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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  October 12, 2019 12:00am-2:00am PDT

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amber was the angel of death. she would come around when somebody was going to die. >> they called it "angels landing," a special place for a chosen few. >> we were all having meals together. there was lots of parties. >> you were the little girl who got a horse for your birthday? >> i got three horses. >> but angels landing was plagued by accidents. >> she fell and hit her head and drowned. >> he had been crushed under a
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vehicle. >> she had hit a gravel truck head on. >> what we saw was a pattern. >> it didn't smell right. >> the investigation would lead into the supernatural. >> all ruled accidents. >> he would say that even though we couldn't see her, she was there. >> who or why? >> amber was the angel of death.
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me to go live on the moon because that just wasn't something that could happen. the thought of leaving was scarier than the thought of staying. i never once thought about leaving. i thought about killing myself, but i didn't think about leaving. >> reporter: rolling out past the downtown grid, toward the wide-open flatlands north of wichita, kansas, it would be easy to zip by the small cluster of homes nestled between corn and wheat fields not notice them at all. maybe that was the point. but the nondescript compound did have a whimsical name, "angels landing," and it was home to a kind of large put-together family, a commune really, including two sisters. >> we had a great relationship. i had everything i wanted. >> reporter: but angels landing gnawed at a county detective. for years he could not shake the place, or the people who lived there, from his mind. >> you thought there was a criminal scheme goin' on here? >> it didn't smell right. >> for us, it was a game of cat
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and mouse. >> reporter: and after a decade-long obsession, the detective's hunch would be proved right. it turned out to be far more sinister than anyone could imagine. >> we had kept this a secret for 10 years and no one knew. >> reporter: he would uncover a supernatural tale of angels and demons. an investigation into the saga of a travelling family that dabbled in most of the seven deadly sins. >> amber was the angel of death. >> did you believe it? >> he could see the future. >> reporter: lies? plenty. lust, greed, murder? angels landing had all of that and more. >> all i could think about was "how are they going to believe me? you know, this is such a crazy story. what if they don't believe me?" >> reporter: growing up near kansas city, missouri, the two sisters sara and emily had about as normal a life as any suburban girls in the midwest.
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>> my sister and i used to play together when we were younger. my mom, it seemed like she was always home with us. and my dad was always there for dinner and things like that it seemed like. >> reporter: their dad built houses. mom, jennifer, a realtor, sold them. and the girls were close, despite a 7-year age gap. >> we would go fishing together. she would take me to the pool every day during the summer. things like that. so, i mean, we were close, but we fought like siblings. >> reporter: sara was 16. emily just 9 and a star student. >> i was a teacher's pet. and -- i was usually one of the top of my class. >> you were always prepared. >> yeah, i was a suck up. >> you said that. i didn't, emily. >> totally was. i didn't know it then. but i was. >> reporter: everything was easy sailing for the girls until their parents' lives went in different directions. >> i knew that my parents were getting divorced. i didn't know why.
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they never fought in front of us or anything. >> reporter: that's always tough for kids. that summer, 2001, their mom jennifer was showing houses to a new client, a man named lou castro who, with his long hair, and western hat, looked for all the world like a well-heeled young cowboy. >> he seemed really charismatic and outgoing and friendly and like he had a lot of money. >> he would tell everybody that he had cattle in south dakota, and that he was trading stocks he told me he had a bunch of cars in texas somewhere, and that he owned a mansion down there. >> reporter: this soft-spoken >> reporter: this soft-spoken man was looking for a country property for his somewhat new age family commune just down from south dakota: a young married couple, trish and brian hughes their baby girl and a young woman from north dakota. jennifer found them just the right parcel, but even after turning over the keys, there was something about that lou castro guy, that emily's mom found
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irresistible. he'd become more than a client. >> well at first, he was just somebody that mom was doing business with. but they would go to lunch often. >> reporter: as you look back now emily what do you think went on with your mother? >> i don't know. >> reporter: but something was going on, huh? >> something was. >> reporter: and something was going on with lou too. no sooner had he settled down in greater kansas city, than his family commune was on the move again. and guess who was going with them? jennifer the realtor and her two girls. >> reporter: and what'd your dad think? >> my dad was devastated. >> reporter: just like that, in the fall of 2001. emily, sara and their mom were packing up a u-haul and heading out for a fresh start to life. you got to leave your neighborhood, your playmates, your class kids. >> at first, i was really upset. but -- eventually it kind of seemed like a new adventure and that that's what mom really needed to do. >> reporter: the new home for all three was a ten-acre mini-farm north of wichita. they moved in with lou and his
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family commune in the spread they called angel's landing. the girls' mom jennifer bought the adjoining ten acres and built a second house. and after they added a swimming pool and a dirt track for atvs, the commune later put up a third house. so what was the routine at the household? >> we were all having meals together. and -- we didn't really do chores. >> reporter: while the girls' mom resumed her real-estate business, brian worked as a mechanic and lou organized the down time. >> he would throw parties about every weekend. there was a lot of drinking. other people would bring their kids over. we'd go swimming. i would take care of the little kids. we'd play pool. >> reporter: pretty normal. >> little lavish, but -- pretty normal stuff. >> reporter: lou loved toys with engines and there were a couple of workshops big enough to garage his enormous radio-controlled planes and a fleet of snazzy cars. >> going to a dealership and buying a corvette was like going
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to a toy store and picking out a model car. like, that is how quickly. he would just go and pick one out, say, "all right. i want it." >> reporter: corvettes, dodge viper? >> many corvettes, a few dodge vipers. we had suburbans, tahoes, trail blazers -- big trucks, duallies. >> reporter: they had vanity plates angel one, angel two and so on. so a lot of it is kind of a kid's dream, huh? >> yeah. i mean i got everything i wanted. >> reporter: while the sisters did stay in touch with their dad who had moved nearby lou's promise of "whatever your heart desires" found a sweet spot. >> lou asked me what i wanted for my birthday. and i was like, "well, i would love to have a horse. but i know that it's expensive. and i know it's too much work. so, we're not gonna do that." he's like, "no, if you want a horse, we're gonna get a horse." >> reporter: you were the little girl who got a horse for your birthday? >> i was. i got three horses. >> reporter: you were the princess of the house? >> yes. >> reporter: emily being the princess didn't always sit well with sister sara. so the other young mom in the
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family brian's wife trish sometimes stepped in to referee their sibling rivalry. she was the disciplinarian? >> kind of. there was a specific way to do things. and you did it her way. and that's just what was expected. >> reporter: what did you think of trish? did you like her? >> she was wonderful. i loved her just like another mom. >> reporter: so she really was substitute mom in a lot of things, huh? >> she was. >> reporter: so the sisters will never forget that awful day in june 2003. emily just 11-years-old found herself standing by the swimming pool. >> trish was floating in the shallow end of the pool, face down. >> reporter: a beach sandal floated on the water. trish was dead. coming up, the horror of losing one of their own. for emily and everyone else, the sunny life at angel's landing had changed in an instant. >> it was very traumatic. >> reporter: later, more shocks in store. mysterious accidents. dark threats involving the
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spirit world. and one seemingly demonic transformation. >> he would give this terrible grin that just looked evil. >> when "dateline" continues. ir with your parents. sandra, are you in school? yes, i'm in art school. oh, wow. so have you thought about how you're gonna make money? at least we're learning some new things. we bundled our home and auto with progressive, saved a bunch. oh, we got a wobbler. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. that's what the extra menu's for. when you bundle with us. how do you keep feeling your best all summer long? start with supporting your gut health.
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>> reporter: just two years after leaving missouri to make a new start near wichita, kansas, the two sisters were still living in angels landing. lou, who had money and lots of spare time, was the patriarch. and trish -- who was married to brian and had a baby daughter -- took care of the home. >> trish kind of was the one that would be there before we went to school and after we went to school, because my mom had to work. >> did you like her? >> i loved her. i loved trish. >> reporter: so what happened in
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june 2003 at angels landing came as a sudden life-altering shock. the day began normally enough for the sisters. >> we all had gone to lunch, trish and her daughter -- a friend of mine and her baby and then lou and my sister. and then we came back to the house after lunch. and trish and emily and the baby were going to clean the pool. >> that was the plan for the afternoon? >> right. and lou and i were gonna go to davis moore. >> car dealer? >> correct. >> so you go off to the car dealership with lou? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: back at the swimming pool, something truly awful had happened. >> i called 911. >> reporter: she told the operator that trish's toddler had fallen in to the pool, and when trish had tried to save her little girl she slipped backwards. >> she tripped and fell and hit the concrete? >> she fell and hit her head and drowned. >> and the baby was in trouble in the pool, and that you rescued the baby but you
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couldn't help? >> right. >> reporter: emily got the baby out of the pool but, because she was just a wisp of a thing, try as she might -- emily could not lift trish's body out of the water. hopeless. across town, sara and lou were checking out cars at the dealership when sara's phone rang. >> i receive a phone call from emily. and she says that, "trish fell in the pool. i need you to come home." >> did she say that trish was dead? >> yes. >> so this is shocking news. you've all just had lunch a few hours before. and now you're hearing trish is dead, huh? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: lou and sara raced back home to angels landing, where police and emts were already on the scene. >> there's no reason to believe that she was under the influence of anything at this time. >> reporter: they had pulled trish's body from the pool, and taken photographs. a single beach sandal floated on the water's surface. pieces of trish's hair clip were in the pool. it had snapped apart when she
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banged her head, they presumed. and there were small bruises and a cut on trish's forehead. the medical examiner determined trish's death was due to a freakishly bad accident. trish was just 26 years old. >> and trish was gone? >> yeah. >> reporter: the family was in a state of shock. >> devastated. >> trish had been kind of a mother of the house, the way you talk about her. >> yeah. >> for you, too. >> absolutely. it was really hard. it breaks my heart. >> reporter: and it was hard for lou. trish was someone he regarded as his best friend. lou had met trish in the mid '90s in south texas, after serving in the navy as a plane mechanic. and for eight years they were inseparable travelers. moving on to south dakota and ending up in wichita. >> it was very traumatic. >> reporter: as the family commune tried to come to terms with the tragedy, trish's husband brian embraced his little daughter closer; and gradually, they all got on with their lives.
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>> and then, you're, what, goin' back to school and -- >> yep. exactly. >> reporter: still it was hard for the family to put trish's death behind them. and something else was troubling. emily and sara had a fuzzy recollection that trish wasn't the first person in the family commune to die. they'd recently met a teenager who'd also once been on the fringes of the commune. and he told a story with painful echoes. coming up, a tale of tragedy and mystery. >> i knew something wasn't right and he told me, your mom and sister have been missing. >> two members of the commune vanish in thin air. when "dateline" continues. and the 12-hour pain relieving strength of aleve. so...magic mornings happen. there's a better choice. aleve pm.
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>> reporter: at angels landing, the family commune was slowly mending after the devastating loss of trish hughes, who had drowned in the swimming pool, since covered over. sisters sara and emily saw trish's husband brian, an auto mechanic, a broken man, left to raise a daughter. >> brian loved trish more than anything in the world. and he loved his daughter immensely. he was a really just good person.
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he missed his wife. brian was sad. >> reporter: as they coped with the loss themselves, emily and sara had a flashback, and pieced together another incident when tragedy struck the family about two years before. >> i wasn't there, and i'm glad i wasn't there. that would be more that i had lost. >> reporter: not long before trish's death, the sisters met 15-year-old cody griffith from texas, who'd also once been on the fringes of the family commune. he'd been close to trish and lou thanks to his mom, mona. my mom and trish were really great friends. they would do a lot together. >> reporter: cody's mom mona was something of a flower child. >> she was extremely loving -- very free-spirited. everything was spontaneous. there was really no planning. she could say, "hey, let's get in the car and drive somewhere." >> reporter: could've been a hippie in an earlier day, huh? >> maybe. just someone who is extremely loving, very accepting. >> reporter: when cody was growing up in corpus christi in the mid 90's, his mom, mona, was going through a difficult divorce and financial trouble.
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she, cody and cody's young sister lindsey moved in with their good friends trish and lou from the apartment complex. i can remember lou taking us to baseball practice when my sister was little, picking her up from school and stuff like that. >> reporter: his mom, mona, and trish took turns cooking for what was the beginnings of the commune. so you're really an extended family? >> yeah, pretty much. i mean, it was like living with an aunt and uncle. >> reporter: so when trish and lou suddenly decided they wanted to pick up sticks and move to south dakota, mona wanted to go too, and to take cody and his sister lindsey along as well. >> i'll never forget it. it was just like yesterday, and i told her, "no, i'm not leaving." and i had gotten extremely upset. >> reporter: the very thought of being so far away from his dad was too much for cody. so what did she say? "yes, you are. you're gonna go with us?" >> no. she let me make that decision. she would have not wanted me to do something i didn't wanna do. >> reporter: so in late 1998,
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mona and cody's younger sister lindsey ended up leaving corpus christi and settled near rapid city, south dakota, where, one christmas, cody paid them a visit. it was an extremely small home. it was like in the mountains. we even went and cut our own christmas tree. >> reporter: off the grid kind of a cabin place? >> yeah. >> reporter: the cabin was a tight-squeeze for sure, but the family commune was growing. it was here that trish met and married brian, the auto mechanic, and they had a daughter. mona, cody's mom, had also found a boyfriend, a rapid city realtor and experienced private plane pilot. you were okay with that, huh? >> oh, yeah. i wanted my mom to be happy. and, you know, i looked forward to meeting him. >> reporter: did you ever meet him? >> no. >> reporter: one friday in february of 2001, mona and her boyfriend decided to take daughter lindsey on an exciting birthday trip to nebraska. exciting because mona's boyfriend would fly them there himself. they took off from rapid city. but not long after, something went terribly wrong.
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how did you find out about the plane? my dad had called me inside, and he just looked at me. and i knew something wasn't right. and then he just told me, "hey, your mom and sister have been missing." >> reporter: your dad must have been all ripped up, huh? >> there's nothing you can say. i mean he didn't -- there was no way that he could explain to his son that his sister and mom are gone. >> reporter: and imagine you hope that somebody's crawled out of the wreckage and they've got some food and water and they're in a little tent waiting for search and rescue to find them but -- >> that's the only thing i could pray for. >> reporter: as cody was praying for a miracle, mona's sister lisa also got a phone call, from another sister. >> and she's crying hysterically. and she said that mona and lindsey had left on a plane, and the plane had never reached its destination. and they didn't know where it
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was. >> reporter: mona's boyfriend hadn't filed a flight plan, so the plane could be anywhere. rugged territory. >> correct. up in the badlands area, we assume, or nebraska. we really had no clue. >> reporter: but in south dakota, lou castro, a former navy plane mechanic, was on it. when lisa paid a short visit to try to help find her sister and niece, lou was in constant touch with search and rescue. a huge comfort. soft spoken, nice, funny, friendly. he seemed very concerned. very, very distraught over mona and lindsey's disappearance. and very helpful. i mean, he was very gracious in whatever we wanted. >> reporter: so it's "thank goodness we have lou at the helm here," huh? >> exactly. you know, he didn't work. so he seemed to have plenty of time. he seemed to know everybody. they knew him.
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we were grateful that there was somebody that was -- had taken control and was keeping us in the loop also. >> reporter: at a gathering of lindsey's school friends in support of the search, lou seemed especially popular with all the girls. >> oh, they were mesmerized by him. >> was he telling them stories or jokes or -- >> uh-huh, laughing. he knew them all quite well. we could tell. >> reporter: was there something a little creepy about it? i don't want to plant an idea here that -- that didn't exist. >> they all knew lou, but they didn't know lindsey's mom. i just -- i just found that strange. >> reporter: six weeks after the plane went missing, lisa and cody got the news they were dreading. the wreckage had been found. there were no survivors. so that's the end of hope? this is not gonna have a miraculous ending? >> yeah. uh-huh. >> reporter: cody traveled back to rapid city, and once again saw lou, who seemed distraught. >> he starts crying and he tells me that my little sister was never supposed to be on the plane.
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he tells me that if my mom would have only been on the plane, that he says, you know "i would have taken your sister and we would have left." >> reporter: he would have become like the adoptive father then? >> right. >> reporter: how would he know whether she was supposed to be or not? >> i don't know. >> reporter: looking back, do you wonder what he meant by that? >> every day. every day. >> reporter: an ntsb investigation into the catastrophe found no mechanical problems with the plane, leaning toward a theory that bad weather had contributed to the crash. when do you miss your mom and sister the most? times along the way when you've been growing up? [ sniffling ] cody, i don't think you need to put any words to it. >> you really can't. >> reporter: lou and trish, not blood relatives, determined the burial place for mona and lindsey -- a surprise to lisa, who again raised an eyebrow when she saw her sister's and niece's obituary in a south dakota newspaper.
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>> and it lists myself, my two sisters, and her brother lou. we're like "where did we pick up a brother?" >> reporter: later, as emily recalled the awful story of the plane crash, she too remembered lou telling her what he'd told cody. >> he said that lindsey wasn't supposed to die. >> reporter: whatever that meant, in 2003, after trish's death in the swimming pool, emily and her sister sara weren't the only ones trying to make sense of it all. a local detective in wichita was also taking an interest in the plane crash, and the death of trish hughes, and in whatever else might be going on at angels landing. something wasn't adding up. one thing was adding up, the death toll of commune members. another was just around the corner. >> we got the call that he had been crushed under a car he was fixing. >> when "dateline" continues. es to stop the cycle of odors try febreze car vent clips.
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ends monday. hello, i'm dara brown. the former u.s. ambassador
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testified before congress. marie yovonovich was threatened to be removed. >> the u.s./china deal has been reached. it would delay tariffs and it requires china to buy u.s. agricultural products. now back to "dateline." >> reporter: in late 2003, after the drowning death of 26 year old trish hughes, the mood at angels landing was grim. sisters emily and sara watched as the family commune patriarch lou tried to cheer everyone up. another young woman had joined the commune and soon lou and she were engaged with a little girl on the way. and as the clouds lifted over angels landing, shiny new rides appeared in the drive. >> before trisha died, there was
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three corvettes and everybody else had an suv. and then, after trish died, it got more and more and more extravagant. >> reporter: more vehicles? sports cars? >> higher-priced vehicles. >> reporter: salesmen must have been licking their chops to see him coming, huh? >> they were. we all had the dealership's owner's cell phones, cell phone. >> reporter: speed dial, huh? >> yeah. >> reporter: in fact lou spent a million and a half dollars on cars in just a few years. and his lavish generosity didn't stop at the family. civic-minded lou was showered with high-fives from the city council after he donated $19,000 towards a brand new police vehicle. and cops were always welcome at the extravagant parties thrown by lou at angels landing. one of the officers in the county dated one of the women there for while, huh? >> that was me. >> reporter: it was you? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: but not everyone in
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uniform was joining in the fun. >> it didn't smell right. >> reporter: a local informant gave a "psst, check it out," to wichita detective ron goodwyn an undercover narcotics officer who ended up recruiting two law-enforcement heavyweights. and in early 2003, from the shadows, the detective was eyeballing the commune, zeroing in on lou castro. ron, why did you become interested in him in particular? >> he drew attention to himself. >> reporter: kinda flashy or ostentatious? >> flashy. he had what appeared to be unexplained wealth, drew attention to himself with parties, high optioned vehicles. each vehicle had an angel vanity plate with a number after it, one, two, three, four. >> reporter: maybe he had old family money, was an inheritance guy. >> sure. and that was something that we had to look at without violating any of his rights. >> reporter: you thought there was a lot of smoke around this guy, but you didn't know what exactly it was coming from? >> there was. >> reporter: and the smoke kept
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billowing when goodwyn learned about the death of trish hughes. so her death didn't trigger your interest in him? he landed on the obituary and, bingo, there was lou's name. >> that was the first time i had seen lou castro in print. >> underlying his suspicion, he theorized he had a drug case. >> i worked drug case sz and unexpected weltd so goodwym began to come out. maybe i had side there was truss
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accommodating them. >> that's right. >> you tried to get it. >> i did. >> the tech guys couldn't come up with it. frustrating. >> it's a good fire. >> as emily tells it, brian was visiting family in south dakota. >> one day he called and he spoke to low for a little while. then he asked to speak to his daughter who was still in wichita. the story goes that he told her good-bye. >> told her good-bye? >> right.
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and then, a couple hours later, we got the call that he had been crushed underneath a car that he was fixing. >> reporter: brian was dead. really? that didn't make any sense to emily. >> he would have put blocks under the tires. >> reporter: he knew his way around a vehicle? >> right. >> reporter: and then, he was dead? >> yeah. >> reporter: the bodies were piling up, five now. but none of the findings in any of the cases, including brian's, concluded there was foul play. >> it was classified, and still is classified, as an accident. >> reporter: detective goodwyn decided he was going to have to find a new angle on the enigma of angels landing and lou castro even if he had to work around the clock. what drove you on this thing? >> there had to be something else out there he was hiding from. >> reporter: the mystery? >> the mystery of lou castro, his true identity. >> reporter: one thing was for sure, goodwyn wasn't going to let this go. coming up, yet another member of the commune meets a tragic end, but this time a light bulb would
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go off. >> what we saw was a pattern. >> reporter: as investigators dig in to lou's past, he starts to seem like a ghost. >> there should have been credit records, driver's license records and we could find none. . gotta love it. land o' frost premium. a slice above.
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>> reporter: in 2007, wichita detective ron goodwyn was investigating and keeping count of the mysterious deaths.
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five so far. money in a, her boyfriend and daughter lindsey perished in the plane crash, trish in the pool and now brian had been crushed under a car he was working on. while all of the deaths were deemed to be accidents really he wondered how could any family be so unlucky? what baffled him most is he didn't know who the central man, lou castro, really was. rifling through angels landing trash cans hadn't worked. what do you do next? >> one day when i was out on a day off i just happened to see lou castro with a female in an suv vehicle. i followed them to a restaurant on the north end of town. goodwyn sat in the restaurant, watched and waited. >> after they finished, i contacted the manager and asked if i could collect the dishes and glasses they had used at that table. >> reporter: the idea was to get fresh fingerprints that could
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i.d. castro. >> did that work? >> we tried every piece of dinner ware but were unsuccessful. >> reporter: he is still a mystery man. >> that's right. >> he tried another fingerprint ploy. he took some glossy photos, walked up to castro's home, and he cooked up a story about burglaries in the neighborhood. could lou recognize the cars or people in the photos. >> so you hand the glossy 8x10s to the guy who you believe is lou castro. >> i do. >> how did he handle them. >> he takes them and holds them between his palms. once the photos are out of of the envelope he moves them with his fingernails and doesn't pick them up by his fingers. >> reporter: he knew exactly what you were doing? >> he did. >> reporter: he wasn't going to fall for it? >> no. >> reporter: what did you think of your nemesis here? >> raised my suspicion he was hiding from law enforcement. >> reporter: he called a
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detective who worked high-profile cases like the notorious wichita btk case. >> it was an amazing story when ron told me. all these mysterious deaths. of course in this business you don't believe in coincidences. i felt ron was on to something. >> reporter: ron enlisted another big gun to help find castro, fbi supervisory special agent john sullivan. >> we checked the fbi databases and private databases. i had the officers go out and get photographs, pull arrest records. we checked every lou castro we could find in the u.s. and none matched the lou castro we had living in wichita. >> how unusual is that that the fbi cannot come up with a name and i.d. on the guy. >> that's extremely unusual, especially in this day and age because usually everybody has a trail. there should have been credit records, driver's license record
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and all sorts of records and we could find none. >> reporter: none of the car purchases, property deeds and utility bills at angel's landing were under the name lou castro. they were all under the names of commune members. just as goodwyn was feeling stuck, another tragedy was about to shake angels landing. in happened in 2008 when sara was 24 and emily 17. >> i called mom after school to have dinner with her. she didn't answer her phone. i was so angry with her. because she ignored my phone call. about 30 minutes into the test i was taking, they pulled me out of class. my dad was there. he said, we have to go. and he started driving me to my house and i said, dad, we have
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to go to the hospital. and he said, no, emily, we don't. >> 911. what's the location. >> reporter: their mother's car had swerved in to the oncoming traffic. >> she had hit the gravel troubling head on a rural road. >> so your mother was suddenly dead. >> right. >> reporter: may have been distraction or turn away from trouble. we really don't know, do we? >> no idea. she had just bought a little yorkie and for the past couple of weeks she had been happy. >> reporter: what did the investigators make up happened. >> they said it was an accident. >> reporter: the investigators couldn't ignore that jennifer's head-on highway death was the sixth in eight years from the same family commune. >> does that change your interest in the case? are you amped up more? >> i think we were. we saw a pattern.
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>> reporter: every two and a half years a mysterious death, deemed each time to be an accident. while the officers suspected lou castro was somehow involved they had no hard evidence on which to arrest him. they had to wait. >> it's not that easy. we did not want to tip off what we were looking at and if he knew we were looking at him, he could move or change the way he does business. >> reporter: and you still did not know who he was. >> we still did not know who he was. >> reporter: and a year later in 2009, castro did what they feared, he took off but just as the investigators thought lou castro might have slipped away they got their first big break. >> a troubling encounter shakes sara. >> he was very angry with me, scary angry. >> reporter: and someone new gives a first look in the angels landing world. >> authorities were interested in what you had to say? >> yeah.
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detective ron goodwyn believed that ron castro was involved in the deaths of six people. he didn't know how or why. now lou castro had slipped away, left wichita. it happened suddenly. a few months after their mother's death in the 2008 car crash, emily and sara were traumatized when lou announced a move to tennessee. how was that approached to the family, we're moving to tennessee. >> he said we really needed to go. we were angry with him for wanting to move. i didn't want to go. i wanted to stay. lou said, emily, we are doing this for you. >> reporter: for you? >> yep, he said we were going to be closer to vanderbilt, which was the college i wanted to go to. and he said this whole move was for me. >> that's kind of flattering to
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hear. >> yeah, well -- and also, how do you say no when the entire thing is about you? >> so you were still the princess? >> right. >> reporter: emily was 17, but sara was nearly 24 and edging away from the smothering nest. >> i moved out. >> how'd you do that? that's a huge step. >> they were leaving to go to tennessee and i didn't wanna go. and i had just lost my mom and i couldn't stand the thought of losing my dad. i never have been able to stand that thought. my daddy is so important to me. >> and did you tell lou to his face, "i'm not going. i'm not gettin' in the car"? >> yes. >> how'd that go down? >> he was very angry with me. scary angry. and i just said, "i'm -- i can't. i'm not doin' that. i don't wanna be that far away from my dad. i don't.
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there's no way." >> reporter: emily might have gone to live with their father, but she remained with the commune. >> i wasn't going to leave what i considered my family. >> and your dad was part of another family back when but -- >> i mean i still visited my dad and i still loved my dad, but that's just not where i was going to live. >> reporter: so as the family -- and emily -- moved to a beautiful colonial home on acreage in columbia, tennessee, sara stood her ground in wichita. she could exhale at last. and one evening, she went out and met a guy. his name was daniel -- an expert marksman in the kansas national guard. and as they fell in love, she began to spill the buried secrets of her past. >> you'd think nobody could have these dark stories that are part of your life. but you had just awful, awful things to tell? >> uh-huh. yes. >> reporter: sara was still in touch with the family commune, now living in tennessee. and daniel wanted to know more about this lou character sara was telling him about. >> and i just started researching all these deaths to try to figure out, you know, how much of it was related to this individual. >> which is exactly what law enforcement was doin' on the outside of all this, trying to
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look in and figure out where the puzzle lay. what'd you feel about these stories? a lot of mixed emotions. i didn't know how to handle a lot of stuff at that time. because it was all very fresh, very new to me. and just stuck with her and decided, you know, let's try to make things right. >> reporter: and secretly, daniel decided to take action. >> you put together a remarkable letter for the f.b.i. >> yes. >> that took some guts to do it. >> i was just pretty much just tired of me carrying all that information myself. i found out enough that i believed that it should be in somebody else's hands that can do something with it. >> reporter: daniel laid out his suspicions, painting an alarming picture of the angels landing commune -- a series of mysterious deaths, a code of silence enforced with sickening threats, and a big clue as to where all the money might have come from. and at the center of it all -- the man who called himself lou
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castro. even for this veteran of the wars in afghanistan and iraq, reporting to the authorities carried its risks. >> you worry about that? >> i did. but i decided, you know, this was something i have to do and the chips will fall where they fall. >> and turns out the authorities were very, very interested in what you had to say? >> yes. >> reporter: so in december 2009, nearly seven-years after the wichita investigation began, detectives goodwyn and snyder and the fbi agent sullivan got their first break -- the email from daniel. >> and in the email, he told us what he thought was happening. but the great thing about it was, for the first time, we had somebody from the inside that could confirm some of our suspicions. >> saying you guys really need to look at this guy, lou castro? >> yes. >> and i'm guessing you get a holy cow phone call, huh? >> yes. we finally have a cooperating witness that will help us determine who lou castro is. >> reporter: in secret -- without sara knowing -- they brought daniel in and peppered him with questions.
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>> he related to us how lou castro and the others had moved to a residence in columbia, tennessee. we were reluctant to talk to his girlfriend because, again, we did not want to tip off lou castro or anybody else. >> reporter: and daniel, their inside man, delivered the mother load. 4 >> they'd bring me pictures, "do you -- can you identify these people?" >> they're out at the gate lookin', you know, surveilling, watching cars come and go. but you're able to put the picture together for them? >> correct. >> reporter: armed with daniel's email and his intel, goodwyn, snyder and sullivan got an official green light to pursue castro and try to take him out of business. and, castro, walking into a bank in tennessee, was about to make a big mistake. >> coming up, investigators finally get inside the doors of the commune.
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the money had transferred from wichita, kansas, area banks to columbia, tennessee, banks. >> emily remembers the day lou set up a new account. >> did you go to the bank that day? >> i did. >> you didn't know that the local authorities had been looking at him for years in wichita? >> no. >> after they got in touch with the bank, they pulled the security camera video. there was emily and there was a man called joe vanegas opening an account. >> low castro of wichita is now joe vanegas of tennessee? >> that's right. >> they believed he was neither low castro and joe vanegas. now he had been made. they now had grounds to arrest him. a week later they moved in. coming up, investigate horse
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finally got into the compound. later sinister stories amber was the angel of death. >> then you'll hear from lou castro himself when "dateline" continues. while trying his hardest not to wake zeus. delsym 12-hour. nothing lasts longer for powerful cough relief.
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♪ it's a striking colonial house deep in the country side outside tennessee and in 2010 this is where lou casteral's house was. there was lou, his fiance and their daughter. emily was there too. based on information sarah's boyfriend, daniel had supplied to the three determined investigators, the fbi was now bird dogging the property. but inside emily and the other
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occupants were unawater. were you pleased at the it prospects int tennessee? >> it was.. it was hard going to school but i focused on going to college and things like that. >> one change in particular was unusual. lou's name. lou now wanted to be called joe. >> i think because he didn't have the proper, like, identify kal identifyication to get legitimately established as lou. so he needed an acingtutual dri license. >> they believe he had committed identity fraud which gavethem what they needed to make an arrest.
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we knocked on the door. castro and his common law wife answered the it door. >> he corrected us and told us he was not joe but lou castro. so he went back to his old identity. >> was he shaky that law the forcement was at his door? >> i didn't think so. >> the officers charged him and searched the it property. what did you find in the house? >> paperer documents. computers. 11 weapons, guns inside the house. >> any smoking guns? >> no. >> emily had been on her way home from school when she got a call from detective goodwin. i said i dont know who you are and he said i'm detective can goodwin. you need come home.
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i came home and goodwin and sullivan came out and i just about fainted. he had to practically carry me into the house because i was terrified. >> what did they tell you it was all about? >> i don't remember. i remember i didn't tell them anything. >> lou was continuing to confound the it officers by not givingthem his real name. >> we wanted his fingerprints immediately. we wanted to know who he was. and that can didn't occur. >> castro's finger prprints did show up in any if federal data base. >> we came back to wichita, partly happy because we had arrested lou castro but we still didn't know who he was at that point. >> so when he was sentenced to two years in federal prison, goodwin believed that was a ploy
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to avoid bigger charges, more serious charges over many years and he was determined to get to the truth. seven years after opening his investigation, he set off to the place he believed lieu castro was and at last found the true identity. . coming up the discovery that would break the case wide open. when "dateline continues." when "dateline continues." no. in the basement. why can't we just get in the running car? are you crazy? let's hide behind the chainsaws. smart. yeah. ok. if you're in a horror movie, you make poor decisions. it's what you do. this was a good idea. shhhh. i'm being quiet. you're breathing on me! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. let's go to the cemetery! you don't let a cold ruin your day.
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the nemesis of detective ron goodwin who would not give up his real name was behind bars after conit fesing to id fraud but he was just getting started. he believed castro was involved in much more serious crimes, hvy duty stuff.
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the plane crash that killed mona, the death of of ryan under a collapsed vehicle. that inx plicable head-on tragedy and trigs hughes's drowning. as the investigators call aev within with links to castro, they took tuse south texas. >> because patricia hughes, the victim in the drowning was from texas. >> the sister recalled trisha had gone with a guy way back when. >> a guy by the name of daniel perez. >> had you ever heard that name? >> no. >> daniel perez. he immediately contacted the local authorities and it turn itted out it there was a record of affdaniel perezand a mug shot. >> they faxed that to me that day. dplrs i remember when ron finally got the fax from it texas and i said where did you
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get that? it was obvious it was the person we knew as lou castro and now as daniel pers. >> lou castro was daniel perez. born in texas. he pleaded no contest to two sex crimes. but he was believed to be dead. >> and the person believed to be dead for many years but you saw him in wichita. so he was on the lam. >> he was on the lam. sglrs interviews with the angels landing commune helped goodwin connect the dots between six states and more than a dozen commune members. and something else happened. emily wrote a letter to lou while he was serving time for id fraud. >> i said i'm finally going where i want to go and doing the
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things i want to do and he wrote me back and chewed me out for not caring about hum. i said i was happy and he took that as a slap in the face and i stopped talking to him. >> instead she started talking to investigators. they trickled out their storaides, fearful they might be implicated. >> it took a lot of questioning and lots of tears and lots of detective goodwin telling me that it was going to be all right and that i wasn't in trouble. >> sarah and emily's whole terrifying saga began when she was 17 and emily 10. a supernatural world began to emerge after their mom got to know the man known as lou in 2001.
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>> my mom said emily -- i think saurau was in the car. but she said does lou seem special to you? and she said he's actually a sear. mom said he told her he was hundreds or thousands of years old and that he can see what was going to it happen in the future and that the it reason we followoed him was she just had that instinct and can knew she needed to be clos to him because he could protect her and keep heir safe because he knew what was coming. >> did you believe it? >> i was skeptical at first but when you're 9 or 10 and your mom says this is really what's happening you give it more credibility. >> others at angel's landing believes he was the direct descendant of geronimo and had the powerer to make it rain and
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bring death. >> it told of several instances where lou had bun dead or an animal had been dead or an animal was sick and he could make them better. >> yes, he could also see people from the past. like people that we've already died, he could see those people too. >> because he said he was an angel. >> he said your mom is right. i am hundreds off years old. this isn't really my body. i've died several times but it this is just the one i'm in right now. it seemed really cool. it was like being so special and being around this thing that nobody else gets to do. >> your very own angel. >> it's like seeing santa clause. you get really excited and he wastleing us he would take care
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of us and make sure we were always safe. >> but that meant he needed control. >> he told everybody what they were going to do and how they were going to goit. >> kind of my way or the highway? >> kind of. he was really good at manipulating you, i guess you could say. >> he knew where people's buttons were? >> very much so. he acted like he was my dad. er >> what was that thing he put together you got pulled into? >> cult. >> and the guy you knew as lou castro was the cult leader. what was that thing he had? he'd say crazy things and you'd think he was telling you the truth? >> yes. >> but nothing could have prepared him for what came next. he had three angel alter egos.
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>> daniel, amber and arthurer. >> arthurer was mean and daniel was kinder. >> but you didn't want to meet either of these? >> no. >> amber was the it angel of death. so she would come around when somebody was going to die. >> he could see someone was going to die? >> right. >> that was in his powers? >> right. >> and did you ever see that personality? >> i did. he wouldn't blink and would get this terrible grin that looked eval. >> she said before their mom's death, he had a terrifying vision. >> he predicted that my mom was go itting to die. >> it was awful. >> the outlandish stories were shocking to ron goodwin, a seasoned detective who was about to discover more about lou castro's power over life and death. mally was about to take the
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detective back to the summer in 2003 when trigs hughes drowned in the swimming pool in 2010. coming up. whatmally heard and then what emily saw when "dateline" continues. t emily saw when "dateline" continues. if you're 65 or older, even if you're healthy, you may be at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia - a potentially serious bacterial lung disease that can disrupt your life for weeks. in severe cases, pneumococcal pneumonia can put you in the hospital. it can hit quickly, without warning, making you miss out on what matters most. just one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia. it's not a yearly shot. prevnar 13® is approved for adults to help prevent
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hello. i'm dara brown. 100,000 ordered to evacuate as santa ana winds fuelling fires. this as they conduct rolling blackouts in the region. and president trump says u.s. and china has come to it a partial trade agreement and requires china to purchase u.s. agricultural products. now back to dateline." o datelin"
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detective ron goodwin was scarcely able to take in the story of the cult and occult. they recounted that lou castro, whose real name was daniel perez had brain washed them into believing he was a sear and that he took on the personality of dark, manipulative angels that could predict somebody's death. emily tookthem back to 2003. this was a different story than she told when she was 11 and it began with a prediction eerily similar to the one she made during her mom's death. >> shy tells of an incident. >> emily, trisha's toddler and trigs herself were sitting at a table and the 11-year-old emily believed him to be, had a
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vision. >> he said something really big is about to happen. he said trish is going to die. i started crying. he said it's okay. it's her time. >> he said thought to were a because while he couldn't ebe there when she died because of his power as a sear but he could bring her back. >> and she's hearing this described? >> yes. >> is she startled? does she say not me? >> no, she was in -- quite involved. >> on the appointed day, the angels landing family had just gotten back from lunch. >> he said we're going to go to the dealership to look for a car. i think for sarah but i don't remember. but he said the pool needs be clooned so you and trish are going to stay here and clean it. he said emily, it's time and i
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said okay. >> she says lou began to set up the cleaning equipment for the pool a few feet away from the workshop. >> he said you're going to wait inside the shop with the little one and i gave her a hug on the diving board and i started crying. and she said why are you crying and i said because i'm go itting to miss you. she said it will be okay. a few minutes go by a splash, a little but of a scream, like a shreek and then he came in and he was out of breath and he looked sad and his arms were wet. >>en the he says emily gave through a critical order. >> take one minute and make sure you and the baby jump in and go in one. so we went and played with the
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kittens in the shop and i waited. it was an agonizing 20 minutes. >> trying to entertain the little girl? >> knowing that trish was outside. >> time goes by, you leave the shed go to the pool? >> we went to the pool. it trish was floating facedown. so i got the baby and i jumped in. >> just to get yourself wet because of the story he fed that you have attempted to rescue the baby. how awful there you're seeing t -- trish floating. >> she called 911 and had banged her head and drowned. in the crucial 20-minute window, lou apparently tookmally's
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sisterer to the car dealership. what do you believe lou did at the pool that day? >> i believe he drowned t rish. >> pushed her headed the the water? >> yes. >> they believe he shored up his alibi tell itting heir that with his powers as a seer, he had put her in a time warp, convincing her for many years she wasn't even at the pool when trish drown. so innocent she waitd and waited for lou to bring her back to life and for years her death remoned an accidental drowning. >> i know it was because of the story i told and there's a lot of regret that comes along with that. >> but you don't get blamed for
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that, you understand that, right? >> i'm coming to terms. >> she would do anything for him. she truly believed that he was this person. >> and with emily's story she had the evidence of the greivis crimes. >> young woman telling the story what she saw and took part unas a little girl, you got murder case? >>ious. >> emily and sarah had more to tell. there were more crimes to reveal. even more ugly stuff. they were about to take the investigato investigators into their truly diabolical world. coming up the dark truth at the heart of angel's landing. here's the very difficult part of your story. y difficult part of your story. premium sliced meats have no by-products. [conference phone] baloney! [conference phone] has joined the call.
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wichita detective ron goodwin listened hard as emily and sarah revealed the awful story of trish hughes murder at angels landing. but nothing could prepare him for what he was about to hear next. emily, here's the really difficult part of your story and you seem right away to be sharing the bedroom with lou >> i was. >> as a fourth graderer? >> yes, i was ten. and i was in his bed every night. he convinced me this is what i head to dood to take care of him. he said for a seer he needed to have a pure little girl to have sex with him so he could survive. >> and that would recharge the
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batteries of the angels hundreds of thousands off years old. >> and he would validate it with old biblical stories about how he really needed a little girl and i needed to talk care of him. >> it did you think it was wrong or out of line? >> no, i wanted to take care of him. it's hard to explain but i loved lou. i loved him quite a bit and so i can did it. it was uncomfortable and painful and it breaks my heart now. you know, it's really hard for me to look at pictures of myself when i was little. >> your child hood was stolen by this man. >> it was. >> even when he got engaged and had a child, the abuse wasn't stopped, although emily was pushed out of the bedroom. hard to say but were you
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jealous? >> i was. i was 12 and felt like i was being divorced. >> sarah too was subjected to castro's mind games as he sought to control her. >> like trying to drive a wedge between my sister and i. >> were you jealous oof emily? >> uh-huh. he tried to make me jealous of her, yes. >> if you didn't follow lou's way, what would he do to you? >> he would rape me. >> how often? >> there are hundreds and hundreds of times and i can't tell you every single time but we try thut remember those things. how old were you when it began? >> 17. >> castro's abuse was backed up by demonic threats.
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>> he told me he was going to take me to purgatory. >> he would threaten to talk you to purgatory so you would forever be in limbo. and it's important to remember he, lou, would never make these threats. it was the angels inhabiting his body who would make these threats and so the next morning he'd wake up and be like mama, i love you. i'm so sorry. really? >> now where is your mom when all this is going on? >> it was usually really late at night and so she would be sleeping in her house. >> because by then he had two or three different properties? >> yeah. >> and there's people coming and going,. nobody intervened. >> nobody saw it. nobody saw the abuse and i have
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spoken to people who were there and i guarantee you nobody knew. he was very careful. i never had a bruise. >> except psychologically. >> and i was always with him so it wouldn't be weird for us to disappearer for an hour or two. nobody knew. >> but he didn't just manipulate the it girls for sex, he ordered saurau secretly to videotape a young boy in a bathroom. >> was he happy with what you showed him? >> no, he made me redo it because the first time he said i didn't get what he head toed he to get. >> if you said no, i'm not going to take that video camera and go eto the little girl? >> he would say i'm going to make your worst nightmare come
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true, i'm going to kill your dad. >> that was his big go to thing with you? >> yes, because i'm dad ea's girl. >> she says the acute fear instilled in her was even worse when he had been drinking. one evening he was brandishing an assault rifle. >> he shot a gun at my head because he was angry with me. >> he enjoyed the pain. he enjoyed making people muzerable. and making people terrified. he enjoyed it. >> but so great was castro's power that leaving didn't seem to be an option for the young girl. >> you had your dad back home. >> i think that's a pretty common thing for people unthese types of situations. everybody says you could have left then, you could have left then. but that didn't seem like a possibility. the thought of leaving was
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scarier than thought of staying. the scary part is what if he's right i am useless? what if he's right nobody will love me? what if he's right and he is a seer? >> and he's an angel that will kill you? >> that's scarier. i know i could have physically now. i never thought of leaving. i thought about killing myself but i nvr thought about leaving. >> i have ptsd. >> i'm not at all surprised. >> ron goodwin believed he had been told of crimes that could see daniel perez, aka lou castro, already in prison, behind bars for a long time. >> he is a sexual pred itter willing to do anything to get his way and do what he wants to do. live a life like he wants to live.
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he will stop at nothing, including murder and rape and he didn't stop at anything to get what he wanted. >> after the investigators presented all their evidence, they waited until castro had completed his two-year federal prison sentence. then he ended up being charged with 28 counts. child exploitation as well as multiple counts of sexual crimes. as witnesses file the to the courtroom, the investigators wondered if their star witness, emily, perhaps still so vulnerable would hold up when she saw the man kbon as lou castro before her. how much guts does she have? >> i can't imagine what it took for her to get to that point. >> and now she's going to take him on? >> yes. >> now despite all the evidence, at least one part of this case may not be a slam dunk when "dateline" continues. slam dunk
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at cedric county district court in wichita, kansas lou daubs, aka perezwas charged with 28 counts in all. no charges in any of the other mysterious deaths. emily and sarah would both testify though at the time not yet wanting to make public their identities and they would facedown the accused who controlled them both for so many years. >> i can't imagine how you must have been walking into the court room because the case depends on you. >> all i could think of is how are they going to believe me? this is such a crazy story. what if they don't believe me? >> the state and i will ask you it to hold him responsible and
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find him guilty. forerse >> district attorney marc beennt prosecuted the sprawling case. >> we had facts that involved a multitude of victims and witnesses. >> it was like that i max movie and you went with the epic version. >> if you can't tell the whole story, the jura would be lost. >> they won a key ruling when he allowed evidence from beyond kansas to be entered. so criminal accusations that he had uncovered through the midwest would be heard by the jury. s >> an individual by the name of patricia hughes had died. >> they allege even though she may have been a willing
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participant in her own death, it was nonetheless perez that held her head under the water. >> the distinction is that suicide is at your own hand. literally in this case, homicide, the hand of another. his hand was necessary to complete this act. >> there was circumstantial evidence and the star testimony of only one witness, 11 years old at the time of trisha's death. is this the weakest point of the case? >> this is the only count that had the testimony of one individual. so, yes, it was the most difficult to prove. >> i kept thinking nobody is going to really think it's as bad as it was. nobody was going to think he should serve life in prison. >> beyond emily's account, they put on an expert witness for the small bruises on the head consistent with finger pressure.
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and on the bottom because someone precpressed on the top of her head as she was under water. and exploitation of a child carrying a life sentence. this is the incident in which sarah accused perez of forcing her to videotape a young girl while she was getting dressed. how did it feel to see him in court? >> it was terrifying. i felt like he was going to jump over it the table and get me. >> even then? >> uh-huh. >> we found all this vidio on the computers inten itten. >> among the other sex crime charges, sarah, emily and one other witness testified about the same assault that took place. >> all three described this event. >> it was surreal and terrifying to sit before 12 people that i didn't know and tell them all of
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these terrible things and terribly graphic detail that had happened when i was 10. >> there were more witnesses. another young women from different states but said he claimed malevolent angels were controlling him as he assaultedthem sexually. >> thousands off miles apart. >> and their story is essentially the same. >> but it was the fraud charges that reveal what he was all about. you didn't have to go very far down the poper trail to realize he didn't sign anything. all filled out by his followers. he manipulated family members into using their own names to buy all that real estate and lavish toys.
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it turns out trish, monnau and lindsey and emily and sarah's mother who died in a car crash had all two things in com. daniel perez had predicted each of their deaths and each had juicy life insurance policies, payouts totaling $1.2 million were made to commune members. every time the coughers were low, someone would die? >> abshoutly. get down to sometimes less than 5,000 and that's around the time somebody was going to die. >> and the d.a. summed up their case against 55-year-old daniel perez. >> it's a story of domination, control and manipulation of the most vulnerable. spans 15 years. multiple victims, multiple deaths.
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multiple life insurance policies. he moves through several states to satisfy his own sexual appetite. >> he was about to take the stand and tell the court it had all been a big misunderstanding. coming up. mr. perez, i've heard you described as cult leader, child rapist. who are you? who are you? sometimes your small screen is your big screen.
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and with the xfinity stream app,
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which is free with your service, you can take a spin through on demand shows or stream live tv. download your dvr'd shows and movies on the fly. even record from right where you are. keep what you watch with you. download the xfinity stream app today... ...because xfinity stream tv week is here. watch shows like south park and the walking dead now through october 13th. for years he had travelled through texas and the midwest going by lou castro. frir frir in tennessee he was joe. now as he faces charges of first degree murder, sex crimes and fraud, he took the stand in his own defense. this time in his real name.
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perez told the court that everything about his story had been invented by the prosecution. there were no angels, no demons, no sexual crime, no insurance fraud and certainly no murder. perez sat downb with "dateline" and we went over the points of of his defense. i've heard you described as cult leader, child rapist. who are you? >> i'm no one in particular. i'm just me. >> do you think you can see into the future? >> no, sir. >> why are you telling people that? >> i never told them anything. >> who are your angel alter egos? >> there's no such thing. they weren't alter egos. you call me anything you want, just don't call me lou. >> explaining his weapon, he
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says after being charged with sex crimes in the mid'90s he left not because he was fleeing the authorities but because he was on a job. >> that was just a meal. i was moving money. that's it. i delivered money and i got paid for it. >> you still got the money? >> yes, sir. >> half a million? >> probably close to. >> did he sit emily and trish down and predict her death? did you tell her her time had come? did you tell little emily trish's time had can come and have the little girl set up an alibi for you to be that car dealership? >> no, i was not there. >> there's no question you were at the car dealership later on.
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it wasn't your hand pushing her beneath the water. >> nobody killed patricia hughes. >> bad things happen to people that know you. there's a big infusion of insurance money. let's go back the plan. dud you rig that plane to crash and kill those people? >> no, sir. a few more years and it's bryan trapped underneath a car. >>iou >>ious he passed away insideicide. south dakota. >> i had if nothing to do with anyone's death. >> what about the instructions with sarah the video camera. >> no. they found the pictures and the videos on her computer, not mine. has anyone considered the fact
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that she is the one that was doing it? >> are you a ped file? do you have an appetite for little girls? >> no. >> so raping the 11-year-old never happened? >> no. >> but that's the allegation. so you get up to drive your flashy cars and rape young girls. >> that's the picture that's come together but not reality. >> sarah says you raped her hundreds of times. that mocks you a monster. >> yes, it would. it would make anyone a monster. >> but you didn't do it? >> no. they were of age and of willing consent. we were just having fun. >> the stories that come out from these people is you're manipulating them. you're going to kill your father. >> and one of them was dating a police officer.
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we have law enforcement that hangout at the vans for at least eight years. it's not logical. how are you going to be raping an individual and they're not going to run to a police officer standing right there and say this is taking place? >> the prosecution are going to put together a story that you're a very unlucky guy with all these people dying around you every few years and munby coming in. how do you explain that? >> i can't explain it. >> were you a cult leader? >> no. there was no commune and no cult. >> and that's in essence what daniel perez told the jury. about three hours it was back with a vurblgt. judge josephf read to the court. >> guilty for murder in the
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first degree. >> he was found guilty on all 28 counts. and in march 2015 he was incidenced to two consecutive life 1234e7bs friendship it -- life sentence for the death of trisha hughes and the exploitation of a child. he received another 33 years for the other charges. tlrs 55-year-old won't be eligible for patrol for more than 80 years. they speculate he may have been involved tin the other deaths. >> do you think there's more to it than a simple plane crash? >> probably. >> perez was a plane emechanic in the navy. >> he did it somehow, some how,
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he found a way to aumter. i cant prove anything. i lost my mom and sisterer. but those girls lost -- i can't evenen imagine. >> so who is daniel perez? >> well, he used soman ea different stories that it's hard to piece them together. >> he's just a guy from south texas it telling stories? >> yes. >> for what reason? >> he liked it. he realized that if he could find a way to generate capital without having to work, he could have access to whatever sorts of things his heart desired. things including me and my sisterer. >> in the end it was tenacity
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and old-fashioned doggedness. >> i would not have my life back if it wasn't for detective goodwin and detective snideer and supervisory special agent sullivan and mr. bennet and parkerer, the it d.a.'s. it's amazing what they have given me. >> the last time we sat down with sarah and emily, they were trying to move on. and your mother knew nothing about all of this? >> now looking back she had to have known. >> you think? >> that she must have lost her mind. there's no way that my mom would allow that to happen to her children. glrs the sisters are now closer than ever and closer to their
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dad too who was anguished when he heard his daughters' stories for the it first time. >> there aremany times my dad could have gave up on me and he never did. >> he cried and wanted to know why i never told him. >> but inb your mind you were protecting him? >> yes. >> saurau is now married to daniel and still lives in wichita. emily got married too. >> i think that there are people out there experiencinging similar things i did. being manipulated and abused who are scared to leave. >> they may not have a goodwin riding up to them with a posse. >> but there it are a lot of of white hats throughout. there all a lot of people who care.
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maybe i can help someone, or at least i want to. some light has to come out of all of this darkness. f all of this darkness i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline". i see her laying there, my dad is kneeling. that was the first time i had ever seen him cry. >> they had a tumultuous marriage. >> there would be yelling and maybe slamming doors. >> according to him, he sees lisa with a gunshot wound to the head. it is initially ruled a suicide. >> her sister went to the missouri state highway patrol to express their belief that this, in fact, was a murder. >> she had been having an affair with h

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