Unsolved Mysteries (2020-…): Season 3, Episode 7 - Body in the Bay - full transcript

Patrick Mullins' unmanned boat is found miles from his home. When his body surfaces a week later, authorities are left with more questions than answers.

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[intriguing music playing]

[Miles Mullins] What
happened that day?

How did the boat
get out that far?

[Jill Mullins] Why
would no boats notice

this unmanned vessel
traveling all that distance?

[Miles] There was just
so many things that made no sense.

[Gray Mullins] They won't say homicide.
They won't say suicide.

Any reasonable person looks at this
and decides, "boom,"

this is not a suicide.

This is a murder.

[mysterious music playing]



[tranquil music playing]

[Jill] When we moved up here,
Bradenton was a pretty small town.

My husband Pat and I were able

to purchase a house
that was on a river.

And it was a great place
to raise the kids.

[Miles] A big part of my time
growing up in Bradenton

was just being out in the water
fishing some.

I had a good time hanging out.

So there are spots I know
I can take my little dingy,

and go push it up on shore,

and hop out,
and hang out for a little bit.

- [Mason Mullins on video] Oh, my God!
- [Miles laughing]

[Miles] Hey, stop!

[Gray] My brother Pat and I
grew up on the water.



Boats were everywhere.
I mean, we all had boats.

And we were able
to go out all the time.

Pat's boat was a
14-foot Stumpnocker.

Growing up, Pat
really coveted them.

You know, it was like,
"Boy, that would be the boat to have."

Stumpnocker is a brand.
It's a flat-bottom boat.

[motor starting]

[Jill] Stumpnocker was pretty much
for the Braden River,

which was extremely shallow.

[Miles] We would go out mullet fishing,
and it was kind of magical almost.

You could see a fish
take off underwater

'cause you see
its trail glow in the water.

So that was always fun.

It was just a
peaceful place to be.

[Jill] On January 27th, 2013,

I was going down
to my sister's house in Sarasota.

I didn't know
what Pat's plans were for the day,

but he had numerous outboard motors
that he always wanted to be working on.

Pat wished me a good day,
gave me a kiss, and off I went.

I came home that night,
6:30, I think, 7:00.

And when I got
home, Pat wasn't there.

His truck was there, so I thought
he was at a neighbor's house.

I called his cell phone,

but Pat didn't like
to carry his cell phone.

So that wasn't a surprise
not to get an answer.

I went outside and looked for him.
I looked at the neighbors' houses.

I didn't see him.

We had a pretty regular routine.

On a Sunday,
we considered it a work night,

and we kind of started winding
down about 7:00,

so it was odd that
he wasn't home.

It was getting later,
and I got more and more nervous.

Then I walked out
to where our Stumpnocker was kept.

It was not there.

When I realized
that the Stumpnocker was gone,

then I realized I needed help.

So I called my son Miles.

I was in Tampa
studying my bachelor's degree program,

and I told my mom
not to worry about it.

I think he had spoken
to one of my uncles the day prior

and mentioned that he was gonna
go take the boat out for a spin.

Just to go run
some gas through it.

He'll get home. He's the last person
you'd have to worry about

being able to find his way home.

Then it got later, and she called again,
and said, "He's not back."

I had known that something
was different or out of the ordinary,

so I just immediately left Tampa
and drove down to Bradenton.

[Jill] I called my
brother-in-law.

This was probably
11 o'clock at night.

I was kind of silent
because I didn't wanna ask him

to please go out in the boat
and try to find Pat,

but he asked, "Do you want me to?"
And I… "Yes, please."

[Miles] The uncles met me
at the boat ramp with my boat.

So I just jumped on
and we started searching.

We focused on the Braden River
because we knew he was on the Stumpnocker,

which is designed
for shallow water.

I think it's highly unlikely

that he would take the Stumpnocker
into the Manatee River.

Its intended area of use
was the Braden River,

and that's where it stayed.

We did the main routes,
and when we didn't find anything on that,

we started to go into all the small
little nooks and crannies and streams.

[Rabun Moss] After
11:00 p.m. at night,

we received a call from Jill Mullins,
Patrick Mullins' wife,

that he was missing.

He went out on the
boat and didn't return.

At that time, we
asked the common missing questions,

"Any problems or anything?
Did he leave a note?"

"Did he have his phone with him?"
Which he did not have his phone with him.

"How is your relationship?
Did you have money troubles?"

Um…

"Do you own a weapon?
Does your husband own a weapon?"

They went and checked out
a couple of boat bars.

Pat was not a bar person.
Boat or otherwise.

We started a search operation
with our marine unit

to commence searching
for a lost boater at that point.

We know that Patrick was seen
by his neighbors leaving in his boat

around 3:00 that day.

And we had no indication
that any other person was with him.

His boat was a riverboat.

So we concentrated on the area
of the Braden River and the Manatee River.

[Jill] And then the Coast Guard
became involved.

[Roy Cromer] At 2:40 in the morning
on January 28th,

the Manatee County Sheriff's Office
notified us

of Mr. Mullins'
missing status.

Whether he was underway on his boat
or in the water was unknown at that time.

So in a search and rescue case,
time is not exactly your friend.

The longer you search,
the farther something could drift,

and we don't know
what exactly we're looking for.

Whether it's an upright boat,
a capsized boat, or a person in the water.

- [indistinct radio chatter]
- [suspenseful music playing]

[Jill] Helicopters went over our house
in the neighborhood all night long.

I was very worried.
Something was very wrong.

[Stephen Covey]
The most obvious thought to me

was that Pat had broken down
or he had back problems.

Maybe he'd hurt his
back or something.

We kind of expected to find him stuck
on shore with something broken.

I had to think that it had to be
some kind of physical ailment

because if something had happened
with the boat,

it's almost impossible to think
that he couldn't fix it and get home.

[Jill] The next day
after Pat disappeared,

the Manatee Sheriff's Office called
and said the Stumpnocker had been found.

[sinister music playing]

[Miles] The boat was found
northwest of Egmont Key.

It was in the shipping channel

that a lot of these
large container ships

coming to deliver goods use.

So definitely not where
it's supposed to be.

[Jill] The boat was
amazingly far out.

So far from our house.

I don't see how
it could have traveled that far.

[Miles] His belongings
were in the boat.

But he wasn't with it.

[Rabun] It had a life vest in it,
sunglasses, and a straw hat.

But the anchor was not in the boat,
and it was out of gas.

The engine was set to idle.

The ignition was on,

indicating that it possibly ran dry
while it was in the idle state.

There was no indication
of a crime scene.

There was no obvious sign of injury
or anything traumatic that happened.

Could have been a medical event.
Fell overboard.

Boat could've not have functioned
and he got off somewhere.

It was unknown at that point.

We did do an in-depth investigation of Pat
to try to find out financial…

"Was he having problems?"

Phone records, see
who he was in communication with.

There was no troubled
areas in his past

or problems that we could center on
that might lead us to conclude

that he went missing on his own
or someone else caused him to go missing.

We had no idea
what happened to Pat.

At the time the boat was found,

they ultimately released it back
to the family.

[Miles] We did go
and take a look at the boat.

At first, nothing looked
out of the ordinary.

But we did notice

just some kind of light-red
paint markings on the side of the boat.

And that was something
that was not there in the past.

It was interesting and something to note,
but we didn't know what to think about it.

[somber music playing]

After the boat was found
without my father in it,

everyone was still thinking,

"Where do we go
from here? What's next?"

"Did he get onto land somewhere?
Which island did we not see yet?"

"What could have happened here?"
Just more questions. No answers.

[Jill on video]
And back to Patrick.

[Jill] Pat and I
were married in 1983.

Pat and I had two children.

Our eldest is Mason,

and about two years later,
Miles came along.

[Miles] My dad taught fourth grade
for 21 or 22 years

before he and my mother went
and got their graduate degrees,

and they both became librarians.

At the high school
where he worked,

he was really loved and respected
by the kids because he cared.

He might have ten or 12 kids staying
until six or seven at night,

and he would just stay there,
and keep the library open.

And he always got the children who
needed that little bit extra.

The children who didn't have
a father figure in their life.

[Gray] I have two brothers
and two sisters.

We all were so
compelled to work on things,

and tinker, and tear them apart,
and put them back together.

And Pat was good at all of it.

He was brilliant.

[Dr. Mark Sylvester]
He was very regimented.

He was very disciplined.
He was very, um, serious first.

[Miles] He was by the books.

He did things the way
that they were supposed to be done.

That was kind of
him. Very cautious.

[on video] It's…
It's a Coleman table lamp.

[Jill] Pat was living a good life.
He was vital…

- [Pat] Hi, Jill.
- [robot parrot] Hi, Jill.

…and he was
close to retiring soon.

And was looking
forward to his future.

[reporter 1] A family is desperate
tonight as a man remains missing.

[reporter 2] There's
speculation that he may have fallen off that boat

long before they found it.

[reporter 3] Rescue
crews will continue searching

even though the danger of hypothermia
makes survival chances slim.

[Roy] So after the boat was found,
we continued searching

'cause we're looking
for a person in the water.

When we found the empty boat,
we had our best clue,

so we can kind of backtrack from there
and figure out

where the person
we're looking for might be.

So looking at where they found the boat,
it was about nine miles offshore.

It was essentially open ocean
in the Gulf of Mexico.

When we find an unmanned vessel
in a location like this,

what we're trying
to do is figure out

where we think it
most likely came from

using the surface currents
and the wind data.

So we use a method
called the "reverse drift method."

The wind was out
of the east that night,

and with the tide
also pushing offshore,

we estimated that the vessel
probably drifted from somewhere

in the lower Tampa Bay.

Searching for a person
for an extended period of time

is definitely challenging.

We certainly don't slow down
any of the search efforts

once we find an empty boat.

[Jill] After the Stumpnocker was found,
it was a very long week

waiting to find out if
Pat would be found.

Hoping that he'd be found alive.

But really praying
that he would simply be found

because an answer
at least is an answer.

[Geoffrey Page] After
they found the boat

and the man was missing,

I was fishing every day.

I am a full-time
saltwater fishing guide,

and I was on my
way in from a charter.

And as we approached Emerson Point,
one of my clients said,

"Captain, Captain!
What is that out there?"

And I started to see
what looked like a body,

but I wasn't sure.

[ominous music playing]

So we eased up
to him very slowly.

And then it clicked.

I said, "Boys,
this is that school teacher."

They had found the
boat north of Egmont.

I knew, "That
guy's gonna pop up."

And sure enough, he popped up.

I noticed that he had
some type of shirt, blue jeans, belt,

one shoe missing, one shoe off.

Everything was
clean as a whistle.

I mean, all the hairs on his arm,
his hands,

wristwatch,
wallet in the pocket.

And this rope was
wrapped around him.

I mean, it was very well…

intricately wrapped under arm,
around the neck, through the chest.

The rope went down the water,
and there was a little bitty, tiny anchor

dug into the sand.

I think it was four-to-six feet of
water at the most,

complete sand bottom.

I didn't flip him over
or touch him in any way,

but it was crystal clear water,

and I looked, and I could see the face,
and there was no nose or face.

It was just…

Looked like spaghetti.
That's the best way I could describe it.

I called the Florida
Marine Patrol,

and they had an agent out there
within 40 minutes.

[Jill] It was February 5th
that I got a phone call

saying that a body
had been found.

That was Pat.

It was horrible.

[Gray] I was searching all the areas
where they actually found him.

That was my area.

I've thought about it a lot.
You know, "Did I wanna find him?"

[sighs]

It's a good thing.

I didn't need to find him.

So I think that was luck.
That was just luck.

I do remember when
his body was found, uh…

thinking how lucky…

how lucky I was to
have him in my life as long as I did.

Because there's people out there
that don't have that.

Um, so that was, uh…

that was sad.

[Jill on video] Maybe?

- [Miles on video] Yes!
- [Pat laughing]

[Dr. Russell Vega]
When we first saw the body,

the body was fully clothed,

with the exception of one shoe,
with a rope and anchor tied around it.

The body was in
a moderate state of decomposition,

consistent with the
body being out there

for eight or nine days.

But there's really no way
to be able to narrow it down specifically.

It was clear that there had been
some kind of severe head trauma.

There were six separate
exit perforations

on the left side of the skull,

and then what appeared to be
one larger perforation on the right side.

So this was clearly a pattern of a shotgun
with some kind of buckshot.

The gunshot wound
came from the right side.

Definitely from right to left,

a little bit upward,
and a little bit backward,

to exit on this side.

In this case, we don't know
if it was suicide or homicide.

So we have
currently listed in our reports,

"The manner of
death is undetermined."

But the arms were
not bound up at all,

so I consider the possibility
that suicide occurred in this way…

a very reasonable possibility.

[mysterious music playing]

[Jill] We met at the
medical examiner's office,

and the medical examiner told us
that he really leaned towards suicide.

He said that the ropes
would be tied differently

if it were a homicide.

I thought, "Okay, let's look at this.
This is a suicide."

But I couldn't find any reason to think
what they were telling me was true.

My name is Lee Williams.

I was an investigative reporter at the
Herald Tribune in Sarasota.

The sheriff's office said it was a suicide
before Pat was even pulled from the water.

And from then on,

they just pressured Jill to accept
the fact that her husband killed himself.

When I interviewed
law enforcement about this,

they tried to get me
to buy into the suicide theory.

They were trying to convince me
to leave this one alone

because it was a suicide,

and that's probably
the best thing for the family.

[Miles] The police suicide theory
was that he tied that rope around himself,

tied to this anchor,

positioned himself
on the edge of the Stumpnocker,

shoots himself,

went overboard.

How would you
get to that outcome?

Or why would you assume a suicide
under those circumstances?

It didn't really
make any sense to us.

[Jill] I was really surprised

when we learned that Pat died
of a shotgun wound to the head.

We never had any
guns in our house.

Pat…

no, he didn't really
have the interest in them.

[Lee] The Manatee County Sheriff's Office
did a forensic audit of his bank accounts.

He never got the money out
to buy a shotgun.

He didn't have any shotgun,
never owned one,

never had any shotgun shells.

They checked local dealers.
I called local gun dealers.

Nobody had sold
Pat Mullins a shotgun.

There's also no note or anything found
that would lead us up to suicide.

Based on what I think Pat's life was like
and his personality,

I just don't think
that suicide was an option for him.

Even before he went out
on the Stumpnocker that day,

he bought, like, I think they were
some discount welding goggles

that he wouldn't need for today
and had no plans for.

But it was a good buy,
so he bought it for later.

He just had plans for later.

He was excited for the future.

[Jill] He wanted to be
a grandfather so much.

That was big in his mind.

We were gonna be celebrating
our 30th anniversary that June.

There was just too much positive
to say goodbye to the world.

[pensive music playing]

[Miles] Another thing
that didn't make sense

is the way the rope was tied on him
when he was found.

It wasn't something that my dad,
or any boat person,

would be doing knot-wise.

They weren't knots
that he would have chosen to use.

I think he would have done it
with one good knot

if he were to have
committed suicide.

[Jill] I kept hearing
from the sheriff's department,

"It was clearly not homicide
because Pat's hands weren't tied."

Well, why would you need to tie hands
if perhaps he was killed beforehand?

Pat would need to be unconscious
or already gone to be wrapped like that.

[mysterious music playing]

I even had the primary detective,
at one point,

phone me and ask
me to be reasonable.

That if somebody were to have killed Pat,
then they would have taken his wallet.

I don't know why
somebody killed my husband,

but I don't think Pat was killed
for the eight dollars he had.

[mysterious music continues]

So I want you to wrap the ropes around
you in the same manner.

Tie the same
sorts of knots…

I'm Lori Baker. I'm a professor
of anthropology and forensic science.

So, initially, when I was
called about the Patrick Mullins case,

I was told there wasn't certainty
whether it was homicide or suicide.

He was shot with a shotgun,

but he wasn't
recovered on the boat.

The shotgun wasn't
recovered on the boat.

Just the idea of the way
that he was wrapped within the ropes

sounded really unusual.

It's not something I've seen
in a suicide case.

- Around the waist, I think.
- [man] Okay.

[Lori] So we're trying to
reconstruct it being a suicide

with a grown man
tying himself up,

being on the edge of the boat
with an anchor tying you down.

And then how do you hold a gun,

given what we know
about the trajectory of the gun?

How would he
have sat on the boat

to ensure that he went into the water
along with the shotgun

while tied to the anchor?

Why don't you put
the anchor in the water?

[man grunts]

- [Lori] So it's pulling pretty good. Okay.
- Yeah.

The angle, in this case, is unusual
and not typical at all for a suicide.

Theoretically,
if this were an 18-inch barrel,

like a tactical shotgun,

it's heavy and it's unwieldy.

So you're gonna brace it,

and you're gonna brace it up next to
the area that you're gonna fire at.

But what's interesting is,
when we look at the skeleton,

there are no black
marks on there.

There would definitely be something
if this were a contact wound.

The fact that it's
not a contact wound

using something
that's long-barreled like this,

it doesn't make it most likely
to have happened that way.

In our experience,
most gunshot suicides are contact wounds.

The muzzle of the weapon is placed
right up against the skin

at the time it's fired.

But the wound in this particular case
being on the side of the head?

I haven't seen one with a shotgun
in that location before.

So if you're holding that,

it's gonna be coming in
right at your jawline here,

and not too much at an angle,
so it's kind of actually...

Yeah, that's an
awkward position.

- [Lori] It's an awkward position.
- It's not natural.

[trigger clicks]

[Lori] Immediately after
a gunshot wound to the head,

with the amount of
blood that there would have been…

it would be in the boat.

It would be almost impossible to do this
and not get blood in the boat.

[Rabun] After the body was found,
we did go back to Patrick's boat,

and we did luminol testing on it
for blood spatter.

Unfortunately,
we didn't get any blood spatter.

Whatever happened,
maybe blood didn't get on the boat.

It was undetermined
at that point.

We didn't have enough information
to make a sound conclusion on that.

[Lori] I still
can't get over it.

Even as we stood there,
and it was a still day out on the water,

there wasn't much of a breeze,
but there was a breeze.

And that breeze, and
the amount of spray

from the type of trauma that occurred
from that kind of projectile,

it's very challenging even when you try
to do something like this

to not leave any trace evidence.

The absence of
trace evidence, to me,

makes it less likely
that it occurred in the boat.

[Lee] He clearly
wasn't killed in that boat.

There's zero biological
evidence in there.

So he was killed
elsewhere, which…

a pretty reasonable
person would conclude

means that this
was not a suicide.

This is a murder.

The thing that I find perplexing
when I looked at the photographs

is there's absolutely no indication
that they were any scavengers

that did anything to his body

while it was in the water
for almost ten days.

After a gunshot wound to the head,
there's so much blood that happens.

Within just a few minutes,

you'd start to see some scavenging
activity by something within the water.

We don't see any damage
to his hands at all.

When there's an open wound,

sharks can smell blood from a
fourth of a mile to a half of a mile away.

And this is an area
where there are lots of sharks.

Even around here,
there are alligators.

I mean, there's just
a lot of stuff in these waters.

So it makes me wonder,

"Was he really in the
water for ten days?"

[Miles] That makes me question
if he was somewhere else

for any amount of days
before going into the water.

Maybe he was held
somewhere on land?

Who knows.

[Lee] My personal theory is that
he encountered something on that river

that he shouldn't have seen.

Maybe because he went over
as a Good Samaritan

and wanted to help somebody out.

That makes the most sense
because he was that kind of a guy.

[Miles] If my dad saw somebody
with a boat, mechanical issue,

I'm pretty sure he would approach
and try to help them out.

When the boat was found,

the engine was in neutral,
and the gas was run out.

It kind of points to there was a pause
while he was doing something.

My dad would leave the engine running
if it were not a long-term stop.

You put the engine in neutral
as you're pulling up to a dock

or if you just wanna stop moving
to look at something.

[Lee] In my humble opinion,

Pat Mullins saw something out there
in that boat of his

that he wasn't
supposed to see…

[gun cocks]

…and they
killed him for it.

[shot firing]

So you have to ask yourself,
"What's worth taking a man's life for?"

Probably looking at somebody

who was running drugs
or some other type of contraband.

Bradenton and the Braden River,
it's a great place to go and recreate.

But you have some people
using that river for bad purposes.

There's been a lot
of motorboat theft.

There are people
harvesting fish illegally,

and I've heard that there's drugs
that move up and down that river.

Pat's boat was found
way out in the bay,

and Pat never went out in the bay
in that Stumpnocker to begin with.

I think whoever murdered him

may have taken the boat out there
just to dump it.

So they probably dumped it
to get rid of it,

or they just could've, you know,
towed it out there and cut the rope.

[train whistle blowing]

[Miles] So we're passing
the CSX railroad bridge right now.

For the Stumpnocker
to end up where it was found,

it had to go past this bridge.

And they do have
cameras mounted on the bridge

that are recording any and all boats
that pass through.

It would have been able to capture
the Stumpnocker and my dad going by

if he did take the Stumpnocker
through here.

So you would know. Is he by himself?
Is he with a friend?

Is he, you know…

Is he towing a boat?

You know, is he
helping somebody out?

Is somebody towing him?

[Miles] We were
hoping to see…

just anything, with
the Stumpnocker going through there,

would have been
valuable information.

[Rabun] We obtained a video

shortly after this
incident happened.

Unfortunately, the CSX personnel

downloaded a corrupt video file.

We went back a second time.
The second time it was corrupted.

[Miles] It was disappointing.

I was definitely frustrated that
that was an immediate dead end,

because that footage
was so important to us.

[Gray] It is frustrating.

We have no facts,
no answers, just theories.

But I believe he was killed.

Someone killed him.

"Who?" is the million-dollar question,
I suppose.

[Rabun] At the start
of an investigation,

we try to talk
to as many people as we can.

And Damon Crestwood,
who's a good friend of Patrick's brother,

and knew Patrick,
was interviewed multiple times.

Damon is a family friend.

I knew him from
family get-togethers.

Memorial Day, we would meet up
with the family and some extended friends.

Do a lot of water sports
and just have a good time hanging out.

[Pat on video] Okay.

[Miles] My father was not
close with Damon.

He was connected to my family
through my uncle.

I met Damon in '89 or '90,

and we became fast friends.

He owned his own restaurant for a while
and was a talented chef.

Damon was a sweetheart.

You know, I met him,
I was probably about 12 years old.

He was a couple of
years older than me.

And he was just a likable,
dependable, admirable guy.

But after Pat's disappearance,

Damon's behavior
quickly became markedly different.

Damon was very upset
when Pat was missing and presumed dead.

Almost disproportionately so.

[Gray] He would break into tears
and then uncontrollable sobbing.

He would come to the house
sometimes, you know, early on.

I don't think I'd seen
that side of him before.

[Jill] After Pat had died,

Damon told me how,

so many times, he would go
and look out along the Manatee River,

and cry and sob for hours.

You know, he knew my dad.

They had known each other,
but not like a long-time close friend

that you would
expect that type of reaction.

[Stephen] Damon
was just kind of off the rails.

Constantly asking, "If something happened,
would you still be my friend?"

"Could I count on
you being there?"

None of us really
knew exactly why.

[Mark] Pat was
killed in January.

My wife and I,
and everyone else for that matter,

we all noticed that
he had a mental breakdown every January,

like clockwork,
after Pat's death.

[unsettling music playing]

[Mark] It gives you
an unsettled feeling

that he knew more
than he had ever told.

[Gray] Eventually, Damon intimated
that he'd been using crystal meth.

Mark's a psychiatrist and he's like,
"We gotta keep an eye on him."

My job is to pay
attention to behavior.

He got more and more
paranoid. Impulsive.

And there were episodes of extreme
erratic behavior that concerned us all.

[Miles] The Memorial Day
after my dad had passed,

the family and some extended friends
got together.

And Damon did come out,

and I saw Damon
tie a rope to his dog,

and then tie that
rope around himself.

[Mark] It was in the exact manner
that it was on Pat's body.

That was, uh…

extremely troubling.

The nautical rope
was a thing that was disturbing.

Tied around your waist.

We're just… beside
ourselves, actually.

At the time, we
actually confronted him about it.

Like, "Hey, you know, what's going on?
You're acting weird."

He didn't give any explanation.

[Miles] There's another thing
that started to tie him

a little more intimately
with the case.

After the boat was found,
I had seen on the side of the Stumpnocker

red paint markings
on the side of the boat.

[Jill] And then we realized
Damon's boat has a red stripe on it.

Damon lived where he would put his boat
in the Manatee River,

kind of close to the opening
into Tampa Bay.

That area is where
Pat's body was found.

[Miles] With his
erratic behavior,

the red paint did start to tie Damon
potentially into the picture.

That was just something that was like,
"Maybe we ought to look into this."

[Mark] The police really wanted to
sample Damon's boat,

that they knew was red.

And they were declined by Damon.

He denied to us
of being involved

or knowing anything
about what happened to Pat.

It got to the point,
eventually he stopped talking to us,

but we didn't have information
to go further

on if he was involved or not,
because we just didn't have any witnesses.

And that's just where it stopped,
and there was no further

efforts put towards
talking to Damon

or being able
to get a paint chip from his boat.

[Mark] Damon
died April 5th, 2017.

That was about four and a half years
after Pat's death.

He had overdosed,
and it looked like it was meth.

He was 48 years old.

And it was another trauma

because we were hoping that
Damon would tell us he knew something.

[Miles] After Damon passed away,
his daughter did give permission

for a paint chip to
be taken from his boat

to be tested to
see if it's a match

to the paint
on the side of the Stumpnocker.

We thought, "This is the ticket.
We're getting somewhere."

The feedback we got
from the police department was that,

"Yes, it's a match.
No, it's not important."

[Rabun] In reading
the report that came back,

"The boat cannot be eliminated
as a possible source of red paint smears

on the victim's boat,"

is the way they
actually worded it.

The red paint is a
common variety.

We can't say what brand
it came from or anything.

I labbed it
and produced that result for us.

[Jill] They
discounted the testing

saying that there was a lot of paint
that was being made that year,

so it was really
as good as nothing.

I didn't feel it was
as good as nothing.

[Miles] I think it means something.
It's highly unlikely that something else

would have rubbed that boat
that would match the paint on Damon's.

[Jill] Given Damon's
strange behavior,

given his obsession
with Pat's death,

I feel that Damon is aware
of what happened to Pat.

[Miles] There are some theories

about the ways that my dad
would have interacted with Damon

that could have ended up
with my dad being murdered.

[Gray] Maybe he's driving along
and sees Damon's boat floating

with the engine up, and…

You know, he
would have gone straight to it to…

to aid.

I don't even know if Damon
had the boat out.

You know, maybe
somebody else had his boat out.

I don't have a scenario
that puts all this together.

I guess anything's possible.

[Rabun] Based on
our investigation,

we have more questions than answers
for what happened that day.

And we wish we
could help the family

by finding those answers
to help them with their closure.

We don't know. That's why we…
It's a death investigation.

We don't know what happened.

Most of the time, homicides come to us
with background information

that suggests there was a reason,
or a motive, or something.

Certainly there was no evidence
of a robbery that occurred.

Going to the other side,

the most important factor
in keeping suicide as a consideration

was the unusual rope application
on the body.

That it just was apparently tailored
to a potential for self-wrapping.

That, in our minds, kept suicide
as a possible consideration as well.

So without being
able to really say

that homicide was definitely
much more likely

or suicide was definitely
much more likely,

we had to consider
that both were still reasonably likely.

That only left us
one alternative,

is to call the manner of death
"undetermined."

[seagulls crying]

[Jill] I think it was
on the first-year anniversary

that I started doing the flyers

because we weren't getting any closer
to an answer.

I have gotten a few phone calls.

I don't think we've
gotten anything

that has turned out valuable,

but a couple of calls have gone
into the sheriff's office as well.

As one of his brothers tells me,
Pat would hate this.

He would hate what I'm doing
because he was low-key.

He didn't need
or like attention.

But Pat didn't need to die.

Whoever did this
is a danger to any and everybody.

Nine years later, I feel like someone
out there is gonna have some answers.

[Miles] You gotta have hope.

You know, we see these cold cases
get turned around decades later.

Something like that
could happen in our lifetime.

[Jill] My children need to know
what happened to their dad.

It's not a pretty story,
and it doesn't have a conclusion.

We don't have answers,
but I am still trying.

[mysterious music playing]