In Detective Matt’s small town there is a spot called Fisherman’s Cut. It’s not easy to find – off the main highway, down a dirt road you’d probably never notice if you hadn’t been there before, around a bend you can’t see until it’s too late. It’s where, as Matt is getting ready to leave work for the holidays, someone reports finding a woman’s dead body. Through a combination of keen observation and some good luck, Matt and his team find a suspect. The suspect is brought in for an interview. As Detective Matt begins his interrogation, he starts to wonder, ‘Am I looking into the eyes of a serial killer?’
The detective: Detective Matt
Detective Matt grew up in Pennsylvania. He joined the police department shortly after graduating college. He worked in patrol at first and then moved to the street crimes unit before he started as an undercover narcotics investigator. He went on to join a DEA task force and worked to infiltrate a group threatening a major political party’s national convention. He received a medal of valor for his efforts. He moved to another state and worked as a deputy for several years and is now retired from law enforcement.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:07] Hey, Small Town Fam. It’s Yeardley. How are you guys? I hope you’re all well. We have quite the episode for you today. I think of it as quintessential real crime in that it has all the elements of why most of us who listen to these cases are so drawn to them. For instance, in order for our guest, who is fan favorite Detective Matt, in order for him to solve the murder he tells us about today, he needs to check his judgment at the door, then get up close and personal with the man he suspects is responsible for the violent rape and murder of a woman the killer figured no one would miss.
[00:00:49] As I listened to the final edit of this episode, it reminded me that the kind of compartmentalization Matt deploys is a skill that a lot of the detectives we’ve had on the podcast talk about. They all wave it off and say, “Oh, you know, it’s just part of the job.” But after sitting down for 13 seasons with these men and women, I’ve come to believe it’s a part of the job that has a long, spiny tail, because the better you get at distancing yourself on the job, the harder it is to let everyone in when it’s time to go home. In the episode today, Matt’s skill as an interviewer is front and center. Though the suspect stops short of a full confession, the dots Matt and his team are able to connect via the evidence, tell a horrendous story of torture, rape, and murder.
[00:01:47] So, Small Town Fam, this is your warning to please take care when listening. Finally, Matt’s suspect becomes quite attached to him. I mean, it’s easy to see why, because despite the man sitting across from him, Matt is respectful and nonjudgmental. And it made me think, not for the first time, that even people who commit unspeakable acts want to feel like somebody’s listening. Here is Charlie Bear.
[00:02:26] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:02:27] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:02:28] I’m Dave.
Paul: [00:02:29] I’m Paul.
Yeardley: [00:02:30] This is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:02:32] Dave and I are identical twins and-
Dave: [00:02:34] -retired detectives from small town USA.
Paul: [00:02:36] I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: [00:02:42] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: [00:02:50] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: [00:02:56] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: [00:03:01] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases. We ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved-
Dave: [00:03:09] -out of respect for what they’ve been through.
Unison: [00:03:12] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:03:22] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:03:29] Hello, everyone.
Yeardley: [00:03:31] [laughs] Hello.
Dan: [00:03:33] Hello, everyone.
Yeardley: [00:03:34] It always makes me laugh. I always feel like you guys are waiting for me to say something else. I don’t have anything else.
Dan: [00:03:40] I’m trying to bring the energy. We had a tough loss last night, so.
Yeardley: [00:03:44] Baseball loss.
Dan: [00:03:45] Yes. I’m still in mourning. [laughs]
Yeardley: [00:03:47] Okay, understood. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:03:51] Hello. I’m happy to be here and happy to have watched Dan’s team lose last night.
Yeardley: [00:03:58] [laughs] Oh, boy. And we have the one and only Paul Holes. He was not at that game last night.
Paul: [00:04:05] No, I wasn’t. I’m kind of chipper, so I’m doing good.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:04:09] So happy to have you. Small Town Fam, you’re going to be so excited because we have a returning fan favorite with us today. We have Detective Matt.
Matt: [00:04:20] Hello and thank you so much for bringing me back.
Yeardley: [00:04:23] We are so thrilled to have you. So, for our listeners, new and seasoned, Matt has already brought us two cases. He brought us Politically Incorrect, which was in Season 10, which is a fantastic episode about power and corruption and, well, everything that’s in the news these days. And then he brought us a great case called Deep Cover, which we aired in Season 11 where Matt was undercover, like deep cover and that shit will blow your mind. I’m actually glad, happy to say that Matt is now retired. No matter how long you serve, as I always say, it’s just not a natural job. It’s not natural to encounter everybody on their worst day, that’s your daily. So, any amount of time you put in, I feel like is significant. And Matt, I’m happy you’re on the other side and able to spend a little more time with your family.
Matt: [00:05:20] Well, thank you very much for that.
Yeardley: [00:05:21] Thank you. So, Matt, you’re an old pro now. I’m just going to hand it over to you. Tell us how this case came to you.
Matt: [00:05:28] So, the case I’m going to talk about, if you remember from the other two, I was at a different department. And then I’ve come to a whole new state and a new department, much smaller department, but a very good department. I got a reputation down here very fast that, “Wow, I love Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving does not love me back. It’s a real love-hate relationship.” So, with that being said, every case I’ve had down here, it seems like this one starts the day before Thanksgiving, coming up on five years ago.
Yeardley: [00:05:57] Now. Do you say Thanksgiving doesn’t love you? Because you’re like, “It’s my favorite holiday and I’m always get called out to work on that day?”
Matt: [00:06:04] Yes. I don’t get to be home on that day. And it always starts the day before and runs through Thanksgiving. So, it’s an extended time, and everybody’s eating Thanksgiving, and I’m looking at dead bodies. But, “Hey, everybody’s got their thing.”[laughter]
Matt: [00:06:20] So this was the afternoon, day before Thanksgiving. I was actually in the transition of moving over to a group called HIDTA, which is High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Basically, it’s what I spent the majority of my 23-year career doing was narcotics. While I was making that transition, I was leaving major crimes, which does homicides, sexual batteries, those kinds of cases. The captain, Captain Nichols asked me to do both for a little while to still help out with major crimes and to do HIDTA. Of course, I said, “Not a problem.” Well, that was a mistake.
[00:06:55] So, here I was, day before Thanksgiving, got off work, 4 o’clock I was like, “I’m going to do it. This is going to be the one. This is going to be the Thanksgiving. I’m going to be home eating turkey and everything’s going to work out.” Five minutes later, that good old cell phone starts to blow up. I’m sure everybody here can relate. You get a feeling when that phone goes off, when that work phone goes off, it triggers, like, you get that, “You got to be kidding me.” Because it’s never good. It’s never, “Hey, just want to see how you’re doing, make sure everything’s good.” That’s never the conversation. So, I reluctantly pick up the phone and it is my captain, Captain Nichols, and she says, “Hey, got a problem, somebody just discovered a dead body at Fishermans Cut.”
[00:07:34] Keep in mind, where I live now is one road, a group of islands, and there’s one way on, one way off, and you have a bunch of bridges that connect all these islands together. This particular passage, Fishermans Cut, is all 5 miles from my house. So, Captain Nichols asked me to respond immediately. I jumped in my UC vehicle. The UC vehicle is an undercover vehicle. It doesn’t have lights, doesn’t have sirens. Now, this isn’t a true undercover car like I’m doing undercover work. This is just one when you’re driving down the street, it looks like every other vehicle. So, you can do things like surveillance and want people without them saying, “Hey, look, it’s a cop car.” [Yeardley laughs] So, I drive to this location.
[00:08:11] Now, to get to this location, you got to turn on this little gravel dirt road off the highway, off the main road that I was talking about that links all these islands together. And you go into this little gravel area. I knew the area well. You had homeless camps back there in the past, and obviously by the name Fishermans Cut, it’s known for fishing and that kind of thing. A lot of locals will go there to go fishing, but if you’re not from the area, you’re not too likely to see it. You have to go down this sharp embankment so you almost feel like you’re going to wreck your car when you pull off the highway. And then that wraps around to the right, and it’s all dirt. Like I said, no pavement, lot of rocks.
[00:08:47] And then you can take it even further. When you get to the edge of the water, you can actually make a left and stay on this dirt road. There’re a couple of trees, branches, roots that stick above the ground that you got to be careful when you do it. So, you can take that road for about another 400 meters back.
Yeardley: [00:09:02] And when people go fishing there, are they fishing off the banks? Is there a dock? What are we looking at?
Matt: [00:09:07] No. So, there is no dock. We’re talking right off the bank dirt. It’s a pretty secluded area. When you’re driving the highway, you go up on the bridge, you could look down and see part of it. Once you go where I was talking about making that left and follow that dirt road even further, you can’t see anything. You’re pretty shielded at that point. In this particular case, a fisherman had gone to his normal fishing spot, and when he was walking back there, he saw something that looked like it didn’t belong, and that was a naked female, and he believed she’d passed away. So, I respond to the area. Obviously, it’s roped off at that point. We already have patrol units there marking the area. We only have one witness. That’s it.
[00:09:44] There’s not even any houses that are close enough by where you’re like, “Oh, well, they may have seen something.” So, I go back, and I’m walking the trail, and like I said, it’s about 400 meters back, and I had to parkways up. So, in total, from the highway of how you get there, probably close to about a half a mile away. I get to the body and the body was pushed back into the woods. And the victim’s name, we’re going to call her Rose. Rose is laying on her back and her legs are spread apart. There is a significant amount of visual trauma to her vagina. She also had some trauma to her neck. You could tell, okay, right out the gate that this is not good. Something really, really bad happened here.
[00:10:26] So, I walk away from there and it’s probably about 6 o’clock. My biggest concern is getting videos of every business in that area. Because if I wait on these videos, I’m going to be in trouble. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, I’m not going to get anybody. If I do get them, they’re going to have a million customers and it’s going to be a huge pain to try to get them to give me the time of day to get these videos.
Yeardley: [00:10:49] Also, the videos might be wiped. Who knows? Maybe they only keep them for a couple of days, right?
Matt: [00:10:54] In this particular area where I live, that has been a huge problem with previous cases.
Dave: [00:10:58] A couple of questions. How far from the water is Rose?
Matt: [00:11:03] About 30 yards.
Dave: [00:11:05] 30 yards. And does it look like it’s a fresh scene or does it look like she’s been there for a while?
Matt: [00:11:10] It’s a very fresh scene. She had stiffened up at that point, but that led us to other conclusions, too. We didn’t think she had passed at that scene. We don’t think she was killed there. So, while these thoughts are running through my head that I’ve got to get these videos and we need to step up that game. And where I talked about earlier that there is one road in and out that can also be our best ally. My thought at the time was, “This guy’s already probably headed out.” It’d take him about two hours to get from this location to out of this area to where he could disappear into a big city pretty quickly. And keep in mind, I got a good look at the female. So did other detectives, other patrollians, and everybody’s like, “Never seen her before in my life,” which there’s not enough people that lived where I live for that not to be concerning because everybody knows everybody in this area. So that’s another red flag that’s going up in the air.
[00:12:04] So, I’m walking back away from the body at this point. My thinking is I’m about to jump in the car and I’m going for tapes, but I’m checking the crime scene. As I’m walking, lots of rocks, lots of roots, that kind of thing, random trees kind of watch as I’m going. And then I see a branch broken and a tree leaned, something like it had been hit and backed into. Well, you look down, and there’s a car part, looks like part of a bumper at the base of this little tree.
Yeardley: [00:12:31] Oh.
Dave: [00:12:31] That’s nice.
Matt: [00:12:32] This could be money. So, we click that first and actually get a picture of it. If there’s a hero in this whole story, Detective Dale is the hero, to this day I don’t know how he did it. He’s actually a narcotics detective, but he loves cars. I mean, loves them, knows everything about them. So, I have this little strip, which is about eight inches long, three inches high, part of a bumper. I take a picture of it, and I send it to him, thinking, let’s see what he says, maybe he can tell me a type of vehicle I’m looking for. He sends me back a picture of a van. Within 15 minutes, he sends this back, and he says, this is the vehicle you’re looking for.
Yeardley: [00:13:13] Wait. Dale literally found the actual van the bumper came from.
Matt: [00:13:17] So, no. Detective Dale sent me a picture of a make and model of a van that was the exact same make and model that the suspect had. The picture he sent me actually turned out to even be the same color as a suspect’s vehicle, but was not the actual vehicle.
Yeardley: [00:13:31] I see, I see. Okay.
Matt: [00:13:33] So, I call him on the phone. He’s like, “I’m telling you you’re looking for this exact model.” Come on, that’s impossible. There’s no way you can tell that off of eight inches and one inch off a bumper.
Paul: [00:13:45] There was no numbers on it, like a serial number or anything like that. This was just a part of a bumper.
Matt: [00:13:51] So, there was, but it had nothing to do with anything I sent him. We actually see that later. So, I’d already told Captain Nichols that I’m headed to the bars and I’m getting footage from every bar and then every other business. Reason I went to the bars is hoping that there was a likelihood that the suspect picked up this victim, Rose, at one of the local bars, and that I could have faces that way and then, along the same lines, picking up any business that is along that main highway in and out to try to get the vehicle as well. So, I’m in the process of doing this, and it’s now starting to get dark. Captain Nichols and Lieutenant Faith leave the crime scene area where Rose was and is going to do the same thing as me.
[00:14:39] They’re going to start hitting the other side of this main highway, trying to get these businesses. So, they are driving on the main highway. Lieutenant Faith, from this is my understanding of what she told me, that she’s saying a prayer to find this vehicle. No longer does she finish that prayer. She’s in the passenger seat, the captain is driving, she screams at the top of the lungs, “There’s the vehicle. It’s right over there.” And about causes the captain, Captain Nichols to wreck the car. [Yeardley laughs] And she sees what Detective Dale had sent out in the picture. So, where Lieutenant Faith sees the vehicle is a big parking lot, like a department store. Half the businesses are closed though. There’s a fast-food restaurant right there.
[00:15:27] So they whip in and just park and getting on the police radio, they called me and said, “Hey, get your butt over here. We got the vehicle.” So, I head over there, and sure enough, that vehicle is the exact same as the picture. I was like, “All right, that’s called a coincidence. Those things happen. No big deal. It doesn’t mean that the person in there is going to be our suspect.” So, I park, get a little bit closer, and they call in a marked unit to make contact with whoever’s in the vehicle.
Yeardley: [00:15:53] I do have a question about Sergeant Nichols and Lieutenant Faith being in the parking lot, they see the suspect’s van. And then you said they radio for an additional marked unit. How come they didn’t go and intercept the suspect?
Matt: [00:16:08] So their car isn’t a UC car, but it’s got the lights on the inside, doesn’t have readily markings. They’re in typical captain wear or detective wear, so none of it’s a clear uniform. So, for the standpoint officer safety, they wanted a full mark car and a full mark uniform.
Yeardley: [00:16:28] I see, I see.
Matt: [00:16:28] So, [unintelligible 00:16:29] makes contact. I immediately get out my UC vehicle at that point and go over to help. And it became [laughs] stupidly obvious. I get over to the vehicle and I look at the back of the vehicle and there is damage and part of the bumper missing. And you could tell it was fresh damage. Still had a little bit of the branch in the damage that it had ripped off.
Yeardley: [00:16:53] Like the tree branch.
Matt: [00:16:54] The tree branch. So, I then talk to the guy, the person driving the van. I’m going to call him Charlie Bear. I then say, “Hey, just let you know you’re not under arrest right now. You’re only being detained.” In case you’re curious, the difference between an arrest and a detained, if you’re under arrest, that means you’re definitely going to jail. Detained means you may be in handcuffs right now, but they can come off very easily. You’re only in them for our safety while we investigate this. We just need to talk to you. You’re not free to leave, necessarily, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to jail. So, Mr. Bear, Charlie Bear, very nice, likes me right out the gate kind of thing, where he’s like, “Hey, no problem.” Shaking a little bit.
[00:17:33] I said, “Hey, I noticed you had a little damage to the back of your van. Everything all right?” And he goes, “Yeah, I went down to Fishermans Cut and I hit a tree.” I was like, “All right.” I’m now dealing with the dumbest person in the world. [Yeardley laughs] This is terrific. This will be over in no time.
Yeardley: [00:17:48] Because he’s just put himself there.
Matt: [00:17:50] Yeah. Which is exactly what I needed. So, at that point, “Hey, do you mind if we go back to the police station, which is only two miles away? We can take these handcuffs off, and you and I can just talk and figure things out so I can get you on your way. No big deal.” And he’s like, “Yeah, I would love that. That’d be terrific.” So, we make the trip. The marked unit takes him there. I take my UC vehicle just because we can’t put him in the UC vehicle for safety reasons. So, I meet him at the substation, is what we call it, about 30 minutes later. And everybody in law enforcement has their own interviewing technique. I will toot my own horn and say, “I think I’m in extremely good interview.”
[00:18:30] Had a lot of training with it, and I’m usually used for that a lot. So, one of the things that I love to do when I get in the interview room with somebody is forget about the crime. The crime has to go away for a little bit. I don’t even want to talk about that. So, I’ll usually sit down and ask him some questions about their personal life. Now, I will say as soon as we got into the interview room, I gave him a Miranda. We have a sheet that he will initial each spot. Usually, I’ll have them read it out loud to me if they can read and initial and everything is on camera, you cover yourself in every single way you can. So, gave him the sheet, we go through that, he is still remarkably calm.
[00:19:13] I can tell he’s a little bit scared, but he is not showing me anything. I’m surprised in that sense. I mean, the guy had already told me that he was at Fishermans Cut. So that’s right where the body is. And when he says Fishermans Cut, he’s talking about the dirt road. He’s not saying that he was on the highway right there. He’s saying, “I went down that dirt road.”
Yeardley: [00:19:30] Also because of the branch that’s in the bumper of the van. He’s actually literally placed him at the place where you found the body.
Matt: [00:19:39] 100% And something to keep in mind while I start interviewing him. I have another team doing a search warrant for that van, because between the fact that he just put himself there, he’s now given us probable cause to write that search warrant and move forward with searching the van.
Paul: [00:19:54] But, Matt, he hasn’t been told what kind of crime that he’s being transported to the police station for anything. Is he even asking, what’s going on? Why are you guys looking at me?
Matt: [00:20:05] No, all he was told was it’s an investigation.
Paul: [00:20:09] The natural response is going, well, why do you need to talk to me at the station? I was just out there. I hit a tree. [laughs] Is this a vandalism thing or what’s going on? So, in many ways, it’s an indirect admission, obviously not something that is admissible. But that’s an interesting aspect to him.
Matt: [00:20:26] And it’s funny that you brought that up, because eventually, down the road, he says, “So I’m being investigated for a hit and run for hitting the tree. Right?”[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:20:34] Because that’s what you guys spend your time doing.[laughter]
Dan: [00:20:38] I’m out here the day before Thanksgiving because I’m worried about that poor tree.
Dave: [00:20:41] Yeah, you get detectives in your face all the time for property damage hit and runs.
Matt: [00:20:46] Yeah, exactly.
Matt: [00:21:04] So, we get the Miranda done, I get him some food, and he’s eating, and then we start the conversation. So, I asked him how long he had been in the community I live. Charlie said about five to ten years off and on, that Charlie had been living out of his van for five to ten years. Now, the van that we found that he was in this night was a new van he had just got that. He was in a previous van before that. A very surreal and not comforting moment at all to me. He decides to show me in his phone pictures of his old van. Well, where my house is, is across the street from a community park. I had seen that van numerous times sitting in that park and I live in a small town. That was not a fun feeling by any means. And we go to the park all the time.
Yeardley: [00:21:54] And, Matt, you mentioned that the town is small enough where everybody knows everybody. Had you ever seen Charlie Bear himself, not just his van when you came face to face with him, you’re like, “Oh, I recognize that guy.”
Matt: [00:22:06] Yes, I had seen him numerous times. He would often go to the park by the house I talked about. The other spot he would go was a grocery store and park in that parking lot. So, I had seen him at both locations. Now, it did not register with me until I saw the picture of the old vehicle. There was a bunch of decals on the old vehicle, which made it stand out that, “Oh, my gosh, it’s Charlie Bear.”
Paul: [00:22:29] And going into this interview I mean you’ve run his criminal history. You have a sense of what his background is, right?
Matt: [00:22:35] So up to this point, no not yet. It’s being worked on while I’m talking to him. So, I don’t personally have the info. So, a lot of times, when I do interviews too I’ll have my phone next to me, which can get irritating at times, but that’s why people are sending me pictures, messages, anything like that, that can help me dig further into this. So, I’m talking to Charli, and we start going into, how long have you been here? Tell me about yourself. Tell me about growing up and all that. Nothing about the case. And then red flags came up. He’s like, “Yeah, yeah, I killed somebody when I was younger as a juvenile and got charged as an adult and had a lay down, I think it was like, 13 or 15 years for that.” And I apologize I’m using some slang here. When I say lay down, that’s a term we use that somebody went to jail, and that’s how much time they did.
Yeardley: [00:23:24] I love that stuff. It’s good that you use it. You just need to tell the laypeople what you’re talking about.[laughter]
Matt: [00:23:31] Yeah, [laughs] my wife yells at me when I do that all the time. [Yeardley laughs] Charlie starts telling me about his childhood and about going to prison, murdered this person, and at the same time, he’s telling me this. It’s funny because Paul had brought it up. I get that first text with the criminal history and they’re in contact with the other police department that handled that murder investigation. And basically, it was a 90-year-old male that they killed. It was Charlie Bear and some other people and they robbed him. And according to police reports, the other subjects ran after the robbery, and Charlie decided to stick around. He decided the old man needed to die and it was a brutal death as well on that one. So, Charlie goes to prison and he finds God while he’s in prison and then he becomes very religious.
[00:24:24] Now, you get a sense of people by what they just all of a sudden want to come out and say. And he goes into prison, he gets a reputation for being able to give very good oral sex in prison, and goes on to tell me that he learned to do this so that he wouldn’t have to have sexual intercourse in prison.
Yeardley: [00:24:39] So that’s– I don’t even know how to phrase the question.
Paul: [00:24:43] It’s a compromise.
Matt: [00:24:44] Exactly.
Yeardley: [00:24:45] Okay. That’s one way to put it.
Matt: [00:24:48] And then he gets more weird which turns out later to be a huge admission into his part. He goes, after he got out of prison, he could no longer have an orgasm the regular way that just being with a female would not give him an orgasm, that he would do stuff to himself anally, in order to cause arousal for him to have an orgasm. Again, he’s telling me this. I’m getting text now that they’re executing the search warrant on the van, and they are finding numerous sex toys, homemade sex toys, some extremely large sex toys. So, talking to Charlie, he gets out of prison, and now he’s having to take care of his mom.
[00:25:34] And then Charlie goes into, “Yeah, I had to clean her diapers, take care of her like she would piss and shit all over herself,” is the way he said it. And all of a sudden, Charlie gets angry and gets frustrated when he starts talking about his mom. So that’s obviously one of those little moments where you take a note and say, “All right, that’s significant.” First time, we’ve talked about a female, he talked about being raped in jail, about having to do these acts in jail, claiming he’s not a homosexual, but he just did this for survival in prison. And then he talks about his mom, and here comes a hatred. First female that he has talked about at all.
[00:26:13] He doesn’t come out and say he hates his mom, but facial expressions, the clenching of the jaw, you can literally see the jaw muscle just go extremely tight. And then his vocabulary changes. He’s using these words, “Yes. She pissed and shit all over herself. She couldn’t get out of the bed and called her a bitch several times.” So, okay, this is interesting. This is definitely going down a road. And so, the other thing when you’re interviewing somebody is when something really makes them mad. Me personally, I won’t stay on that subject very long, because if you stay on it too long, you’re going to lose them and it’s going to be over.
[00:26:46] So, find something that makes them happy. So, Charlie stayed on that for a little bit, and I was like, “So, where do you go to church?” I totally dropped it. Talking about God really made him feel good. So, he started telling me about the church he goes to, how somebody down here was the one who introduced him to the church. And he goes, that same person that introduced him to a church, let him stay under the house.
Yeardley: [00:27:07] Under the house? Like in a basement or something.
Matt: [00:27:10] So, the house that Charlie’s at is on stilts. Charlie sleeps in his van underneath the house.
Yeardley: [00:27:14] Oh.
Matt: [00:27:15] And so I asked him, “Well, who is that person?” He said, “Mr. Hall.” And so, we had a detective contact Mr. Hall to see what Mr. Hall could tell us. Come to find out, Mr. Hall had just kicked Charlie out about two weeks before we found this body. Mr. Hall kicked him out because Charlie was acting very weird around Mrs. Hall and watching her constantly. So, while this is happening, I get another text from the van. They just found women’s underwear that also had semen in it or what was believed to be semen. So, I confront him about that at this point, I said, “Hey, Charlie, they’re going through your van. They have the search warrant and we found these women’s underwear. Can you just help me out with that?” “Oh, yeah. That’s Mrs. Hall’s underwear. She wanted me to take them out of the laundry and keep them.”
Yeardley: [00:28:04] Really?
Matt: [00:28:05] Yeah.[laughter]
Matt: [00:28:07] What’s sad is you can’t come up with something better than that. “Oh, I found, I meant to give them to her. I forgot,” anything. Come on, work a little bit.
Dave: [00:28:13] Well, it just gives you a glimpse. Mr. Hall is generous and considerate and offers this guy a place to crash. Charlie just has offending on his mind. He is not a good person. So, you think about what it takes to get somebody who offers that kind of consideration and generosity to someone for them to go, “Get out of here, dude.” You just get a glimpse into what life was like around that property for a little bit, that Charlie’s got some big issues and Charlie’s ramping up.
Matt: [00:28:46] Yes, exactly.
Paul: [00:28:47] And one of the things that I want to point out and I’ve talked about these barriers to offense before on previous episodes, even though Charlie is staying with Mr. and Mrs. Hall, I’m sure Mrs. Hall didn’t hand him her underwear. So, he had to go get that underwear from some location in the house that he probably wasn’t supposed to be.
Matt: [00:29:11] Exactly. Charlie isn’t allowed in the house.
Paul: [00:29:13] He either had to go into their bedroom, her drawer, to get that underwear, or maybe out of the laundry basket. But if he’s entering their bedroom, those locations are off limits. You just don’t wander into somebody else’s bedroom in our culture. So that is showing a willingness, the way I’m going to phrase it, to burglarize. This is a fetish burglary.
Matt: [00:29:38] And we did talk to Mr. and Mrs. Hall about this. We sent them a picture of the underwear, and yes they were hers. And it rightfully so, freaked them out big time.
Paul: [00:29:47] Yeah. So, there’s no question this is a fetish burg that Charlie committed.
Matt: [00:29:50] This is where things start to get really scary, because now they found this pair of underwear. Well, they find another pair of underwear, and this one still haunts me now is because this is a kid’s underwear, like what you would expect to see an eight, nine-year-old wear. Mr. And Mrs. Hall do not have any kids, so we know it did not come from there.
Yeardley: [00:30:08] Oh, dear.
Dan: [00:30:10] So, just one know, we’re talking about Charlie and his proclivities. And I just want to point out, and this is experience that us four have and every other police officer that works in this country is, a lot of times we see offenders like this, look at generosity and it equals weakness to them. They see people who are willing to open their house to them and they see an opportunity. They don’t see the generosity there.
Matt: [00:30:39] Yeah. It’s the predatory mindset. Absolutely.
Dan: [00:30:41] Yeah. And that’s just the reality. And cops are skeptical. And I think the general public, to some degree they have that, but not to the degree that we do, where the hair on our neck stands up when we hear situations like this.
Dave: [00:30:55] There’s a level of naivety among friends and acquaintances that they say that they did something out of the goodness of their heart. And I’m like, “Just wait. Give it a few days.” And, yeah, you’re going to get bit on this. I appreciate that you’re that optimistic about people, but just training and experience. People talk about profiling. We profile behavior and we can recognize it from a mile away. Don’t invite strangers or people that have questionable decision-making skills. Don’t even let them stay for the weekend because they will be there six months later and you’ll probably be missing a few items like jewelry and cash.
Matt: [00:31:36] Yeah. And apparently underwear.
Dave: [00:31:38] [laughs]
Yeardley: [00:31:38] So, Charlie admits that it’s Mrs. Hall’s underwear and then the Halls confirm, indeed, he’s in possession of her underwear.
Matt: [00:31:46] Correct.
Yeardley: [00:31:47] Matt, tell us, how old is Charlie?
Matt: [00:31:52] He was at that time, 40.
Yeardley: [00:31:54] Okay and how old was Rose?
Matt: [00:31:56] Rose was mid 30s.
Dave: [00:31:59] So, let’s talk about Rose a little bit. Obviously, she had gone down a path that ultimately led her into some really tragic circumstances. Were you ever able to find her family and talk to them?
Matt: [00:32:12] We did find her family lot of times when it’s somebody that has a drug problem, I get frustrated talking to the family because the family completely gave up on her and they cut all contact. This was that same situation, which, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that if you have a child that’s a drug addict, they do not need to be at your house. I strongly believe that you need to get them out of your house because they’re going to steal every single thing from you. Having said that, there’s no reason to cut them out of your life. I would still try to be in constant phone conversation and that kind of thing. That’s giving them some safety line, that if the moment comes that they decide I’m going to get clean or they get to that point, they still have a safety net. Yeah. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Dave: [00:32:58] You just hope people get to rock bottom before they encounter someone like Charlie Bear.
Matt: [00:33:02] Yeah. So, our crime scene unit is going through Charlie’s van right now. And obviously, I’ve told you, they’re finding sex toys. A lot of very interesting things. They’re finding cuffs that you would put arms into.
Yeardley: [00:33:15] What is that?
Matt: [00:33:16] People that are into the sex fetishes and things like that, they have literally cuffs? Yeah, that they go around your wrist. Not handcuffs, but just cuffs.
Dave: [00:33:24] Bindings, yeah.
Matt: [00:33:25] Bindings. And you can get strapped into positions. So, I’m talking to Charlie, the crime scene unit is working on Charlie’s van, and I get another text from the crime scene unit. Keep in mind, we still haven’t said why we’re there.
Yeardley: [00:33:41] You still haven’t said to Charlie why you’re here while he’s having a chat with you.
Dave: [00:33:45] And he hasn’t asked?
Matt: [00:33:47] No. We’re several hours in at least.
Paul: [00:33:47] That’s because it’s the last thing he wants to talk about.
Matt: [00:33:51] 100%. So, they find blood in the van. So, this van is ripped out on the inside and turned into a bed so that he could go back there and sleep supposedly. So, it doesn’t look like your normal full-size van in the back. It’s basically just a bed with some built in storage units. And then all the sheets and everything are gone. There’re no sheets back there. All you have is this mattress thing. They are able to find some blood on the mattress, but you can tell it’s been cleaned.
Paul: [00:34:24] Is this van like a minivan with windows or it’s more of a cargo van or conversion style van from back in the 70s?
Matt: [00:34:30] Correct. Conversion style. It’s a big, full-size van. It’s the 18 van basically.
Paul: [00:34:35] The serial killer van. That’s exactly what this is.
Dan: [00:34:37] Free candy spray painted on the side.
Matt: [00:34:41] [laughs]So, they find this little bit of blood. So now it’s time to confront Charlie on this a little bit and see where this goes. So, I was like, “All right, why do you think you’re here?” “I’m guessing because I hit that tree and it was a hit and run.” Let’s pause for a minute, let’s think about that, and let’s try to come up with a different reason I might be there. And then Charlie’s like, “I can’t think of anything else. It has got to be that I hit that tree.” All right, Charlie, “Why did you go back there? Why did you hit that tree in the first place? What caused you to be back there?” Charlie goes, “Well, I was just looking for a place to go to sleep.” And I said, “Charlie, what time were you back there?” 2 or 3 o’clock somewhere around there.
Yeardley: [00:35:19] In the afternoon?
Matt: [00:35:20] In the afternoon? Not at night. In the afternoon. “Charlie, why were you going to sleep at 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon?” “Because I’ve been driving all day. I had just come from out of the area I live about 3 hours away.” I was like, “All right, Charlie, and that’s the area you chose to stop by there?” And Charlie goes, “Well, I’ve been there before. I knew the area,” which to him seems very innocent to say that that’s helping me out tremendously. All right, Charlie just admitted that he knew this area, because this isn’t a place that you just find off the top of your head. Very few people know that you can make that bend to the left and keep traveling that road back. And nobody that hasn’t been back there is going to do that too quick, because you’re going to be worried, you’re not getting back out.
[00:36:04] So, Charlie’s helped building that case even if he doesn’t want to talk to me about Rose, who he killed. So, I was like, “Okay, Charlie.” I said, “Charlie, I have a problem. They just found blood in your van.” And Charlie’s like, “What?” First, he goes, “I may have cut myself shaving.” I said, “No, Charlie, I don’t think that’s going to be it.” I said, “Can you think of any other reason there would be blood in your van, Charlie?” And Charlie goes, “Well, you know, I did have a female Pam with me last week. She’s a good friend of mine. And now that I think about it, Pam was on her period and I bet she bled in the back of my van.
[00:36:42] Charlie, “I just. I don’t really see that. That doesn’t seem right.” I said, “All right, Charlie, we’re going to have a little more of a direct conversation now.” Charlie, I am investigating a murder. Less than 20 yards from your van is a dead, naked female who was killed, less than 20 yards from your van, found today, right after you were there. How is that possible? Charlie’s like, “Well, I don’t know. I don’t know.” Now, he’s in panic mode at this point. It’s time to end that part of the conversation again.
[00:37:17] So, I go back to talking to Charlie more about prison life. Charlie and I decided to have a little prayer together. He wanted to pray to God for answers and that’s kind of a good thing, because if he’s starting to pray, that means he’s weaning his way towards where I need him to go. So, we say a prayer. He even goes outside and smokes a cigarette. I go out with him and while we’re outside smoking the cigarette, Charlie goes, “Yeah. Before you guys got out with me at the parking lot, I was right next door to the substation because there’s a library right next to it. I was right at that library.” Charlie, “What were you doing at the library?” “I had to throw some stuff away.” “Oh, all right.” Charlie finishes his cigarette. We go back inside.
[00:38:00] “Hey, Charlie, I’m just going to leave you here for a minute. I just want you to think about everything. Let your memory stew a little bit. Okay? I’m going to bring you some pie, let you eat some pie while I leave, Charlie. And I’ll be back in just a little bit. You sit here, enjoy your pie, and just really think about today, because I really need your help.” So, I bring Charlie some pie and I’m headed over to the library. And sure enough, I open up that can and there looks to be clothing that has possible blood on it. And there was also very kind of what kind of line you call it, but it’s not thick line. It’s like, very thin line.
Yeardley: [00:38:33] Like fishing line.
Matt: [00:38:35] Yeah. And it matched up with the marks around Rose’s neck.
Yeardley: [00:38:40] So, she had ligature marks around her neck.
Matt: [00:38:42] Correct.
Yeardley: [00:38:43] Are the clothes that you find in the bag in this library trash can, are they women’s clothes?
Matt: [00:38:50] No, these are actually Charlie’s clothes. So, I come back in and I sit down with Charlie. Charlie’s finished his pie. He’s feeling good again, belly’s full. Again, I didn’t jump right in on anything. Started out conversation. Usually with him, it was always to go back to prison. Prison was a happy spot for him. As creepy as that is to us, for, I think, I don’t know exactly some of this is hunches on my part. I believe he was actually homosexual for one thing and mad at himself about being homosexual. In prison, he was able to do the things he wanted to without the judgment. He was able to blame it on circumstances instead of him being a homosexual.
Yeardley: [00:39:29] Right.
Matt: [00:39:30] He did not like women. This becomes very, very evident that he hates women. I’m going to tell you more about the body, then some of this will make sense. So, we talked about prison for a little bit. At one point, I put my hand on Charlie’s shoulder and I say, “Charlie, we’re going to get through this. One thing that you do have to understand at this point is we are no longer about if, if flew out the window a while ago. Now we’re just looking at when, why, how. It’s not if, it’s why.”
Yeardley: [00:40:05] In terms of now the murder of Rose.
Matt: [00:40:08] Right. That it’s not if you were there. It’s not if you were involved in the murder, it’s why. And that he has to come to grips with this, that I’m here to help him come to grips with this and to work him through this. And Charlie developed a very strong bond to me.
Matt: [00:40:40] So, Charlie’s trying to get this through in his head, trying to work things out, and he’s still trying to come up with lies. Charlie never comes completely clean. I finally get where we’re talking, and now he’s to the point where he’s ready to come a little bit more forward, but then he backs down, and I take another break. Crime scene units out front, they’re working the trash can that I was at, and I go back in.
[00:41:03] “Charlie, they also found more blood in your van and this is where they found it.” And Charlie is like, “Do you think it’s that girl’s,” referring to Rose? When he says that? “Yes, Charlie, I do think it’s that girl.” He goes, “Well, I just hope it’s nobody else’s blood.”
Yeardley: [00:41:18] What?
Matt: [00:41:19] And so this is actually said five to six more times where, “What are you going to do if you test that blood and it belongs to somebody else?” So, at this point, this isn’t Charlie’s first time and y’all know that with serial killers, especially in serial rapists, what he did isn’t a starting point. He definitely shows all signs that he had done this before and this was elevating. And so, when he’s saying that you’re going to find somebody else’s blood, that was a very creepy moment in the whole thing.
Paul: [00:41:49] Matt, can I ask you what year did this case happen?
Matt: [00:41:51] 2018.
Paul: [00:41:53] Oh, okay.
Dave: [00:41:54] Because Paul’s going, I wonder if he was ever out west. I have some unsolved cases.[laughter]
Matt: [00:41:59] We tried to pass this on because Charlie traveled all over the place. He was a drifter, so he would show up in all these different things. You’d have a police report here, police report there for all of us. There is no question that this was not his first time.
Dave: [00:42:12] There’s significance to Matt during this interview, telling him it’s not if, because that’s a barrier for the suspect to get over too. Once you realize this guy isn’t buying my denial, so I can quit telling that lie. It’s really interesting when you finally, sometimes you just put up your hand stop, we’re way past that. Just that simple action. It reroutes their brain and they go, “Okay, well, the guy is telling me, basically, stop lying to me, so I’m going to stop lying to him.” It works sometimes.
Paul: [00:42:48] And what I’m loving about Matt, how you’re approaching Charlie in the interview process, is you’ve established a rapport, you’ve established a bond, you’re keeping him talking. He now trusts you, he’s providing you with statements that is building a case against him, even though it’s not straight out admitting to killing Rose. But he’s also given you a location where there’s more evidence. And this is where there’re too many investigators when they are dealing with this type of offender. They’re going after that hard confession and they start confronting the suspect very early on in the interview and the suspect shuts down, lawyers up. And there are so many DAs who go, just give me statements that I can use in court. I don’t need a confession. There’s a chance that the confession is going to be thrown out anyways. Keep the guy talking.
[00:43:42] And what you are doing with Charlie is perfect. And the other thing I love is that you’re getting real time information from the CSIs. So, as the CSIs are processing the scene, they’re giving the investigator who’s actually conducting the interview information that he can use while Matt is sitting down with Charlie. This is so critical. Too often CSIs are processing a scene, they find stuff, but they never update the investigator. The investigator is interviewing a suspect, but doesn’t know the information that the CSIs have found and doesn’t ask those critical questions while he has a chance.
Dave: [00:44:17] That would have been so huge to have in interviews, that real time stuff I’m thinking about. We’re detectives and we’re talking with Paul here. And Paul’s the CSI on the other end going, “Hey, I think this detective would probably want to know this during the interview,” to have that kind of experience and knowledge. You get a call from Paul Holes in the middle of this interview and you go, “Hang on a second. [Yeardley laughs] This is all bullshit. Start telling me what really happened.” We just didn’t have that resource at our department where Dan and I worked. Huge value.
Matt: [00:44:53] It’s extremely nice to have that real time coming in, made the interview for me because I wouldn’t have been able to push him a lot of stuff if I didn’t have it.
Dave: [00:45:02] And did you have CSIs or this was detectives.
Matt: [00:45:03] It’s a detective, but he is a crime scene detective and that’s his only function.
Dave: [00:45:09] You don’t have a team of CSIs picking apart this van.
Matt: [00:45:11] No.
Yeardley: [00:45:13] It seems like only major cities can afford to have their own separate CSI unit. Anyway, so, Matt, you said to Charlie, it’s no longer if, it’s now, why, when, how, and Charlie is toggling back and forth between giving you actual facts and sort of not and being a little bit more vague.
Matt: [00:45:36] Exactly. If you remember while I’m telling Charlie for the first time that it’s not if anymore, I have my hand on Charlie’s shoulder, not gripping it, not in a threatening type manner, just as a soothing, actually, “Hey, we’re going to get through this together. Together, we’re going to get this out of your head.” And Charlie says, “I usually don’t like it when guys put their hand on my shoulder, but I’m okay with you. It reminds me of prison.”
Yeardley: [00:46:05] Oh.
Dave: [00:46:06] When you brought it up earlier, I was like, “Oh, I’m picturing something.” And you just confirmed what I thought.
Matt: [00:46:13] Yep.
Yeardley: [00:46:14] I didn’t see that coming at all.
Matt: [00:46:17] [laughs]So imagine you’re in this interview and he just says that to you’ve got to regroup yourself and continue with the interview while now you’re just completely flustered. At that moment, we ‘re starting to change, Charlie and I, obviously, there’s a huge bond. He’s starting to give in, but he won’t quite do it. And Captain Nichols actually says, “It’s almost now where he wants to tell, but Charlie’s too afraid that he’s going to hurt my feelings by telling me that he doesn’t want me to look bad at him.”
Yeardley: [00:46:44] Charlie doesn’t want you to judge him.
Matt: [00:46:46] Correct.
Yeardley: [00:46:47] How many hours into the interview now are you about?
Matt: [00:46:50] We’re probably about 10 hours in.
Yeardley: [00:46:52] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:46:55] This is a byproduct of Matt doing a really good job building a rapport.
Matt: [00:46:58] Also, time and time again, do you want to stop? Are you done? Because I know I’m pushing envelope at this point. Once you get past a certain amount of time, you’re going to have trouble in court.
Yeardley: [00:47:08] And that’s because the defense attorney will try to say, “The police questioned my client for X amount of hours that was too stressful, therefore my client wasn’t in his right mind. So, let’s throw everything out.”
Matt: [00:47:21] Yeah. So, on camera numerous times. Are you sure you want to continue? And it’s always Charlie saying, “Yes, I want to keep talking to you. I want to keep talking to you.” “Okay, then we’ll keep talking.” So, when I talk to Captain Nichols and Captain Nichols says, “Charlie’s developed this really strong bond, we need to do something.” We come up with the idea that we’re going to send Detective Ann in. Detective Ann is very outspoken and just has a very strong personality. Like, the minute you see her, talk to her, you get that opinion. So, I go back in with Charlie, and I’m like, “Hey, Charlie, we got to work on this a little bit. I don’t know what’s going to happen here, but we need to talk.” I go really, really soft for a moment and Detective Ann bursts into the room.
[00:48:04] “I’ve got you. You’re going to jail for rape and for murder, that’s the end of it. You’re going to jail” and storms out. Obviously, Charlie goes in the shock for a minute and “What the hell?” I go, “Let me go talk to her. I don’t know what’s up and I’ll figure things out.”
Dave: [00:48:21] You good cop bad copped him.
Matt: [00:48:22] Yeah, in the sense. We took the fact that at this point, I’m confident he hates females. So, now we just had a female rip him. So, he’s going to be living about that, and we’re going to see if this gets to the point where, well, if I’m going to get nailed, he’s going to get the credit.
Yeardley: [00:48:38] Meaning Charlie wants you, Matt, to get the credit, not this female who just ripped him a new one.
Matt: [00:48:44] Correct. That’s our game plan. I go out for a minute, and I come back in. Charlie, they found more blood, which we did. we found more blood in your van. This is bad, Charlie. We’ve got to talk about this. Charlie pauses for a second and then he does this. He puts his head down and you can hear the [inhaling] sucking up all the air in the room. and then that big, [exhaling] when you hear that, it’s game over, he’s going to talk.
Dave: [00:49:12] The big exhale.
Matt: [00:49:13] Yeah. So, Charlie goes, “Can I go outside and have a cigarette?” “Of course, Charlie. let’s go out and have a cigarette.” So Charlie and I go outside. Charlie’s having a cigarette. Charlie goes, “It wasn’t me.” He says, “I went to this town outside of my town, about 3 hours away, went to a department store there where right at the front of the store, I pick up a male and female and they get in the back of my van. Don’t know their names, never met them before. They wanted to ride into the town where I live.”
[00:49:45] Charlie says, “That’s the way I was headed. come on, get in the van.” There’s another factor to Charlie, too, that it becomes clear early on Charlie dislikes Muslims. There’s some politics stuff that he talked about that gave that away. So, Charlie begins to describe the male, and Charlie describes a Muslim and he describes someone that’s also close to his appearance too. It’s very mental the way he’s going about things.
Yeardley: [00:50:16] So sorry, you’re saying in Charlie describing the male that he picked up with Rose, that male actually looks sort of like Charlie?
Matt: [00:50:24] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:50:25] Oh.
Matt: [00:50:26] It’d be a Middle Eastern version of Charlie.
Yeardley: [00:50:29] Interesting.
Dave: [00:50:29] Yeah. It’s interesting how when you ask a suspect and they offer an alternative suspect, how often the description of the suspect very closely matches the suspect that you’re talking to or it’s the complete opposite. Like, “Oh, it was this huge guy and you’re talking to a wiry little drug-affected person.” So, they go two ways. But there’re lots of times where you’re like, “Oh, he said he’s 6’2 and he’s got a beard and he’s athletic,” and you’re like, he’s talking about himself. And then he adds and he’s Muslim. And how do you know that, well, you know what he was saying and what he was wearing. That’s why I believe that, it’s fairly predictable what Charlie’s doing.
Dan: [00:51:13] I’ve also had suspects. They’ll say, “Oh, he was about the same height as you.” And I’d say, “Well, how tall is that?” Because I’m sitting down. Well, how tall is that? Well, can you stand up?[laughter]
Dan: [00:51:24] I’ve been down this track before.
Paul: [00:51:26] And this is in part what I call verbal staging. Just like staging a crime scene to look like something it’s not. You kill somebody and you try to make it look like a suicide, and it’s to misdirect because you naturally think you’re going to be the suspect in the case when you have offenders that make these types of statements. I’m going to use Joseph D’Angelo, Golden State Killer, in which he would make statements that were intended to throw off the investigation. And so, one statement that he would make would be like, “When I was in the Army,” and once I recognized he’s staging, he’s using these words to stage, he’s trying to misdirect the investigators as far away from him as possible. So, I, before the case was solved, was thinking, well, he’s not military.
[00:52:12] Well, once we got him, he was military. But what branch was he? He was Navy. And what’s the biggest rival to the Navy? Army, right? And so, like Matt is talking about Charlie. Charlie has this disdain for Muslims. And so that’s part of what he is doing is, he’s trying to throw the investigation off. And he may be just subconsciously pulling out a characteristic that he has a dislike for, knowing that the investigators are now going to go after somebody and there’re consequences for a homicide. So, he’s hoping maybe a Muslim would end up being somebody that the investigators would focus in on.
Yeardley: [00:52:52] That’s so interesting. I had no idea.
Matt: [00:52:54] And I haven’t figured this part out. Charlie knew his story was going to get burned because Charlie says, “I picked him up right in front of the department store” and he goes, “There’re cameras right there. You’ll see my vehicle clear as day. And you can see him get in.” And Charlie was right. There are cameras right there and we have his vehicle and we can clearly see that nobody gets in Charlie’s vehicle. And Charlie trucks on off to our town.
Yeardley: [00:53:20] So, nobody gets in Charlie’s vehicle, not even Rose?
Matt: [00:53:24] No, Rose is already in the vehicle.
Dave: [00:53:27] I guess the question I have at this point in the interview, has Rose been identified or is she still a Doe?
Matt: [00:53:33] She is still Jane Doe and she remains Jane Doe through another day. We’re at the autopsy before Jane Doe is discovered and she was actually a local. She just wasn’t very well known. She suffered from drug abuse problems and that the thing. So, it took a little while. So, Charlie and I go back inside to the interview room. So, what happened, Charlie? You pick these two people up? What happened? Charlie’s like, “Well, we’re driving back to where I live, to where the body was found that direction.” Charlie goes, “They’re in the back of my van” and Charlie says, “They start having sex.” When I say they, Rose and made-up Muslim are having sex in the back of the van.
Yeardley: [00:54:14] But, Matt, at this point, you suspect this is all bullshit because you never even saw a man get into Charlie’s van.
Matt: [00:54:22] Exactly.Charlie says, “You know, yeah, I keep peeking in the rearview mirror to look” just little odd comments. And Charlie goes, “All of a sudden, it’s like this weird scream she makes. And then everything’s quiet.” Charlie says, “Then made-up Muslim comes up to the front seat and says, “I just killed her.” Charlie’s like, “What?” This is Charlie’s story to me. Charlie says to made-up guy, “Well, we have to find a place to get rid of her.” So, somebody just killed somebody in your van? And Charlie’s first thought, according to him is, we have to find a place to get rid of her. So, Charlie says, “That’s when Charlie decided on Fishermans Cut.” So, Charlie goes back there.
[00:55:04] The made-up person, according to Charlie, wraps the victim in a sheet, throws her onto the ground, and then throws the sheet back in the van. And then the made-up person runs away. That’s Charlie’s story. Charlie never sees him again. And now Charlie looks back in the back of his van and Charlie sees the back of the van is nothing but blood. And Rose’s clothes are back there as well. So, at this point, Charlie says, “He goes to behind a department store complex, actually, the one department store complex where we got out with them. There’re dumpsters in the back and he takes the sheets and that kind of thing and throws them in the dumpster. “Thank you for that, Charlie.” Crime scene unit, “Hey, can you go check out such and such?” Sure enough, yes. There’re all kinds of bloody sheets and stuff back there.
Yeardley: [00:55:54] Can I ask you a question? The made-up man says, “I killed Rose in the back of the van.” My thought is that he strangles her because as far as I know, he’s not carrying a weapon. He didn’t shoot her obviously. Where’s all the blood from?
Matt: [00:56:10] So, this is where it gets very, very disturbing. And this came in at the autopsy. At this point, we don’t know where all the blood is. We know there’s trauma to the vagina. It was pretty significant to the vagina.
Dave: [00:56:21] That was the target of his attack.
Matt: [00:56:23] Yeah. So, I told you about the sex toys that are in the van. Those are homemade sex toys. Some of those are bigger than a two-liter bottle.
Yeardley: [00:56:31] Jesus.
Matt: [00:56:33] We learned in the autopsy those objects were put inside of Rose in both her vagina and her anal cavity as well. Unfortunately for Rose, she did not suffocate. That would have been a less painful death for her. She bled out according to the medical examiner.
Paul: [00:56:51] And you mentioned that you had these wrist–
Matt: [00:56:55] The wristbands, yeah.
Paul: [00:56:57] Wristbands, shackled. So, Rose is likely shackled in this van while she’s being penetrated by these oversized objects. This is insight, of course, into Charlie’s fantasy, which we can easily extrapolate out of what he has told Matt during the interview about his prison time and the sexual acts that he was performing. And as well you know how after prison, the way he could only have an orgasm. But there’s also a sadistic aspect to what Charlie is doing. Obviously, Rose is in severe pain while she is shackled and being penetrated. This is something that an offender gets off on. This gives him sexual gratification. This is really the worst type of offender for a victim because they enjoy inflicting pain while the victim is still alive.
Matt: [00:57:50] Yeah. There’s no question for him, it was about pain.
Dan: [00:57:52] There are some similarities in this case to a case that we did in Season one called Keep Out. The attack on the genitals focused rage on the genitals. And then also the way that Rose, in your case, Matt, was displayed by the suspect is humiliation also. I see some similarities in a case that Dave and I investigated and one of my partners, Detective Kyle, investigated. It is disturbing.
Matt: [00:58:18] Big time, yeah. So, Charlie tells me about the sheets and while we’re still missing some evidence, we don’t have any of her clothes. They were not with the sheets.
Yeardley: [00:58:27] Rose’s clothes?
Matt: [00:58:29] Yes. And talking to Charlie. Charlie, I need the rest of the evidence. Charlie’s like, “I don’t know what to tell you. Should be there. Should be there.” I step out of the room, give him a break for a minute, away about 5 to 10 minutes, I go back in. At this point, we’re about 6 o’clock in the morning. Keep in mind, this started the day before 6 o’clock in the morning, Thanksgiving Day. I say, “I’ve already been told that I don’t get to go home until I find the rest of the evidence, that there’s no Thanksgiving for me, that I’m going to have to go dumpster to dumpster all through my town to find this, because we need to find everything. We can’t go on without it.”
[00:59:05] But talking to Charlie and Charlie’s like, “Man, I really don’t want you to miss Thanksgiving with your family.” I don’t have a choice. Charlie goes, “Well, there’s a marina in my town.” He goes, “Go to this marina and look in the dumpster.” Sent CSI, there’s the rest of the evidence, the women’s clothing, everything. Part of it was I think Charlie knew that the next stop was jail and that was it.
Yeardley: [00:59:30] Even though in the past, prison had been–
Matt: [00:59:32] A joyful–
Yeardley: [00:59:33] Yeah. Like, it had not been the worst experience for him.
Matt: [00:59:36] He kept saying over and over again, “I’m getting the death penalty for this. I know I’m getting the death penalty for this.” Honestly, he was right. But I think that played into it. He very much enjoyed my company. So that was the part that he didn’t want to leave, was he wanted to continue to talk to me and spend Thanksgiving with me.
Dave: [00:59:55] But at this time, when Charlie directs you to the marina to pick up the other evidence, he hasn’t come off the other Muslim male.
Matt: [01:00:03] He never comes off of it. It could have been saving face with me that he wasn’t going to come off of it because he knew the story wasn’t going to hold. There was just no chance of it. So, after Charlie tells me that we have all the evidence, we called a wrap at that point. Charlie went to jail for first-degree murder. So, the day, not Thanksgiving Day, but the day after Thanksgiving, so two days later, we do the autopsy and that’s when we find just how badly Rose had been abused and the torment that she must have gone through. It was to say horrific, I mean the vaginal cavity was probably about five times larger than it’s supposed to be or more and same with the anal cavity. The stuff around the neck, the medical examiner believes, we’ve all seen this in other stuff, where you do strangle them a little bit just to get that fear up and then let them go, strangle a little bit, let go. He believes that was probably why we saw that around the neck.
Yeardley: [01:01:03] So the ligature, whatever Charlie had around Rose’s neck, is not actually what killed her.
Matt: [01:01:09] No.
Dan: [01:01:11] Paul.
Paul: [01:01:12] So, this you know, when you have offenders where you have them strangled to the point of unconscious or near unconscious and then release, this is the offender playing God. The offender is going, “I make the decision on when you die or if you will live.” And they enjoy that process. So, these women suffer. I mean, imagine they know they’re dead. They just don’t know when he’s going to continue to strangle to the point of death. Now, there was no ligature in place, Matt, on Rose?
Matt: [01:01:47] No.
Paul: [01:01:48] Okay. Some offenders, just to ensure that the victim is dead, will tie a ligature off very tightly. You think about this, if you’ve killed maybe once or twice and you’ve done it with manual strangulation, you wonder, well, did I do it long enough? Is she going to revive? So, they will tie off a ligature to ensure that the victim is dead and will be dead when they leave. So, there isn’t a witness. Matt, going back to one of Charlie’s earlier statements about a second source of blood in the van. I don’t want to jump ahead. When you brought up Rose and this made-up Muslim man, I had this theory come into my head, well, maybe he did pick up a couple, a man and a woman. And then Charlie killed the man so he could actually go and spend sexual time with Rose inside that same vehicle. Do we have answer to that or are you moving towards that direction?
Matt: [01:02:50] So, yeah, we eventually do autopsy. We see that there are two marks that look like teeth marks on Rose, on her chin. I knew Charlie had dentures, so wrote up a search warrant to take his dentures. So I go to jail, meet with Charlie to get his dentures. While I’m there, this is a couple days later, we had the department store video at that point and it is very clear nobody gets in Charlie’s van, that his whole story on that was bogus. I talk to Charlie. Charlie’s like, “Did you get the department store video?” Yeah, I got it. And he goes, “Yeah, I figured.” And there is nobody. And then the teeth marks were Charlie’s teeth marks and also had DNA that we got back on that as well that came from Charlie.
Yeardley: [01:03:40] So, where does Charlie Pick Rose up?
Matt: [01:03:43] So, Charlie picked Rose up in my town. They drove together to the department store out of my town and spent the night there. Most likely sometime that next morning would be when Charlie killed her. Charlie knows this area the best and that’s why he drove back to put the body back here, that he thought that location for the body would not be found in time and he’d be long gone.
Paul: [01:04:14] He goes to this department store in which– it’s not showing video of anybody getting into his van, but you see his van in the parking lot. And this is a department store that allows RVers and stuff to be able to just hang out like a free campsite.
Matt: [01:04:30] That’s correct. That’s very common in the area I live.
Paul: [01:04:33] So, Rose is likely tortured and killed in the parking lot of this department store.
Matt: [01:04:36] Yes.
Yeardley: [01:04:39] Wow.
Matt: [01:04:40] So, we get to all test. We do all that. At this point, Rose is identified, figured out that she is from here.
Yeardley: [01:04:47] How do you identify her?
Matt: [01:04:48] Through her fingerprints.
Yeardley: [01:04:50] And because Rose was drug affected, you had her fingerprints on file some department did.
Matt: [01:04:57] Correct? Yes. So that also helps us out that we can now interview where Rose last stayed. Come to find out, we did have a witness that saw Rose with Charlie and said, “Oh, yeah, Charlie and Rose were developing a relationship.”
Dave: [01:05:14] Well and it shows that there’s possibly a level of premeditation here because Charlie didn’t like women. So, I think he was preparing to offend and he found a victim who he was basically, I guess, grooming to hang out with him. So, when the urge came upon him, he had a victim available.
Matt: [01:05:38] And there’s another creepy part into this. I told you about Mrs. Hall earlier.
Yeardley: [01:05:42] That’s the wife of the couple who let Charlie live under their house.
Matt: [01:05:45] Correct. If you compare Mrs. Hall’s picture to Rose’s picture, there’s a ton of similarities.
Yeardley: [01:05:52] Really.
Matt: [01:05:53] So, part of it was wondering that he felt it was too risky to try to kill Mrs. Hall. And Rose, obviously is, unfortunately due to her lifestyle, a much easier victim to get away with.
Yeardley: [01:06:27] So, Charlie is charged with first-degree murder and rape. Does he plead guilty? Does he go to trial?
Matt: [01:06:34] It goes to trial. And basically, I get to be pretty much the lone witness for the most part, outside of the medical examiner has to testify about the autopsy. So, when I testify, obviously, Charlie’s in there. “Hey. Hey, Detective. Hey, Matt.” Super nice. I’m getting ready to testify to put this guy on death row and he’s so excited to see me. And then after I testify, they call a break, and I’m getting ready to leave. And thank goodness the jurors were out, because I think they could have probably gotten a mistrial. Charlie stands up. “Matt, I am so sorry that I put you through all of this. I am so very, very sorry,” sincerely as can be– at this point, my minds just blown.
Yeardley: [01:07:19] That’s so strange. He knows you’re there to testify against him and put him away.
Matt: [01:07:23] And this was after I testified. And so, obviously, the prosecution plays not all of the video from the interview because it’s 19 hours long, but quite a bit, I think a total of about two and a half hours. And they stop at certain points because they have to– Matt, why do you have your hand on Charlie’s shoulder? This is an interview technique that you want him to be comfortable. Matt, why are you praying with Charlie? I’m praying with him because I want him to loosen up. And so, I had to explain why we do these different things. So, I’m basically telling Charlie right there in the courtroom to his face that, “Yeah, all this was basically an act to get you to tell the truth.” And still, at the end of it, “Matt, I’m so sorry I put you through all of this.”
Dave: [01:08:06] Did that comment get brought back up in trial? I’ve been a rebuttal witness where I’ve been asked about a comment made out among the gallery during a break and been brought back in to testify about something that somebody said. It’s always amazing when they’re like, “What? No, I didn’t say that during the interview. I just said that today.” I am like, “Anything you say, dude.” [laughs]
Matt: [01:08:29] Exactly. And that’s why had the jury been in the courtroom when he made that comment, I think the defense would have pushed things.
Dan: [01:08:35] You opened the door yourself defense [laughs].
Matt: [01:08:36] Yeah, exactly. I didn’t do anything. I just wanted to go sit down. So, the defense came up to me then and they wanted to take me out for a beer to hear more about this case. They were fascinated by my relationship with Charlie and the interview.
Dave: [01:08:52] Wow.
Yeardley: [01:08:53] It is so interesting that you could form such a tight bond in 19 hours. So, I guess my question is for all of you who’ve studied and been in the presence of multiple suspects, and Paul, you in particular, having done real profiles on these heinous offenders, what’s the psychology behind wanting, needing to form a bond with Matt in that situation when you know there’s so much a risk.
Paul: [01:09:22] Well, I think, you know, first Matt’s not forming the bond with Charlie. He’s forming a rapport. But Charlie obviously had a bond. I would say that from Charlie’s perspective because of the way Matt is treating him in this moment. And Matt, it’s obvious that Charlie was attracted to you, right? So, there’s that aspect. And then now Charlie has a person that’s interviewing him that he’s attracted to that seems to be compassionate to him, an understanding of his own situation and his behaviors that he’s committed and he is purposefully feeding Matt. Here’s location of this evidence and it takes time. He’s doing it over time. But this is Charlie kind of trying to bond with Matt in a way because he knows Matt wants this information. [laughs]
[01:10:15] So, if Charlie provides, “Oh, it’s in this dumpster.” Well, Matt’s going to like me better if I tell him the clothes are in this dumpster. Charlie has an ulterior motive here. Now, there may be some offenders and an interview tactic with these types offenders is you don’t ever want to come off as judgmental. You don’t want to say, what you did is disgusting and wrong. You have to say, “Well, I understand. I get it. I’ve got thoughts like that myself. Oh, really? You do?” And now you’ve got a communication, a conversation, because now it’s two like minds from the offender’s perspective. They’re going to be more willing to be open. As disgusting as it may be for the person that’s conducting the interview, sometimes you have to go into that dark space in order to get all the information out.
[01:11:04] It’s just like two prisoners who find out, oh, they both like hurting women in a certain way, and then now they buddy up and when they’re released, they go and they commit crimes together. You have to become that person in order to be able to maximize the amount of information. And that’s the way Charlie, in some ways, was seeing Matt. Not that Matt is saying, “Oh Yeah, you know, what you did to Rose was something I’m into,” but Charlie is seeing Matt as somebody that is understanding of Charlie’s warped mentality and thoughts.
Yeardley: [01:11:37] Right.
Dave: [01:11:37] The patience that you have to have in an interview, Matt clearly displays it. The best thing that we can relay to upcoming cops who want to get into the room with suspects is you cannot be judgmental. That is number one. The quickest way to shut people down is let them know that you are judging their character or what they did, that you have to go in there just to gather facts and there are moments of levity in interviews where you laugh. It’s all about creating rapport and letting this person know that when they finally get to where they want to tell you about the worst thing that they’ve ever done to somebody, that you’re not going to sit there and judge them.
[01:12:18] Young cops and we have some cops, at Dan and I’s old department, they’re everywhere. Some cops can’t handle sex crimes. Some cops can’t get over their own bias and prejudice about offenders that they can’t engage in a simple discussion about elements of a crime and why’d you do this? They’re personally unable to navigate that kind of interview. And a lot of cops will tell you, “I can’t stand kid cases, so don’t put me on them.” It’s recognizing where your strengths are. If you’re a cop who goes in judging someone or saying, “I hate sex offenders and I’m not going to talk to them,” you’ve got truly no chance at working big cases because you haven’t demonstrated that you are objective enough to do the job properly.
Matt: [01:13:09] Yeah, I completely agree with that.
Yeardley: [01:13:11] Matt, I understand your strategy in ensuring Charlie doesn’t think you’re judging him in order to gain his trust, because you need to get the information out of him. I guess it just seems unbelievable to me that Charlie actually thinks that you would like him enough that your opinion of him would be favorable. But then again, maybe for Charlie, any approval is better than none.
Matt: [01:13:33] I think you’re right. I mean, if you look on a different spectrum, how many guys go to the bar? We’ll use the most common one of all. How many guys go to a strip club, and halfway through they say, “I think the girl really likes me.” The girl that they’re giving all the money. I mean, common sense tells you that’s not the case, but you want it so bad that you want to believe that that plays into it.
Yeardley: [01:13:54] That’s a really good example. That’s a really good analogy.
Dave: [01:13:58] That’s always entertaining.
Matt: [01:13:59] Yeah.
Dave: [01:14:00] This dancer was all over me. I’m like, you have a wallet in your pants.[laughter]
Yeardley: [01:14:04] How much money did you have.
Matt: [01:14:04] Exactly.
Dave: [01:14:05] All they care about is getting your money. God bless you for being so naive, young man, [Yeardley laughs] but come on. I mean, they’re pros, they’re businesswomen. They’re doing their job just like a cop is when he gets into the interview room and tries to relate with somebody, it is something that you have to answer for in the interview. They’ll ask you, oh, you say here that you’ve had those thoughts, too? Come on. It’s smoke and mirrors, the defense is doing their job, and I think the jury understands that.
Dan: [01:14:33] Touching on what Dave just spoke about, what was the defense strategy in this trial?
Matt: [01:14:38] Honestly, they basically did not have one. There was nothing they could do. When I got done with my interview, they asked me two questions, and they were nonsense questions, like they weren’t going to do any good. I think one of the questions was, it actually helped. They asked, “Did you find anybody else? Did you find the made-up guy?” Well, no, we had a video. We definitely didn’t find him. Honestly, they didn’t stand much of a chance. In this case, Charlie was up for the death penalty. Every single juror recommended the death penalty. The prosecutor said that’s the first time they’ve ever had where every single juror was like, yes, this is a death penalty.
Yeardley: [01:15:14] Wow. So, did Charlie get the death penalty?
Matt: [01:15:17] Yes, he is currently on death row.
Dave: [01:15:21] How’d Charlie take that news?
Matt: [01:15:23] Non-emotional, just blank.
Paul: [01:15:26] So, now from my personal interest in this Charlie Bear, you have DNA evidence found in the van, you’ve got young girl’s underwear. Has there been any movement on identifying other potential victims?
Matt: [01:15:43] Unfortunately, as of now, no, we did not get other DNA. We did send alerts to several other police departments saying, “Hey, just be mindful of any missing person or any unsolved murder cases” just because of knowing where he traveled. And some of that, we were able, through his phone and stuff like that, to get other locations to where he’s been.
Paul: [01:16:05] Some timeline. Yeah. So, no other foreign DNA found within the van besides Rose’s?
Matt: [01:16:11] That’s correct.
Paul: [01:16:12] And was the little girl’s underwear processed for DNA?
Matt: [01:16:15] It was. And unfortunately, no DNA was found on the underwear.
Paul: [01:16:19] Okay, so possibly just clean underwear.
Matt: [01:16:22] Could have been another B&E somewhere.
Yeardley: [01:16:23] That’s a breaking and entering.
Matt: [01:16:25] Yeah.
Dan: [01:16:26] All this information about your case, the circumstances, your suspect, victimology here, that all gets entered into ViCAP, I’m assuming.
Matt: [01:16:35] That’s correct.
Yeardley: [01:16:36] What’s ViCAP?
Dan: [01:16:37] It’s a Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. That’s the acronym for it. It’s a database so other law enforcement agencies can enter circumstances and whatnot, different keywords, and try to find similar crimes throughout the nation that might fit the crime that they’re investigating. So, you can try to link crimes together.
Yeardley: [01:17:00] That’s cool. Thank you so much for bringing that to us, Matt. It seems weird to thank somebody for such a harrowing story, but thank you for the work you did on it to honor Rose and to make sure that Charlie isn’t on the streets where he could do it to somebody else.
Dave: [01:17:18] Yeah. Good work.
Matt: [01:17:18] Thank you very much.
Yeardley: [01:17:24] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. Our production manager is Logan Heftel. Our senior editor is Soren Begin and our editor is Christina Bracamontes. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only, Monika Scott. Our music is composed by John Forest and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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