Buried in the Backyard (2018–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - House on Canyon Road - full transcript

The gruesome discovery of a skeletonized and dismembered corpse buried in the backyard of a Seattle home results in an investigation that unravels a 30-year-old plot hatched by a vindictive family.

In 2007, a construction worker

made a gruesome discovery...

that uncovered
a 30-year-old mystery.

Molly Shen:
It was a smaller town

where neighbors
know each other,

not a place where bodies
get found buried

in the backyard.

Ben Benson: The body
had completely decomposed,

and there was nothing left
but some clothes and dirt.

You just immediately
started to wonder,

Who was it?
How long has that body
been there?

To get to the truth,

set out to expose

a family's darkest secrets.

He was hounding her.

He was always trying
to get her into bed.

Gypsy Tarricone:
I know who killed him.

I just couldn't prove it...


Once you kill one person,
it's easy to kill another one.

There's people that have
no regard for human life.

The more you learned,
the more sickening it became.

Reporting live in Tacoma,

Molly Shen, KOMO 4 News.

As a veteran crime reporter,

Molly Shen
thought she'd seen everything,

until June 4th, 2007.

It started off
as a typical day.

Then the call came.

We needed to stop everything
that we were doing

and get down to Puyallup.

Molly soon found herself
on the scene in Puyallup,

a small, sleepy town
30 miles south of Seattle.

A construction worker had
discovered something unusual

while leveling a house

on a secluded street
called Canyon Road.

He was out there
digging up the land

and scooped something up,

and instead
of just dirt and rock

he saw what looked
like a bag or something there.

So he got out of the excavator,

went over to check it out...

and opened it up...

and saw bones.

It was human bones.

No one expects to find
something like that,

and I'd say he was
pretty freaked out,

and so he got out of there
and called 911.

After talking to the stunned
construction worker,

Molly had what she needed

to begin reporting
on the gruesome discovery.

Shen: For decades,
there was a single house
on this property.

For decades,
there was a gruesome secret

buried between
the house and garage.

Homicide Detective Ben Benson

set upon the grisly task

of examining the remains.

The bones had definitely
appeared to be

in the ground
for a long period of time.

There was no flesh.

The body had completely

and there was nothing left

but some remnants
of some clothes and dirt.

Dawn Farina:
We could see a vertebrae
inside the bag,

as well as a pelvis,
a shoulder bone,

and some other bones that
clearly it was a human bones

as opposed to an animal.

You just immediately
started to wonder,

Who was it?
How long have those remains
been there?

How long has
that body been there?

As details about the unearthed
bag of bones seeped

into this quiet
suburban neighborhood,

rattled community members

began gathering
at the property

wanting to know,

who was the victim found buried
in the backyard?

Could it be someone they knew?

It was a spectacle
for that neighborhood.

Everybody was coming by,
asking, "What's going on?

What's happening back here?

Why are there
so many police cars here?"

We also had
a number of people stop by

desperate for information
about other missing people.

Can't give up hope
that my dad's body
is gonna be found.

And I know a lot of other
people are missing people, too,

but I still have the hope
that it's him.

That was sort of surreal, too,

just knowing
that there were people
in the area

who were missing loved ones

and almost had this,
you know,

sort of awful hope

that it was
the person they knew and loved

because that person
was missing.

At this point this is
a who-is-it, not a whodunit.

You know,
we'll figure that out later,

but right now
we wanna figure out who this is.

A forensic team began
the painstaking task

of searching the yard
for additional bones.

After nine hours of digging,

51 were located,

all belonging
to the same individual.

When the forensic anthropologist
laid the bones out,

she told us
that the bones were
from a male,

and she was able to determine

that it was someone
in their mid-50s.

Because no flesh remained
on the bones,

cause of death couldn't be
accurately determined,

but all signs pointed
to homicide.

Det. Benson:
The body had been dismembered.

She could see
that there were clean cuts

across the bone...

and that a chainsaw was used

to cut up the body.

The shoulder
had been cut in two

with a-- approximately
quarter-inch blade,

which again was consistent
with a chainsaw.

It was pretty horrifying

to realize
what had happened there.

The more you learned,
the more sickening it became.

For investigators,
this brutally challenging case

was about to get
even more difficult.

The forensic anthropologist
was able to determine

that, based on the condition
of the bones,

they were buried
for about 30 years.

Narrator: Investigators
were now looking

at trying to solve a crime

three decades old.

Their primary question:

who lived
in this quaint little house

on Canyon Road long ago

and attempted to hide a body

so it would never be found?

It could be someone
has gone this long

believing they got away
with murder.

Detective Benson
began his investigation

by talking to the homeowners.


they were utterly
distraught and shocked

that a body had been found
on their property.

The owners of the property

had lived in the house
until 1973.

In 1974,

they began renting
the property out

to other individuals.

Because the owners hadn't lived
there in decades,

they were ruled out
as suspects,

but that meant detectives

would have to investigate
each of the renters

who lived in the house

between the late 1970s

and the early 1980s,

a daunting task...

until they caught
a lucky break.

The owner told the police

that he remembered a woman

coming by many years before

looking for her father.

She had explained

that he had last been seen

at a house on the property

where the bones were found.

Det. Benson:
She actually got permission

to walk around the property

and look to see if she
could see anything unusual.

She thought
maybe he had disappeared

and something
had happened to him there.

This new lead,
while promising,

only raised more questions.

Who was the woman who came

looking for her father
all those years ago?

Was the mystery victim
actually her father?

And if it was,
who was responsible

for dismembering his body?

Det. Benson:
I ran a background check.

He had done time in prison

for killing a person.

Gypsy Tarricone:
She was young, beautiful.

I said, "She's only using you
for your money."

Once you kill one person,

it's easy to kill
another one.

When the bones
of a dismembered man

were found buried in a back
yard in Puyallup, Washington,

detectives had very few clues

as to who he was

or who could've committed
the murder.

Their most promising lead

was a report
from the property owner

about a young woman
who had come to the house
years earlier

for her missing father.

So, the property owner
thought that he potentially
was the person

that was buried
in the back yard.

But investigators knew
that even if it was true,

finding additional information

about the anonymous man
or his daughter

could prove to be
an impossible task.

But then, fate intervened.

For decades, there was a single
house on this property.

For decades, there was
a gruesome secret buried

between the house and garage.

A woman who worked in the
King County Sheriff's office

as the missing persons

had heard about the discovery
of the bones on TV,

and the address of where
the remains were found,

off of Canyon Road,

it triggered something
in her mind.

About this point in time,

I'm contacted by Jan Rhodes

from the King County
Sheriff's Department.

And she tells me that
they have a missing person case

where the person
that is listed as missing

is a man by the name
of Joseph Tarricone.

The family had last spoken
to Mr. Tarricone

in September of 1978.

This was consistent

with what the forensic
anthropologist determined

were the age of the bones

that were recovered

on the site.

Det. Benson:
The missing person report

links me to Joe's daughter,

Gypsy Tarricone.

I was able to contact her,

and she came
down to my office,

and we started talking
about her father.

Detective Benson said,

"Do you remember this house
on Canyon Road?"

And when he started
that "Canyon Road,"

I was, like, kinda like
going into shock

'cause the last time
anyone saw my dad

was at that house.

Suddenly everything clicked.

Gypsy Tarricone
was the same woman

who had come to the house
looking for her father
years earlier,

but police still
needed to determine

if the found remains

belonged to Joe Tarricone.

To find out, they got
a DNA sample from Gypsy,

and three weeks later,

the results came back.

The bones did indeed belong
to Gypsy's dad.

I was in shock.
And I just said, "I knew it.

I knew it. Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus. I knew it."

But who wanted Joe dead?

Detectives needed Gypsy's help

in retracing his final steps

three decades ago.

Gypsy: My father
was a meat distributor.

He was just like
a traveling salesman,
selling meat.

He would go
to the bars at night,

sell to the bars
and the lounges,

sausage, steaks,

and eventually he decided,

"Hey, I'm gonna go to Alaska
and open up my own shop."

And he did,

and he was
quite successful up there.

Joe's new business
in Anchorage was thriving,

but being so far
from his family took its toll.

Joe's marriage to Gypsy's mom

ended in 1976.

Gypsy: Family was really
important to my dad,

and after my parents' divorce,

I think he was really lost
in the world.

He started dating
these younger women.

One of those younger women

was a receptionist
at Joe's company

named Renee Curtiss.

Joe was instantly smitten.

Gypsy: She was young,
beautiful, in his eyes.

I think how
the relationship started

is probably my dad showed
an interest in her,

and she knew, you know,
he made a lot of money,

and he was a likeable man.

I mean,
I'm sure she liked him.

He bought her jewelry, clothes.
whatever she wanted.

You know, her wish was...
his command.

He just talked
about Renee, Renee, Renee.

Renee, Renee, Renee.

And I looked at my dad,

and I said,
"Dad, please, come on.

She's only using you
for your money."

He just could not see that.

He wasn't hearing anything
anyone said by this time.

He was probably lonely
and lost,

and so he wanted
some companionship.

Although Joe didn't
have a problem

being with
a woman half his age,

Renee had some doubts.

After just a couple
of months of dating,

Renee decided
to leave Anchorage

and relocate
to the Seattle area

to move in with her mother,
Geraldine Hesse,

in the small yellow house
on Canyon Road.

Her mother made it clear
she wasn't crazy

about Renee's relationship
with Joe.

But back in Anchorage,

Joe was still in love
with Renee

and believed he could make
things work.

He wasn't ready to give up.

He would fly
to the Seattle area

twice a month to see
Renee Curtiss.

When he was here,

he would also see
his daughter Gina.

My dad came down
for a visit to see Renee,

and he saw me
at the same time

towards the end of July.

The last time Gina remembers
seeing her father

was after one of those visits,

in July of 1978.

Gina: After that visit,
I tried to call him,

and it would just ring
and ring and ring,

and then I was getting
more concerned

as the weeks were going by,

still no answer.

That really alarmed me

because that was not
my father.

Gina and Gypsy
didn't believe their dad

would just abandon
his family like that.

My dad loved his kids.
You had three younger ones
still at home.

So after six weeks
without hearing from Joe,

his daughters finally decided
to get law enforcement

I'm thinking
that I just better go down

and put in
a missing persons report.

In August of 1978,

local authorities paid a visit
to the house on Canyon Road,

the last place
Joe had been seen.

They were greeted
by Renee and Geraldine,

who told police
they hadn't seen Joe
for several weeks.

They also mentioned his last
visit hadn't ended very well.

Renee said my dad came
to their house

with tickets to go to Rome,

to ask Renee to get married,

and that they were going
to go off to Rome together.

She said no.

Renee told the detective

he was in a mad fury,

threw the tickets down,

and stomped away.

Police found no evidence
of foul play,

and the case stalled.

But the story didn't add up
for Joe's daughters,

who decided to take matters
into their own hands.

( phone ringing )

Gina: I finally decided
to call Renee,

and her mother Geraldine
picked up.

Geraldine went on to say,

"Well, I haven't seen
your father in a while,

but you know your dad.

Don't worry.
You'll hear from him again."

And then we never heard
from him again.

Weeks passed, then months,

and still there was
no word from Joe.

It was--

as time went on, it was hard.

I mean, you know,
you get busy with your life.

I had four kids,
so I was a very busy mom.

We put in a missing report,

and periodically we would check
in with the King County police

where the report was taken.

You know, next year,
the year after.

And eventually, years later,

I went to my brothers
and sisters and said,

"Either we're going to find out
what happened to him,

or we're gonna get him
declared dead."

Twelve years
after Joe's disappearance,

still hadn't given up hope

of finding her father.

In 1990,

she decided to pay a visit

to the house on Canyon Road.

By then, Renee and Geraldine
had moved out,

and it was occupied
by new tenants.

I introduced myself,

and I said, you know,
my father was missing,

and years ago his girlfriend
lived there,

and could you give me any
information, whatever she had.

And she said no,
she didn't have
any information.

The woman did allow Gypsy
to inspect the property.

She didn't find
anything suspicious,

but she couldn't shake
the feeling

that Renee Curtiss and
Geraldine Hesse

had something to do
with her father's death.

Det. Benson:
At this point in time,

Renee is being identified

as a possible suspect

by Gypsy, the daughter
of our victim.

So I run a background check
on Renee Curtis,

and I figure out
that she is currently residing
in Seattle,

but I didn't see
any huge red flags

that jumped out at us
regarding Renee.

My next step was to run
a background check
on Geraldine Hesse,

and I found out that she had
died several years earlier.

Initially, nothing seemed

about Renee
or her mother,

but then a closer look
at family records

revealed some new information.

Renee had an adopted sibling

named Nick Notaro.

Det. Benson:
So I ran a background check
on Renee Curtis's brother,

and it was revealed
that he had done time in prison

for killing a person up
in Alaska back in the '70s.

I do believe
that once you kill one person,

it's easy to kill another one.

And the fact that he had
committed a murder in Alaska,

it lent more credence
to the fact

that he could've committed
a murder in Washington.

In 2007, Seattle detectives

ramped up their investigation

into the murder
of Joe Tarricone,

whose buried remains

were found next to a house
on Canyon Road.

They discovered a connection

between two of the home's
former residents:

Geraldine Hesse and her
daughter, Renee Curtiss.

They also learned that
Geraldine's adopted son Nick

had a murderous past.

Det. Benson:
When I learned that Nick

had been convicted
of manslaughter in Alaska,

I immediately requested a copy
of their case file

from that investigation.

When I investigate
Nick's murder conviction,

I find that he had murdered
his wife in 1978

up in the area
of Fairbanks, Alaska.

While they were driving
back to Anchorage,

he pulled off the road

into a kind of
a gravel pit area...

( woman screams )

...and shot and killed her.

She was shot at a distance
in the back of the head...

...and then shot at close range

on the left side of her head.

In March of 2008,

Nicholas Notaro was arrested

and charged
with first degree murder.

Det. Benson:
He served eight years in prison
for killing his wife.

I thought that was
a little light,

but back in the '70s,

there was a lot of people being
murdered up in Alaska

and that if somebody
was willing to take a deal,
they gave it to him.

And that's how Nick got lucky
on that case.

After serving
his eight-year sentence,

Nick Notaro
was released on parole.

He moved from Alaska
to Washington State,

where instead of turning over
a new leaf,

he found himself the target

of another murder

Det. Benson:
Reading through the case file,
I learned

that there was a period of time
from when he killed his wife

until he was arrested.

In the case file they had
the paper reports,

and they had some photocopies
of some things.

One of the things
was a plane ticket.

Nick had purchased
an airline ticket

in August of 1978

to fly to Washington State.

It put him in our area

around the same time
that Joseph Tarricone

was murdered, dismembered,

and buried in the back yard.

Detective Benson suspected
that Nick Notaro

might have
killed Joe Tarricone

the last time Joe showed up

to visit Nick's sister Renee,

the woman he was still
in love with.

But what could have been
his motive?

There was only one way
to find out.

Det. Benson:
I tracked down Nicholas,

and learned that he was nearing
the end of his probation

and he only had
a couple more meetings

where he had to come in
and meet with her

before his probation
would be over.

In July of 2007,

at a probation office

outside Seattle,

Detective Benson
finally got his chance

to question Nick Notaro.

Det. Benson:
Nicholas, you told us
that you'd been arrested

for involuntary manslaughter.

Was that the charge?

What was the initial charge
you were arrested for?

Okay, and that--
just briefly tell me

the circumstances
regarding that charge

or what caused you to get
arrested for that.

Okay, and where did
that occur at?

At that point in time
you believed that your wife

was fooling around on you.
Is that right?

And why did you believe that?

Nick Notaro talked openly

about the murder of his wife,

so Detective Benson

steered the conversation

toward the case at hand.

Det. Benson:
How did you end up getting
the job up there in Healy?

What was his name?

Joe. Okay.

Can you remember Joe's
last name?

He was Italian? Okay.

What else do you remember
about Joe?

He was Italian.

Notaro claimed his memories
of Joe were fuzzy,

but his body language told
detectives otherwise,

so they kept pressing him.

We've now got him talking
about Joe.

We've got him talking
about Joe getting him a job

up in Alaska.

We've got him talking about Joe
being Renee's boyfriend.

And every time he would
mention Joe's name,

he would scoot back
a little bit in his chair.

Pretty soon Detective Wood and I
are sitting at this table
in this room,

and we looked and Nicholas
is across the room,

and I asked him, I said,

where are you going?"

And he kinda had a moment,
and he looked around,

and brought it back over
at the table,

and we can continue
with the interview.

Did you ever see Joe down here

after Renee came down here,

and she was living
in Alaska for a while,

and then you said she and your
mom moved down to Washington?

And that's where you came
and visited them?

- Yes.
- After you killed Vickie?

And was Joe hanging around
down here then

or was he up--
did he come down here
with Renee?

Detectives then revealed

the real reason
for their visit.

Det. Benson:
I told Nicholas

that we were in fact

the murder
of Joseph Tarricone

and that human remains
had been found on the property

where his mother had lived
in Puyallup back in 1978,

so then we just asked him
to tell us

what happened to Joe.

He just came
right out with it,

and he told us
that his mother Geraldine

had shot and killed
Joseph Tarricone.

But what possible motive
would Geraldine have

to commit murder?

Detectives had the feeling
the chilling truth

was only beginning
to unravel.

In 2007, 30 years after
Joe Tarricone disappeared

and just a few months
after his bones were discovered

behind the house
on Canyon Road,

detectives finally
had a break in the case.

Nick Notaro, the son of one
of the home's former residents,

said his mother,
Geraldine Hesse,

was responsible
for Joe's killing.

( gun fires )

When we asked Nicholas
why this happened,

he said that Joseph
would not leave Renee alone.

He wanted a relationship
with Renee,

and he wasn't taking no
for an answer.

He was hounding her.

He was always trying
to get her into bed.

So Geraldine,
according to Nicholas,

took it upon herself

to solve the problem.

His mother, Geraldine, had shot
and killed Joseph Tarricone,

and she put him
in the freezer

in the basement
at her house in Puyallup,

chopped him up
with a chainsaw,

and buried him
in the back yard.

Something about Nick Notaro's
blunt revelation

seemed suspicious
to investigators,

and because
his mother Geraldine

had passed away years earlier,

there was no way
it could be proven.

Det. Benson:
The story that he gave
made no sense.

Joseph would've been
too heavy for Geraldine

to pick up by herself
and put in the freezer.

And we told him that
we didn't believe his story.

I told Nicholas that I believed
that he and his sister

had something to do with
killing Joseph Tarricone,

and his reaction was,

"My sister had nothing to do
with this whatsoever."

That was basically
all it took,

and he said, "Yeah,"

that he was the one
that shot Joe.

Detective Benson had a hunch

that Nick Notaro
didn't act alone,

so he asked Nick
to explain exactly

how the murder took place.

Det. Benson:
Nicholas said that they were
upstairs in the house,

and he told Joseph that they
were having a problem

with the washing machine.

And he asked him to come

to take a look
at the washing machine

to see if he could determine
what was wrong.

Then when they got
to the basement

and Joe leaned over
the washing machine...

Nicholas came up behind him
and shot him in the head.

Notaro went on to explain

how he used a chainsaw
to dismember Joe,

but Detective Benson,

who was carefully listening
to every word,

found a flaw
in Notaro's story.

Det. Benson:
He said that "we" went
to the store

to buy the chainsaw.

I said, "You said,
'We went to buy the chainsaw.'

Who went with you
to buy the chainsaw?"

Asked him who the "we" was.

And he said,
"I don't remember."

He didn't say, "It was my mom."
He said, "I can't remember."

That was the significant piece
right there,

that told us that there
was somebody else there

besides Geraldine.

But he stuck to his story

that Renee had
nothing to do with it.

He said that she was living
in Hawaii at the time

and that
after he had done this,

he and his mother

were the two that dismembered

Joe in the basement...

and that he then buried him
in the back yard.

Detective Benson
had all he needed

to arrest Nick Notaro
for the murder
of Joseph Tarricone.

Det. Benson:
There wasn't much
of a reaction from him.

He stood up
and was cooperative,

and we handcuffed him and
walked him out of the building

and handed him over
to some patrol deputies,

and they transported him
to jail.

My thought on Nick's story,
that he did this on his own,

I certainly don't believe that.

I don't think he has
the mental capability to do it.

I believe he would do it
on order of his sister.

Det. Benson:
Nicholas didn't have a reason
to kill Joseph Tarricone

unless Renee put him up to it.

But was Renee Curtiss,

a pretty 25-year-old

with no police record

really an accomplice to murder?

Detective Benson
was determined to find out.

So now our next step
is to go talk to Renee.

In 2007, Nicholas Notaro

was arrested
for killing Joe Tarricone

30 years earlier,

but Detective Ben Benson

was convinced Notaro
didn't act alone.

He shifted his focus
to Nick's sister Renee.

Det. Benson:
Fairly early on
in the investigation,

I learned that Renee

was married to a bail bondsman
up in Seattle,

and that they had
this bail bond company,

so I went
to the bail bonds place,

and I sat right across
the desk from Renee,

and we started off
by telling Renee

that her brother has gotten
into some trouble

and we want to talk
to her about that.

We told Renee that we were
investigating the murder

of somebody from Alaska,

and I asked her if she knew
who I was talking about.

And she says,
"Well, I believe so."

She says,
"My brother killed his wife

up in Alaska back in 1978."

And I told her,
"I'm aware of that,

but we're investigating
the murder of somebody else."

It is my belief that Renee
is culpable in this murder

and that she was involved
in asking her brother

to do this
or helping her brother do this.

I believe Renee
manipulated Nick

into doing her dirty work

because he loved his sister,

wanted to protect her,

and would do anything
for her.

Det. Benson:
Nicholas adamantly denied that

and said that she was
in Hawaii at the time

and that it was just him
and his mother

that were there at the time.

But I believe
that Renee was there,

and we're now going
into an interview

where the only way
we're going to learn that

is if she tells us that.

( on recording )
Okay, Renee, we are conducting
an investigation

into the death
of Joseph Tarricone.

We have your brother
Nicholas in custody

for killing Joseph.

She just gasped.

She sat frozen
for probably 30 seconds.

Then she turned beet red,

and you can see her heart
thumping in her neck,

and she eventually said,

"I know Joseph Tarricone."

And then I told Renee
that Nicholas had told us

everything that had happened
at her mom's house.

Det. Benson:
So did you come home
right away?

Tell me what happened
when you got home.

Without knowing it,

Renee Curtiss had contradicted
her brother's story

that she was not
at her mother's house

on the night Joe was murdered.

She said, "Well, this is
obviously a serious matter.

Do I need to talk
to an attorney?"

We said,
"That is definitely your right,

and if you want to talk
to an attorney,

you should do that,

but let me just say this:

rendering criminal assistance,

which is what we believe
you probably did,

has a statute
of limitations on it,

and that expired
a long time ago.

We can't arrest you
for what you did

to help Nicholas
after he killed Joseph,

but we still want to know
what happened.

Detectives were setting
a very subtle trap.

What we told her at the
initial part of the interview
was entirely true.

We could not arrest her for
rendering criminal assistance.

We could not arrest her
for helping chop up the body.

However, detectives
could still arrest her

if she admitted
to ordering Joe's murder.

That would indicate that Renee
was an active participant

in the killing,
making her an accomplice
to murder.

For that, there is
no statute of limitations.

Unaware, Renee continued
to disclose details
to Detective Benson.

Det. Benson:
Describe for me
what Joe looked liked

when you looked in there
and saw him.

Okay, so what happened

after they took you down
and showed you Joe?

And who was in
on that conversation?

Tell me about the conversation

with your mom and Nick
about what had happened.

And what did you talk
about regarding that?

Okay, and where
did you decide to bury him?

Who dug the holes
in the back yard?

Prior to that,

you and Nicolas
went somewhere together,

and where did you and Nicholas
go together?

Do you remember
what kind of saw it was?

What did you do
after you got the chainsaw?

Okay, and what specifically
was the chainsaw used for?

Okay, specifically what part
of the body was dismembered?

Did you cut his head off
as well?

( whispering )

How much of a mess
did this make

when you guys
were cutting him up?

The longer Renee spoke
to detectives,

the more comfortable
she became.

She freely admitted
to helping her brother

cover up the murder
he committed,

but would she be as forthcoming
about who put him up to it?

She told us that she had
conversations with Nicholas

about the problem she was
having with Joe.

She asked Nicholas
to come down here

to Seattle
and take care of Joe.

When you're talking to somebody
that you know just committed
a murder,

and now you ask them to come
down here and "take care of"

what are you asking them
to do?

We believed that she put
her brother up to that murder,

which made her
an accomplice to murder.

In 2008, Renee Curtiss

made a shocking confession.

She admitted
to Seattle Detective Ben Benson

that in 1978,

she called her brother
to come to Seattle

to kill her former boyfriend,

Joe Tarricone.

When we told Renee
that she was under arrest,

for the murder
of Joseph Tarricone,

she took it in stride.

Renee, is there anything else
you can think of?

Renee: No.

Det. Benson:
She stood up and she put
her hands behind her back

and we handcuffed her
and walked her out
of the bail bonds office.

It was clear that Renee

had chosen to end
the relationship with Joe

by murdering him.

I knew already
that she killed my father,

but I just find it amazing

that a woman would do that.

This man gave you money,

lavished you with jewelry,

paid your rent,

and this is what you do to him
in the end.

She is sick.

The judge set Renee Curtiss's
bail at $500,000,

and for Nicholas Notaro,

2 million, cash only.

Meantime, the Tarricone family

will watch
this brother and sister

go through the court system.

District Attorney Dawn Farina

was in charge
of the prosecution

to bring justice
to Joe Tarricone
and his family.

Nicholas Notaro
and Renee Curtiss

chose to have
two separate trials.

Mr. Notaro went first,

He was willing, early on,

to plead guilty to the murder

and take the fall

if we agreed to dismiss our case

against Renee Curtiss.

That was just simply
not going to happen.

In February of 2009,

Nick Notaro stood trial
for murder.

Your Honor, this is matter
of the State of Washington

versus Nicholas Louis Notaro.

I was a little surprised
the first time I saw Nick.

He was this old guy.

It was hard to imagine him

doing what had been done.

After waiting 30 years

to find out the truth behind
their father's disappearance,

the Tarricone family members

didn't miss
a day of the trial.

It's the not knowing will,
not drive you crazy,

but, you know, it's--
you don't ever get any closure,

so now we will have closure

when this is over.

On February 24th,

the jury returned
with a verdict.

We the jury find the defendant
Nicholas Notaro

guilty in the crime of murder
in the first degree.

Renee ended up taking the stand
in her own defense

in her trial,
and it didn't go well.

( reporting )
In court she constantly tried
to hide from the camera,

never said she was sorry,
and showed zero remorse.

This was a senseless murder.

It wasn't enough that they shot
him in the back of the head,

but then she had to go
get a chainsaw

and dismember him.

Miss Curtiss,
along with her brother,

chopped up
Mr. Tarricone's body.

After painfully reliving
the gruesome details

of her father's murder,

Gypsy Tarricone
and her family

finally received justice.

Both Nicholas Notaro
and Renee Curtiss

were found guilty
of murder in the first degree

and sentenced
40 years to life.

They both will die in prison.

It's truly appalling,

in terms of believing
that she is a human being.

( no audible dialogue )

I worked homicide investigations
for over 20 years,

and you just see it
over and over again.

There's people that have
no regard for human life,

and these
were some of those people.

Helping to cut arms and legs
and a head off

of somebody that she had had
a previous romantic
relationship with.

I don't know
how you get there,

as a human being.

I don't know
how they could be so evil.

It's something when you have
one family member,

but you've got a brother,
a sister, and a mother?

It was probably the most
interesting case of my career

and one of the most
satisfying cases,

the fact that people waited
30 years to get justice,

and that people
didn't give up.

They never gave up.

They wanted justice
for their dad

and they weren't gonna stop
thinking about that

until they got it.

I just want people
to know that my dad had
instilled in us

hard work, family values,

stick together,
take care of each other.

I just wish
he would've been there

at least to meet the grandkids

and meet our spouses, you know?

And he missed out on all that.

I've been a TV news reporter
for 25 years now,

and when I look back

on cases I've covered,

this one stands out for me.

It was a 30-year-old tale
of secrets and lies

buried in the backyard.