A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.
Tue, 30 Aug 2022 07:00
How do you investigate a homicide when you don’t have a body, a name, or any evidence of a crime except for one person’s word?
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Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. This, hands down, was the hardest case I've ever worked. I told Carlos about the story that the informant told me, and Carlos immediately said I never shot a man like that. I told him, hey, we never said anything about a gun. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Galasi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction. It's anatomy of murder. You know, today's case is unique to me because of the way it began. Think of it as going backwards. In most homicide cases we cover on the podcast traditionally start with the victim, the crime scene, and then the investigation and followed by the identity of the killer, hopefully. But here the order of the investigation is completely in reverse. You're going to hear about The Who did it even before you hear who the victim even was, or if a crime was even committed at all. And it's detective. Jim Spangenberg from Salt Lake City Police Department who was tasked with unraveling this mystery. There was just so unusual. You go in these cases, you know, you get called in the middle of the night to go out to a scene. Usually there's a body there and usually there's evidence there. This wasn't reported as a homicide. Every little step you make is absolutely crucial to the investigation and you really have to be on your toes 24/7. It's 2017 and Jim gets a call from a local prosecutor who said himself he was contacted by a defense attorney who said he had a client who was in jail and he was looking to give information in exchange to help himself. And he wanted to give information on a possible homicide that occurred in Salt Lake City. And so the information comes to Detective Spangenberg from Boise, ID a completely different state. He hears that there's an informant there who's a state prisoner not in Utah, but an Idaho there was an informant. That information about the homicide that happened possibly 2011 time frame and he has first hand knowledge of it. Made has information related to a potential murder. A lot depends on the specificity of the information. I think if it's something like I heard this from so and so who told me or told three other people who told me that type of information, I wouldn't get that excited about it. Nor would I because I could never use that in court because that's called hearsay. But we even look at most of the people that are coming to us through these calls or through their lawyers when they're in on their own cases as the information often doesn't pan out either because it's too general or they're just trying to help. Themselves by making something up. I didn't know whether the information that he had was accurate, whether it was legit, but I needed to find some time to clear up my schedule to go and interview him. But this type of thing happens all the time. I could almost hear the sigh in his voice. Like what? OK, someone else has information about a homicide that we don't even have on the books yet. They're in another state. Well of course, like he says, like you have to go check it out just on the off chance, because that's usually what it comes down to, that it's legit because you just never know what side of the line it's going to fall on. Even though most of those drives he'd be wasting his time now. Before doing any research or interviews, Jim had very basic information about the homicide, like the time frame, the area, but he also gets. The name of the alleged killer. The suspect in this case was a guy named Carlos Trevizo. Jim doesn't even know if a crime has been committed at all, but the one specific piece he has to go on is the name of who at least supposedly committed this crime, and that's Carlos Treviso, so that is going to be his obvious starting point. I knew that he was a resident of Salt Lake County. He knew he was in his 50s. He had a medium build. This was how he was described by the informant. I knew that he owned his own paving and construction company. When thinking about this, it took me back to another case that we recently featured on AOM Scott, remember Marion's legacy? And while it was a different circumstance, in that case the ultimate killer tried to throw off the investigation by giving a real name of a real person and trying to say no, that's who committed the crime. And I say that it reminded me of that here because even though this Carlos Treviso was in fact a real person, investigators don't know yet if he's done anything wrong at all. I try to go into these interviews dismissing any initial assumptions, but in the back of my mind I was very skeptical. It's difficult going into a case like this cold you sit down with the person and they're just basically telling you this information and if you have no prior knowledge of anything that this person is telling you. Then all you can do is take the information down. But if you go into this interview with some prior knowledge, you've done some research, you've done your homework, then you're able to go into this interview and ask the pertinent questions. On October 24th of 2017, Jim and his partner at a little after 11:00 AM sat down with another detective and met with this informant face to face in Idaho. We were basically just in a conference room in a local county jail outside of Boise, ID. Often in these type of interviews, the subject of your interview will mirror your demeanor. Meaning if you walk in friendly and you're open and you're interested in hearing what they have to say, they're more likely to be relaxed, to be open, and to be willing to talk. The informant was sitting across the table from me. He had two defense attorneys with him and I was just talking to him. The informant tells me that he rents a piece of property on the West side of Salt Lake. It's the industrial section of Salt Lake from an individual he knows is Carlos Trevizo. He would purchase used vehicles and recycle and resell all of the good parts and then strip the vehicle of all the copper and then it would sell what's left of the car. The informant says that he is working on a car. It's kind of getting late at night. And he's on the North End of this property when he hears arguing in the distance. As he got closer to the noise, he recognized Carlos's voice and he could tell that he was angry. A moment later, he hears 2 to 3 gunshots, he said. And then he sees a man on the ground, and Carlos is right next to him. He had seen him around the property. He knew a little bit about him, but he didn't know his actual name. And Jim is hearing this scenario. It is supposedly years after this crime took place. We're talking like four or five years from what the informant was saying. So this was in 2012, and then nothing happened. The informant never went to any law enforcement agency. He never told anybody about this until he was arrested in 2017 on those federal firearms trafficking charges. So then you have to start to look at, well, what are the scenarios that people come forward years later? I've done these types of interviews a lot. The majority of the time, these informants just want to get their charges reduced, let out of jail, let out of prison. A lot of times the information just isn't correct, isn't valid. They totally made it up. They minimized their responsibility, their roles in the investigation. So I didn't have a lot of hope. But there's another reason why someone wouldn't come forward, and that is fear of retribution. And he was too scared, he said he was choked up. He was crying. In the interview he told us the reasons why he didn't come forward because he was scared of Carlos. He was scared of what would happen to him, what would happen to his family. The informant already knows just how cold blooded Carlos could be. That's based not on him just shooting the victim. There's so much more violence, he revealed. After the man on the ground has been shot, the informant notices that the guy on the ground is still moving. And then the informant sees Carlos walk up, push him down to the ground even farther, pull back his head and slit his throat. And then all of a sudden, someone else now walks up. So you now have a fourth person, and that person now says, oh, wait, who is this? And they're not talking about the guy on the ground or Carlos. They're talking about the informant because it is clear to them that he, the informant, has witnessed this entire murder. After that, Carlos walks over to the. Performant, and tells him that he's going to drive him to the informant's house, even though the informant already had his car on scene. German is already pleading with Carlos that he only heard yelling and hadn't seen anything. And then he pulls up to his house and before he lets the informant go, he says, let me see your driver's license. It's a complete intimidation factor. Think of it this way, if the informant was concerned about showing Carlos where he really lived, he could just take him to any house. The fact here is Carlos wanted to confirm the informant was telling the truth. Perhaps this is his first Test. The implied message there is I know where your family lives. And if you double cross me, what happened to the victim in this case could easily happen to you. So the informant goes into his home. His wife and his children are all inside asleep. He's terrified. He's thinking that either he's going to end up dead or his family is. And so now he starts to look at all the windows to make sure that Carlos is actually left, and he just goes out into the yard and it's just silence all around him. He think goes back into his living room. He's thinking about everything he had just seen and wondering if Carlos is going to come back now for him. Lead said he didn't sleep at all that night. He was absolutely terrified. He says he doesn't know why Carlos killed this victim, but he does know Carlos enough to know what he's capable of, and that is weighing on this guy's mind, the informant all night long. Three weeks go by and the two men carry on their business as usual. But then that other unidentified man, the third party who spotted the informant the night of the murder, goes up to him. While he's working on the cars and either to test him or some other ulterior motive, he tells him where he and Carlos buried the body. And then walking out, my partner and I were talking on the way out, and we're not the kind of people that just believe any story that's thrown our way. They've never even heard about this case at all, so they're trying to figure out if this guy's telling the truth and if what he's saying even makes sense. But we both looked at each other. And I said, what do you think? And he goes, you're going to kill me. But I believe the guy and I felt the same way. I felt the exact same way. Even though all the information seems really solid, there's so much more work needed to be done by Jim and his partner because it is just a story, even if it's believable. It's potential evidence, but there is a lot of work they have yet to do. Can just tell you any type of story, and it doesn't mean you can act on it and make an arrest based upon what they tell you. And you have to do that digging, sort of speak. You have to find that evidence. But on this particular case, you had no body, you didn't know who your victim was. You were just kind of going into this, not only blindly, but working it backwards. Have one lead. The informant had seen the victim on that same property before, and while he didn't know his name, he did know his nickname. The only name Jim had for the victim was Nacho. Right. Described Nacho as a man in his 30s, about 5 foot eight, and he would often go back and forth between Utah and California. And so now Jim is doing everything he can think of to try to identify who this quote UN quote Nacho is, and we just start running the nickname through our police database system to try to find any connection. We're looking at past missing persons reports, anything that we can find that's going to provide that identity of the victim. But he is coming up with zip, zilch, nothing. So here we are. It's late fall 2017, and Jim felt like he needed to put this potential homicide case in gear. My partner and I just sat down and kind of devised this plan. One put Carlos on a surveillance and we had detectives sitting on Carlos's house with cameras. We had detectives installing cameras on this property. #2 your informant has given you a potential road map to where the victim's body may be, and the next steps will be trying to get a judge to sign off on a warrant to do a search of Carlos's property. That meant compiling a team of detectives, crime lab personnel, cadaver dogs, heavy equipment operators, writing search warrants. And the last step, #3, is to try to locate that second person who was there that night. Anything you can think of we did on this case? And these three steps are not done in succession. These three steps have to be done at the very same time you're working through this potential homicide investigation, and time is of the essence. I went to my command staff said, here's what I want to do. I want to do this 2/3 day operation where we're going to be digging, we're going to be looking for a body. And by the way, I want to fly back East and interview somebody. And by the way, I need to detectives, this is on this House and this piece of property 24/7 while I do that. There is so much bureaucratic red tape and trying to get all of this achieved on all these cases. You always have to go to this supervisor who goes to this supervisor who goes to this boss, certainly in the larger police departments, and Salt Lake City is one of them. So you're basically going and asking a supervisor to sign off on all these things. That takes person power and money, but you can't even tell him that you know that a crime has happened at all. So they kind of looked at me a little crazy, but they went along with it. And so they do identify who the other person is. Remember the one who kind of jumps out and says, like, wait, who is he? And now sees the informant when this crime is supposedly happening. So Jim identifies him, finds where he is, flies because he is nowhere near where he is now, not in Salt Lake City. And they go to speak to him. And I felt like my reputation and my partner's reputation were on the line because we were both pushing hard for this. And he does talk, but he refuses to tell them a thing. He says he does know what we're talking about. He didn't do anything wrong. We were in that interview for literally 5 minutes before he stood up and walked out. It was a huge blow to this case. It was huge. So Jim has on a map the exact area where this homicide supposedly occurred, and as far as they know the body is they're told where it's buried, at least approximately, and that it is 6 or 7 feet under the ground, according to the informant. He believes the body is buried six or seven feet deep north of the only tree on this property, but once again, he didn't see where the body was buried. He was only told this by that third party. But remember, this occurred over five years ago, or at least around that time. So police are hoping that nothing has changed on the property itself before they go there and that the informants memory is sharp as he recounts what he saw. And I'm looking at a satellite photo from Google. And I'm really actually just looking at the property the way it's set up and you could tell it's an industrial park which is divided by a set of railroad tracks. And I can imagine late at night this area would be really desolate. So this piece of property is basically a junkyard. For lack of a better term. It's a narrow piece of property that's pinned in between railroad tracks on one side and a surplus canal on the other. And it's just this wide open spaces in all directions and you can even see mountains in the distance. And the property is full of semi trucks, semi trailers, tractors, trucks, tires, junk. I flew in late that night and we dug early that next morning. In order to excel this search, Jim and his partner decide to deploy canine cadaver dogs and the best way to use them is to try to narrow down a potential area to determine if any human remains or present there. The informant said there's one tree on the property and so we kind of had a general area of where we thought Nacho's body was, but we didn't want to give that information to the cadaver dog handlers. We wanted them to go in blindly to see if they indicated anywhere on that property. This is like a double check. As I've mentioned before in the podcast, during my law enforcement career I was a sheriff's canine handler and know how effective that tool could be. And I think Jim's approach was smart. Couple dogs there, the majority of the dogs, they would take one dog and let him run through the property, and then once he was done, then they take another dog and do the same thing. And the majority of the dogs indicated in the general area that the informant told us that Nacho was buried with that canine. Confirmation workers could now grid the area and begin to clear the industrial part and prep for digging. The operator was able to move a bunch of machinery, a bunch of trucks out of that area, and he started doing what I wanted with the scoop. But once you get down to a certain level, you're just forced to dig. He dug 6 to 7 feet. We were hitting groundwater. As they're digging, the police get an onlooker and it isn't Carlos. Some guy walks up and asks what's going on and before we could get his name or any type of vehicle description, he leaves. Now, it's hard to tell how significant this really is, but Jim does have a surveillance team on Carlos, so perhaps he got wind of the search and was sending someone to see first-hand if the search was in fact happening. So while there is a surveillance team watching Carlos, they start to see something too. Vigil that was at the property shows up at Carlos's house and then, as they're watching, they see that same person now leave with Carlos. Carlos begins to drive erratically and investigators fear he may be attempting to shake the tail. He stops momentarily at a gas station, doesn't pump any gas, and pulls out of that location. Fast. He's driving through parking lots. All the while investigators and unmarked police units are keeping up the tail. And so just think about the adrenaline is all this going on. So not really sure what he's up to you. Carlos is driving barrier ratic. He makes numerous trips to different banks. The question now was Carlos trying to make a run for it. It's November 2017, and while the weather in Salt Lake City is getting bitter cold, the investigation into Carlos Trevizo is heating up. What? They're telling me this. I'm at the scene. We're looking. We haven't found a body yet. I'm afraid Carlos is going to flee. We had no choice but to pull him over and detain him. Investigators sit down with Carlos for an interview and they also notice he has a bag with him. So he had a duffel bag with him during that interview, and inside the duffel bag were three pairs of new jeans, 4 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of underwear, 3T shirts. There is multiple items of each thing and they're brand new. To be honest, Sega 2 things come to mind. Number one, obviously he's attempting to leave town. And he has several changes of clothes with him and #2. Perhaps he's anticipating he may be stopped by police, so it's unlikely his new clothing, anything he's wearing then would have any evidentiary value or traces of evidence from the crime scene at all. Remember, the informant told Jim that he witnessed Carlos in close contact with the victim, with his foot on his back, reaching down and grabbing his head and then slitting his throat. And any of these. Actions could lead to a potential DNA recovery. He said that he has a crew working construction and one of the guys fell in a hole and got muddy and he was taking him some new clothes, a story that no one believed. You know, again, it comes back to that common sense that if it doesn't make sense, it's probably because it isn't true. He was wiring money. We later found out that he had approximately $311,000 in one of his bank accounts, so he was looking to leave town. This is a big challenge. Remember, we started with an informants description of events that we've yet been able to cooperate. Think about some of the no body cases we've covered here on AO M They had something in common, somebody who was reported missing, someone who they were able to tell that their life apparently ceased to exist electronically. They stopped using their cell phone, they stopped using bank cards. But none of that was apparent in this victim's case because we do not have anybody who's been reported missing. Linking them to this case, right now I don't have a whole lot to hold him on. We have enough to detain him for this, but we don't have enough to charge him and I just. I'm trying to stall as long as I can to give the people on scene time to find the body, hopefully. I wanna stall, so I'll pop in periodically. Hey, you need anything? Do you wanna drink? And then I pop back out. But ultimately I had to go in there and talk with them. What does Carlos have to say? Well, first of all, he does agree to speak with Jim, at least initially, but he seems completely nonplussed. Even as Jim starts to put his cards on the table and say they're investing a homicide and they have a search warrant for Carlos's property, it doesn't seem to bother Carlos at all. He's very talkative, he's very cordial, he's very calm, but he kept holding his hands up and he would say my hands are clean, my friend. He would say that over and over and over again. Carlos appears to be extremely comfortable and talkative, but then there came a moment where he may have benefited from a well known Anna Sega Aism. Amit, what? You have to deny what you can. I told Carlos about the story that the informant told me and Carlos immediately said I never shot a man like that. I told him, hey, we never said anything about a gun. And Carlos said, you know, killing somebody, I mean, it means guns. Which that was just a very, very bizarre statement. So what do you think, Anna Siega? Is this guilty knowledge or could it be just common knowledge? You know, on its face it could be either, because again, by the research and even just common sense, we all know from what we've heard is that guns are by far and by and large, the most common weapon used for homicide. But again, it's never just by itself, because we also know that this guy had a duffel bag filled with brand new clothes and had been headed over to the bank. So I don't know. I think that coupled with the little pieces they already have, I think he's already started to slip. The one thing that struck me as a little bit bizarre is you know that the police are conducting a search on your property, yet you don't go there and find out exactly what's going on. You know, Carlos does admit to some things while he's talking to Jim. You know, he says, yeah, I know Nacho. I don't know one Nacho. I know two. But I assume you're talking to me about the one, this guy who's been missing for a year. So, you know, to me, that's already like, wait, whoa, now he's actually getting confirmation that there is someone missing with the same nickname at the informant talked about. So that is now going to maybe this crime actually happened. If the fact that he didn't see him for all those years and he's now saying he did, Jim's going to be able to cooperate. That statement with other interviews within this investigation. He said he knew Nacho, but he hasn't seen him for over a year, so he would admit to some things but not to others. But again, I don't take a whole lot of stock in that, and I'm not really troubled by it. I look at it more as starting to corroborate that there is this guy actually nicknamed Nacho who's missing. And now I really want to find where that guy that Nacho is. But you're also have to look at all of his statements in total because his next turn was a bit unusual. He claimed that if a body or someone is found on that property that someone else probably put it there. The reason is because. The property is not fenced in and other people could have access to it. So if you guys dig and find a body, it may be there, but it wasn't me. It's almost like, hey, you guys might find something, but I'm going to tell you why you're not going to be able to specifically link it back to me. He's giving them these innocent explanations that it could be all these other people, not him, that have access to his property, and he might even know about it. It's coming back to that, you know? Hands up, my hands are clean. We speak with him for as long as we can possibly find things to talk about. In the end, Jim released Carlos, but he made sure that Carlos was aware that they were on to him. The interview ended. I made the decision to release him. It was kind of a decision that I regretted at the time, but I felt like it was the right thing to do is just release him until we figure out what's going on. He told calls that a team of cadaver dogs were searching his property and which Carlos replied, I hope they find something there, but you know, I don't know who it is or what it is, but if there was somebody there, he hopes we find them and give them a proper burial. This guy who's trying to play it cool, he doesn't even realize that that is the wrong affect to have, because this really is a shocking thing as the potential of a body on your own property. So he doesn't realize that this playing it cool is really starting to show himself for who he is underneath that exterior. And there's nothing cool about that at all. And what it might be is evidence of guilt of a crime. I think once we released him, since the body hadn't been found, it was getting late in the day that surveillance was pulled. Even with these pieces, by no means is anything coming easy for Jim. There's still so many roadblocks. Remember, he has no identification about who his victim is. There's no body. There is no actual victim at all. He has this informant, but no other real evidence, no evidence tying Carlos really to anything. And the informant is someone who clearly, by what he's asking for, is also trying to save his own skin by telling this story. We're going to jump forward a little bit when Gemma eventually gets a surprising call. Remember the third party witness who once refused to cooperate? Well, now he's willing to talk. But there is one condition. So the other man who had supposedly been out on the property this third party witness resurfaces and he says he's willing to work with investigators, but he has some requirements. Through his attorney, he said that he would cooperate with us if we would get him out of prison, give him $3500 and buy him a car. It's not even just that he's asking for specific things. It's what he's asking for. It's like, yeah, we're used to hearing you want to get out of prison. Everyone does that's come with information. He wants a very specific amount of money, but then he also wants a car. And it was the car that it's like, OK, no, now it's just this laundry list of like, you know, yeah, I'd like you to buy me a car, too. You know, that is not a very uncommon request. In fact, I've worked. In drug cases where someone had been jailed for narcotic sales and they're willing to roll on somebody else, but they want me to release them and they also want me to go buy drugs for them. So it didn't work in those cases, and I don't really think it would work in this case. What do you think of Sega? Think about what he's setting up for? Get Me Out of prison? Give me $3500 in a car. Doesn't that sound like someone who's about to get out of town on his own? So where is that person going to be? How reliable are they going to be when it comes down to when you need them, which is in court? That this case ever makes it that far. We don't work with people like that. So now police have just released Carlos, but they also are about to call it quits for their search. This is fall in Utah. It's dusk, it's 5:00 o'clock within minutes. It's about to get dark. We had about 1520 more minutes and so my partner and I were out back out on scene and we just took a walk. There was just so many people around. There were so many detectives. There were so many crime Lab personnel, command staff, media. We just took a walk and we went over exactly what the informant was telling us, where they were digging. We were about 15 feet off. My partner, he kind of redirected me to dig in this one spot because that's what the informant had told us. We kept going back to what the informant told us in our initial interview. We had the backhoe operator redirected and had him kind of dig a little bit more to the east. The backhoe operator stopped and said, hey, I think I see something. He jumps out. He jumps down this massive hole. We locate partial remains. 7 feet below the surface, which was not far from where the canines had alerted. There it was the first confirmation. There was the hip that he saw. Then we looked on top of that pile of loose dirt that he had dug up, and there were some skeletal remains on top of that mound as well. In that confirmation was a hip bone. And over the next couple of days, they continue to dig and they find more bones. Virtually his whole body. And they find clothing, a belt, 2 back pockets to the jeans he was wearing shoes with socks, sunglasses and a blow pop wrapper in his pocket. But what they don't find is identification. The shirt that was recovered with the skeletal remains had knife marks on the right side of the collar. Consistent with how it was described by the informant, who said he witnessed the entire event, his words now seem truer than ever. So they went to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy, and then the remains were sent to the Division of State History, the antiquity section, for further analysis. While they don't find any Ballistics, they find wounds that are consistent with the body being struck by Ballistics. You know, basically almost like dents in the bones where the bullets would have hit. They see evidence of knife wounds. So it's all coming full circle to exactly what the informant says he saw. So they identified the remains as that of a 35 to 45 year old Hispanic male. There was some postmortem damage, fractured bones likely associated with the burial of the remains. You know, you're gonna go back to Carlos, and you're gonna ask him questions about the discovery, and I have a theory out of Sega that I want to hold back for a second. I'd like to hear your thoughts of how Carlos would explain this. Well, I don't think Carlos is going to explain this at all, but go ahead. What do you think? Let me pose a question. Could Carlos be set up by the very informant who was attempting, in his words, to do the right thing? He was honored, described all the details. He has direct knowledge. And the reason I pose this question, something like this could come up in a homicide trial raised by the defense. And that question would be important to be able to answer. What do you think? I think 100%. I think it's always good to think like the other side. But when you do, I'm already thinking about what I would explain to the jury why that makes no sense, which is that you're not saying I don't make sense. No, no, no, no. That's why I will say that the defense doesn't make sense. Which is what I think that you're trying to point out is that you know the person that's trying to hightail it out of town. Move money in the bank and has all these brand new clothes folded up nice and neatly in the duffel bag as his property is about to be searched for a body? Well, that's not the informant. That's Carlos, and that's just the beginning of the different things that they're trying to find out. So again, yes, absolutely need to think it out. Is that going to fly if that's what the defense does? Because, remember, the defense never has to do anything at all. But I think there's some various pieces here that show that common sense would go against that claim. I drafted another search warrant for his residence and that was executed and he was arrested and brought back for more questioning. The Jim and his partner do have the opportunity to go at Carlos again, and this time was different. The once chatty Carlos became the IT wasn't me. Carlos, the same thing. He denied everything. He would hold his hands up and say my hands are clean, my friend, and that's all he would tell me. But the thing that ended very differently about this round was that this time Carlos didn't walk out the door a free man. So we conducted a search warrant of his house that night. We located 4 firearms and he was a restricted person. He was he had been convicted of domestic violence before, so he was prohibited from owning firearms. So we arrested him for the murder and also the possession of a firearm by restricted person 4 counts. And let's just go back to that for a moment, because it's not like they can't charge when they don't know who the person is. Unfortunately, that is something we've dealt with many times before, and then it's just usually a John or a Jane Doe. In this case, they can even add the nickname Nacho. But that means that there are people presumably out there of family and loved ones who still have no idea where their loved one is. So with the amount of remains that were recovered from the site, Jim felt confident enough that he could put out a thorough description of the victim and use the media, hoping the public would answer. The last question was who was Nacho? We were soliciting information from anybody who knows who this person might be. On November 20th, 2017, Jim finally got the answer to the question who the victim was. I got a call from a detective from a neighboring agency who took a missing persons report in 2012 and he said the missing persons case was now called and he was missing since February of 2012 when he was leaving from a wedding in California to return to Utah. But he told me the individual that was missing was named Jose Ignacio Guzman Valdez. Jose Ignacio Guzman, baldez. You can hear the similarities in the name Ignacio and Nacho. I knew that was our guy. I knew 100% that was him. For five whole years, Jose's family and friends had no idea what happened to him at all. Didn't know if he was dead or alive. 5 agonizing years. The person that reported him missing was his brother, who eventually contacted us a few days later and said, hey, I think a body you found is my brother. Eventually DNA was taken from the brother and compared it against the skeletal remains that were found, and it was a match. You know, so many times in speaking to victims, family members, they will tell you while that grief Sears through their heart forever. It is the unknowing, the not having answers that sometimes can be, if you can believe this, even worse. And so think about this for this family, for not five days, not five months, for five years. He just like seemed to up and disappear off the face of the earth. And just what that must be like while they're going to at some point likely presume the worst. They just don't know. And that in itself must be gut wrenching. The one missing piece for this nearly complete puzzle was determining, potentially why this murder happened. So they continued on, speaking to countless people to gather different pieces of evidence, but also to find out more about who whose they Ignacio Guzman Valdez was and what they found out. Well, some of that wasn't pretty. He seemed to have been involved in some serious narcotics dealings, and that ended up having to be part of the motive in this case. His brother said that he was involved in criminal activity. Carlos and Nacho were partners in the drug business and Nacho would act as the middleman between him and the drug customers. Apparently Jim Fan authorized investigation that an argument ensued and that's what led Carlos to kill Nacho. It was all based on a drug trade. When you look at this one, think about how important accountability is. You have the public safety factor. I mean, just think about who Carlos is not. Only for the brutality of the crime itself, but the way that he terrorized the informant, you know, not only him, but kind of made threats against his family as well. Well, that talks to potential future crime and how important it is to get him off the streets. If I had a loved one that was killed, I would want detectives working just as hard as we did on this case. So before the case goes to trial, they have what's called a preliminary hearing, which basically when you have any felony case, you're going to either have a grand jury or a preliminary hearing. And really, just what that means is that it is a way to test the prosecution that they have enough evidence to charge this person. In a way, it's protecting people from unfounded charges. Like you just give a snapshot of your evidence and then the judge will decide in the case of a preliminary hearing whether you have enough to go forward to trial. He sat in the preliminary hearing the exact same way he sat in the interview, with kind of this smug, arrogant look on his face. The informant had to get on the stand and testify. I was on the stand testifying about what was found, about the investigation, about the search warrants, about locating the skeletal remains, about the identification of Nacho. Our case hinged on people believing the informant story, and the informant got up there and he did an absolutely remarkable job. This story didn't change, and after that he pled guilty and took a deal. And we've talked about this on several episodes where you have somebody who's accused of a really violent crime makes a deal with prosecutions for all kinds of different reasons, and then the family sits back and says, is this really justice? I believe it was manslaughter and I think it was seven years to life. Seven years to life, people may end up questioning that deal. And I think it's exactly what I thought when I heard it and actually asked him what the minimum was. He said that the minimum would have been five to life. But, you know, I come back to the fact that I'm thankful that the family, which is Jose's brother and mother, I believe they sat through every day of the preliminary hearing because there is something to that wall. It's very difficult to hear about the brutality of the crime. A lot of families will say that that is something they need to kind of see it all put forth in an open public arena. And so while it was just the preliminary hearing, at least they got that before the plea. But yeah, I think that the numbers speak more to the type of the evidence and the hurdles the prosecutors thought they might face with some of their witnesses. But it certainly doesn't feel like 7 years is enough for the taking of really any life. Informants are a critical part of the criminal justice system. Often they bring cases to conclusion and justice that may have never been seen in a courtroom, but it doesn't come without controversy. There are some who believe that if someone is serving time for a crime, they committed on another victim and end up testifying against somebody else in a completely different case. Why in some circles, are they treated like heroes or like they're saving the day? And I ask what about the family? In the case that they were in prison for originally, especially if it's a violent crime. Informants come in all shapes and sizes, and I've dealt with many of them in my career. I'm always willing to listen and really believe that each one brings a unique opportunity and hopefully, together with prosecutors, a path serves everyone in the justice equation in the final result. I'm so thankful that Jose's family got the answers that they've been waiting for, for years. But I also just think like of the word chance that if it wasn't that this informant was in jail and had his own need to help himself, that he may never have spoken to authorities. And that means that Jose's disappearance may never have been answered. And so again, it is. You never know which way a case is going to go, but it was really chance that helped get Jose's family. The answers they certainly deserved. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Franzetti Media. Ashley Flowers and submit David are executive producers. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve? Umm.