The Investigation Deepens

Our investigative HQ: recorders, burner phones, and all.

In week three of our investigation, we start by learning everything that we can about the strangest murder weapon I have ever encountered while working on a case: A piano leg.

Since a grand piano inside a trailer house seems to be a strange juxtaposition, we consult an expert.

Piano Leg examples: console and spinet pianos. The one on the right seems closest to our murder weapon.

Talking to experts and doing live demonstrations can be an incredibly important part of any investigation.

It's one thing to discuss a murder weapon, but once we hold it in our hands and swing it we discover how an ordinary household object could have the potential to kill.

We do this with several other items during the investigation as well: I crawl inside a rolling suitcase to determine how Rebekah’s body could have been moved, I drive the same route that her killer may have taken, and pick up a 100-pound bag of sugar to help answer the question of whether the body could have been moved by one person.

Even when you have local experts, there is no substitute for recreating something yourself – and in the case of interviews, this means going straight to the source.

One of the most frustrating things about this investigation has always been the fact that so many people believe that they have had inside information about certain individuals – even though they may never have met or talked to them.

This was definitely the case with Chris. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Chris’ alleged crimes have become the stuff of local legends. He’s like an Arkansas version of Keyser Soze – a criminal whose violent deeds have become more legendary, and definitely more exaggerated, over time.

Adam shows us a textbook example (literally) of a epidermal hematoma.

Tracking down someone with a dangerous and violent criminal history – especially someone who may not want to talk, is one of the toughest jobs that we face as investigators.

When Taylor and I were searching for Chris, the fear and anxiety you hear in our voices is real.

During a search like this, local sources become incredibly important. Often, I will pair up with a local private investigator who has expertise in the area. I know this area well, but there’s no substitute for someone who lives here day in and day out. While tracking down Chris, we checked in with our local source often – so that even when our cell phones weren’t working, someone knew what we were up to in case we got into trouble.

Revisiting the dump site.

As you hear in the episode, I took a few precautions when approaching Chris: I had Taylor with me, and we were in an area right off a main road. But ultimately, it comes down to trusting your gut and using good judgment.

So in the end, we followed our instincts, and brought Chris’ side of the story to the public for the first time ever.