective triggers a stunning break in the case.
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the partial government shutdown, president trump says it will last until congress approves his demands to fund a border wall. his comments coming after a holiday video conference with u.s. troops. the president has yet to actually visit u.s. troops serving abroad. thousands of survivors in indonesia are homeless after a catastrophic tsunami hit two islands saturday night. more than 100 still missing. for now, back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. it was a race against the clock. detectives held travis foin jai on a misdemeanor charge. they believe the findings would link him to the brutal rape and assault of lidia tillman.
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but travis was about to be released and there was no word from the lab. would the suspect be free to roam the streets yet again? with more of our story, here's keith morrison. brown brick building on the outskirts of denver is normally quiet at night and on weekends. but in mid july 2011 the colorado bureau of investigation crime lab was a beehive of activity. a team of technicians were working round the clock, comparing a dna sample of lydia tillman's attacker to that of travis forbes to see if they matched. 60 miles away in fort collins detective jaclyn shaklee couldn't sit still. >> i was high on adrenaline. it was a waiting game. i mean, i kept looking at my phone, hoping for the technician from cbi to call me. >> reporter: especially because travis forbes, who was being held in the fort collins jail, was due to be released soon. very soon.
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>> he was given a bond and was about to bond out like 10:30 on monday night. >> reporter: the weekend was over. monday ticked by. >> it's a long process. it's not like a tv show where you can -- they do it in 40 minutes and you have a hit. so i knew it was going to take a while. i just kept praying that it would happen earlier. >> reporter: and then, just minutes before travis's release, a call from the cbi. >> we had a hit. >> wow. >> yes. >> reporter: the man who attacked lydia tillman was, the dna confirmed, travis forbes. >> it was the biggest adrenaline dump ever. and of course i called detective gurule in tears. we did it. he's charged. he's in jail. he's not getting out. >> i was relieved that now he's going to be in jail and he won't be able to hurt nobody. now we know where he's at, so i don't have to be searching for him. >> reporter: word of travis's arrest also traveled quickly to kenia monge's family. >> i was shocked. i knew that he would eventually
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hang himself. but i didn't think he'd go out and try to murder again this soon. and i was shocked. we were shocked. >> yeah. >> reporter: but they still didn't know what happened to kenia. quickly, the lee family called a news conference and delivered a message to travis forbes. >> anybody's going to relay any messages to him, tell him, or if you guys talk to him, tell him we've got just one question. where is kenia? that's it. >> reporter: but travis wasn't talking anymore. so lee offered a radical idea. >> i called assistant d.a. lombardi, and i said make a deal. >> you wanted a deal? >> yeah. i don't care what it is. i said i don't care. you could take it down to manslaughter. i didn't care. just make a deal. let's just -- we just want kenia. >> we really couldn't -- i mean, we were getting there. we were still investigating. what i really wanted was for --
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tell us where she was. so we could give closure to this family. >> reporter: but travis was now facing an attempted murder charge for the assault on lydia. and as his case started working its way toward trial, he sat silently, mute in his cell. especially when detective shaklee paid him a visit. >> he was looking at me like a caged animal. his eyes were huge. he -- it was really creepy. obviously, i wanted to talk to him. i wanted to get an interview with him and see if he would tell me something. and he immediately said, i'm not talking to you, get -- get out of here. >> reporter: but across town someone was communicating. after spending five weeks in icu lydia tillman was transferred to a local rehab hospital. a long, slow recovery began. >> hi, lydia. >> i showed her a video of my kids saying hello to her because they missed their aunt lydia. >> i want you to get better soon. >> and she got to the part where my 4-year-old started to talk. and she laughed and said hi,
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lydia. >> hi, lydia. >> it was the first time i got to see her laugh, and i went, she's got memory, she can laugh. >> reporter: but detective gurule's murder case against travis forbes and his search for kenia monge had both stalled, nearly five months after kenia vanished and still no sign of her. but one day he got a call from the crime lab, requesting another dna sample of travis for the fbi. >> i drove up there to get his dna. i walked in, laid down my recorder. he didn't want to talk to any of the detectives, in fort collins, anywhere. but he always talked to me. >> what's up, nash? why are you here? >> i am here because i have a warrant for you. >> reporter: for the next two hours, like a couple of old
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college chums, the two shot the breeze about philosophy and books and religion and of course kenia's case, about which travis remained evasive. >> i said, i've been here a long time, travis, i'm done. i'm done playing chess with you. you move one way, i move another way. i said i'm coming for you. i'm telling you that. i said the next time you see me i'll be charging you for murder. i said what do you want out of this? what exactly do you want out of this? >> i want to go to prison without being labeled as a sex offender. >> okay. what else? >> that's it. that's it. >> you'll confess to everything if you go to prison without being labeled a sex offender? is that what you're saying? you're man enough to say that? >> yes. yes. yes. that's what i'm saying. >> reporter: detective gurule was stunned. travis wanted to cut a deal? gurule used a little reverse psychology to make sure he meant it. >> i told him i think you're
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full of it, i don't think you're going to do this. i think you're going to back out. and i think you're spineless. and i think it's all about you, it's a game. i said i think you're going to pull out. he says, no, i won't. i said, travis, you do what you say you're going to do, i'll be the first one to shake your hand. >> reporter: nobody knew that fort collins authorities would buy in. so all he needed now were the crossed ts and dotted is. the legal formalities. >> i left the jail, went out to my car, and thought to myself, did i just hear this right or am i dreaming? i even played the recording back to myself. and i thought, wow. >> people just don't do that sort of thing.
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>> right. he's confessing to a murder without a body and without seeing the case. i've talked to my commanders, and they said never in the history of this police department has that ever happened. ever. >> reporter: finally, after frustrating months of knuckle-biting tension, disappearances, dead-end games of cat and mouse, detective gurule was about to get the answers he'd been searching for. and he was exhausted. to celebrate and rest up gurule decided to take a few days off with his wife. >> so we're driving out of town. i get a call and they say he pulled out. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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it was a long, torturous weekend in the mountains of colorado for detective nash gurule. on friday it looked like he'd
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finally cut a deal with travis forbes to reveal what happened to kenia monge. but just hours later, gurule got a call. the deal was dead. >> i was devastated. i was devastated. i hung up the phone. my wife looked at me. and she says, you okay? and i looked at her, and i'm crying. i said, there's nothing more i could do. i got him there. i led him there. i led him to the trough. >> reporter: gurule and his wife went on their trip anyway, and for three long days he was left twisting in the wind once again by travis forbes. kenia's family knew nothing of this, still holding out hope that she was somehow alive. >> every time i was driving down the street and i seen a skinny little black-haired girl, i can't tell you how many accidents i've almost had trying to get around the corner to see who this little skinny black-haired girl is. there was still reports coming in of sightings of her.
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and you've got to turn in all these sightings because you don't know. >> reporter: but then something happened to travis forbes that weekend. he apparently had second thoughts about his own second thoughts. >> and when i got back on monday, i got a call and they said the deal's back on, it's being finalized, we should be able to be going next week. >> sometimes taking a weekend away is quite profitable. >> yes. the weight of the world just got lifted from me. >> the deal with travis was quite straightforward. no death penalty, no sex crimes charges. and in exchange he would give them a complete confession. what he did to kenia and lydia. and one more thing. he would show them exactly where kenia was. and so on a humid morning in september 2011 forbes found himself in a procession of police cars on a country road northeast of denver. investigators had been here many times before, searching the
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fields near the farm town of keenesburg looking for kenia. but this day travis had solemnly promised he was going to show them. trailing a car behind travis was d.a. kerri lombardi, nervous, anxious, and pessimistic. >> i was worried he wouldn't follow through. because i felt like he sort of liked this game, i thought. >> so on the way what were you thinking? >> will he do this? will he not? will something spook him? will he change his mind? is this a big farce? you know, i didn't know if, you know, there was even -- if we were even going to the right place. >> reporter: travis was in the lead car, which included detectives nash gurule and jaclyn shaklee. >> it was really quiet for the first like five or ten minutes. he was sitting right next to me. i had an air cast on my foot because i had a running injury. he looked down and said what did you do to your foot? i said it's a stress fracture from running.
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>> reporter: and that got travis talking. about running marathons, movies, food. all sorts of things. >> and obviously we were talking about whatever he wanted to talk about to keep his cooperation. i have to remember that i have a monster sitting next to me and just playing it up. we had to get to that body. we wanted to know where she was and bring her home to her family. >> then we start getting closer, he starts getting a little more quiet. we drive out to the site. next to a little grove of trees. >> reporter: and then quite suddenly, no warning, something came over the cool and breezy travis forbes. >> he got out of the car, and his whole demeanor changed, and he let out this scream. just this blood curdling -- it made me jump. i wasn't expecting it at all. >> reporter: but just as quickly, travis pulled himself together and pointed. >> he says, she's over there. so we walk over there. and he's standing up on top of the hill, there's like a little
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ravine. he says, you're standing right on top of her. >> reporter: soon the digging began. >> and it was a very, very slow process. there was an anthropologist there. and so then they finally got the dirt off of her. and there she was. and it was pretty awful. i stood there, and of course had i seen these beautiful pictures of her. there's this smiling image in your head of her having a good time and smiling. and then to see that. it was very difficult. >> reporter: there was something else perhaps even more difficult that kerri lombardi had to do. >> i called tony lee and said, you know, that they had found a body where he had told us she was, we had found something. >> and i needed to let my family know before any of this hit the news. you can't prepare yourself or practice yourself or write down
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a speech for that day. and i had to tell her. >> what was that like? >> that was the hardest thing i've ever done. then i -- >> she had been hanging on to hope. >> she had been hanging on to hope. >> you had to finally -- >> i had to snatch that rug out from under her. and she lost it. and there was nothing i could do for her because i had already lost it myself. >> reporter: then tony had to tell his children. kenia's little sister and brother. >> and the first question out of both of their mouths at the different times, is she alive? and i had to tell them no. i couldn't do nothing for them. >> i just don't feel like it's fair that people get to grow up with their sisters but she was only there for a little bit of my life. like she won't be able to see
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like me grow up and get married or have kids, and i won't be able to see her grow up and get married and have kids. like we'll just never get to have that bond. >> reporter: but this most horrendous of days wasn't quite over. police still needed a complete confession from forbes on tape. >> we're driving back. i look back at him. he goes, hey, nash, i told you i'd tell you where she was. he goes, are you happy you found her? he goes, are you happy? and i said there's some questions that need to be answered. and i said once those questions are -- once those questions are answered, then i'll be happy. "all right, nash. i told you i'd do it. i told you i would do it." and i said, yes, you did. >> reporter: detective gurule sat down with travis for one last interview. after five long months out came the words he needed to hear. >> i killed her. i did not mean to kill her. i didn't pull over to kill her. i didn't pull over to rape her.
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none of that was in my head. none of it was premeditated. >> reporter: but then it all came out. travis told them how he spotted kenia on the street. how he raped her, how he strangled her, how he stuffed her in his cooler, drove around with the body in his white van for a whole day, then stored it in the bakery's freezer while he cleaned out his van with bleach and burned her clothes. and then early the next morning he buried her body near a clump of cottonwood trees. >> after we were done with our interview i walked up to him and stuck out my hand. i go, thanks. and he stood up, shook my hand, and he said, "i told you i would do it." i said, you did. he says, "you just wouldn't give up." and i looked at him, and i said, you're right. >> reporter: later that day
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travis also confessed to the attempted murder of lydia tillman. soon he would be sentenced separately for both crimes. but there was one last surprise coming. something no one saw coming. least of all travis forbes. coming up -- a courtroom stunned. >> the courageous young woman who beat the odds makes a stunning move in the courtroom. coming up. >> to do what she did and endure what she went through, she's a superhero in my eyes. >> when "chilling connections" continues. introducing add on advantage,
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welcome back. travis forbes had struck a plea deal. in exchange for taking sex crime charges and the death penalty off the table, he led authorities to the ravine where he buried kenya monge's body. all that was left the sentencing. but unbeknownst to travis, there was one more surprise in store. here with the conclusion of our story is keith morrison. she was home now. after five long, horrible months. kenya monge was given a proper
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burial. >> we needed her home or we needed to know a place to where we at least could go and be with her every day. and that was either home or in a grave someplace. >> thank god that we have answers. not the answers exactly we want, but we do have answers now. and it still hurts. [ applause ] >> reporter: but as one family mourned, another had something remarkable to celebrate. lydia tillman was coming home. because of the stroke, speech was still practically impossible. but the fact she was walking at all truly amazing. some kind of miracle, said her doctor, rebecca bearden. >> i believe that lydia shouldn't have survived that day. she went through so much. and she probably shouldn't have made it. but she did. and it was because of her determination and her joy.
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>> soon after that at travis forbes' sentencing hearing lydia met kenia's -- kenya's family. >> i looked at lydia and wished it was kenya. i hate to say that. but i'm glad she was able to escape the monster. >> yeah. >> it was overwhelming, you know, to see the amount of her strength and her will to live. you know, and what she did during her court proceedings on the day that he was sentenced for what he did to her. >> what she did that day was simply amazing. hard to believe. sitting just feet away from the man who raped her, smashed her face and body, doused her with bleach, set her on fire, lydia tillman struck a blow against evil. she gave travis a gift. she forgave him. since she was unable to speak herself, her father read her statement for her, saying that
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to forgive is easier than holding anger. >> there wasn't a dry eye in that courtroom, including the judge. it's freeing for her. and i understand that. and i did the same. because we're not going to live in that hatred, in that -- that state of mind that doesn't allow you to recover and to heal. >> she's amazing. to do what she did and to endure what she went through, i couldn't imagine. i couldn't imagine. she is -- she's a superhero in my eyes. >> and then there was one more surprise. no, not travis's sentence, life in prison. that was merely a formality. it was another gift. this time from kenya to lydia. >> i start crying with her. she start crying with me.
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i felt very strong inside me like kenya was telling me mom, give her the ring, i was wearing it. it was kenya's ring. give it to her. >> it was kenya's favorite ring. >> i gave it to her and she was so happy. she said thank you, and she was holding me. and that moment i was holding her, it's like i was holding kenya. >> we are related in tragedy. we've got a connection with each other unfortunately for the rest of our lives, and -- because of travis. >> tony and his family built a memorial here on the high plains where kenya was found. in 2018 tony and maria divorced, but tony still devotes himself to spreading awareness and warnings and help. >> the story of kenya is what has created the kenya monge foundation.
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we go to the families of the missing, reach out to them, and they are very grateful. >> and lydia tillman? we saved this surprise for last. lydia has worked very hard to recover. >> try this one. >> and to speak. >> stimuli. >> stim-u-li. >> nice. try yesterday. >> lydia has -- she's rocked my world. >> dr. jill armor. >> i think lydia has the ability to make a full recovery. and i think she's tenacious and perseves enough that she may just well do that. >> and so a proper introduction. here, just ten months after the attack that nearly took her life, is lydia tillman in her own words. >> people were amazed you survived at all, frankly. >> yeah.
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i am amazed too. >> yeah. what has been in the long recovery process the most difficult thing to do? >> relearning how to speak was still difficult. >> yes. >> i'm trying to find a balance between my ambitions and my still-healing body and brain. >> yeah. so where were you in the process of getting better when travis went to court to plead guilty and be sentenced?
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>> i am -- was just out of rehab. the hardest day of my life. >> really? >> to forgive him is -- it was super difficult. >> how could you do that? after what he did to you. >> to heal myself rather than being angry. >> because that would not help you. >> yeah. >> you harbor no bitterness, no --
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>> rarely i get mad. >> yeah. >> i believe travis forbes was acting out of fear and hatred. i choose love and peace over fear. and i won. >> so she did. and then she said with a big infectious smile on her face that she'd brought a gift for me. >> it's a bracelet.
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it's on -- >> may i open it? >> yes. on acronym for my name. >> huh. >> it says "live your days inspired anew." >> which, of course, spells lydia. there's great sadness surrounding the story of travis forbes. unending sadness for kenya's family. for the unknown other families who, as many now suspect, may have been victimized by his past behavior. and then from that darkest place came the indomitable lydia, who forgave, who won, who told us
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live your days inspired anew. >> that's all for the edition of "dateline extra". i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. i was just solving a problem. >> that's what she did, solve problems. as a busy mom and a busy executive, but her career was on the rise. her marriage was on the rocks. >> i still wanted this marriage to work. i didn't want to give up. >> soon he was gone. vanished without a word or a trace. >> he left a young daughter behind. he left a house. >> once this


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