Vanished with Beth Holloway (2011): Season 1, Episode 5 - Figueroa/Duckett - full transcript

A pregnant woman vanishes from the streets of Philadelphia; a toddler is abducted.

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Narrator: In central
Florida, a two-year-old child

vanishes from his crib.

All signs point to an abduction
and one of the parents.

Then...

Reporter (on TV): A
44-year-old pregnant mother,

latoyia figueroa, has been
missing for 10 days now.

Narrator: A
mother-to-be disappears

from the streets
of Philadelphia.

-It was unbelievable.

The entire city was
looking for latoyia.

Narrator: Her
family's race to find



her reveals an unlikely suspect
and an unthinkable crime.

Beth holloway goes
on location and explores

a pair of mysterious
cases that ripped

two young families apart,
now on "Vanished."

-in 2005, I got
the call telling me

that my daughter
Natalee had vanished.

Every parent's worst
nightmare became my reality.

And I ask the world to help me.

I found myself in an
unimaginable fight.

My search for answers
gave me a new mission in life,

bring the missing home
and criminals to justice.

When a child goes
missing, sometimes

investigators' first
move is to rule out

the parents as suspects.



When a two-year-old
Florida boy disappears,

the parents point
fingers at each other,

making the truth that
much harder to find.

Narrator: Leesburg, Florida,
2004, teenagers Josh duckett

and Melinda eubanks
become parents while still

in high school.

Josh duckett:
The day I found out

Melinda was pregnant
was kind of a shock.

We just kind of made
the best of the situation,

and told our families,
and continued on.

-Really, at first I
didn't know how to feel.

Melinda's pregnant,
Josh is gonna be a dad.

He's not even
out of high school.

But after it sinks in,
you're like, oh my gosh,

I'm going to be a grandmother.

Cierra bacon: I
don't remember it

being an issue of
Melinda being pregnant.

There was never
any gossip about it.

Everybody was very
open and, you know,

trying to be
supportive of Melinda.

Narrator: Shortly after
graduation, Trenton is born.

Even though he's
a month premature

and weighs a mere
4 and 1/2 pounds,

Josh and Melinda
could not be happier.

-Josh, tell me
about the day when

Trenton came into your world.

-I was ecstatic.

I didn't know what to do it.

I kept running in
and out of the room

to tell my family and her
family what was going on,

and give them
updates as best I could.

Narrator: From
the very beginning,

the new family
encounters hardship.

-The day that we all
released from the hospital

was the day that hurricane
Charley hit Florida.

We went home to a
house that had no power.

But we've done the best we
could under the circumstances

to keep Trenton healthy.

Narrator: Trenton is indeed
a healthy, happy baby.

But Josh and
Melinda's relationship

is an uphill battle.

In July of 2005, they marry
but struggle to make ends meet.

-Josh, how hard was that on
you, being a young new father?

-She was working
at a job that required

her to work away from home.

And I worked for
my mom at the time.

So I was able to take
him to work with me.

So I had him basically
24 hours a day.

Carla massero: I was really
proud of Josh and Melinda both.

They did good.

And, you know, they had
hard times like everybody else.

But I mean, overall
they did pretty decent.

Narrator: By June,
2006, Trenton has

developed into a
bright, energetic toddler.

-He was just full of
smiles and laughter.

You know, you couldn't
help but love him.

He was just perfect.

Narrator: But the stress
of working and caring

for a young child is
taking an increasing

toll on Josh and Melinda.

And their marriage is
starting to deteriorate.

Josh duckett: We
weren't really fitting

together like we used to.

She had her problems.

And I had mine.

And we just, it was like
the clash of the titans.

Narrator: Melinda
ultimately files

for divorce in June of
2006, and an ugly battle

for custody of Trenton
quickly ensues.

Josh duckett: She
wanted full custody.

And I told her, no, I
wanted joint custody,

split down the middle.

And we went back and forth.

Narrator: The
battle is so heated

that it ends up in divorce
court, where Melinda

demands full custody and
claims Josh has been threatening

the safety of both
her and Trenton.

As evidence, she
presents a menacing email,

written from Josh's account.

Josh denies having
written the email,

but the presiding
judge doesn't buy it.

He awards Melinda full custody
and grants a restraining order

against Josh.

Beth holloway: How did you feel?

Josh duckett: They stripped
me of all my rights to see him

and ordered no
contact and everything

literally within a
matter of two days.

It's definitely devastating.

I was used to spending as
much time as I could with him and,

and doing things.

And then, it, it literally
was cut off overnight.

Narrator: But Josh and
Melinda's custody battle

pales in comparison
to what happens next.

Sunday, August 27, 2006,
starts out like any other day.

Melinda spends the
day running errands

before returning
home to feed Trenton.

At 6:30 pm, she puts
him to bed and spends

the evening watching a movie.

Afterward, Melinda
goes to check on Trenton

and discovers her son
has vanished from his crib.

Narrator: While Melinda
frantically searches the house,

leesburg police dispatch
a missing persons

investigator to the scene.

Detectives head straight
to Trenton's bedroom.

Brian cash: There were some
covers and stuffed animals

and things on the bed,
but nothing that looked

extremely out of place.

Narrator: But there
is one alarming detail,

the screen in the
toddler's bedroom window.

-The screen had been cut,
and the window was open.

Narrator: It appears someone
has abducted Trenton, but who?

-There's such a lack of physical
evidence, a lack of witnesses,

anybody that may have
heard anything about Trenton

or seen anything.

Narrator: Melinda seems certain
she knows who's responsible.

Later that night, Melinda
meets with investigators

at police headquarters
and identifies

the person she
believes took Trenton.

-She felt that
Josh could've been

the one that had taken Trenton.

Narrator: Melinda
also tells detectives

about her ongoing
custody battle with Josh.

Narrator: Melinda
presents detectives

a compelling piece of evidence,
a copy of the menacing email

sent to her from Josh's account.

-Melinda was using it
to show Josh's hostility

toward her and toward Trenton.

Narrator: Police immediately
set out in search of Josh.

An officer finds him
at his mother's house.

-We were all at
home in bed, asleep.

And there's car lights outside.

There's a deputy out there.

And he said, Joshua duckett.

And I said, no, he's inside.

He's in bed asleep.

And the next words out
of the officer's mouth was,

is Trenton here?

Narrator: Josh
claims to know nothing

about Trenton's
disappearance and soon realizes

that Trenton may have
been abducted by a stranger.

But when Josh presses police
for more details, he's stonewalled.

-What's going through
your mind now that you're

realizing that neither
one of you have him.

-I was freaking out.

I mean, I really don't
know what to do.

I didn't know which way to turn.

And I couldn't get any
answers out of law enforcement.

-And so once the
police were there,

and you're coming to this
realization that neither one

of you have your son,
your first step is to...

-try and get as much
information as to what's going on.

Narrator: Police
aren't convinced

that Josh is innocent.

They take him
downtown for questioning.

There, he tells detectives
that he was out of town

at the time Trenton was
supposedly abducted.

-I was in tampa
with some family.

I got home late on the 27th.

And I came home
probably around 8, 9 o'clock,

somewhere around there.

Narrator: Verifying
Josh's alibi will take time.

In the meantime, the
cops shift the focus

of their interrogation
to the menacing email,

which Josh denies
ever having sent.

Investigators aren't so sure.

-It became important
to our investigation

to determine where that
message actually came from.

Narrator: As police begin
tracing the message back

to its source, Josh and Melinda
put their differences aside

to join investigators in a
massive search for Trenton.

-Officials are looking for
two-year-old Trenton duckett.

He was last seen in his
bedroom on Sunday night.

-Leesburg police say the search
for Trenton is a 24-hour-a-day,

seven-day-a-week operation.

Narrator: Josh, Melinda,
and dozens of police officers

work the streets
for information,

hoping to uncover
something that might point

to the identity of
Trenton's abductor.

-We're trying to
get our family back.

And I mean, we need every single
person's help in the community,

110%, if possible.

Narrator: In leesburg, Florida,
two-year-old Trenton duckett

disappears from his crib
in the middle of the night.

After learning of a
threatening email sent

to Trenton's mom,
Melinda, police

consider Trenton's father,
Josh, the prime suspect.

But Josh maintains
he had nothing

to do with his son's
disappearance.

-I'm going to have to
fight it tooth and nail,

regardless of what they say.

You know, I know that I
didn't do anything wrong.

I know exactly where I was.

Narrator: Police have
yet to confirm Josh's story

that he was out of town
the day Trenton vanished.

So they ask him to
submit to a polygraph test.

-He said, I'll do
whatever it takes

to clear me so we
can find my son.

Brian cash: Joshua submitted
to a polygraph examination.

And there was no
deception indicated

during that polygraph exam.

Narrator: The polygraph reveals
that Josh's alibi about being

out of town the day
Trenton vanished is true.

-Josh was able to
provide a pretty sound alibi

for his whereabouts
with witnesses

that he was with that Sunday
afternoon and Sunday evening.

Narrator: The
polygraph results also

indicate that
Josh did not author

the incriminating
email to Melinda.

But if Josh didn't
write it, then who did?

-People knew this wasn't random.

They knew that somebody
that knew them had done this.

Narrator: Police ultimately
track the email to its source

and discover it did not
originate from Josh's computer.

-We determined that someone
had logged into Josh's account

and sent that message
to Melinda's account.

That someone had to
have been Melinda duckett.

The ip address used
was registered to Melinda.

-How did she manage to
hack into your email account

and send an email
from your address?

-She was able to
use my passwords

to get into my account and
send the email from my account

to hers.

She knew the answers
to the security questions

that they ask.

And she knew my family.

She knew me.

She knew pretty much
everything about me.

-What is she trying
to accomplish?

-She was trying to
set me up, to make

it look like I didn't
believe Trenton was mine.

And I didn't want to
have anything to do him.

If she got a permanent
injunction against me,

I couldn't see Trenton.

Narrator: But even if Melinda
was trying to cut Josh out

of his son's life,
it still doesn't

explain Trenton's disappearance.

Police call Melinda back
in for further questioning.

Melinda agrees and also
volunteers for a voice stress

analysis.

-On some of the relevant
questions regarding

Trenton's whereabouts,
Melinda's exam results

did indicate deception.

Narrator: But the
test's overall results

are far from conclusive.

And police have no
evidence to suggest

Melinda is guilty of any crime.

-Everything else
is just what she

had to tell us to
account for her actions,

and no real evidence or
witnesses as to where she went

or what she did.

Narrator: Despite the
inconclusive test results,

Melinda seems just as determined
to find Trenton as Josh does.

And over the next week,
the former husband and wife

continue their ever-expanding
search for Trenton

and field any and
all media requests.

But during the course of an
interview with Nancy grace,

Melinda offers some
curious answers

about the day
Trenton disappeared.

When grace asks Melinda to
provide a thorough explanation

of what she did that
day, all she will say

is that she was shopping
in nearby orange county.

Melinda refuses to divulge
the names of any of the stores

she visited.

Nor will she reveal the specific
time of day she was there.

-It was very
difficult for us to try

to understand a
timeline for Melinda,

because there were
just so many pieces

of the puzzle that were missing.

Narrator: Nancy
grace presses Melinda

for a more detailed
account of her activity.

But Melinda is guarded,
if not downright defiant.

-My opinion has always been
that Melinda was being purposely

evasive in the information
that she provided.

Narrator: Nancy
grace's interview

exposes some serious holes
in Melinda's version of events.

But Melinda maintains
she had nothing

to do with her
son's disappearance

and continues searching
for him alongside Josh.

-We passed out right
around 50,000 flyers

in a matter of two
days, I think it was.

Just basically
anything and everything

that we could do to keep his
name and to try and find him.

Narrator: It's been 12 days
since two-year-old Trenton

duckett vanished
from his Florida home.

His father Josh was
initially the prime suspect,

but a puzzling
appearance on Nancy grace

has turned the focus of the
investigation toward Trenton's

mother, Melinda, and
has police questioning

her initial account
of what happened.

-So many pieces of
the puzzle were missing.

She was very vague
as to the details

surrounding her day, that
Sunday afternoon, and where

she and Trenton may have gone.

Narrator: Is Melinda duckett
responsible for Trenton's

disappearance?

Investigators are
beginning to think so.

-I think you would
remember the details

of your day a little
better than that.

Narrator: Investigators
are desperate to get

to the bottom of
Melinda's story.

But a tragic turn of events will
prevent that from happening.

Thursday, September 7th,
under a cloud of scrutiny,

Melinda returns to
her grandparents' home

where she has been staying
since Trenton's abduction.

The following
afternoon, a call comes

into the lady lake,
Florida, 911 center.

Narrator: The call is coming
from Melinda's grandparents.

In a closet at their
home, Melinda

has shot herself in the head.

Emts rush to the
scene, but Melinda

is pronounced dead on arrival.

-The next thing I seen was
Joshua was all to pieces.

It was like somebody
took all the life out of him.

And he just
collapsed in my arms.

And he said, mom,
Melinda killed herself.

Josh duckett: Regardless of
us not getting along or anything,

she was still a part of my life.

She was still the
mother of my son.

It was definitely hard
on me and my family.

-I think, as an
agency, we really

felt like with Melinda's death
that we had lost truly our best

lead in discovering what
had happened to Trenton.

Narrator: As investigators
process the scene,

they make a peculiar discovery.

Melinda has left not one, but
three suicide notes in her car.

-Our first thought,
obviously, was

that, wow, we've
got suicide notes.

Hopefully, there's
something in here

that's going to tell us
what happened to Trenton.

Narrator: The letters contain
parting words to friends

and family but not a single
clue to Trenton's whereabouts.

They do, however, give
Josh duckett and investigators

a reason to believe that
Trenton is alive and well.

Josh duckett: Her suicide
notes only speak of Trenton

as he grows up, when he
gets older, that she hopes

he understands why she done
what she done, stuff like that.

And to me, you
know, you don't write

that if he's not still around.

Narrator: But if Trenton
duckett is alive, where is he now?

Beth holloway: What was the
most plausible working theory

that they were telling you
had happened to Trenton?

-That she's handed
him off to someone.

And it's just a
matter of putting

the pieces of the
puzzle together

to get the whole picture.

And then, we'll be
able to find Trenton.

Narrator: Four years have
passed since Trenton duckett

disappeared.

Investigators now
worry the best hope

of finding him
died with Melinda.

Still, Josh duckett
continues the quest

to find his son and the truth.

Beth holloway: When was
that, about five months old?

Josh duckett: Yeah,
somewhere around there.

-Yeah, he's already propping
himself up on his elbows.

-Oh, yeah, he
was very energetic.

Beth holloway: Oh, boy, he
has the biggest, warmest smile.

Josh duckett: Oh, yeah.

Beth holloway: His
whole face lights up.

Though many of
the clues regarding

Trenton's disappearance may
have died with Melinda duckett,

Josh hasn't given up
searching for his son.

Like thousands of other
families with missing children,

he needs your help.

Narrator: Trenton was last
seen in leesburg, Florida,

on August 27, 2006.

He is half-white and
half-Asian, with a small Mark

over his left eye.

This age progression composite
shows Trenton at four years

old.

Today, he would be six.

If you have information
about Trenton

duckett's disappearance, please
go to mylifetime. Com/vanished

and click on the tips button.

Beth holloway: Sometimes
when a person vanishes,

it can tear a community apart.

But when a young
pregnant woman goes

missing from the
streets of Philadelphia,

people across the entire
city joined in a heroic effort

to find her and
her unborn child.

Narrator: Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania,

the city of brotherly love,
birthplace of the nation.

But the city's rough
and tumble West Side

is an area few tourists
would ever want to visit.

For 24-year-old
latoyia figueroa,

the West Side has
always been home.

-She always wanted to
be someone in her life.

She was an outgoing young lady.

Narrator: Latoyia is a single
mom and works as a waitress

to support her
daughter, izhanae.

Stephanie stephenson:
She loved people.

She could never do
enough for somebody.

She was always
helping other people,

doing whatever you
needed her to do,

neglecting herself
for the most part.

Narrator: And her aunt
Stephanie knows her best.

She helped Melvin raise
latoyia from the age of four,

after her mother was
tragically murdered

on the streets of
west Philadelphia.

Beth holloway: Stephanie,
I know that you and latoyia

shared a special relationship.

And she's blossoming
into a young mother.

Stephanie stephenson:
She loved her daughter.

She had her with
her all the time.

They were more like girlfriends
than mother and daughter.

Narrator: In
2005, latoyia's life

takes a dramatic turn when
she reconnects with an old friend

from the neighborhood,
Stephen poaches, aka poach.

-They went to school
together, west Philly high.

They graduated together.

And all of a
sudden, they started

dating each other again.

Narrator: Poach and latoyia
quickly become inseparable.

And a few months
into the relationship,

latoyia approaches her father,
Melvin, with what she believes

is wonderful news.

Narrator: Latoyia assures
her father and aunt Stephanie

that everything is
going to be all right.

-She insisted to me
that he treated her well.

And her cousins also told
me he did treat her well.

Narrator: The couple's
future seems bright.

But a horrific turn of events
will soon prove otherwise.

July 17, 2005, five
months pregnant, latoyia

leaves her daughter
in the care of her family

and spends the night with
poach at his apartment.

Stephanie stephenson:
He came and picked her up.

And she went and
stayed with him,

because he was supposed
to be accompanying her

to her doctor's
appointment the next day.

Narrator: Latoyia and poach
spend the morning together.

And according to poach, after
latoyia's doctor's appointment,

he treats her to lunch.

Then, around 3:00
pm, poach gives latoyia

$300 for shopping.

Stephanie stephenson:
He gave her the money.

She left to go buy baby things.

Narrator: Latoyia is scheduled
to pick izhanae up at day care

that evening.

But she never does.

Luckily, izhanae's
father, Anthony Williams,

is also listed as a contact.

That night, he retrieves
izhanae from day care

and patiently awaits
word from latoyia.

48 hours pass, and Anthony
still hasn't heard from her.

Making matters
worse, latoyia has

failed to show up for her
next shift at the restaurant

where she works.

Finally, Anthony reaches
out to latoyia's aunt.

-How were you notified
that something was wrong?

-Her daughter's father
called me and asked me

if I knew that latoyia
had been missing.

And he hadn't been able
to get in contact with her.

Narrator: Melvin and
Stephanie try to reach latoyia.

But their calls also
go unanswered.

-I knew something was wrong
when she wouldn't answer her phone.

Stephanie stephenson: She
would not go away and not

call and check on her daughter.

She was a very doting
and devoted mother.

So I went to the police station
and filed the missing persons

report.

Narrator: Latoyia's
family also reaches out

to Stephen poaches, as
well as several other friends,

to see if they have any
clue where latoyia might be.

But everyone seems baffled
by latoyia's disappearance.

So as police initiate
their formal investigation,

latoyia's loved
ones band together

to comb the streets
of west Philadelphia.

Sylvester Johnson: They
organized search groups

going out to different parts
of the city searching for her.

They gave out flyers on
subway stops, on bus stops,

door-to-door.

They did so much.

Narrator: The search party
allows Melvin to seek answers

where the police never could.

Sylvester Johnson:
The police department

can't do anything by itself.

They need the community's help.

They have information
sometime they

don't want to tell other people,
but they talk to each other.

-Thank you.

Narrator: Despite
Melvin's efforts and the help

of Stephanie, poach,
and dozens of volunteers,

there is still no
sign of latoyia.

So Melvin calls in the
help of a relative, his cousin

Philadelphia city
councilman Juan ramos.

-My upbringing was
do something about it.

So that's what I did.

Narrator: Ramos helps police
and family set up a hot line,

establish a reward, and
turn the search for latoyia

into a city-wide campaign.

Juan ramos: I thought that we
should have a press conference.

I wanted to get the
message out to the entire city

of Philadelphia.

If you know anything,
here's a picture

of what this girl looks like.

Let us know if you've seen her.

The only thing we can
do when someone is lost

is go look for them.

And that's all we're doing
at this time and praying.

-This is supposed to be the
city of brotherly love, you know?

If there's love out there,
just please share it with us.

That's all I have
to say right now.

Narrator: The
publicity pays off.

The entire city bonds
with one common goal,

find latoyia figueroa.

Stephanie stephenson: The
people in Philadelphia lived up

to its name, the
city of brotherly love.

Male (in car): Thanks, man.
Melvin figueroa: Thank you.

Male (in car): We're
praying for you.

Melvin figueroa:
All right. Thank you.

Stephanie stephenson: The
entire city was looking for latoyia.

Narrator: But with
each passing day,

fears are mounting that
latoyia could be more than just

a missing person.

Mark Deegan: It's
a young lady who

has a seven-year-old daughter,
who she was very close to.

No contact with her.

Cell phone, no contact.

Any of her bank
accounts, no contact.

It doesn't look good.

Narrator: On July
28, latoyia's case

is handed over to a team
of homicide detectives.

They begin their investigation
by questioning the last person

seen with latoyia, her
boyfriend, Stephen poaches.

Though poach claims he was at
home when latoyia disappeared,

there's no one to
confirm his story.

Detectives decide
to take a closer look.

Richard Harris: We secured
search and seizure warrants.

We went to his place of work.

And at that place, we
secured a couple vans

that he used during
his employment.

And we had our crime
scene unit process those vans

for any traces of miss figueroa.

Narrator: Cops also
search poaches' apartment.

But they unearth no
evidence of foul play.

-They have nothing to
connect him with anything

other than that she was missing.

Narrator: In order
to definitively rule out

poaches as a suspect,
police must first

find latoyia dead or alive.

Thankfully, the hot line
set up by Melvin figueroa

and councilman Juan ramos
has yielded a promising lead.

Multiple people claim
that latoyia's body

may be less than a mile from
her home in west Philly's cobbs

creek park, an area known
to be dangerous after dark.

Juan ramos: There were
rumors that her body might

have been dumped there, that
she might have been killed there.

Narrator: Police initiate
a massive search.

Sylvester Johnson: I
called our academy.

And we sent approximately
100 recruits out there to go,

hand-in-hand, to
search the park.

Juan ramos: We got them all
out of the academy, lined them up

in a long, impressive
horizontal line.

And they all started
walking, searching

every corner of cobbs creek.

-It wasn't just the
recruits going out there

by themselves searching, there
was community and the police

walking hand-in-hand
to search the entire park.

That was the
cooperation that we had

between the community
and the police at that time.

Narrator: The search
yields no sign of latoyia.

But it has captivated the
hearts and minds of people

around the country.

Among them is Beth holloway.

-When I was in Aruba
searching for Natalee,

I was keeping up
with latoyia's case.

I know you just thought she was
going to be around every corner

that you turned.

-Oh, yes.

It was unbelievable.

It's a horrible feeling that I
would never wish on anybody.

And I know you know.

-Sorry.

-It's ok.

-I'm not supposed to do this.

-I know you know the feeling.

You can't believe
your child is missing.

I would wake up, and not know
whether I had dreamt it or not.

Narrator: With latoyia's case
drawing national attention,

dozens more leads pour in.

But none of them yield
any credible evidence.

-A couple weeks had
gone by and still no latoyia.

People started to really feel
that latoyia had been killed.

Stephanie stephenson: I said
to myself, you don't have closure.

You still think
this girl's alive.

You don't have closure.

Narrator: In west Philadelphia,
pregnant single mom latoyia

figueroa has vanished
without a trace.

Despite a citywide
search effort,

there is still no trace of her.

But her father
refuses to give up.

Melvin figueroa: Every day
out on the street, it was hard.

It could be 90, 100 degrees
out there, it was not stopping me.

Nothing, nothing
was going to stop me.

Narrator: Finally, on August
17th, Melvin's efforts pay off.

A west Philadelphia man named
Walter myatt contacts police

with shocking new information.

According to myatt, an old
friend from the neighborhood

has asked him for
an unusual favor.

Mark Deegan: He said,
somebody wants to get a Van.

He wants to get a body
bag, shovels, things like that.

And he wants to move the body.

Well, needless to say, we were
kind of dumbfounded by this.

-He wanted to go
and move this body.

And we assume that it was
the body of miss figueroa.

Narrator: So does Walter myatt.

Myatt also claims the man
asking for the Van and the body bag

is none other than
Stephen poaches,

latoyia's boyfriend and the
father of her unborn child.

-He said that what
poaches wanted from him

was a body bag and a Van.

That he wanted to go
and move this body.

Narrator: On the
surface, myatt's claim

doesn't make much sense.

Detectives have already
questioned Stephen poaches.

They've also
searched his apartment

and found nothing linking
him to latoyia's disappearance.

-It's kind of a
bizarre occurrence.

And I wanted to make sure
that myatt himself wasn't

a bizarre individual.

Narrator: But
investigators soon discover

that Walter myatt could
be telling the truth, when

one of the latoyia's
cousins comes forward

with a shocking detail.

Richard Harris: That sort
of put him in a dilemma,

but he couldn't
handle that situation.

Narrator: According
to latoyia's family,

the pressure could have
given Stephen poaches

the motive to commit murder.

-Did you suspect him
of any involvement?

-Definitely.

I knew he had
something to do with it.

I knew in my heart of hearts.

Narrator: Even if they've
established a motive,

police have no concrete
evidence linking poaches

to latoyia's disappearance.

So on August 18, 2005,
homicide detectives

outfit Walter myatt's Van with
special surveillance equipment

and instruct him to set
up a meeting with poaches.

The following day,
myatt secures the meeting

with Stephen poaches.

At 11:00 pm, he loads his Van
with shovels and a body bag

and meets poaches in
a field outside of town.

Richard Harris: They
pulled in, and they got out

of the Van and the vehicle.

And Mr. Poaches went through
a hole that was in the gate.

Narrator: With police
watching their every move,

poach directs myatt
toward what appears

to be a freshly dug grave.

As the two men begin to
dig, the surveillance camera

captures a disturbing detail
about poaches' appearance.

Mark Deegan: He was
wearing a bulletproof vest.

He had a 45 caliber handgun
on him with an extra clip.

And there's no doubt
in anyone's mind

that Mr. Myatt was probably
going to meet his demise also.

Narrator: Fearing
for myatt's life,

police move in
to arrest poaches.

Richard Harris: Mr. Poaches
fled to his vehicle.

And he took off.

And we radioed
to Chester police,

and they apprehended him a
short distance from that area.

Narrator: With their
prime suspect in custody,

police comb the area in
search of latoyia's body.

Minutes later, they find
what they are looking for.

Richard Harris: I saw
a decomposed body.

And at that time, we had
the coroner's office come in.

And they dealt with the
body of miss figueroa.

Beth holloway: How
were you notified?

-I received a phone call about
2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.

And it was from latoyia's uncle,
who told me, he said to me,

he says, Stephanie,
we found toyia.

And we got poach.

And I said, is she alive?

He said, no.

And I stood up.

And I must have turned in
circles for about five minutes.

I just stood there and
just walked in a circle.

Narrator: Now under
arrest for murder,

Stephen poaches attempts
to explain away latoyia's death.

He tells police that after
eating lunch together

on July 18, he and latoyia
went back to his apartment.

There, poach claims,
they got into an argument,

and latoyia attacked him.

Mark Deegan: He needed
to blame somebody.

So he blamed latoyia.

He said he got into
some kind of argument.

She started hitting him.

He had to stop her.

But he tried too
hard to stop her

and he ended up by
accident killing her.

And of course, no
one really believed that.

We believe that
he killed her, but we

don't think it was an accident.

Narrator: After killing
latoyia, poaches

dumped her body in the field.

But when the media attention
around the case intensified,

poaches concocted a plan to
have Walter myatt move the body

and then implicate
him as latoyia's killer.

-There's no doubt
in anyone's mind

that he was going to
clean up all the loose ends.

Narrator: With a month-long
search finally over,

Melvin figueroa once
again turns to the press.

This time with a
new mission, justice.

Narrator: Nearly a year
later, Melvin gets his wish.

Steven poaches is convicted
on two counts of murder

for latoyia and
her unborn child.

At the sentencing hearing,
latoyia's aunt Stephanie

confronts Stephen poaches.

-I know you had an
opportunity to speak to him.

What did you say?

-God says if you can't forgive
people, he won't forgive you.

And I need to be forgiven.

He had committed
a heinous crime,

but I knew I couldn't hate him.

And I told him that.

Narrator: Finally, a
year and three months

following latoyia
figueroa's murder,

poaches begins serving two
life sentences without parole.

Narrator: Following the trial,
latoyia's surviving daughter

izhanae is placed in the
care of her father, Anthony.

And though the
tragic death of latoyia

will forever haunt
her family, thanks

to their tireless
efforts, izhanae

can now grow up with one
less criminal on the streets.

-The assistance of an
informant helped bring answers

to latoyia figueroa's family.

Do you have
information that would

help police locate
a missing person?

If you do, there's
not a moment to lose.

Now, Stephanie, I know you
don't visit here very frequently.

But when you do,
do you have a feeling

of peace when you come here
or a feeling of unsettlement when

you visit?

-Well, I have a
feeling of peace.

It's a beautiful resting place.

I don't even count it
as being a cemetery,

because I know
latoyia is not there.

She is at peace with
our father, because he

said, to be absent from the
body is to be present with the lord.

And I know that's
where she and Nyla are.