Buried in the Backyard (2018–…): Season 2, Episode 3 - Tangled Web - full transcript

After a young woman vanishes from her neighborhood, North Carolina detectives are snared in a tangled web of deceit as they uncover a vicious love triangle. It's a race against time to find...


NARRATOR: In Greensborough,
North Carolina,

a suspected murderer
is on the run.

He left the jurisdiction.

He was driving between
85 and 90 miles an hour.

NARRATOR: Detectives
are suddenly snared

in a tangled web of deceit.

HOWARD: She told the police
that she was pregnant

with his child.

TONY: She was trying to find
a way to get away from him.

NARRATOR: A desperate plea.

PORTIA: She said,
you can find me.

Just don't stop
looking for me.

And a piece of evidence

that could unravel
this dark mystery.

HOWARD: Hunter gave me
a rough hand drawn map


KAI: They were looking
for hours and hours

but they couldn't find
the body.

They could not find it.


NARRATOR: It's only June in
Greensborough, North Carolina,

but the heat and humidity
are already piled on thick

in the lovely neighborhood
of Gramercy Park.

TONY: Gramercy Park
is in the eastern region

of Greensborough.

Very affluent neighborhood.

PORTIA: If you wanted to be
the somebody of Greensborough,

that's where you would go,

to Gramercy Park.

TONY: Small kids
playing with each other.

Um, you normally
have people

taking a walk
with, uh, their dog.

Uh, you would normally have
maybe a yard sale.

And little
if no violent crime

really exist in this area.


NARRATOR: But in June of 2008,

the neighborhood tranquility
is shattered

when police descend
on the streets

of Gramercy Park.

TONY: Police presence
in that neighborhood

was something that most
of those residents

have never seen before.

But that day,

they were surrounded
by police officers

and crime scene tape.

PORTIA: We've seen
all these news media vehicles,

vans, towers.

Like, it was live action.

And they had
this big bulldozer

in the backyard.

NARRATOR: People gather,
curious about the commotion

coming from a new
neighbor's home.

The owner of the property

had just bought
a house to move

into this nice, quiet,
and peaceful neighborhood.

She seemed to be
in shock almost.

Um, and this is not news
many people get.

TONY: I said, "Ma'am,
we need to recover a body

that we believe is buried
in your backyard."

Now I have to take this map
and pinpoint precisely

where we should
begin digging.

HOWARD: I mean, we're looking
for teeth, bone fragments,

anything at all,

and we continued
to come up empty.


PORTIA: When you see something
like this happening on the news

or on TV or in a movie,

you never think
that something like this

would happen
in your neighborhood.

But no one is as stunned

as the new homeowner.

Is her leafy backyard
about to be revealed

as a burial site?


NARRATOR: The community
of Greensborough

is in full holiday cheer.

Thanksgiving is still
a few days away,

but 27-year-old Sherri Jackson

is already preparing
for Christmas.

CLARA: Sherri always
enjoyed the holidays.

She helped me wrapped
gift all day.

We worked for hours...

but she enjoyed it,
you know.

In fact, when she was eight
or nine years old,

she could wrap gifts
as well as I did.

Sherri was born a caring,
loving child.

She would share
whatever she had with anyone

that she felt like
with the need.

MCARTHUR: She would always see
the good in people.

She wouldn't hurt a fly.


She would run them away,

but not hurt them.

KAI: We met
in the sixth grade

and we were
bosom buddies

from then on.

We grew up in Ashville,

a small town.

We were trying to break out

and build a life
we wanted to be,

you know,
big time people.

And just rule the world.

PORTIA: Sherri was very smart.

She was, uh, a cheerleader.

She was a organizer.

She was a wonderful,
uh, young girl.

And she turned out to be
a beautiful young woman

who knew
what she wanted to do.


NARRATOR: After high school,
the 19-year-old moves

two hours away to
Greensborough, North Carolina,

where she puts
her college dreams on hold

to pursue her passion.

Sherri took care of elderly,

disabled people.

Her job took a lot
of patience, empathy,

but she loved all people.

She bonded with them.

For the next seven years,

Sherri blossoms personally
and professionally.

Well, she took pride in it.

She felt that she was doing
something to get paid

but also helping people.

I was very proud.

CLARA: She seemed to be
enjoying life and working

and she seemed very happy.


NARRATOR: The week
after Thanksgiving,

a small group of Sherri's
friends and colleagues

plan a festive get-together,

but Sherri never shows up.

PORTIA: The evening that Sherri

did not show for the party

threw a big red flag

because Sherri
does not miss parties.

Everybody had tried
calling her,

see where she was at
but, you know,

things happened

and they figured that maybe
she got tired and rested.

NARRATOR: By 10:00 am
the next morning,

Sherri is uncharacteristically
late for work.

PORTIA: When she did not
show up the next morning,

that was the alert

that something else
was going on.

NARRATOR: Sherri's co-workers
aren't the only ones worried.

Her boyfriend is, too.

CLARA: DeCarlo called
Sherri's dad

and said,
"Is Sherri up there?

I have been looking for her

and I can't find her."

I thought that maybe
they had some kind of fuss

and she had left

and didn't tell anybody
where she's going.

And my husband started calling
Sherri's cell phone.

He got no answer,

And we began to feel
something was wrong.

KAI: It wasn't like Sherri
to not call

or not show up somewhere.

She would reach out
to at least me.


NARRATOR: The weekend
comes and goes,

but still no word from Sherri.

PORTIA: Four days later,

she did not pick up
her paycheck.

No one has heard
from her.

Not her parents
nor her close friends.

It made my heart sink.




NARRATOR: Their imaginations
running wild,

Sherri's co-workers make a trip
to her apartment.

PORTIA: We went over
to her apartment

and knocked on the door.

And she did not come
to the door.

And they said,
"Well, we have to call

the police department."


Talking to the co-workers,

several things
that made it suspicious.

She hadn't had
any telephone contact

with anyone before that.

And her car was still parked
at her residence

and it appeared the car
hadn't moved in several days.

Those three things together

brought the suspicion
level up

that she could be
potentially in harm's way.

NARRATOR: Their concern
for Sherri's safety rising,

police quickly get permission
to enter her apartment.

TONY: The residence
was in disarray.

HOWARD: It looked like
there had been a fight.

Like two people
tussled in there.

And items of furniture
got knocked over

during the skirmish.

We also indicated
some blood spatter

that was on a wall
near a couch,

as well as the hallway.

So, at that point,
we knew

some type of assault

had occurred inside
the apartment.

NARRATOR: While most of the
apartment is in shambles,

Sherri's bathroom
is strangely immaculate.

The first thing they observed

was that the floor
was very slick.

It was almost like someone
had used a chemical

to clean the floor

and the linoleum
didn't even have enough texture

to really maintain balance
in the bathroom.

used a substance called Luminol

and it will glow

if there's evidence
of blood there.


HOWARD: Pretty much
the entire bathroom,

the walls, the tub,
the sink,

were all just
completely covered

with the remnants
of blood.

The Luminol and its reaction

lit the room up.

More so than
I had ever seen

in a crime scene
light up like that.


HOWARD: She called
the phone and indicated

something was over
at her house

and she couldn't

TONY: She mostly
painted a picture

of a very dominant
possessive personality.

HOWARD: It's starting
to look like

a crime has been

a horrific crime.


NARRATOR: Four worrisome days
after 27-year-old

Sherri Jackson vanishes,

her friends call on police

to search
her Greensborough apartment.

What they discover is alarming.

TONY: We found blood
in her apartment.

And it's starting
to look like

the crime's been committed,

a horrific crime.


NARRATOR: Sherri's parents,
McArthur and Clara Jackson,

are two hours away

when they hear
the horrendous news.

CLARA: It was horrifying,

because I did not know

if she had been killed
or I did not know

if she was somewhere
just suffering.

MCARTHUR: You would think of
the worst thing in the world

that could happen.

And then whatever that is
multiply it by 10.


NARRATOR: Detectives set about
the grim task

of determining whether
the blood belongs to Sherri.

We collected some items,

a hairbrush, bobby pin,

we have a lipstick,

because we didn't have
her DNA profile.

While the blood in Sherri's DNA

is sent out for testing,

investigators tried
to make sense

of this chaotic scene.

The possibility
is the first would be

some type of home invasion
type robbery.

Secondly, would be someone
that knew her.

It did not appear
that there had been

a burglary or a robbery.

There was a still
a television in there,

her clothes,
things of that nature.

NARRATOR: As detective scour
the apartment for clues,

Sherri's boyfriend
DeCarlo Bennett

shows up in a panic.

TONY: He was concerned because
he hadn't heard from Sherri

in the last four days.

He said,
"I have not seen Sherri,

what can I do to help?"

So the detective asked him
some questions

about when's the last time
he saw Sherri.

NARRATOR: Sick with worry,

he says the last time
he saw Sherri,

she was on her way to a party.

He had visited her
that night,

she was getting ready to go
out with some friends.

DeCarlo tells the officers

he was afraid
he was in the dog house

and figured Sherri
would call soon enough.

TONY: He was also concerned,

because they got into an
argument about something

the night that
she had gone missing.


He left
and from all he knew,

she had gone to meet
those friends.

NARRATOR: In the middle
of answering questions,

DeCarlo shocks investigators

by sharing a closely held

He told the police that

she was pregnant
with his child.

He told them how anxious
he was to have a child,

that he was looking
forward to that.

TONY: He felt that
he had a future with Sherri,

I believe he felt
that they would be

this happy this family.

NARRATOR: DeCarlo sadly says

he and Sherri haven't told
anyone, yet.

Not even Sherri's parents

whom he had just met
over Thanksgiving.

PORTIA: His mother got
a company that was reputable,

he also worked
at a credit union

and he worked
for a lot of women,

so he was one of those guys
that everybody looked at

as being a well-mannered,
behaved guy.

So her and DeCarlo
was a perfect fit.

NARRATOR: Now, just weeks
after meeting her parents,

DeCarlo faces
the inexplicable loss

of the girl he loves

and their unborn child.

He's also facing suspicion
by police

who continued to question him
as a possible suspect.

TONY: If a young
professional female

who lives alone
goes missing,

one of the primary things
were gonna ask first

would be some type of
dating relationship,

because naturally
that's where the emotion lies,

but DeCarlo
was very cooperative

and he was emotional,

he was also concerned
of where Sherri could be.


NARRATOR: Investigators speak
at length with DeCarlo

while Sherri's family
and friends

become increasingly frantic.

We looked for her physically.

Secluded areas,
wooded areas,

we've looked everywhere
for her.

When Sherri went missing,

it had everybody in disarray.

Where could she be?

Everybody was very upset
about what happened to Sherri

and everybody was looking
for her.

Desperate for answers,

investigators turned
to Sherri's parents.

Can they think
of anything strange

leading up to their daughter's

That's when they hear
a rather alarming story

from several weeks
before Sherri went missing.

I was at home about bedtime


Sherri said, "Daddy,
would you tell this man

to leave my house,
get out of my house?"

HOWARD: She had called
her father and indicated

that somebody was over
at her house

and she couldn't get him
to leave.

I think the father even said,

"Put him on the phone,
I'll make him leave."

And I can hear her him tell,
"I'm leaving now sir,

I'm leaving me now sir.

Then the phone went dead.

NARRATOR: Sherri never did
share with her parents

who was at her apartment
that night.

Blowing it off as no big deal.

Could it have been
DeCarlo Bennett

or perhaps, another man?

Police turn to Sherri's
inner circle for answers.

And it isn't long before
Sherri's friend,

Portia Shipman,
reveals that Sherri

has been holding a secret
close to her heart.

PORTIA: Weekend before
Sherri went missing,

she was with Reggie, my son.

Her and Reggie had spent
that entire weekend together.

Everybody knew that DeCarlo
Bennett was getting ready

to have this wonderful life
with Sherri

but little did anyone know

that Reggie and Sherri

were building a relationship...


It's been less than a week

since friends of 27-year-old,
Sherri Jackson,

reported her missing
in Greensboro, North Carolina.

in a surprising revelation,

it seems Sherri's ex-boyfriend,

has been trying
to win her back.

PORTIA: Reggie and Sherri

were building
a relationship, again.

TONY: We would interview
anyone related

or had any information
about Sherri's disappearance.

Anyone within that
circle of trust,

including any ex-boyfriend.

In a chance introduction,

four years earlier,
Reggie and Sherri meet

and sparks instantly fly.

PORTIA: I met Sherri
through my son, Reggie.

The day that Reggie
introduced me to Sherri,

Reggie was the happiest person
I ever seen.

He was very excited about
the relationship.

He just kept on saying,

"Oh, she's so beautiful, Ma.

She's so beautiful.

And she's smart."

NARRATOR: The kids it seems
are crazy in-love.

PORTIA: Reggie was a father
of two small children,

a boy and a girl.

And Sherri was a good--
you know--

not, I say mother-figure
but a good friend

to his small children.

NARRATOR: Reggie and Sherri
are inseparable.

Spending virtually
all their time together.

PORTIA: Sherri got the job
at my family home care agency.

Sherri and Reggie
was a team.

And they were a good team.

NARRATOR: Yet, spending
every minute together

eventually takes a toll
on the young couple.

They decide to take a break
but promise to stay friends.

KAI: Reggie and Sherri,

they was like
they never broke up.


PORTIA: Sherri and Reggie
had this awesome relationship.

They were friends--
even after they broke up,

they were--
they were still friends.

She was--
she was our family member.

She was--
she became family to us.


It's many months later

when Sherri meets another man

she can't take her eyes off of.

Sherri met DeCarlo
at a party.

He wanted to be a rapper

and have this nice,

fine lady on his side,

a trophy-type
of relationship like,

"This is my girl."

NARRATOR: Just a few months
into that relationship,

a love-struck DeCarlo
makes it clear,

he's playing for keeps.

KAI: DeCarlo,
he had given her a ring.

NARRATOR: Rushing into
a relationship with DeCarlo,

puts Sherri at a crossroads
with her first love, Reggie,

who clearly wants her back.

Sherri begins to struggle
with the ultimate decision.

Which man
to share her life with?

KAI: Reggie and Sherri--

I was aware that
they were hanging

and are talking again.

PORTIA: They were fallin'
in-love with each other.


NARRATOR: In fact,
Reggie and Sherri had planned

to go to the party together

the night she disappeared.

PORTIA: Sherry was supposed
to be hanging out with Reggie

but Sherri did not show up.

And during that time
of her not showing up,

it made Reggie
become very upset.

He went over to the apartment

and knocked on her door.


But she didn't answer the door.

When she did not show up
for the party,

Reggie tried calling her
to see where she was at.

But the phone just rang
and rang.

NARRATOR: Everyone is asking
the same question.

Is Reggie spinning stories
or speaking the truth.

There was nothing about Reggie

that would make me suspect him

but I felt like

whoever it was

was close to her

because she kept
a very tight circle.

from the party confirmed

Reggie was there
the night Sherri disappeared.

We didn't have any
suspicious activity

or any information
that indicated

he was involved
with Sherri's disappearance.

NARRATOR: And without a body or
any evidence

linking him to the crime,

Reggie Sloan
is off the hook for now.


Everyone is innocent
until proven guilty.

NARRATOR: Police are no closer
to finding Sherri

or any clues
in her disappearance,

until they receive
her phone records.


TONY: The purpose
of obtaining phone records

in a missing person

you want to identify
what few numbers does the person

or victim call the most,
and why?

Her phone records reveal
the lack of any outgoing calls.


I think in today's time,

it's very unusual for somebody
to have a cell phone

and not to use it
several times a day.

That was very suspicious.

HOWARD: We thought somebody
turned the phone off.


Investigators are intrigued

when they do come up
with one number,

just before her phone
went quite.

It belongs to someone
named Andrie.

Does he know something
about Sherri's disappearance?

We wanted to discuss,

uh, what if anything he knew

prior to and after
the disappearance of Sherri.

Because he could be
another witness

or someone with information
about her disappearance.


NARRATOR: There's an eerie
chill in the winter

of 2006 in Greensboro,
North Carolina.

As investigators
work tirelessly

to find 27 year old,
Sherri Jackson.


We're still conducting

a suspicious missing person

NARRATOR: After poring
through phone records,

investigators believe
they may have found

one of the last people
to speak to Sherri

before she vanished.


Andrie was a friend of Sherri.

Andrie cooperated
with the investigation

by agreeing to speak
with detectives.


HOWARD: Once he got down
to the police department,

he said he didn't know anything
about her disappearance.


NARRATOR: Andrie insists
he only know Sherri

through his relationship
with DeCarlo.

And while investigators
initially think

they may have a suspect
in Andrie,

he quickly turns
into a potential witness

against his friend.

TONY: Andrie painted
a different picture

of their relationship.
He mostly painted a picture

of a very dominant, possessive
personality with DeCarlo.

And one of the alarming
things that he stated was,

it looked like Sherri
was trying to find a way

to get away from him.


Is it possible DeCarlo

is hiding something sinister

behind his concerned exterior?

When we got his phone records,

he had never tried
to call Sherri after that night.

And we all thought
that was just an amazingly

strong evidence.

If his pregnant girlfriend
has disappeared,

why is he not calling her
every chance he gets?

Uh, but he made no call at all.


KAI: A major outsider would see
two very attractive people.

After they dated
for eight months,

they are just touchy,
feely in public.

But I think he was kind of
putting on a show for them.

Putting on his best behavior
for them.

NARRATOR: As investigators
take a closer look at DeCarlo,

they sift through records

and discover a 911 call
made from Sherri's apartment,

shortly before
her disappearance.


HOWARD: Police responded
to Sherri's apartment.

And found evidence of abuse.

A lot of times they respond
and by the time they get there,

the girl tells the police
she fell down the stairs

and that's where the bruises
come from.


HOWARD: They made an arrest
to the person who was there,

not necessarily
based upon what she said

because she was still trying
to minimize it.

But by the fact that they could
see visible injuries to her.

NARRATOR: Just who is Sherri
trying to protect?


TONY: It was DeCarlo
Rayshaun Bennett,

her current boyfriend.


NARRATOR: With the latest
disturbing discovery,

investigators are far more
suspicious about DeCarlo.

And bring the seemingly
doting boyfriend in

for a formal interview.


HOWARD: And at that time,
DeCarlo changed his story.


He had gone there that night.

Uh, she had fixed some dinner
for the two of them.

She had gone to the back
to change clothes

to go out with her friends.

And when she came out,
he didn't like

what she was wearing.
It was too revealing.

He did not like her
to dress in any provocative way

when she went out in public.

And he said an argument
started over that.


HOWARD: But he said
that he left at that time

and it was his understanding

she was going to go out
and meet with her friends.


He wasn't telling the truth.

There's no way
for a detective to believe

that you're not involved.

TONY: So, the detective says,
"You know what, DeCarlo?

Would you object if I were able
to search your car?"


DeCarlo says, "Yes."

He provides the keys.


TONY: The objective
was to see if there was anything

that could indicate
where Sherri could be.


HOWARD: They looked
at the outside of his car,

and saw a couple of dark spots
on the hood of the trunk.

There appeared to be dark spots

of what might be blood.

Of course,
the suspicion just started

to build tremendously
at that point.


What happens next

stuns the seasoned


The smell almost overcame them.

That's a smell
that if you ever smelled it,

you never forget it.


He was fleeing the jurisdiction.

He was driving between 85
and 90 miles an hour.


HOWARD: We were looking
for teeth or bone fragment,

anything at all
that wasn't quite there.


She said, "You can find me,

just don't stop looking for me."


NARRATOR: Just days
after finding the blood

of Sherri Jackson
in her apartment,

have her boyfriend,

DeCarlo Bennett
in the hot seat.

And he's just agreed
to let them search his car.

TONY: And as the trunk opens,
the detective

recognized the smell
of human decomposition.


It startled them actually.


TONY: Why would DeCarlo
allow investigators

who can recognize the smell
of human decomposition

to search his vehicle


TONY: That was more
of a psychological disbelief.


TONY: I was actually
just kind of like,

"What is this guy thinking?"

NARRATOR: Forensics
meticulously take samples

of what appears to be blood.

Knowing they are closing in
on unraveling this mystery,

investigators returned
to DeCarlo to get a DNA sample

and a possible explanation.


His first response was...

Sherri had cut herself
trying to cook some dinner.

And somehow
the blood got on his trunk


He said that he had some rags

in the trunk of his car.


He ran out to the car,

uh, and opened the trunk
to get the rag out.

To go in and try to stop, uh,
her bleeding.

All these stories
were entertaining

but far from truth.

And of course that just added
to the suspicion about him.

As suspicious as DeCarlo is,

investigators know their job
is far from finished

if they intend
to put him behind bars.


TONY: So we let him go,
we don't have Sherri,

and we need to confirm
if Sherri is deceased

before we can proceed
with a homicide investigation.


NARRATOR: Several days later,
the test results from the blood

found in Sherri's
apartment come back.


They were able to develop

a partial DNA profile of her
based upon the lipstick.

And based upon that
partial profile...


HOWARD:...they concluded that
the blood was Sherri's.


For those who love Sherri most,

their worst fears
are confirmed.

Well, it was bad.

One of the worst things
that can happen.


Well, I just said,

"Well, if she's dead,
there's no pain."


NARRATOR: No amount of grief
will stop Portia Shipman

from finding her friend.

One night, Sherri came to me

on the side of my bed.

In the middle of the night,
it's like a dream.

And, she said,
you-- you have to find me.

And I'm, like,
I don't know where you are.

She said, "You can find me.

Just don't stop looking for me."

TONY: So, now we're looking
for Sherri's body.

HOWARD: The police searched
a golf course

that was in the area there.

And we got helicopters
from the highway patrol

that flew over the lake to see
if anything could be found.

We didn't know where to look.

NARRATOR: Investigators
don't have enough evidence

to arrest DeCarlo
but have no intention

of letting him out
of their sight.

TONY: We decided to conduct
surveillance on DeCarlo

to see if he would go back
to the scene

of where he disposed
of Sherri out of fear

that we will find it first.

We wanted to see
where did he immediately go.

Within five minutes,
he left the jurisdiction.

He was driving between
85 and 90 miles an hour

headed towards Durham,
North Carolina.

He was fleeing the jurisdiction.

But where was he going?

That was the question.

Some detectives thought that

the body was somewhere
in Greensboro,

and he wanted to get as far away
as possible.

And some detectives thought,

he needs to find a way
to move that body

before we find it

because that would actually
be the nail in his coffin.

NARRATOR: As hawkish
investigators keep DeCarlo

under surveillance,
the results from what appeared

to be blood on his car
are back.

The State crime lab

produced a DNA profile
of Sherri Jackson

and those were compared
to the blood DNA profiles

obtained from the vehicle.

We determined that

that blood was a mixture

of Sherri and DeCarlo.

Warrants were obtained
for first-degree murder

on DeCarlo Rayshaun Bennett

on December 14th, 2006,

eight days
after she was reported missing.

He was under surveillance

and he was arrested
in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

And he was transported
back to Greensboro.

MCARTHUR: When he was arrested,
it was bittersweet.

We were happy
that we had come closer

but it was bitter
because we know she was dead.

I'm still shocked to this day
because he was a friend

and a friend ended up
killing her.

He was determined that she
wouldn't have Reggie, you know.

And he was determined
she wouldn't be free

but more so not with Reggie,
not him.

CLARA: It felt like my heart
was in my feet,

it had just dropped
to the floor,

and I felt a hollow inside.

I felt like there's no life
left in me.

Their heartbreak is worsened

by the unthinkable question.

Where is Sherri?


I wanted the body.

I wanted to bring her home
for a decent burial.

Over the next many months,

prosecutors work tirelessly
around the clock

to build their case.

I wasn't confident
he would be convicted

of first-degree murder.

We had blood in his car.

But we did not have a body.

NARRATOR: Then, 19 months
after Sherri vanished.

A game changing call

comes into
the District Attorney's office.

HOWARD: I was in my office

when DeCarlo's lawyer
called me.

He indicates that DeCarlo
has information

about where Sherri's body is.

He wanted to share
that information

not because of tremendous
guilt feeling he had,

or because of his remorse

but because he thought
it might be helpful to him.

TONY: There was plea
arrangement that was offered

in exchange for DeCarlo

telling us the location
of Sherri

that they would reduce
the charge

down to second-degree murder

as opposed
to first-degree murder.

We were fully prepared
to go to trial

on a first-degree murder
and if he had been convicted

he would be sentenced to life

without the possibility
of parole.

But the D. A. made the decision
to leave it to the family.


CARLA: I wanted DeCarlo
to get life

but we wanted to know
where the body was

because we wanted
to bring it home

and give it a decent,
respectable, funeral.

So, the plea bargain was made.

Your punishment
will not be as harsh

if you tell where the body was.

HOWARD: His lawyer gave me
a rough hand-drawn map

of the backyard
of DeCarlo's mother's house.

Investigators waste no time

assembling an excavation unit
in the backyard

of what was once
DeCarlo's mom's home.


HOWARD: We dug the spot
that was located out on the map

and I was foolish,
I just thought

we could just go out and dig
right at that spot

and she'd be right there,

but it wasn't quite
that simple.

We were having
some real concerns

about the accuracy of this map.

We were out there
approximately 13 hours.

And, we continued
to come up empty.

NARRATOR: Is it possible,

DeCarlo Bennett
has set investigators up?

TONY: He has lied incessantly

since the beginning
of this investigation.

And to me,
this could've been another lie.

They were looking for hours
and hours in the heat

but they couldn't find the body.

They could not find it.

NARRATOR: In a stunning
turn of events,

19 months after Sherri Jackson

DeCarlo Bennett
insists he buried her

in the backyard
of his mother's home.


PORTIA: They had this big
bulldozer in the backyard.


CARLA: I wanted to see it.
I wanted to see that house.

The police force
had a big screen.

You could not see them
actually digging.

And, we just stood there
and waited.

NARRATOR: At their wit's end,
investigators decide

to bring DeCarlo
out to the scene.

HOWARD: He was lead
into the backyard

and he was asked to show us
where he had buried the body

because the map
obviously was not accurate.

And then, with one of his feet
he pounded on the ground

two to three times
to indicate that was the spot.

We began to dig in that area.

And after an hour and a half,

somebody yelled
"Stop, stop, stop."

And we can visibly see

parts of the skeletal remains.

It was not a flesh body.

It was just bones,
some were connected,

some were not connected anymore.


TONY: When the family, uh,

observed us carrying her remains
in a secure container.

It was more of a final moment

that the family finally realized
they've recovered Sherri.

It was very emotional
for the family

but I think they also felt
like this was finally

the closure they had wanted.


MCARTHUR: When you don't know,
you imagine all kind of things.

But when you know
she's not alive anymore,

she can't be hurt anymore.

PORTIA: Once we found
that it was Sherri,

a tear left my eye
and hit the ground

and as it hit the ground
the voice of Sherri

came into my head and it said,

"I knew you would find me.

I knew you would find me.

Thank you, thank you,
thank you."


KAI: I just saw them
bring her to the morgue truck

and that's when I broke down.
I went in somebody's house.

I cried for, like, two hours


HOWARD: I believe DeCarlo
went over to Sherri's apartment

sometime in the early evening
of November 29th.

I believe they got
into some sort of argument

and it turned physical.

The autopsy showed there was
damage to her nasal bone.

The speculation there was that

that she had been struck
in the face

and was bleeding from the nose.

We believe Sherri bleed
in that bathroom.

TONY:I believe,
he manually strangled her

to get her life.


HOWARD: DeCarlo eventually
removed her body

from the apartment

put it in the trunk of his car

and tried to clean up
the apartment.


She spent several days
in the rear of DeCarlo's car.


HOWARD: Then, took her
to his mother's house

and went behind the house
and dug a hole.

Put her in the hole

and filled the hole back in.

NARRATOR: In June of 2008,
29 year old DeCarlo Bennett

pleads guilty
to second-degree murder.

He's sentenced to 13 years
in prison.


CARLA: That was not
nearly enough time

for him to stay in there

and think about
what he had done,

it wasn't.

DeCarlo is going to be out
still a young man

and my daughter's gone forever.


MCARTHUR: He traded life
for 13 years.

If he had a thousand years,
that won't bring her back.

NARRATOR: To honor the girl
they love so much,

her family and friends

create the Sherri Denese
Jackson Foundation

for the Prevention
of Domestic Violence.

PORTIA: Her mother,
looked at me and she said,

"Hey, could you do something

so that no mother
has to feel like this?"

And she was clutching
the picture of her daughter

on her chest and I say Clara,

"I sure will--
I'm going to do something."

CLARA: Sherri lives on
through the foundation.

I do hope that it will continue

to help people for years
and years and years to come.

To help prevent
such terrible tragedies.

I will never ever forget.

I'll live with this every day.


NARRATOR: For more information
about Buried In The Backyard.