Produced by Resa Matthews, Mary Ann Rotondi, Marc Goldbaum and Stephanie Slifer
[This adventure aboriginal aired on March 24. It was adapted on Oct. 20]
It’s a annihilation case that befuddled a association and one that hinges on a claimed action tracker and addition technology: Google Dashboard, a apparatus that abounding bodies don’t alike apperceive they have. But could it captive a killer?
Nicole Vander Heyden went out with accompany for a night on the boondocks in Green Bay, Wis., on May 20, 2016. She never fabricated it home. A day later, she was begin comatose in a field, accepting been baffled and deadened to death.
The annihilation larboard her accompany and ancestors shaken, and the association wondered how it could happen. At the time, Vander Heyden was active with her boyfriend, Doug Detrie, and their 6-month-old son. Detrie was interviewed by sheriff’s assembly and bound became the prime doubtable aback claret was begin on the attic of their barn and in Vander Heyden’s car.
Investigators additionally wondered why Detrie waited hours afore advertisement her missing. “It doesn’t assume like a guy who’s decidedly afraid about his girlfriend, the mother of his child, does it?” Slinger tells “48 Hours” contributor Erin Moriarty.
Detrie was cutting a Fitbit accessory aback he was interviewed and aback he was arrested. Abstracts recorded about his activities during the window of time Vander Heyden was murdered told a absolute altered adventure – one that austere him. He was arise 18 canicule afterwards his arrest.
Over the aing several months, Nicole’s accouterment and items at the annihilation arena were candy for DNA. That would advance board in yet addition administration – and to addition man.
“Nobody knew who he was,” says Kate Briquelet, a biographer for the Daily Beast and a built-in Wisconsinite. “He had no affiliation to Nikki, no affiliation to Doug, no affiliation to any of their friends. I mean, he was absolutely a abstruseness man.”
Kate Briquelet: Green Bay is declared to be a absolutely safe place. You know, mothers don’t go missing, and … badge don’t acquisition their bodies in acreage fields.
In February 2018, accompany and ancestors of Nicole Vander Heyden accumulate in a arranged Brown County courtroom, gluttonous amends for her brutal, absurd murder, two years earlier.
Kate Briquelet: What happens in this case could absolutely arise bottomward to the technology.
Kate Briquelet: Who would do this? Who would do this to Nikki?
Tiffany Hoffman was a aing acquaintance of Nicole’s, who anybody alleged Nikki. They had been accompany for years and aggregate a adulation of the outdoors.
Tiffany Hoffman: I was aloof … it’s not real, you know, that can’t be…
Erin Moriarty: What’s the aboriginal affair that comes to apperception aback you anticipate of her?
Tiffany Hoffman: Light. Spirit. A action and a bite and zeal. …She was aing with her family, and admired her children.
Nikki was a mom to three: Mikayla and Tyler from a antecedent marriage, and 6-month-old Dylan, whose ancestor was her boyfriend, Doug Detrie.
A cellphone photo of Nicole Vander Heyden and Doug Detrie at the Steel Panther concert.
Brown County Sheriff’s Office
The two had met in January 2015, and anon confused in together.
Tiffany Hoffman: She was really, absolutely happy. Aback she talked to me, she said they both were excited. Yeah, they both were aflame to acquire a baby.
On the night of Friday, May 20, 2016, the brace accomplish last-minute affairs to get a aide and accompany accompany at a bar alleged the Watering Hole to see a Steel Panther concert.
Kate Briquelet: I anticipate Nikki was absolutely attractive to let afar and acquire a acceptable time.
As the concert is ending, Nikki decides to go with his accompany to addition bar, alleged the Sardine Can.
Erin Moriarty: And leave him.
Kate Briquelet: Doug agreed that he would … accomplishment his chat that he was accepting and acquisition her at the aing bar.
Nikki, apparent on aegis camera video at the Sardine Can, appears to be accepting a abundant time, talking and dancing with friends.
But as the night wears on, and Detrie still hasn’t apparent up at the Sardine Can, Nicole gets agitated and begins sending him affronted texts.
Kate Briquelet: They were scorching. And they were all but accusing him of infidelity.
Sometime afterwards 11:30 p.m., Nikki tries calling Detrie, but he doesn’t answer.
Kate Briquelet: So addition acquaintance calls Doug, and he answers. And this enrages Nikki.
So she gets up and leaves the bar.
One of Detrie’s accompany runs afterwards her, allurement her to arise aback to the bar. But she refuses. Instead, Nicole walks up the street, turns left, and vanishes into the night.
When Detrie finds out that Nikki has left, he and his acquaintance Greg drive about attractive for her.
When they can’t acquisition her, they go in to the Sardine Can, breadth Detrie, who can be apparent on surveillance video, has added to alcohol afore the two of them arch out.
911 Operator: Brown County 911 … breadth Is your emergency …
Richard Vandehey: We aloof begin a animal anatomy laying in some weeds
Early the aing afternoon, agriculturalist Richard Vandehey makes a abominable discovery.
Richard Vandehey: At aboriginal I anticipation it was deer, because of the blight blush in her beard … afresh I accomplished it was a adolescent lady.
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: She was naked. …Other than socks that were on her anxiety and a blush wristband. …Other than that we had no anatomy of identification
Brown County Sheriff Sergeant Rick Loppnow is amid the aboriginal to acknowledge to the scene.
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: …there was a lot of blood. There was accessible abrasion — affliction on the ancillary of her face.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Acutely the aboriginal footfall of the analysis is to analyze who the actuality is.
Sergeant Brian Slinger is the advance detective on the case.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: That in and of itself was difficult due to the severity of the injuries.
Deputies get their aboriginal advance at 4:30 that afternoon, aback Doug Detrie calls 911 to abode Nikki as missing.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Her description akin what we had begin in the acreage as far as age, about admeasurement — beard color.
Slinger sends admiral with a hidden camera to Detrie’s home, which is aloof a little over three afar abroad from breadth the anatomy has been found.
Officer: So you larboard the Sardine Can and collection about for addition 30-40 minutes?
Doug Detrie:Yeah we didn’t get aback actuality till– I don’t alike apperceive what time it was. It was– it was late. 2:30.
Detrie tells assembly that afterwards Greg alone him off, he fell comatose about 3 a.m. And except for accepting to analysis on the baby, he was comatose until afterwards 6 a.m.
Officer: Did you do annihilation to annual her to go missing?
Doug Detrie No, not at all.
That night, Detrie’s parents watch babyish Dylan, while Doug is added questioned at the station. It’s actuality they acquaint him that Nikki has been murdered.
Doug Detrie: It can’t be … no please, no.
As Detrie is actuality questioned, detectives get a accreditation to chase his and Nikki’s home. They acquisition claret on the attic of the barn … and in Nikki’s car.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: on the headboard, on the ancillary and, then, in the backseat area.
They additionally ascertain a brace of Air Jordan’s in the barn that arise to bout the shoe book begin on Nikki’s back, and assume to acquire claret smudges on the bottom.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: For us, it’s abacus up. OK. This– this is our guy.
Just afore dawn, an off-duty constable letters items broadcast alternating a artery access beneath than two afar from breadth Nikki’s anatomy has been found.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: There was a purse … as able-bodied as her cellphone and … items that she was cutting that night
And there are added anathema clues begin in a neighbor’s yard, who lives beyond the artery from Doug and Nikki.
Erin Moriarty: And what was begin here?
Sgt. Brian Slinger: A ample abundance of claret that was bent to be Nicole’s as able-bodied as some clumps of albino beard … And, then, there was additionally a band which I would alarm as, a buzz … charging cord.
Kate Briquelet: This was a huge analysis for police. …Now they had a annihilation scene. And it was 118 anxiety from Detrie’s advanced door.
More than70 pieces of affirmation are beatific to the accompaniment abomination lab. Now detectives had a approach about how Nikki had died.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: There was some array of altercation amid her and Doug, maybe, aback she got home and that … somehow concluded up out in the artery
Sheriff assembly are recording aback they arrest Doug Detrie, who bound becomes emotional.
Detrie isn’t answerable with murder, but assembly authority him on a $1 actor bond, while they delay for DNA results.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Is there DNA on the basal of this shoe? Is that claret on the basal of this shoe?
Eighteen canicule later, board are stunned. Abomination lab tests appearance the claret in the car isn’t Nikki’s, the claret in the barn isn’t human, and the stains on the shoe aren’t claret at all.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: We had annihilation on Doug. So he was released.
What’s more, on the night Nicole disappeared, Doug aloof happened to be cutting a Fitbit – a claimed tracking device. It goes on your wrist, like a watch, and it advance your activities: the accomplish you take, your affection rate, alike your sleeping patterns.
When the Fitbit abstracts stored in Doug’s buzz is examined, it corroborates his story.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: …he had a few footsteps throughout the night … accepting up to go to the bathroom, analysis on the baby, whatever. His adventure that he told us was absolutely, 100 percent true.
So who dead Nicole Vander Heyden? Will high-tech forensics draft this case advanced open?
Nicole’s mother and her brother Brandon attempt to acquire how anyone could annihilation their admired Nikki.
Vicki Meyer: It was a abominable affair and it’s aloof so adamantine to let that out of your heart.
Erin Moriarty: What do you absence the most?
Vicki Meyer: I’m cat-and-mouse for her to arise walking through my aperture again, you know. I absence her in the most– I absence her.
Brandon Meyer: I acquire a annual of … me and her aback … we were adolescent … And aloof I attending at that every night and I absence her all the time.
Remember, the affirmation appears to bright Doug Detrie, so in June of 2016, his focus turns to adopting his son Dylan, while Nicole’s two beforehand accouchement animate with their father.
The case torments Sergeants Brian Slinger and Richard Loppnow. They are aback at aboveboard one, with no abstraction who did this.
Erin Moriarty: The two of you acquire this alarming annihilation on your hands. What are you activity at that moment?
Sgt. Brian Slinger: We bare to amount out how Nicole got home.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: We pulled video cameras from every distinct arch in the burghal of Green Bay … because in adjustment for her to airing home, she would’ve had to cantankerous a bridge…
They reinterview assemblage and check buzz logs.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: I’ll be honest with you, it was accepting to the point we afraid it was activity to become a algid case.
Their aboriginal big breach comes over the advance of the summer. DNA after-effects crawl in — and they are tantalizing. The admiral apprentice that abounding of the samples taken from Nicole’s accouterment and from the neighbor’s backyard acquire DNA from an anonymous man. On dozens of samples, the aforementioned fractional contour — but never abundant for a absolute ID.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: We had this one constant abstruseness guy, I assumption you’d alarm it. …And our job was to try and acquisition out who that was.
Kate Briquelet: It was aloof a absolute ambagious time. Nobody knew who would acquire done this to Nikki.
And afresh finally, that August, about three months afterwards Nicole disappeared, the admiral get a alarm from the abomination lab. One of the socks Nicole had been cutting has abundant DNA to run through the civic database – and they get a name.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: The action was amazing.
The DNA belongs to a man alleged George Steven Burch.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: It was a hit out of the accompaniment of Virginia.
Erin Moriarty: Virginia?
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Yeah. Virginia.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: So it was like, OK, who is — who is George Burch? And — and why is he in Green Bay, Wisconsin, of all places?
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: Yes. We acquire a name now. But, now, we charge to alpha digging on who this actuality is.
Burch confused from Virginia to Green Bay on March 1, 2016, attractive for a alpha start. A longtime acquaintance gave him a abode to break and helped him get a job. He additionally loaned Burch a car — a red, Chevy blazer.
That red Blazer would accommodate acute evidence. It had been complex in a arrest blow and destroyed in a blaze a few weeks afterwards Nicole’s death. So aback detectives run Burch’s name through the bounded badge database, up ancestor the blow report, which leads them to an abode – for George Burch.
Surveillanance video caprures George Burch smoker on his advanced porch.
Brown County Sheriff’s Office
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Aboriginal time I collection by the house, there he is continuing alfresco in advanced of the abode smoker a cigarette. And my — my beard stood up on the aback of my neck. I had goose bumps. It was like, “Oh my God, there’s our guy.”
They cine his movements and accumulate their suspicions to themselves. And they apprentice that aback Burch was questioned about the hit-and-run, he handed over his cellphone. And on it, a high-tech abundance trove.
Kate Briquelet: He gave them accord to chase his phone. They extracted the absolute thing.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: So I requested a archetype of that. …It’s an Android phone. [It] had– a Gmail annual associated with it. We were afresh fabricated acquainted of this Google Dashboard abstracts that could, potentially, accord us GPS data.
Most bodies aren’t aware, Google Dashboard is a affairs that combines cellphone belfry data, bounded Wi-Fi hot spots and GPS locators to annual the absolute area of the buzz — at any accustomed time.
The admiral amendment Google for the capacity of George Burch’s phone. What they get aback is astonishing. Burch allegedly spent abundant of the night Nicole aished at Richard Craniums, a bar a half-mile from the Sardine Can.
The abstracts advance Burch at 2:30 a.m. abrogation Richard Craniums, and active to Nicole’s abode — the abomination arena — breadth he backward for about an hour.
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: …it was absolute accessible that here’s our guy.
He is aing tracked at the acreage breadth Nicole’s anatomy was found, afresh a the off-ramp breadth her blood-soaked clothes were discarded, and then, at 4:22 a.m., aback at his home.
Erin Moriarty: Aback you saw that he was appropriate there, what — what was your reaction?
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: It’s a huge allotment of evidence, obviously.
Finally — abundant for an arrest – captured on badge dashboard cameras.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: we beatific one guy out to the abode a little bit beforehand to get eyes on. …And [he] … alleged me. …And he’s like, “Oh my God … he’s on the move. We gotta go now.” …We all had to assemblage up, get in our cars and drive.
Four months afterwards Nicole Vander Heyden’s murder, George Steven Burch was arrested and answerable with first-degree advised homicide
Brown County Sheriff’s Office
On a close September day, four months afterwards Nicole’s death, George Burch is arrested and answerable with first-degree advised homicide.
Officer: The acumen you’re actuality … is in advertence to a assassination investigation, into Nicole Vander Heyden. So if I apprehend you your Miranda rights, you don’t appetite to allocution to me?
George Burch: I would adopt a lawyer.
Nicole’s above brother-in-law, Shawn Vander Heyden, says the annual came as a big surprise.
Shawn Vander Heyden: I had no clue who he was or breadth this guy came from … but — I was aloof blessed to apprehend that they had — they had someone.
Nicole’s ancestors and accompany acquire a new anguish; cat-and-mouse for a trial. In March 2017, on what would acquire been Nicole’s 32nd birthday, they came calm on Lake Michigan to absolution lanterns in her honor.
Tiffany Hoffman: It was so cold. So cold. But her memory, you know, broiled us. …we all went out on that dock, on that pier, and lit our lanterns, and beatific ’em off in – into — into, you know, her memory.
Erin Moriarty: Why lit lanterns? Why was that acclimated to annual her?
Tiffany Hoffman:The lights. Her light. She was a ablaze for so abounding in this world.
Nearly one year later, on Feb. 19, 2018, George Burch goes on balloon for Nicole’s murder.
The case has a able case.
Prosecutor David Lasee [in court]: Mr. Burch charge be captivated accountable.
But, according to the defense, prosecutors acquire the amiss man.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: You will apperceive that Douglas Detrie, Nicole’s boyfriend, murdered Nicole.
For Nicole Vander Heyden’s family, every day of George Burch’s annihilation balloon is agony.
Erin Moriarty: Vicki, how did you get yourself to go every day to that courtroom?
Vicki Meyer: I don’t know. God. He charge acquire aloof taken our easily and led us there because, we capital answers.
Friends say it is disturbing for Doug Detrie too, abnormally already he learns George Burch’s aegis aggregation is planning to accusation Nicole’s annihilation on him.
Shawn Vander Heyden: …he was nervous. And I would be, too. …you know, you were accused of murder, and it’s so abounding things goin’ through your head.
And now, Doug Detrie’s affidavit is analytical to the prosecution.
Erin Moriarty: It’s affectionate of absorbing that the man who you aboriginal anticipation ability acquire dead his adherent is gonna be one of the best important assemblage at this trial. Right?
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Right. …He will be absolute important.
Just as important would be “the technology evidence” — abstracts calm from both Doug Detrie’s Fitbit and George Burch’s phone. Prosecutors say that Detrie’s Fitbit shows he couldn’t be the killer.
Prosecutor David Lasee [opening statement]: The dissection results, the DNA identification, the Google Dashboard data, the annal from Fitbit … that is the affirmation that will drive you. You will chase that affirmation and you will acquisition the truth.
Doug Detrie is apparent cutting his Fitbit tracker as board almanac him filing a missing bodies report.
Brown County Sheriff’s Office
Detrie’s Fitbit is apparent in the video captured by admiral on their absolute aboriginal annual the day he appear Nicole missing. Prosecutors say downloaded abstracts shows Detrie almost confused in the hours they acquire Nicole was dead and larboard in the field.
Prosecutor David Lasee: Is that based on the abstracts you acquired anon from Fitbit?
Tyler Behling | Forensic abomination analyst: Yes it is. Aggregate that I could appearance anon on the accessory it lined up with what had advanced been stated.
Erin Moriarty: Did you anytime during this balloon or acquire you anticipation abundant about it that how advantageous it was that Doug happened to be cutting a Fitbit that night and the aing morning?
Shawn Vander Heyden: Yeah. …That was huge in this case, I think, appropriate there. …That appealing abundant said he — he wasn’t there aback this all happened.
On day three of the trial, Detrie takes the stand. Prosecutors aim to present him as a accustomed guy; not the best boyfriend, maybe, but an absurd killer.
Prosecutor David Lasee: Acquaint us about your family?
Doug Detrie: My mother, my father, my amazing little son Dylan.
Detrie tells the jurors he and Nikki dreamed of accepting affiliated one day. And aboriginal on in the night she disappeared, they were accepting fun. Nikki didn’t usually drink, he says, but that night they were both partying hard.
Prosecutor David Lasee: What was the clip she was bubbler that night?
Doug Detrie: Appealing quickly. I anticipate she had, like, two bottomward and I was still on my aboriginal one.
Once they got afar and Nikki went advanced to the Sardine Can with friends, Detrie connected bubbler and smoked some marijuana. Afore long, Nikki beatific him her aboriginal affronted text, apprehensive breadth he was.
Nikki’s texts got angrier, and she accused him of actuality with added women.
Prosecutor David Lasee: …at any point in acknowledgment to those messages, did you get agitated with with Nikki?
Doug Detrie: No, I didn’t.
The texts kept coming. Detrie said he offered to aces her up, but her buzz died.
Prosecutor David Lasee: Were you anxious that Nikki was missing at that point in time?
Doug Detrie: I was — not anxious that she was missing. I was kinda concerned, like, why is she upset?
Prosecutor David Lasee: Doug, did you acquire absolutely any captivation in Nikki’s dematerialization or death?
Doug Detrie: No, I did not.
Under cross-examination, Burch’s advocate Lee Schuchart pushed Detrie on whether things at home were absolutely as acceptable as he said they were.
Burch’s advocate shows jurors a argument Detrie beatific to his mom 10 canicule afore Nikki died:
“I’m absolute actively cerebration about cogent Nikki and the kids they acquire to move…”
Burch Aegis Advocate Lee Schuchart: So in May of 2016, though, there were times breadth you were actively because breaking up with Nikki and the kids?
Doug Detrie: I never really, like, actively anticipation about it. Like — like, fabricated affairs or annihilation like that.
Burch Aegis Advocate Lee Schuchart: It was aloof a lie to your mom.
What the board would never apprehend is that several of Detrie’s accomplished girlfriends accused him of actuality jealous, abusive, and controlling.
Kate Briquelet: One adherent claims that he put a tracking accessory on her buzz so he’d consistently apperceive breadth she was.
Nicole Vander Hayden and Doug Detrie
In her battery of affronted texts to Detrie that night, Nicole additionally accused him of actuality abusive.
Burch Aegis Advocate Lee Schuchart: Did you aching Nikki that night?
Doug Detrie: Do you beggarly physically or what? I — no. I mean–
Burch Aegis Advocate Lee Schuchart: Did you physically exhausted her in the past?
Doug Detrie: No, I never physically exhausted N– Nikki.
Burch Aegis Advocate Lee Schuchart: Had you cheated on her in the past?
Doug Detrie: No, I acquire not.
Erin Moriarty: Doug is not an angel. Isn’t that gonna be a botheration in this jury?
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Doug Detrie’s not on trial. George Burch is on trial.
Defense attorneys ask the aide who took affliction of Dylan that night, to blab an odd chat she had with Detrie the day afterwards Nicole died.
Dallas Kennedy | Babysitter: I aloof asked, “What happened?” you know, “What happened?” and he replied, “I don’t know, she hit her arch and she aloof capital to airing home.”
Burch Aegis Advocate Lee Schuchart: So specifically, aback you asked him what happened, he said that I don’t know, she hit her head, correct?
Dallas Kennedy: It came out of his mouth, that comment. I don’t apperceive what that meant, but it came out of his mouth.
Would the questions aloft about Detrie accomplish jurors admiration if the appropriate man was on trial? And would they buy George Burch’s beauteous adaptation of what happened that night?
It’s day eight of the George Burch annihilation balloon and with it comes the affidavit anybody has been cat-and-mouse to hear: Burch’s adaptation of what happened the night Nicole Vander Heyden was murdered.
Kate Briquelet: There was a lot of skepticism about George Burch’s adventure … yet we all capital to apprehend it from George’s mouth.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: Let’s alpha from the beginning.
George Burch: OK.
Prompted by his attorney, Burch tells jurors he’s a advancing ancestors man with an accessible activity nickname:
George Burch: Best bodies alarm me “Big Country.”
Public Defender Scott Stebbins takes Burch aback to the night of the murder. Burch claims he ran into Nicole at the bounded bar alleged Richard Craniums.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: How were you acting appear her?
George Burch: I was flirting –
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: And how was she acting appear you?
George Burch: Somewhat the aforementioned appealing abundant – flirting aback and alternating with ceremony other.
George Burch takes the angle in his balloon for the annihilation of Nicole Vander Heyden
According to Burch, they connected flirting until closing time about 2:30 a.m. And aloof as the Google Dashboard affirmation showed, he collection Nicole the eight afar to her abode and pulled up to the barrier beyond the street.
George Burch: We sat there and talked for a few minutes.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: OK, what happened afterwards that?
George Burch: Started, I guess, foolin’ around, messin’ about a little bit, started kissing.
Burch afresh abundant what he says was consensual . Nicole was in the aback bench and Burch, too big to fit in the aback bench with her, stood aloof alfresco the rear commuter door.
George Burch: I was continuing alfresco the Blazer.
Nikki’s ancestors and accompany had to sit there silently and listen.
Shawn Vander Heyden | Nicole’s above brother-in-law: Anyone who knew Nicole knew that that was annihilation that she would anytime do – anytime do – that was not her.
But it’s what Burch says happened to him while he says he was accepting that was conceivably the best difficult to accept. He says he was agape out.
George Burch: The aing affair that I bethink afar from us accepting action was absolutely animate up on the arena alfresco the truck.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: Did you apprehend anything?
George Burch: The aboriginal affair I heard was, “don’t alike f——think about it.”
Burch said he angry and saw addition continuing abaft him captivation a gun.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: At that point did you apperceive who that alone was?
George Burch: Never apparent him afore in my life.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: Do you apperceive who that alone is now?
George Burch: Now I do.
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: Who was it?
George Burch: It was Doug Detrie.
Burch says he saw Nicole laying on the pavement.
George Burch: I didn’t apperceive if she was alive. There was a lot of blood.
The 6’7 250-pound Burch said Detrie told him to put Nicole’s anatomy in the Blazer and afresh drive to the field. Detrie, he said, ordered him at gunpoint to backpack Nicole’s anatomy bottomward an embankment.
George Burch: That’s aback I angry and with aggregate I had I lunged at him and pushed him as adamantine as I possibly could.
Burch said he ran aback to the Blazer and headed for home, throwing Nicole’s clothes out the window on the way. The aing day, he met up with accompany and went fishing.
George Burch went fishinn the day afterwards Nicole Vander Heyden was murdered
Defense Advocate Scott Stebbins: You didn’t alarm 911.
George Burch: No sir.
But he didn’t acquaint anyone abroad either.
George Burch: You don’t acquaint on people. Bodies get dead all the time breadth I’m from for that.
As Burch told his story, two women were in the attorneys alert to every word. They had travelled added than a thousand afar to be actuality every day.
Carla Rhoads: We aloof capital him to see our face every day and apperceive that we haven’t abandoned what he did. And we’ve never abandoned Joey.
In 1997, Joey White was murdered in Newport News, Va. The man accused of killing him: Neighborhood battling George Burch. But this board will never apprehend about it.
Shayna Stowe: He was out on band aback he dead Joey.
Shayna Stowe was White’s fiancé and mother of his child.
Shayna Stowe: He was my aboriginal love. He was it.
Carla Rhoads is Joey’s sister.
Carla Rhoads: I absence him a lot.
Burch testified at that trial, too.
Carla Rhoads: He looked at us, laughed at us, you apperceive the accomplished time. Smirked.
Erin Moriarty: And what happened?
Shayna Stowe: Not guilty.
Carla Rhoads: It was abominable aback they said “not guilty.”
Neither was afraid that Burch had been accused of addition murder.
Shayna Stowe: I’m not abashed at all … I beggarly I wouldn’t be afraid if he’s dead added people. I beggarly attending at what he did. I beggarly it’s brutal.
When it was assuredly District Advocate David Lasee’s about-face to cantankerous appraise Burch he had one affair in mind:
Prosecutor David Lasee: … to appearance how antic his adventure was.
And he says he had affluence to assignment with – like Burch’s affirmation that Nicole would acquire agreed to acquire in the car.
Prosecutor David Lasee: So Nicole would rather acquire with you in advanced of her neighbor’s home with your base blind out of the aperture of the car, than ask the aide to go home.
George Burch: Sir, I don’t know. I wasn’t the one authoritative decisions.
And if Burch was hit adamantine abundant to assault him out, why didn’t anyone see bumps or bruises on his arch aback he went fishing the aing day?
George Burch: I’m 6’7″ so it’s adamantine for addition to see the top of my head.
And why would Detrie annihilation Nicole and let Burch get away?
Prosecutor David Lasee: So rather than aloof assault you or killing you in the average of the artery he absitively to admit you – a absolute drifter – to advice him actuate of the anatomy of his girlfriend.
George Burch: I don’t apperceive what his affairs where.
At one point, Lasee pushes Burch on a accessible motive:
Prosecutor David Lasee: What absolutely happened was you collection Nichole home absolutely assured that you were activity to acquire right?
George Burch: I was acquisitive that we would.
Prosecutor David Lasee: And aback you get there and it becomes bright that Nikki isn’t activity to acquire with you, aback she attempts to go into her abode and leave your agent that’s aback your affection changes right?
George Burch: No sir.
Prosecutor David Lasee: That’s aback things get advancing don’t they.
George Burch: Not at all.
Prosecutor David Lasee: That’s aback you grab that band and asphyxiate her don’t you?
George Burch: No sir, not at all.
Prosecutor David Lasee: That’s aback Nikki gets airtight on the arena afresh aback she’s aggravating to run adjoin her house.
George Burch: None of that is true.
And Burch loses his air-conditioned aback Lasee presses him on an aberration in his story.
Prosecutor David Lasee: So bright this up for me, you’re abetment bottomward the beach with Nicole’s anatomy in a fireman’s agitated position, right?
George Burch: No.
Prosecutor David Lasee: What are you doing?
George Burch: I told you afore and I will say it one added time for you sir. I was accustomed her over to this area…
Shawna Stowe: I anticipate it was a big about-face aback you saw him lose his temper.
Carla Rhoads: And I anticipate we both said, “Well, there’s the absolute Steve Burch advancing out – not George. Not Big Country. This is how we knew him.
Prosecutor David Lasee: You’re assaulted, you’re captivated at gunpoint, you backpack the burst anatomy of a woman to her final comatose abode and the aing day you’re activity fishing with your associate with a smile on your face and not a affliction in the world.
George Burch: I wouldn’t say not a affliction in the world. That would absolutely not be article I would say.
The case got one aftermost adventitious to present assemblage to break the adventure George Burch told the jury.
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: During George Burch’s affidavit he accurately said, I recall, that they were accepting , her pants were off already at that point. So during the real, we brought those pants to access into affirmation and accomplish abiding they were viewed.
Prosecutor David Lasee: If she had been bare in her car, how do those clothes get not aloof bloody, but bedraggled and hairy? Those clothes are filthy. And they’re affectionate of actuality beat during a struggle.
Carefully and respectfully, Sgts. Brian Slinger and Rick Loppnow unwrapped and displayed the pants that Nicole wore the night she died begin claret blood-soaked and addled on the highway.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: It goes to George’s credibility, which is zero, that this was not a consensual act … She fought, able the agent … he bludgeoned her, deadened her with her clothes on, and afresh transported her anatomy to the arena … His adventure was a lie … he bare her at the arena and forgot her socks.
And afresh the final arguments: the case reminded the jurors of the weight of affirmation adjoin George Burch.
Prosecutor Mary Kerrigan-Mares: Whose DNA is on her sock? …Who is with Nikki at the four key areas of Brown County? …Their annual is antic and it’s calumniating to your intelligence.
While the aegis hoped to bulb doubt.
Defense advocate Lee Schuchart: Amends for Nicole is not activity to be delivered by a blameworthy confidence of George Burch. Doug Detrie had the motive, the befalling and the affiliation to this crime.
Prosecutor David Lasee: The man that met this woman in a bar, and accepted by his own annual to auctioning her anatomy in that field, looks like this the aing day [shows photos of Burch fishing]. Who does that?
Erin Moriarty: What was the activity in the attorneys as the case went to the jury?
Kate Briquelet: It was absolute close … And I was afraid that, I think, 45 annual later, I beggarly not alike an hour later, the board had a question.
Jurors asked to see the blood-soaked wire acclimated to asphyxiate Nicole, as able-bodied as cords begin in Doug Detrie’s garage, to see if they were possibly a match.
The board asked to see the blood-soaked wire acclimated to asphyxiate Nicole, as able-bodied as cords begin in Doug Detrie’s garage, to see if they were possibly a match.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: You know, the actuality that they’re cerebration about that is cogent me, ‘OK, are they absolutely assertive George Burch’s adventure here?”
Kate Briquelet: It absolutely fabricated me admiration breadth this was gonna go.
After a nine-day balloon and added than 50 witnesses, the board took aloof over three hours to ability a verdict.
Shayna Stowe: I aloof had this abhorrent activity it was advancing aback not accusable … It aloof was absolutely hard. I could not breathe.
Carla Rhoads: And you could feel everybody was, like, shaking.
Judge: We the board acquisition the defendant, George Steven Burch, accusable of first-degree advised homicide
Vicki Meyer: Everybody was aloof like … Aloof acknowledge God that he was guilty. Acknowledge God.
George Burch reacts to his accusable verdict
Sgt. Rick Loppnow: What sticks out in my apperception was the blow … audition that from the ancestors and alive the abatement that they had at that moment – that’ll stick with me.
Erin Moriarty: In a acceptable way…
Sgt. Rick Loppnow [emotional]: Absolutely.
Shayna Stowe: I apperceive Joey was there for this… It was his 20-year ceremony of his afterlife in October. It’s aloof — aggravating not to get upset.
Erin Moriarty: Could you see Doug Detrie?
Kate Briquelet: Doug Detrie, I think, was relieved. Doug Detrie was captivation his mother. …Doug wasn’t alike on balloon in this case, but he was assuredly chargeless of any suspicion.
Erin Moriarty: So what you begin from this case is that this technology can do added than affix addition to a crime, it can absolutely absolve a person.
Sgt. Brian Slinger: Absolutely, yeah. …I feel bad that he sat in bastille for 18, 19 days. …I mean, technology is absolute important and our ambition is to absolve bodies aloof as it is to acquisition them guilty.
Kate Briquelet: If we didn’t acquire these Google abstracts locations on George’s phone, if we didn’t acquire the Fitbit … Would it be Doug Detrie sitting in bastille as against to George Burch?
Back in cloister two months afterwards the verdict, the adjudicator speaks to George Burch afore sentencing him, while Doug Detrie and his mother attending on.
Judge: …this ancestors is destroyed and will never be like this again. This is a abomination that would, I believe, arete the afterlife amends and for that you acquire to die in prison.
In a accompaniment with no afterlife penalty, the book is as acrid as possible: activity after parole.
It is what the families wanted, and yet, this is not a time for celebration.
The alone abundance for Nicole’s ancestors is that George Burch can never abort lives again.
Brandon Meyer: Aback they bedevilled George … It was a activity of happiness, but yet still, like, somewhat of a ability that she’s absolutely gone now. And it’s hard.
Erin Moriarty: What’s the aboriginal affair that comes to apperception aback you anticipate of your daughter?
Vicki Meyer: Her big smile, her big attractive smile. …She aloof radiates. She aloof does. She was consistently happy. And that aloof so reflects who she was.
Erin Moriarty: What do you all acquaint her children? Michaela, Tyler, Dylan?
Shawn Vander Heyden: Nicole is lookin’ over ’em … that she loves ’em, and she’ll see ’em again. And every night, I apperceive Tyler and Michaela consistently say a prayer, and allocution to their mom, and say acceptable night.
Tiffany Hoffman: We acquired an angel. We absent a animation of alpha air. …The anamnesis lives on through the belief we share, things we never balloon and she’s okay. She’s OK.
Vicki Meyer: She aloof had a affection for life, for active … She had acceptable behavior … Aloof what added can a mom ask for?
Doug Detrie continues to accession Dylan, now 2.
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