Vanished with Beth Holloway (2011): Season 1, Episode 10 - Baum/Hill - full transcript

Set in McCleary, WA and Atlanta, GA. Beth helps search for a 10-year-old girl who vanished while walking home from a friend's house; later she meets a heroic mother whose tenacity helped bring her daughter's killer to justice.

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Narrator: In upstate Washington,
a young girl sets off for home,

then vanishes.

Girl: We said, bye,
I'll see you tomorrow.

And I didn't see her.

Narrator: Her quiet hometown
becomes a crime scene...

And everyone in it,
a potential suspect.

-It brought them to
the terrible realization

that bad things happen to
little kids, even little towns.

Narrator: Then when an
Atlanta teenager disappears

without warning, her
mother takes to the streets.

-I knew that my daughter is not
just gonna walk away like that.



-She felt very
comfortable going around

and asking the hard questions.

Narrator: Her relentless
search brings her face

to face with a suspected killer.

-I went to his house
and knocked on his door,

and I asked him, I said,
where is my daughter?

-In 2005, got
the call telling me

that my daughter
Natalie had vanished.

Every parent's worst
nightmare became my reality.

I ask the world to help me.

I found myself in an
unimaginable fight.

But my search for answers
gave me a new mission in life.

Bring the missing home
and criminals to justice.

Narrator: In the tiny logging
town of mccleary, Washington,



a true stranger is
hard to come by.

-If you lived in
mccleary, the chances

are that you would recognize
75% of the people that

live in mccleary.

Narrator: In September
2007, the people of mccleary

welcome three new faces to
their small town... recent divorcee

Melissa baum and her
children, Josh and Lindsey.

Melissa baum: Lindsey was
actually born in Tennessee.

My ex-husband was
in the army, and so we

moved around quite a bit.

-Once I off active duty, Melissa
started missing Washington,

'cause she grew up there.

I tried to get her to
come back to Tennessee

before the divorce.

And her and the kids moved
back there, and I stayed here.

Narrator: At first, the
adjustment is difficult.

Nine-year-old Lindsey
desperately misses her father.

Melissa says it
just tore them apart.

They just need to realize
mom didn't like it here

and daddy don't like it there.

-She had a rebellious phase.

She was a little angry.

Well, she was a lot angry.

But compared to the
way her brother handled it,

she handled it pretty well.

Narrator: After the
divorce, 12-year-old Josh

has trouble coping
with his anger.

Scott baum: Josh kind of
got lost in the middle of all this.

He was having a lot of
explosions at his mom.

Narrator: According
to multiple reports,

Josh also begins
to physically act out

against classmates,
police officers, and even

his little sister.

Scott baum: I really think
they had a good relationship.

Siblings will be siblings.

It's a love-hate relationship.

You love to hate them.

Narrator: But by
the spring of 2009,

Josh and Lindsey seem
to have made peace

with their parents' separation.

And Lindsey has returned
to her old, bubbly self.

-She just has this
overwhelmingly life force

that just kind of draws you in.

She can wear you
out, just listening to her

and talking to her.

She's just so full
of energy and life.

Narrator: Lindsey has
also found a new best

friend in Michaela kampen.

-We used to just walk
around, go and, like,

play at the park and stuff.

We had a lot of fun.

Kara kampen: Her and
Michaela were inseparable.

They were always
doing something,

always planning something.

Narrator: Thursday,
June 25, is no exception.

Summer vacation has just
begun, and Lindsey and Michaela

celebrate by spending the
night at Lindsey's house.

The following morning, June
26, the two girls, along with Josh,

get up bright and early
and head to a pool party.

-I got up and ate and took off
to go to another friend's house

to swim.

Narrator: Joining them are
nearly a dozen other kids

from the neighborhood.

Melissa baum:
Just a beautiful day,

and they were just excited.

The kids were
all over the place.

They'd been back and
forth from my house

to where they were swimming
two or three times that day,

at least.

Narrator: At 8:20 pm,
Lindsey, Michaela, Josh,

and several friends head
back to the baums' house.

Lindsey asks her
mother Melissa if Michaela

can spend the night again.

Melissa says yes.

Melissa baum:
They took off to go

down to Michaela's
to get some clothes.

Narrator: But
Michaela's mother, Kara,

tells them the sleepover
will have to wait.

-We had actually had
plans to go to the beach

the following morning.

And so I told her no.

Then I told her, you
know, you better get home.

It's gonna get dark.

Narrator: At 9:30 pm,
with the sun rapidly setting,

Lindsey sets off on the
10-minute walk home.

-She said, bye, Michaela.

I'll see you tomorrow.

I was like, bye. I'll
see you tomorrow.

And I didn't see her.

Narrator: 9:50... the
sun has set on mccleary,

and Lindsey baum
still isn't home.

Her mother is
beginning to worry.

-I started trying to
call her friend's house

to see if she'd left yet,
so that if she hadn't, she

needed to get on the road.

And they said, well, she
left about 20 minutes ago.

Narrator: Melissa calls
every parent she knows.

But no one has seen
Lindsey since she

left Michaela's house.

-We knew at that
point that we needed

to be out looking, 'cause
something was wrong.

Lindsey should've been home.

Narrator: Fearing her
daughter may be hurt,

Melissa enlists the help
of the kampen family,

and together, they set
out in search of Lindsey.

But an hour later, Lindsey
is still nowhere to be found.

Melissa is starting to panic.

-By the time dark came, I
knew that there was a problem

and I needed
to call in for help.

Narrator: Within
minutes, local police

respond to Melissa's 911 call.

Meanwhile, grays
harbor sheriff's officers

monitor their
progress on the radio.

Among them is detective and
missing person specialist Polly

Davin.

-Melissa baum had made
a call to 911 at 10:50.

And the sheriff's office
heard the radio traffic

and said, you know,
could you use our help?

So from there we got a
ground search started.

-When you don't have
a crime scene to secure,

how did you go about deciding
what to capture at that moment?

-In situations like this, the
first thing that you want to do

is you want to canvass
the entire neighborhood.

You want to talk to
everybody that you can talk to.

Narrator: But after speaking
with Lindsey's best friend,

police officers believe she
might not want to be found.

-Michaela had, you
know, told me that she

had made comments
about running away.

So I called in the
chief and gave

him the updated information
that I had a runaway.

-He thought maybe
that she was mad

and was hiding, trying
to prove a point to me.

Which I didn't dismiss
that at the time.

Narrator: Convinced
Lindsey couldn't have gone far,

officers began searching for
her along the route between her

house and Michaela's.

-Anything where someone
could, you know, run and hide,

we check that.

Any, like, lawn mower
sheds and backyards,

all those type of things.

You're trying to think of how
a kid would think if they were

running away and
trying to hide from you.

Narrator: Sheriff's
officers briefly wonder

if Lindsey might have
run off in an attempt

to reunite with her father.

But neither Lindsey's mom
nor dad think that's the case.

Melissa baum: She didn't
take anything with her.

She had no money.

And there was no
way out of town.

The buses here
in town quit running

before she had even left
my house that evening.

Scott baum: I was
asked, when was

the last time I talked to her?

Do you think that she
will come out to see you?

She didn't know my address.

You know, she didn't
have the phone number.

All she knew was I
lived in Tennessee.

Narrator: 7:00 am
the following morning.

Friends, neighbors,
and law enforcement

have search all
night for Lindsey.

There's still no sign of her.

In the meantime,
sheriff's officers

have alerted the media,
printed hundreds of fliers,

and are mobilizing
teams of search dogs

to scour the woods
surrounding mccleary.

-Were there any
special places that

were fairly close by
that the children would

want to go and
play in, whether it

was a wooded area, a
stream, that they would go?

-You know, mccleary is
surrounded by wooded areas.

And that was part
of our ground search,

was to just pound every
piece of property there.

Look in the brush.

Look again in the brush.

Go back a third time
and a fourth time.

John Graham: Time is
precious when anybody's missing.

And those first few hours,
you won't get them back.

So you really need to put
all your effort and strength

into it.

Narrator: The
persistence pays off.

After passing a
flyer on the street,

a local woman
tells investigators

she saw Lindsey mere
moments before she disappeared

and just a few blocks
from the baum house.

Rick Scott: This is the
area of the point last seen.

Lindsey would have been
walking towards us from the west,

traveling eastbound
here on maple street.

Narrator: It's a
lightly-traveled road

in a safe, working-class
neighborhood.

So why didn't
Lindsey make it home.

-This happened just, like, right
underneath everybody's nose.

-They made that walk at
least, at least, 100 times before.

Narrator: Everyone
is now beginning

to fear something
terrible has happened.

-I just couldn't
shake the feeling

that something was really wrong.

-There was no evidence of
her missing of her own volition.

This didn't appear
to be a runaway.

It didn't feel like a
runaway investigation.

Things just didn't feel right.

Narrator: In the small
town of mccleary,

Washington, 10-year-old
Lindsey baum has vanished.

24 hours into
their search, police

have a witness who saw
Lindsey walking toward her house.

But they have no clue
what happened next.

Melissa baum: I think
somebody took her.

And I think it was
somebody that maybe she

knew or through she could trust.

But for whatever reason,
somebody took her.

Narrator: But who?

Midway through day
two of their search,

investigators
uncover a crucial detail

that could answer that question.

Roughly an hour before her
disappearance, on the way

to her friend Michaela's
house, several witnesses

saw Lindsey and her
12-year-old brother

Josh locked in a
heated argument.

-Josh and Lindsey had
gotten into a verbal argument

over a bicycle.

Drew mikkelsen: Apparently
she was using his bike.

He didn't want
her to use the bike.

And there was a sort of
a struggle, which was not

unheard of in
between any brother

and sister, but
especially these two.

Scott baum: Josh has
a thing about his bike.

And they had an
argument over the bike.

So parents sent
Josh home and let

Lindsey continue on her way.

Narrator: The incident
seems harmless enough,

but coupled with
Josh's troubled past,

it raises a red flag
with investigators.

They decide to take a closer
look at Josh's whereabouts

that evening.

Rick Scott: Obviously,
that was a concern to us.

We thought that
perhaps that might

speak to some knowledge
of her involvement

in her disappearance.

Narrator: Melissa baum claims
Josh was at home with her

at the time of Lindsey's
disappearance.

Investigators ask her to take
a polygraph test to prove it.

-The mom was polygraphed.

And the results
indicate that it looks

like she was being
truthful with us.

Narrator: Following
the polygraph results,

police rule out
Josh as a suspect.

But the entire ordeal
has taken its toll on him.

Melissa baum: He
has a lot of guilt.

A lot of guilt.

He feels like he should
have been with her.

And that he feels he
could've protected her.

Scott baum: He
was blaming himself.

If we wouldn't have fought, I
would have been with Lindsey,

and I could have
fought off whoever did it.

I've tried telling him,
son, you're a big boy,

but you may not
have been able to.

Narrator: With his unit set to
deploy for Iraq in less than a

month, Josh and
Lindsey's father Scott

makes the cross-country
trip to mccleary

to help locate his daughter
and console his troubled son.

-I wanted to get
his mind off of it

and see if we could
calm him down some.

Because he beats himself
up, because he was really

the last one out of our family
that saw Lindsey that night.

Narrator: As the baums struggle
to keep Josh on an even keel,

investigators
continue questioning

the residents of mccleary.

-You think on a
summer evening like that

that there would be
people out mowing the lawn,

or maybe watering flowers.

I mean, you'd
think there would be

at least an on-foot eyewitness.

-Mccleary is your
typical small town.

Kids are out in the evening.

People are out walking.

It's just very odd that she's
not seen beyond that point.

Scott baum: I made
that walk at 9:30 at night.

That street is
so bright, I don't

see how she could have just
vanished without anybody seeing

anything or hearing anything.

Narrator: There
is one other hope

for finding Lindsey... a
surveillance camera at the gas

station located at the
intersection of maple

and mommsen, midway
along the route Lindsey

took the night she disappeared.

-It was the one
business that she

would have had to
have literally walked past

or through that was open
for business at the time

that she would have
been out and about.

-Did the cameras at the
gas station primarily just

sweep the pumps, the
entrance into the parking lot,

the street around
the gas station?

-You could see out to the pumps.

You can see a couple
of different angles

of people inside the store.

And there's another
camera that showed basically

people entering from the
side and parking on the side.

Unfortunately,
there's not a camera

that looks out onto mommsen
so that we could see, you know,

whether Lindsey
made it that far.

Narrator: Although Lindsey
is nowhere on the tapes,

there are dozens of patrons
who do appear around

the time she vanished.

Investigators treat each of
them as a potential suspect.

-What we were trying to do
is, as discreetly as possible,

figure out who people
were, talk to them

then about it was
that they were doing

in mccleary on that
particular evening.

Narrator: It will take months
or even years for investigators

to identify everyone
on the tape.

In the meantime
volunteers pour into mccleary

to search for Lindsay.

Carlos mojica: We went
through the attics of every house.

We went through
the crawl spaces.

We went through
the trailers that

were parked in the
back of the residence.

We went through
the sheds, freezers,

everything you can think of.

-There wasn't a
square foot of mccleary

that hadn't been
stepped on by somebody

associated with
this investigation.

Narrator: Lindsey's case
is now making headlines

across the country.

-And so far detectives
haven't figured it out.

The FBI hasn't figured it out.

Narrator: And even
though they've successfully

identified several people
on the surveillance video,

police are hesitant to
publicly eliminate anyone

as a person of interest.

Drew mikkelsen:
They were keeping

it pretty close to the chest
as to not scare anybody

away or make somebody thing
that they had gotten away with it.

Narrator: By July
6, Scott baum's unit

is ready to deploy to
Iraq, but not Scott baum.

He has stayed behind to
continue searching for Lindsey

and turns to the media for help.

-Please bring my daughter home.

I'm fixing to deploy to Iraq.

And tomorrow is her birthday.

I would love nothing
more than to see

my daughter before I have to go.

Narrator: Despite
her father's plea,

Lindsey's 11th birthday
comes and goes.

-At this point,
emotions just have

to be really just raw
for everyone involved.

-You know, nobody was giving up.

Everybody was
fully invested in this.

We were working days
straight with no days off.

I was working 16, 17-hour days.

Narrator: By early
September, detective Davin

and her fellow officers
have questioned and cleared

almost everyone in mccleary.

But there are still a few
alibis that don't check out,

including that of a
23-year-old nursing home

aide who lives
just outside of town.

Jeremy pawloski: He had
worked at a retirement facility

on maple street, where
Lindsey had been last seen alive.

He said that he was
at work that night.

And it turned out,
when investigators

talked to a superior
at work, they

found out that he was
not at work that night.

Narrator: Even more
suspicious is a disturbing remark

the man made about Lindsey
in the early days of the search.

-He said, oh yeah, that girl is
dead and dismembered somewhere.

And that caught a
lot of people off guard,

because that hadn't
been reported anywhere.

There was nothing
to suggest that.

So why was this guy saying that?

Narrator: Investigators
decide to dig deeper

into the man's background
and discover that at age 14,

he had been the lone
suspect in the attempted

rape of a young girl.

On September 25, a swarm
of officers and FBI agents

descend on the man's house.

-They did seize a
long list of items...

Computers, photos, duct tape.

I mean, they cleared
that place out.

-We look for everything from
fiber-type evidence to evidence

of any kind of biohazard to
see if there's any evidence that

would link to Lindsey's
disappearance.

-I let myself get my hopes
up, you know, thinking this is it.

We're going to find her.

Narrator: But after combing
the property for two days,

authorities come
up empty handed.

-It ended up being a
tremendous use of resources

and a waste of
time, beyond the fact

that we were able to
move on to other subjects

and other scenarios
and rule this out.

Narrator: Three months
into the search for Lindsey,

and the investigation
is back to square one.

In the three months since
Lindsey baum vanished,

investigators have conducted
more than a dozen searches

and questioned nearly all of
mccleary, Washington's 1,500

residents.

But none of that hard work
has brought them any closer

to finding Lindsey.

-During the
investigation, we served

a number of search warrants.

And those search warrants, if
we didn't find anything with them,

at least to help us move
on to another aspect

of the investigation.

Narrator: Investigators
now focused their search

on the surveillance
cameras at the gas station

just down the street from
where Lindsey disappeared.

But identifying
everyone caught on tape

is proving to be
a difficult task.

-Most of the folks who
were in that surveillance

video, the police chief
could say, oh, that's Larry

or that's so and so.

We know who those people are.

We know where they were
when Lindsey was missing.

But there were a handful of
people who were question marks.

Narrator: In April
2010, police ID a man

from the surveillance tape.

He's seen buying
beer just minutes

after Lindsey was last spotted.

Rick Scott: This individual
was seen leaving the station

and walking back towards
his residence, which

would have put him on
a path that would have

intersected Lindsey's walk home.

Narrator: The man
had been interviewed

during the first few
weeks of the investigation.

But police review
his initial statement.

They make an alarming discovery.

-He told us unequivocally
that he had not

been out and about
on that evening.

-He told law enforcement
he wasn't in town,

and then they got him
on video, walking out

of the store with beer.

Carlos mojica: We
have definitive proof

that you were here at
this particular point in time.

What else have
they lied to us about?

Narrator: Detectives
soon uncover

even more misleading statements.

-We determined that he had
misrepresented his past as

well, and that there was
criminal history that suggested

that he had in fact been
involved in some pretty

serious things outside
the state of Washington.

Narrator: Investigators
are convinced

the man is hiding something.

And for the second time
in less than 12 months,

they raid the home
of a local resident,

along with a storage unit
located half a mile away.

-Nobody really wanted
to think about what

they might find there.

But it was on
everyone's mind for sure.

And people were coming and
saying, did they find Lindsey?

Is it that guy?

-That night, all I could think
about was Elizabeth smart.

And I kept telling myself,
Elizabeth smart came home.

Lindsey gonna come
home, that this is the one,

this is the one that's
gonna help bring her home.

Narrator: But once
again, investigators

find no evidence connecting the
man to Lindsey's disappearance.

-I know it's frustrating for a
family when a lead or a tip

doesn't pan out.

And it's a huge let
down for you as well.

-It is.

It's frustrating when you think
you're headed somewhere,

and then you find out that
maybe that's not the case.

And it happens a time or two,
and it can be very frustrating.

Narrator: Two years into
the search for Lindsey,

authorities have
miraculously scrolled

through every frame of the
gas station surveillance footage

and whittled down the list of
unknown subjects to just three

men... men they
believe could hold

the key to finding
Lindsey and her kidnapper.

-Are there any vehicles
that remain on that footage

that you just have not been
able to connect with yet.

-The primary one that
we're still looking for

is a white Honda ridgeline.

It has a sunroof.

And we believe it's
going to be 2006 or 2008.

And we've also got a couple
of individuals in the video

that we'd like to talk to.

One of them may be
associated with the ridgeline.

One is of a male, a heavier
male, muscular male,

with a juvenile that walked into
the store about the same time

that the ridgeline appears
on one of the cameras.

John Graham: Not
knowing what happened,

and not knowing who
a potential suspect is,

where they may
live, or if they still

live in the area...
that's unsettling, I think,

for a lot of people
that live in this town.

Scott baum: I want my daughter.

I want her to come home alive.

It's possible.

It's feasible.

I just wish that
whoever took Lindsey

would man up and let her go.

You know, turn her into the
nearest pd, hospital, whatever.

Just let her go home.

Michaela kampen: You still have
to... you don't know what to do.

You have to watch every car
that comes by you, every person.

And you don't know, like, if
you should feel like you're safe,

or if you should be scared
and not leave the house at all.

Melissa baum: I have a
niece the same age as Lindsey.

And she's just a
few months older.

And I look at how
much she's changed.

And it just kills me, because
I think of everything i'm

missing with my daughter.

She's just gone.

And I'll be here waiting
when we find her.

-Investigators haven't given
up searching for Lindsay

for the three unidentified
people on the surveillance

tape.

Those individuals
could shed light

on what happened to Lindsey
that evening and where she is now.

Narrator: Lindsey baum was
last seen in mccleary, Washington,

on June 26, 2009.

At the time of her
disappearance,

she was four feet nine
inches tall with brown eyes

and dark blond hair.

Today, she would
be 13 years old.

If you have information
about this case,

please go to mylifetime.
Com/vanished

and click on the tips button.

-When a person
vanishes, family members

are often confused
about what they

can do to help bring their
missing loved one home.

But when one woman vanishes
after a chance encounter

on the streets of Atlanta,
her mother snaps into action

and soon finds herself face
to face with a suspected killer.

Narrator: Atlanta, Georgia,
the Jewel of the new south.

Sharon Williams
and her family have

lived in the city's
working-class adamsville

neighborhood for generations.

With the help of
her mother, Sharon

raised two children, including
her youngest, demetria.

-Demetria was very soft
spoken, easygoing, sweet girl.

Just a nice young lady.

Narrator: By age 19,
demetria has a son of her own

and dreams of a bigger
life for both of them.

The teenage mother is furiously
prepping for her ged exam

while spending every
spare moment raising

her son, DeMarco.

-She really took on this
role as a young mother

with seriousness
and responsibility.

-Right, exactly.

She wanted the best for him.

She tried to do her
best to get it for him.

Narrator: But all that would
change on December 3, 2001,

around 2:00 pm, demetria
pays her grandmother a visit.

She stays about an
hour before deciding

to make a run to the
convenience store down the street.

Demetria leaves to
DeMarco there to play.

Demetria's mom, Sharon,
arrives just moments

after her daughter leaves.

-Did demetria's grandmother
tell you where she was going?

-No, she did not.

-Did she happen to tell your
mother what time she'd be back?

-She probably said that she
was gonna go out for a minute

and she'll be back later.

Narrator: But
several hours pass,

and there's no sign of demetria.

She's not answering
her cell phone.

And by the following
morning, Sharon

has started searching
the streets of adamsville

for her daughter.

-I knew that my daughter is not
just gonna walk away like that.

She go a little kid at home.

And she would just
never get up and just walk

away and leave her child.

Narrator: A day later,
Sharon receives her first clue

about demetria's disappearance.

A friend of demetria
name tamila Jones

informs Sharon that
she bumped into demetria

on the way the convenience
store and decided

to join her for a soda.

According to tamila,
just as she and demetria

were finishing their sodas,
a handsome stranger

pulled up in a black
Camaro and struck up

a conversation with them.

-They met this
guy that was driving

a black Camaro,
t-top black Camaro

with a north Carolina tag on it.

And the guy approached
my daughter, asked her,

did she want to
go out for dinner?

Narrator: The man, who
identifies himself only as Joe,

opens the door to his Camaro
and invites demetria to get in.

Though Joe seems
harmless, demetria

asks tamila to accompany her.

-We went to the wing
place on Martin Luther King.

And we got some
wings and whatever.

We sit down and ate, laughing.

And we left there.

We rolled around, just riding.

Narrator: According
to tamila, Joe

is nothing short of
a perfect gentleman.

And around 8:00 pm,
he drives her to her house

so that she can check
in with her family.

By the time tamila comes
back, demetria and Joe

were pulling out
of the driveway.

It's the last time anyone
sees demetria hill.

-My daughter never did
come back to pick up tamila.

Narrator: After
hearing tamila's story,

Sharon is convinced
something terrible has happened.

She seeks out the
help of Atlanta police.

-She was very tenacious,
very adamant that something

was very wrong.

Narrator: Detective
Tom O'Neill officially

declares demetria missing,
but the department's resources

are stretched thin.

-Within the Atlanta police
department's homicide unit,

I, at the time, was the only
missing persons detective.

I was averaging about
1,150 cases per year.

One person... that's a
pretty enormous workload.

Narrator: While the
formal investigation

may be slow to ramp up,
Sharon Williams is in high gear,

searching her hometown
for any trace of her daughter.

She's also on the lookout
for the black Camaro

in which demetria was last seen.

-Ms. Williams has lived in
this community for quite a while.

She knows the happenings
in that neighborhood.

So she felt very comfortable
in going around and asking

the hard questions and
demanding answers.

Narrator: Sharon's
hard work pays off

when a local man
comes forward with a tip.

-He had called me and told
me that the same description

of the car that I
had gave him, he

said that car is in my
apartment complex right now.

Narrator: Without hesitation,
Sharon races to the scene.

-She went and got the tag
number herself and gave it to me.

And I was able to check the
vehicle and find out the owner.

Narrator: The vehicle
belongs to one Joseph j. Brown.

A background check
reveals brown has

a disturbing criminal
history, including arrests

for both assault and kidnapping.

On February 15,
detective O'Neill

questions Joseph brown about
demetria hill's disappearance.

Tom O'Neill: I found him
to be very sly, very cool.

If I had not investigated
this young man

and known what he was capable,
I could've never guessed it.

It was amazing.

Narrator: Brown admits
to spending the afternoon

with demetria, but claims
that he dropped her off

at her grandmother's
house that night.

With no witnesses, Joseph
brown story is hard to contradict.

But as the interview
draws to a close,

he makes what police
believe to be a critical mistake.

Tom O'Neill: He
just simply denied

having anything to
do with killing her.

Now, that meant a
lot to me, because I

didn't know she was dead.

I just knew she was missing.

Narrator: Brown's unexpected
reference to murder is telling,

but with no evidence
connecting him

to demetria's
disappearance, police

have no choice
but to release him.

-I still, at this point,
had no evidence, other

than he was with her on
the day of her disappearance.

Narrator: In Atlanta, Georgia,
19-year-old demetria hill

has vanished.

Her mother Sharon has led
police to a prime suspect... Joseph

brown.

But the cops don't have
enough physical evidence

to charge brown with any crime.

Still, Sharon
refuses to give up.

And in April 2002,
she boldly decides

to confront Joseph
brown all by herself.

-Sharon, walk me
through your first encounter

with Joseph brown.

-I was sitting at
work, and I was

saying to myself, why am I work
when my daughter's missing?

So I left work.

I went to Joseph's house,
and I knocked on his door,

asked him, where's my daughter?

-You had to have been shaking
once you got up to the door.

-Yes, I was.

I was a nervous wreck.

He came to the door.

And I asked him, I said,
where is my daughter?

Then that's when he invited
me to come into his apartment.

Narrator: Once
inside the apartment,

Joseph brown's hospitality
quickly turns to rage.

-He was ranting and raving
about not having anything

to do with her
disappearance and so on.

But you know, of course
Sharon knew better.

And she was not
going to let this go.

-He told me that I have
destroyed his life, his career.

I said, I don't care about
your life and your career.

I just need you to tell
me where is my daughter.

And when I left, I had
to go get in my car.

That's when he came behind me
and wrote down my tag number.

Narrator: Minutes later,
brown contacts police,

claiming Sharon
Williams is harassing him.

Detectives are stunned,
but not sympathetic.

-That lady was absolutely
fearless to put yourself

in that position.

I told her, he has a
history of harming women.

And he could have
easily have hurt you.

-Did you have any
fear for your own life

when you were in Joseph
brown's apartment confronting him?

-I didn't care how the
situation was going to turn out.

The only thing I'm thinking
about... the whereabouts

of my daughter.

Narrator: Despite
Sharon's bravery,

four months pass without
any new developments.

Then, in September 2002,
police make a shocking discovery.

Just over two miles from
Joseph brown's apartment

an investigative team led
by detective johnna Phillips

has discovered the
body of a young woman,

burned beyond recognition.

Could it be demetria hill?

The remains are too
decomposed to say for sure.

But one detail leads
authorities to fear the worst.

-When I first
approached the scene,

one of the first
par of the skeletal

remains that I saw was a skull.

And there was a gold
incision of a letter d

on the top canine
tooth of that skull.

-My daughter had a
gold tooth with her initial...

They call her deedee
for short... with her initials

on her gold tooth.

Narrator: The
matching dental work

proves the body is demetria's.

Coroners determine the
cause of death to be homicide.

Now more than
ever, Sharon believes

that Joseph brown is responsible
for her daughter's death.

But forensic teams can't find
a single trace of DNA evidence

linking brown to the body.

For nearly two years,
the case languishes

without a single
new development.

Then, on June 29,
2003, Joseph brown

is arrested again,
this time for assault.

The victim is his own
girlfriend, shanella Ross.

-Shanella and Joseph
had been together

for several months when an
altercation between the two

of them occurred,
at which time Joseph

had become violent
towards shanella.

There was some choking
and pushing out of a vehicle.

Narrator: The incident could be
a link connecting Joseph brown

to the murder of demetria hill.

-You have what's called
similar transactions.

So if there is a person who
was charged with one crime

and there are similar crimes
that they have been convicted

of, those particular incidents
can be brought within the court

room prior to the case
actually being heard.

-Which, in theory, would prove
brown's propensity for violence

and bring investigators
one step closer

to charging him with murder.

But shanella Ross
suddenly drops her charges

against her boyfriend
and even posts her bail.

-I guess she was
scared or something,

where he might retaliate
on her while he in prison

or when he out of prison.

Narrator: Determined to
see brown pay for his crimes,

Sharon calls shanella
Ross and personally

begs her to
reinstate the charges.

Sharon's plea works.

Shanella Ross
reinstates the charges.

Joseph brown is
booked for assaulting her.

And he's also charged
with the kidnapping

and murder of demetria hill.

-She was the number
one person that

was the reason why we was
able to get this case in court.

Narrator: May 16, 2005...
after months of legal wrangling,

brown finally pleads guilty to
the assault of shanella Ross

and to the assault and
kidnapping of demetria hill.

He denies killing her, and the
murder charges are dropped.

Still, brown is sentenced
to 25 years in prison.

-Sharon, you took
this man off the streets.

-I can't imagine him
breathing the same air I breathe

and walking past me.

I can't imagine that.

-I know demetria would
be so proud of you.

-That's what a mother
would do for her child.

-Sharon Williams'
determination helped

put a violent
criminal behind bars.

But there are thousands
of unsolved cases

out there, cases
that need your help.

Let's take action to bring the
missing home and criminals

to justice, because someone
out there know something.

Narrator: If you have
information about any

of the missing people
featured on this program,

please go to mylifetime.
Com/vanished

and click on the tips button.

-It's been seven years since
demetria was taken from you.

Do you think demetria
would be proud of DeMarco

if she could see him today.

-Oh yes, most definitely,
'cause he has been on honor roll

ever since kindergarten.

And I know she would want to
see him, to see how he has grown

and how he became
a little young man.

She would just be
so proud of her son.