Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice (2019–…): Season 1, Episode 4 - Brian Welzien - full transcript

[tense music]

♪ ♪

- Since 1997, hundreds of
college aged men

have gone missing, vanished.

Almost all of the victims
are top students and athletes

who disappeared after
a night out with friends.

They are later found drowned
in a body of water.

Near where most of the bodies
are recovered,

smiley faces.

♪ ♪

We believe these deaths
may all be connected.

The work of an organized group
of serial killers.

We believe the victims may
are drugged,

abducted, killed on land,

and eventually dumped
in the water.

With the help of preeminent
crime and forensic experts

from all over the nation,

our goal is
to convince authorities

to reopen these closed cases

and investigate them
as homicides.

Only then can we prove that
these deaths are linked.

Like the case of
Brian Welzien,

who was found dead in 2000.

He's one of dozens
of young men

who have died in suspicious

in Lake Michigan
near Chicago.

We believe Brian was
not only murdered,

but that he may be a victim of
the Smiley Face Killers.

♪ ♪

- On December 31, 1999,
21-year-old Brian Welzien,

a Northern Illinois University
honor student,

was out celebrating the new
millennium with friends.

After having a couple of
drinks in downtown Chicago,

Brian went missing.

His body was found washed up
on a beach

in another state in
Gary, Indiana, 30 miles away.

His death was ruled as
undetermined drowning.

The autopsy report states

only slight to moderate

although he was supposedly
floating in Lake Michigan

for 2 1/2 months.

We need to investigate the
death of Brian Welzien

to find out if it's
a homicide

and if it's connected to the
Smiley Face Killers.

♪ ♪

- Thank you, sir.
- You're welcome.

- Gentlemen.

- Danke.
- Thank you.

- Brian Welzien, male, white,
21 years of age,

5'8", 160 pounds.

Pretty good athlete.
Played soccer in college.

He didn't drink that much.
He always worked out.

He's very conscious about
his body.

And he was
a very intelligent kid.

He was on the Dean's List
in NIU.

- Well, Brian fits the
physical descript

of all the other kids
that we got, so...

- Without a doubt.

- He fits the victimology
to a T.

- How does a young man like
that fall in the water?

It seems preposterous to me.

This is one of the oldest
drowning cases that we believe

could be connected to the
Smiley Face Killer theory.

And it always bothered me

that Brian's body wound up 30
miles away in Gary, Indiana.

The prevailing theory

that Brian just wandered
from his hotel in Chicago

into Lake Michigan
makes no sense.

- Brian's disappearance
and death

was one of the first cases
in Chicago

of young men who fit
this victimology.

Brian is the only one

who ends up all the way across
Lake Michigan.

- What's the distance?
- Over the water?

- Yeah.
- 26, 30 miles.

- But I've been
tracking others.

The rest of 'em are
found within 2 miles

of where they went or where
they were last seen.

- Well, from what we have from
the autopsy report

he says it's mild to moderate

So it's at the early stages of

not somebody who's been
in the water 77 days.

- Should have been a mess.

- And according to this report,
a blood alcohol level of .084

So he's almost sober
enough to drive.

- According to police reports,
he threw up.

Threw up in the vehicle,
threw up next to the curb.

So he is so ill from
what it is,

and clearly the BAC tells us

that this sickness is not
brought on by alcohol.

From all eyewitnesses
that evening

he was violently ill,

so there has to be
another explanation.

Was there a drug in his system?

- This case is obviously gonna
be difficult.

We have an incomplete medical
examiner report,

a limited toxicology report,

and a highly redacted police
investigation from Chicago,

much less the recovery photos
and autopsy photos

which are key to this whole

It's gonna be an uphill battle.

- It's like all the others.
Like all our other cases.

- Which doesn't deter me
in the least bit.

[mysterious, tense music]

♪ ♪

I first spoke to
Stephany Welzien in 2008

shortly after we went public

with our Smiley Face Killer

I want nothing more for

than to have Brian's case
investigated as a homicide

in order to give her
some kind of justice.

- Brian was my only child.

Best thing I ever did.

I remember when I had Brian,

I had a smile on my face that
kind of hurt after a while

because it just never left.
It just--

this big smile stayed
on my face.

I can remember at one point
saying to my husband,

"Wow, what if something
happens to him?

He's our only child."
And he said,

"Nothing will ever happen
to him."

Those words,
after all these years,

I still hear those.

Something did happen,
something very bad happened.

- Tell me about Brian
so I can really get to--

you know, know him.

I mean, I know
he was a great young man.

I know he was a great student.

- Brian was very easygoing,
very athletic,

liked different sports.

He just--he liked people.

- Obviously,
he was very brilliant.

He was on the dean's list.

- He was on the dean's list.

He was a finance major.

He liked, you know,
dealing with money

and he would spend mine
but save his own.

Which, you know, smart kid.

- I heard that he was--
from some of the stuff I read,

that he really was into,
you know, being healthy.

Even the way--the foods
he ate and everything.

- He always ate his veggies.

He wasn't a drinker.
He hardly ever drank alcohol.

If he came home, I'd offer him
a beer or a drink

and he'd turn it down.

- So it must have been
unusual that night

that he decided to go out
for New Year's.

- It was a last-minute

Not doing anything.

His two roommates were working.

So, you know, he's sitting home
and it's a millennium.

Why sit home by yourself?

I think New Year's Eve was
on a Friday night.

So Saturday is when
the police called.

They told me Brian was missing.

At first,
I thought it was a joke.

Then I realized it wasn't.

It was the worst feeling ever

because I just knew something
was really wrong.

You know,
he was with four other boys.

He should have been safe,
and he wasn't.

- So you knew from
the first minute

that something was amiss?

- Yeah, Nick had called earlier
to see if he was at home.

His best friend, Nick,
called me on Saturday

and asked if Brian was home,

and I said,
"No, he's at college."

You know, he's in DeKalb.
And he didn't say anything

'cause he knew Brian
was missing

but didn't want to alarm me.

When the police called later
in the afternoon, then I knew.

But they didn't take it
seriously then.

They didn't take it seriously

till a whole group of people
from my church

showed up at the police

I had to get the media's

We managed to get one TV
or radio station.

And once it got on the news
in one station,

everybody else starting
carrying it.

I wasn't about to give up.

I wasn't about
to stop searching.

The worst thing,
I would go to bed at night

wondering if he was cold
or hungry,

or if he was hurting,

if he had been hurt somewhere,
if he was out there,

you know, really needing help.
That was the worst thing.

When I was--

when my tummy was full
and I was in a warm bed

wondering where on earth
he was.

Was he suffering?

I didn't want him to be

- How familiar was Brian with
the area or Chicago in general?

- You know, we had been
in a few times.

He may have gone in to do
different things at home,

but to know Chicago, no.

He rarely went.

I remember sitting in
my living room

and two policemen, black coats,
knocked on the door,

and that's when I knew they had
found him.

He was dead.

My husband had died a year
before then just in his sleep.

Now I think nothing worse
could happen.

That was the worst.

It's a scar that heals
on the outside,

but inside it's a fresh wound

that's very deep
and very painful.

And outside it sometimes looks
like it's all healed,

just a little scar left,
but inside it's not.

- I'm a fighter like you.
I'm not gonna give up

until I finish doing
what I need to do.

- I'm not gonna let the evil

that destroyed Brian
destroy me.

Just not gonna let it happen.

- Did he look like somebody

who was missing for 77 days,

- He was missing within a week.

- How'd he seem?
- He needed to go home.

He wanted to go home.

- There's something
horribly wrong

with how sick he appeared to be

and how comatose he was.

[tense music]

♪ ♪

- Usually with these cases,
it's very unlikely

that we have the authorities
willing to speak with us,

but in this case,
we're fortunate enough

that we have one
detective sergeant

that's willing to meet with us.

Sergeant Will Fazekas is one
of the original investigators

who first worked
on Brian's case.

We're meeting at the site

where Brian's body
was recovered.

So tell me about the--
when you got the call.

- The call was received
from a patrol unit,

possible drowning victim
or homicide victim.

So my partner
and I headed out here.

- And where did you find
his body?

- Roughly over in this area.

Since I've been a kid,
I've been to these beaches

and this is the first time

I can ever remember,
in 51 years,

a person disappearing
in Chicago

and washing up
on these beaches.

- Really?
- Yes.

And in 29 years of being
on the Gary Police Department,

this is the only time I can
recall this has ever happened.

- For the body to come
over here always,

you know, always disturbed me
there was such a distance.

- There's a lot of things
in this that,

they just don't add up.

The condition of the body
that day,

I remember hair missing.

There was sand on the face
of the body,

but after that there's
not much.

- Did he look like somebody
who was missing for 77 days,

or what period of time
would you...

- No, it looked like he was
missing within a week.

- Week?
- Yeah, it was that fresh.

From my experience,
someone that's dead even

in the cold and
with a climate that changes

here from hot to warm,
being the Chicagoland area,

the decomp was nothing.

- Might have taken any pictures
when the crime scene unit came?

- There was pictures taken
by the coroner's office

and the CSI unit
from Lake County.

- Is there any way we can
take a look at the photos?

I could see 'em or some other
experts that we have.

- Yeah, I'm gonna have
to look at those and see

if I can come up with those,
but if I can,

I will definitely turn it over
to you so you can see them.

- This is another challenge
working older cases,

especially in small town
police departments.

So if Sergeant Fazekas can
give us the recovery photos,

then we can bring those forward
to a forensic pathologist

that may give us more clues

on what actually happened
to Brian.

If we bring some
more evidence,

what would we need
to bring to you

that would get this case
changed to homicide?

Is there any way to do that?
- We'd have to be--

bring some compelling
evidence forward

for that change to occur.

- If we talked to some experts
and they say

what you say,
he's only been deceased

for a week to 10 days
compared to 77 days,

would that be enough
to flip it for you?

- It's a puzzle.
Once we put in the pieces,

it could change the outcome.

♪ ♪

- You're Nick?
- Yes.

- Hey, how you doing, Nick?
I'm Mike.

Mike, nice to meet you.

- Nick young,
Brian's childhood friend

was out with Brian
that evening.

They drove to Chicago
with friends

to ring in the millennium
at the Irish Eyes Bar.

- I am very scared.
I have no idea what happened


Worst of all is there's
no sign of anything.

Foul play or anything.
He's just gone.

- Nick now lives outside
the area

and has traveled to Chicago
to meet with us

about the disappearance
and death of Brian.

How long have you known Brian?

- I met him back in 7th grade.

We had that common ground of
going to church together,

so our parents
knew each other,

but it wasn't like
an everyday kind of thing.

We were just really
good friends

no matter how often
we hung out.

Brian was a really good friend.

I definitely lost
a part of me.

I just have the memories
that I carry with me.

The memories of Brian
and him being a friend.

- It was 1999 going into 2000,
right, the millennium?

Give us a little rundown
the whole night

that you remember
to your recollection.

- We got to the hotel.
We dropped our stuff off,

and then we ended up kind of
just going down to Irish Eyes.

- Were you drinking that night?

- Yeah, we had a couple drinks.
- Okay.

- I think we started off
with a Long Island Iced Tea,

and I think I just stayed

with that for a couple drinks,

- Do you know what Brian had?

- He had
a Long Island Iced Tea.

- Did it look he drank to
excess or anything that night?

- Well, as far as what I saw,

I didn't see him ordering
multiple drinks

or more and more drinks
at the bar.

- You remember talking to him

when you guys were standing
outside the bar when it closed?

- Yeah.
- How'd he seem?

- He seemed like he needed
to go home.

He wanted to go home.

I think he was kind of
falling down.

It just never really made sense

'cause there wasn't anybody
else really in our group

that was falling down,
or getting sick,

or anything like that.

He was just a bit more
out of his sorts

than the rest
of the group.

- Do you feel that Brian was
physically able to walk around?

- As we were coming out
of the bar, maybe,

but that's when he started
getting kind of

Jell-O-like or whatever.

So no, I don't know if he was
able to really do that.

- Did you notice him
Jell-O-like in the bar at all?

- Not--no.

- How about coming back
from Irish Eyes?

- Well, we only took one car,

and then some of us took a cab.

They went back to the hotel

and we ended up having
another drink,

and then kind of making
our way back to the hotel.

- When did you get back
to the hotel?

- Right around 4:00.

- When did you learn
that Brian wasn't around?

- Right away,
when I walked in.

- The other guys were
in the room with no Brian.

- Yeah, they said he got sick
in the car

and they said he was outside
while they ran upstairs.

- And then they just
left Brian there

while he was continuing
to get sick?

- I think so.
I think that's when the doorman

wasn't letting him because
he was getting sick out front.

- Did you have an occasion
to talk to the doorman?

- No, I never did
'cause it was shift change

or something like that,

so I never really was able
to speak to him.

- According to
the police report,

the doorman witnessed Brian
extremely intoxicated

and vomiting across
the street from the hotel.

But Nick states

Brian only had a couple
of drinks that evening.

Could Brian have been drugged
like some of our other cases?

- Mike and I went downstairs

and just started walking
the area.

- The police theory on
Brian's disappearance

is that he wandered a few
blocks away from the hotel,

crossed Lake Shore Drive,

and wound up in Lake Michigan.

This is two blocks from
the front of the hotel

to Lake Michigan.
- Right.

Right, well, at least to get
to Lake Shore Drive.

- Well, let's not forget
the condition that he was in.

You said he was Jell-O-like
when he came out of the bar.

- Look at this place.
Unbelievable, right?

- Right.
- Look at this.

- I don't know how
you navigate this.

♪ ♪

Four lanes of traffic before
a guard rail and a fence.

You got three other
lanes of traffic,

and then you go three more
lanes of traffic

heading the other way.

So you got ten
lanes of traffic.

You couldn't navigate it
now sober.

Can you do it?
- No.

I wouldn't want to, no.

- You can have the argument
that New Year's Eve,

there's more traffic than usual
all night.

People coming back from

and cabs,
and everything else.

And this is
a main thoroughfare.

- And Brian's not familiar
with Chicago.

- Correct.
- No.

- And now that you're
seeing this for the first time,

coming down here with us,
what's your take on it?

- It doesn't make sense.
It never really did make sense

that he made it to the lake.

- And there's no crosswalk
that goes through there.

- I mean, they have tunnels.

I mean, I think we should
take a look at that

just to see how that looks
and walk that.

- We know that Brian was not
familiar with Chicago,

so the chances of him
walking towards the lake

and finding the pedestrian
tunnel under the highway

it a very remote possibility.

Is that it?
The walkway?

- It's Division Street.
It's two blocks.

- That's a pretty good walk.
- That's a real good walk.

It's a real good walk
in his condition.

So how do you get
to this point? You can't.

- There's no reason for him
to come this way.

- Walking through the tunnel,

there's no way Brian
made it here.

Even down the steps,
going through it,

and then coming back up
the other steps.

It's just too hard
to navigate.

I mean, you come up to more
traffic even on this side.

It just really, really
doesn't make any sense.

- What's your take on it, Nick?

- It doesn't seem like he made
it this far.

Down the walkways, down--
all the way down Lake Shore,

through the tunnel,
and to the lake,

or even if he's going across
traffic straight ahead,

it still doesn't seem feasible.

It doesn't really make any
sense at all,

and that's kind of
the hard part I think

is there is nothing...

there is nothing
that makes sense.

Piecing everything together,
it just doesn't seem right.

I miss him.
I miss him a lot.

[mysterious, tense music]

♪ ♪

- We are at the location where
apparently he went in

or supposedly he went
into the water.

- Yeah,
that's the prevailing theory,

that he went in on this
side of Lake Michigan.

- Unlike some
of the other cases

that we've been looking at,

like Luke Homan
and Dakota James

where the bodies were recovered
in rivers,

Brian's body was found
in Lake Michigan.

What we need to ascertain
is whether or not

the currents from
Lake Michigan

could have moved Brian's body
from Chicago all the way,

30 miles away,
to Gary, Indiana.

- So in my experience
in recovering all the bodies

that we did over the years,
the overwhelming odds are

that a body's gonna be found
in very close proximity.

In a case like this,
within 50 feet

of where he went in the water.

Bodies don't move in the water
as much as people think.

- All the other victims
that we have

who went missing right
in this neighborhood

were found right here between
the 1200 and 1400 block.

- So you've had previous
drownings here of residents

that went into the water here
and were found here.

That's what you'd expect.

- Of the 14 deaths
where the majority of them

were found within 2 miles.

So for Brian,
he winds up 30 miles

as the crow flies
over to Indiana.

- If you look at the body of
water you have here,

you have so many things
that could hang a body up.

It would be almost
an underwater obstacle course

along this coastline
and then through

what I believe is a couple of
different marinas

where there are mooring lines
down to the bottom

for boats and things
like that.

And because a body is very
irregular in shape,

there's a lot of chance
that a leg, an arm,

or something get--clothing,
gets caught up on that.

So it's really kind of
hard to believe

that a body would make
it down that far

without getting up
on something.

- As a seasoned veteran of
the FBI's water dive team,

Bobby Chacon told us
that the body

most likely would have been
found in close proximity

to where it went in.

So what we need to do now

is go talk to
the local coast guard

and see what they have to say

based on their experience
of retrieving bodies

from Lake Michigan next
to Chicago.

♪ ♪

- Hi, guys. Come on board.
Watch your step.

- So we're meeting with
boatswain's mate first class

Jeffery Catanzarite
to learn more

about recovering
bodies from Lake Michigan.

♪ ♪

- So, Jeff,
when Brian went missing,

did you hear about
his recovery?

- I did.
I'm from South Bend, Indiana,

which is about 90 miles away
from here,

so I do clearly remember
when this happened.

It was all over the news.

- When he was recovered
77 days later in Gary, Indiana,

did you think
that was pretty unusual?

- That's a pretty good
distance away,

and I think that was something

that was pretty mysterious
about it.

A lot of it would depend
on the weather conditions.

So if you did have
a northwesterly wind,

it's possible that an object
could drift in that direction.

- Once you got a call that
there's a body in the water,

what can you physically do

to try and determine where
to search?

- So we have another piece of
equipment called

the self-locating data
marker buoy,

and that actually attempts
to mimic a person in the water

and which direction they drift.

We also have a lifelike
mannequin that we use.

We call him Oscar.

- All right, Oscar going over
starboard side.

Oscar's overboard,
starboard side.

- We use the dummy for
recovery purposes

and also possibly to see where
they may go.

- About three feet off
your starboard corner.

- And he's not tethered
or anything.

- He's not tethered
to the boat.

Free floating just
like somebody

that would be in the water same
type of condition.

- I know it's not
the exact tool,

putting the mannequin in.

Can you give us an idea

of the drift
that we would get from this?

- Yeah, so when we put him in,
we mark the position.

And then when we do
a search pattern,

we'll mark another position,
and based off the difference

over a given period of time
we'd be able to determine

which direction
and how fast it's moving.

♪ ♪

We've tracked over
several days

the data marker buoy.

- And how far have you tracked
one of those?

- We had one go about 20 miles
away from us.

- 20 miles, okay.

The coast guard stated that
they tracked the buoy

for over 20 miles
in Lake Michigan.

So there's the possibility

that Brian's body
could have floated

30 miles to Gary, Indiana,

but what's disconcerting
to me is

would it have taken 77 days

for the body to have gotten
that far?

- Ten yards off your bow!

Speed's good.
Track's good.

- When Brian was missing,

a big part of me thought

something really bad
had happened to him

that he might not be alive.

But I held onto
that shred possibility

that he could be.
He could still be alive.

And I wasn't about to stop
searching until we found him.

But basically,
I knew in that length of time,

he probably was
no longer alive.

- We were able to take
the limited information

that is known about the
Brian Welzien case

and plug it into our system.

- It leads more into our theory

that Brian was held
somewhere else.

- Where was he
the rest of the time?

- Well,
that's a great question.

- Couldn't have been deceased.

[tense music]

♪ ♪

- An object in the water
doesn't just stay put.

It drifts based on
the water currents,

and the wind,
and a lot of other factors.

- We know that the coast guard

has tracked
a beaconed buoy

for 20 miles across
Lake Michigan,

so it is possible for
Brian's body to have traveled

across Lake Michigan to
the beaches of Gary, Indiana.

But the question is could it
and would it have taken

77 days for him to do that.

- We were able to take some of
the limited information

that is known about
the Brian Welzien case,

the estimated place where he
may have gone into the water,

about the time,
and the historical temperatures

and general weather data
from that night,

and plug it into our system
which is called SAROPS.

It is a,
it's a computer database

that runs a probability model
and determines

where an object drifting
in the water may end up.

It's essentially like taking

a dump truck full
of rubber ducks

and dumping into the water,
and all those rubber ducks

become a possible location of
the search object.

And you can see how from
where it was estimated

that he went--
that he might have went--

gone in to an hour out.

Those are essentially
what could have happened

to that object.

- After one hour?
- After one hour.

This next one
that I'll show you

is drifted out to 12 hours.

And you can see already in
12 hours the dots have spread.

So you can see how much more
complicated a search gets

as time goes on.

- What do you have after that?
You did 24 hours?

Where'd you go from there?

- From here I can go
to 24 hours,

and we're already covering

the southern tip
of the entire lake.

And we've already got a number
of possible shore impacts.

So this, this is 36 hours.

- That's 36 already, huh?

- Yeah, and all of this pink
that's all Indiana.

But this is only accounting

for an object drifting
on the water.

- So it is statistically

- It is possible.
We were able to determine

that an object entering
the water

in the vicinity
of where Brian may have

can drift southeasterly
into Indiana.

All of these pink dots are all
possible locations,

but as you can see
many of them

remain in the Chicago area.

- He could have made
it in 36 hours.

- Do you recall what
the temperature was

for the lake during
that period?

'Cause that would really
tell us a lot even though

we see now that
statistically it's possible

for him to drift that far.

- Yeah, we used a water
temperature of 39.2.

- So that's cold.

It's going to retard

but it's not going to stop it.

It's not cold enough for that.

- Well, I got to tell you,
this stuff is really great

because even through you can't
stay definitively,

you know, what would
happen to Brian's body.

The most important thing is

we know he could
have made it to Indiana now,

but we also know he could have
made it in 36 hours.

This young man is missing
77 days.

It leads more to our theory

that Brian was held
somewhere else alive.

See what I'm saying?

- It's an interesting case with
a lot of missing pieces.

♪ ♪

- We know that
it is entirely possible

for Brian's body to
make it across Lake Michigan,

but the question is
how did he get into the water?

And when we look
at the toxicology report,

he's just over the limit
for legally driving,

but from all eyewitnesses
that evening,

he was violently ill.

So was there a drug in his
system that wasn't discovered?

♪ ♪

This should be informative.

- Yeah, looking forward
to meeting this gentleman.

- Good morning.
- Good morning.

- Dr. Paloucek?
- Yes.

- Kevin Gannon.
Pleasure to meet you.

- Lee Gilbertson.

Frank Paloucek is
an independent toxicologist

and professor at
the University of Illinois.

He has reviewed Brian's case
for our investigation.

- So, doc,
you've got a chance to look

at some of the toxicology
reports on Brian Welzien case?

- Yes.

- One of the primary questions
we have is

how can we account
for his behavior

after he left the bar?

During the period right before
he went missing,

he was violently ill,
repeatedly throwing up,

witnessed by multiple people.

That doesn't make sense.

- So we have
a blood-alcohol level

found at autopsy of 0.084.

- Just a little over
intox level, 0.08.

- Yeah,
just a little bit above,

and based on the reports
that I had

the story was he had about
two drinks,

and that's just inadequate.

So there's something
horribly wrong

with how sick he appeared to be

and how passed out--
comatose he was

That's assuming that the 0.08

was what he was
when he left the bar.

So either head more
to drink at the bar

or they left him in the car

and somehow while
he was passed out,

he found more alcohol
in the car and drank there.

Or when he got out
and was lying on the sidewalk,

he drank more alcohol there.

None of that makes sense
so far.

And then there's
the possibility

that someone gave him something

That Brian was the target

of somebody seeking
to do harm to him.

That could be a stranger
at the bar

who's just on New Year's Eve
just trying

to take advantage of
individuals while intoxicated.

In which case they slip
something into his drink

when he wasn't looking.

He becomes extremely,
violently ill.

That's very consistent.

- Those drugs would normally

come up on a regular tox screen
though, would they?

- Correct. Absolutely.
- What about GHB?

- GHB, I'm not gonna pick up
no matter what I do

because it's--

it in of itself is
not tested for.

- In the majority of the
Smiley Face cases

that we have investigated
over the years,

many of the victims were found
with GHB in their system.

And Brian's behavior that night
that he went missing

reflects someone
who is under the influence

of alcohol
and some debilitating drug.

Whether or not it was GHB,
we will never know

because he was not tested
for GHB.

- I can't attribute to it being
alcohol alone.

There had to be
something else in him

to explain the degree
of illness that he had.

- They did not fluid
in the lungs

which is very surprising.

- I'm sorry to be bringing
the news to you like this.

- No, I need to hear this.

[tense music]

♪ ♪

- What do we know?
We know from the coast guard

that Brian could have traveled
from Chicago

all the way down to Gary,

- Correct,
in about 36 hours.

- Well, that's different

than the fact
that he's missing for 77 days.

- Yeah, so where was he the
rest of the time?

- That's a great question.
- Couldn't have been deceased.

I mean, 'cause it says right
here in the autopsy report.

slight to moderate.

- Right.
- That fits with 36 hours.

- Right.
- Not 77 days.

- Exactly.
So the question is

where was Brian for
the other 75 1/2 days?

Fazekas said after 18 years

he was able to find
Brian's autopsy photos.

- Will he let us have 'em
and look at 'em?

- Listen, he's not gonna
let those things

out of his possession.

- It's clear then
what we have to do.

We need to make an appointment
with a forensic pathologist

and invite Sergeant Fazekas
and his photographs

to come with us.

- Right.

- Especially this red flag
that we've identified,

The slight to moderate decomp

that doesn't fit with
77 days in the water.

- Yeah, exactly.

This is really
the only chance this case has.

♪ ♪

- How's it going, man?

- This is my partner,
Doc Gilbertson.

- Nice to meet you, Doc.
Will Fazekas, Gary PD.

- World renowned
forensic pathologist

Dr. Cyril Wecht,
has agreed to meet with us

and Sergeant Will Fazekas
to review Brian's case.

- Thank you.

- Since Sergeant Fazekas has
found the recovery photos,

we need to bring those

and the autopsy
by the original pathologist

to an independent expert
to get their assessment.

- This is a very, very
difficult case

to try to analyze
and break down

from a forensic pathological,

toxicological standpoint

From a criminalistic
standpoint too.

- I do have some photographs.

And that is the actual pictures

from that day
on March 17, 2000.

There's just some strange
things with this case.

- Yes, I'm interested in the
finding by the pathologist

that livor mortis,

the gravitational settling
of blood

in the dependent parts of
the body at the time of death,

was posteriorly,
which is, you know,

when you find somebody
lying on their back,

that's what you will get.

Let's say he went into
the water accidentally

and he drowns.

For the body to remain,
you know, in that position

face up, is very, you know,
very surprising.

- For Brian's body to present
with lividity on its back,

he would have had to have been
lying on his back

on some surface for longer
than 12 hours.

This is inconsistent
with a body

in turbulent water
like Lake Michigan.

He should have had lividity
on all sides,

not fixed to one side.

- They did not find fluid
in the lungs

or in the chest cavities.

A scant amount of sand
in the larynx,

in the voice box area.

And the stomach just fluid,
no sand there.

So he wasn't swallowing
in sand either,

and then down
in the GI tract.

Most significant to me,

in reading the descriptions
of the organs,

I find it hard to believe

that this would be someone
dead for 77 days.

And you have the organs
essentially intact.

He doesn't describe any
significant decomposition.

He describes all
of these organs

and while the body externally
does show loss of scalp hair,

it does not describe

He doesn't use that word.

He's able to describe
the coronary arteries.

This is not--
can't be after 77 days

that you're able to see

that kind of anatomic detail.

There's no way that this person
could have been dead

unless you had a body
that was frozen for 77 days.

- Water temperature never got
below what, Doc, 35 degrees?

- According
to coast guard model,

the lake did not freeze over
during that period.

- So he doesn't have enough
decomposition like you said

to be dead for 77 days.

- I think in the absence of
fluid in the lungs,

and the absence of sand
in the tracheobronchial tree,

the respiratory passageways,

and the absence of sand
in the esophagus

leading into the stomach,
he did not drown.

It's highly likely

that Mr. Walzien was dead.

- Murdered before he put into
the water, correct?

- Indeed.

- This is the confirmation
that we needed.

Hopefully, this is enough for
Sergeant Fazekas

to reopen Brian's

- In all your years,
have you ever seen

someone missing for
77 days in the water

with no decomposition to,

like you said,
any of the organs?

- No, I cannot recall having
seen such a case.


[somber music]

♪ ♪

[knocking on door]

♪ ♪

- Stephany.
- Oh, hi, Kevin.

- Good to see you.
- Good to see you too.

- This is sergeant
Will Fazekas

from Indiana--
Gary, Indiana PD.

- Hi, nice to meet you.
- Glad to meet you.

Come on in.
- Thank you so much.

For 18 longs years,
Stephany has been waiting

for answers to what happened
to her son, Brian,

and it's about time
that she learned

the extent of
our investigation,

and Sergeant Fazekas would
like to be a part of it.

- We've been doing
a lot of work.

Sergeant Fazekas has helped
us tremendously.

- The day when
the call came out

when your son was found on
Miller Beach,

myself and my partner were
dispatched there

'cause we didn't know exactly
what we had.

We were familiar with all
the news reports

about what happened
to your son,

so we had an idea it was
your son, Brian.

When we got the report back

and some of the things
that stuck out in his autopsy,

the report,
it bothered me.

And Kevin called me

curious about some of the facts
on this case,

and as we started looking
into things

other facts have come forward.

The one thing the medical
examiner did a good job of,

he described the organs

and everything was basically
as if it'd just occurred.

And based on the temperatures
that Kevin--

- It wouldn't have happened.
- No.

There should have been some
kind of decomposition,

and there wasn't.

- I mean, we even met with
a toxicologist

that went through
all the reports,

and we asked him
did he think that Brian

could have ingested anything
of a foreign substance,

and he said he did.

And he believed that, you know,

that he could have been given
some type of drug.

- The detectives are telling me

that Brian definitely
met with foul play.

Probably something
put in his drink.

I feel horrible that it
happened to Brian,

but I'm happy that the truth
is coming out.

- There's no way that Brian
ever possibly could have been

in the water for 77 days.

- I think he was deceased
before he touched any water.

Bottom line.

- Yeah, see, and I always had
nightmares about him drowning

'cause I almost drowned once
and I imagined him struggling

in the water,
and just...


- I'm sorry to be bringing
the news to you like this,

but, I mean...

- No, no, I need to hear this.

- I can tell you this,
I mean,

based on what we told you
right now,

I'm gonna be approaching
the medical examiner,

and I'm gonna talk to him
and present the facts,

what Kevin did, you know,

and all the information
he gathered and...

I want to reopen this case.
- Oh, thank you.

- I want to look at it as
foul play.

- It's all we wanted for years.

- I know you've been waiting.
I'm sorry.

18 plus years for you.
- Thank you. Thank you.

Oh, man.

- And I'm gonna need some help
from you.

- You got it.

- And we're gonna take it
from there.

We'll see where it goes.
I can't make no promises,

but we want to look at this
again, okay?

You know,
I never could imagine

that Brian would just
accidentally wander off

and make it to Lake Michigan,
and then--

So thank you.

- I'm sorry, and it's hard
for me to talk about this.

I know you're getting

and you're gonna cause me
to be emotional, so...

- But that's okay.

It's hard to describe
how I feel.

- Okay?

- I feel so thankful that...

That you've kept on this
non-stop for year,

after year, after year.

And I'm glad you were there
on the case that long ago,

so all this could finally

Both of you were in the
right place at the right time

and it's finally
come together.

I think Brian and his dad are
in Heaven right now going--

giving you guys kudos.

After this news,
I feel the wound in my heart

will start healing
a little bit more.

I put on my game face
like everything's okay

and I'm doing fine,

but inside it hurts every
second of every day.

So with the case
getting reopened,

it will be some healing taking
place on the inside.

The truth is coming out.

And if this case gets reopened,

then maybe some of the others

That it wasn't just Brian.

It was a whole strong
of young men.

It's a big, important
part for me,

but I know it's a small part
in the whole picture, so...

- She's a lovely woman,
and it feels good

that we can finally do
something positive

for one of the families.

We can actually get
the case reinvestigated.

♪ ♪

- Join the conversation
on Oxygen's Facebook page