How I Caught My Killer (2023) s01e02 Episode Script

I found Candice's Diary...


NARRATOR: Fifteen-year-old
Candice Parchment
was obsessed with her diary.
It held her dreams, her secrets.
- She wanted to be a writer.
She would always be
documenting her life,
her thoughts, what
she wanted to do.
April 28th, 2010,
Candice goes missing.

Everyone at her high
school in shock.

There's so many rumors.
Speculation that
came from nothing.

NARRATOR: Weeks go by. Months.
MY'LIK: The detectives
knocked on the door
and they told me they found
the human remains of Candice.


[telephone ringing] a
voice from the grave.

MY'LIK: He said, "I
found Candice's diary."
truth is awful.

Theme music playing ♪
MAN 1: She solved her own
murder from beyond the grave.
MAN 2: The fitness
app on the phone,
it was overwhelming evidence.
I've been haunted
by the visions ♪
That I've seen
with my own eyes ♪
And the only way to find you ♪
Is to go beneath the lies ♪

MAN: She did help
catch this killer.

NARRATOR: I want to
tell you a story,
and it's far from a fairytale.
It's a story that
takes place in 2010,
just outside Atlanta.
A little place you
probably never heard of,
called Forest Park.

MY'LIK: When I moved
to Forest Park,
it was a nice suburb.
Not too much crime.

NARRATOR: It's a nice place.
That's why My'Lik and everyone
at Forest Park High
[school bell ringing]
couldn't believe it
when their friend,
Candice Parchment,
goes missing.

Within six hours, Candice's
mother gets concerned
and contacts the police.
MY'LIK: The last time I
remember seeing Candice,
she had a bag of Hot Cheetos.
She put a few of
'em in my mouth.
She had fed me.
We were in school.
Everything was happy.
That was the last day
I-I-I ever seen her.
MAN: This is Captain
Gandee interview,
color mark.
I was the commander
of the major felony unit of the
Clayton County Police Department.

On April 28th in 2010,
Candice goes missing.
And her mom reports this
to Clayton County Police
and they file an
incident report.
NARRATOR: Candice's
friends and family
get more and more
worried as time passes.
MY'LIK: I was contacting her
and she wasn't responding
and stuff like that.
I would post Facebook messages
and put it on her wall
and just, "Tell me something,
let me know you're okay."

"Just let me know you're okay."
And nothing. Nothing.

just disappears,
and her absence is felt.
Vocalizing ♪
You see, everyone liked Candice.

Candice is clever,
bright eyes, big smile.
The kind of girl that attracts
attention at Forest Park High School.
The kinda girl that might
make other girls jealous.

MY'LIK: First
time I met Candice
was actually in the gym class.
I was really interested in knowing like,
"Okay, what makes this girl stand out?
What makes everyone
wanna be around her?"
She explained to me her
family was from Jamaica
and that they had recently
migrated here to Georgia.

We hit it off right
then and there.

She wanted to be a writer.
Journalism, poetry, or music.
Me, personally,
music is in my blood.
I was daily recording music.
Candice was one of my
biggest fans even then,
so she became a
great friend of mine.

She would always be jotting
down in this composition book,
documenting her
life so to speak,
everything that she seen, her
thoughts, what she wanted to do.
Got the world
on my fingertips ♪
Candice would always say,
"We came to America to make
a better opportunity for us.
"I'm gonna take
care of my family.
I'm gonna be somebody."

NARRATOR: I wish I could say
Candice got what she wanted.
But this ain't that kinda story.
Ominous music playing ♪

When Candice goes missing
on April 28th, 2010,
her loved ones worry that law
enforcement doesn't share their concern.
- The police officers told
Candice's family, friends,
"Girls like this always
do things like this.
Girls like this
always run away."

Like, girls like what? What
do you mean, girls like what?
I would love to know.
Feel free to contact me and
let me know what that meant.

NARRATOR: But on the
day she goes missing,
there is hope.

- And later that day, Candice's
mother received a text message
from Candice's phone.

The next day, Candice's
mom gets another text.

NARRATOR: But these texts,
they don't really seem like
Candice to those who know her.

MY'LIK: Her mom
never believed it.
Like, "Nah, there's no way
my daughter's in Tennessee."
What would make you think
that this young girl ran away,
sent one text message to her
mom saying, "I'm in Tennessee,"
took no clothes, took
any necessary items?
She's 15 years old,
doesn't have any money,
doesn't have any job.
It doesn't too much
work like that.

NARRATOR: But maybe there's
a way to clear that up.
If Candice ran 200
miles away to Tennessee,
her phone records would show that's
where the text was sent from.
But no.
Over a month goes by
before investigators
follow up on the text.
On June 2nd, 2010,
a detective files a subpoena
request for Kansas phone records.
And we didn't ever
did hear anything back
from the phone company.
need to follow up
on the phone records.
Meanwhile, new cases
continue to pour in.
- When Candice was
reported missing,
we were averaging probably 30
to 40 runaway reports a month.
And just trying to manage
runaways being located
and clearing them and
taking new reports.
This takes time
and a lot of money.
Dead in the water
I circle the truth ♪
NARRATOR: Seven months go
by since she's been gone,
and it feels like forever.
And then, a call comes in.

[line beeps]
OPERATOR: 9-1-1,
what's your emergency?
MAN: [over phone] I'm
not sure, but I think
we might have found something,
something human.

November 24th, 2010.
A body is found.

In Candice Parchment's
just a few hundred
yards from her house.

Remember when I said
this isn't a fairy tale?
It's true.
But there are good
people in the story.
MAN: Ashley Melvin. Take one.
full name is Ashley Melvin.
I was a homicide detective
in Clayton County.
In November 2010,
I was the new kid.
Captain said, "Hey,
rookie, you're up.
Found a body in the woods."
[echoing] body in the woods.
[siren wailing in distance]
I jumped in my car and
I head to Forest Park.
It was on Sylvia Drive.
I was nervous, and, uh,
yeah, I did have
butterflies in my stomach.
[police radio
chatter] [siren wails]
I was directed toward
the wooden path,
just to the left
of the dumpster.
And it's a little cut through.

Start going through
the wooden path.

You could tell people have been
using it for years probably.

Patrol officers were there standing
by with the crime scene tape.
[police radio chatter echoing]

And I looked down,
and there was
th-there was a body.

Not in a conventional
sense of a body.
It was a skeleton.

This is literally the first time
I've actually seen a skeleton.

Just seeing someone's bones,
this-this was a person.

[camera shutter clicks]
NARRATOR: The body
is so decomposed,
but investigators are hopeful
that there will be
some obvious marker,
some clue to tell
them who this is.
[camera shutter clicks]
don't have any ID.
There was no wallet.
There was no purse.
There was nothing to
signify who the body was.
[camera shutter clicks]
did find a earring
and the jacket was still there.
Was kinda like a snakeskin.
[camera shutter clicks]
The T-shirt was a
Stay Fresh T-shirt.
[camera shutter clicks]

NARRATOR: Investigators
use the clothing
to try to identify the body.
checking the social media.

We found a picture that matched
the jacket that we found.
I mean, it was almost
a perfect match.
Scaly leather,
uh, rhinestones.

- The body that was
recovered that day
was Candice Parchment.

[police radio chatter]
the tragic discovery
soon reaches
Candice's loved ones.
- I broke down in tears.
I couldn't believe it.
Close your eyes ♪
She was just stuffed underneath
the mattress, you know.
It just keeps crashing down ♪

- We went to her mother's house.
Shut it all the way ♪
She asked, "Did
you find my baby?"
Don't let me drown ♪
I tried to ♪
Yeah, that was tough.
Oh, I tried to ♪
But I can't find you ♪
I made a promise to
Candice's mother.
I said, "I don't
know what took place,
"but I'm gonna find
out what happened.
"And if someone did
it to your daughter,
I'm gonna find out who did it."
I can't find you ♪
But I can't find
my peace of mind ♪

NARRATOR: And the first thing
investigators have to do
is figure out the
cause of death.
the medical examiner
ruled the death as a
stab wound to the chest.
The manner of death was
determined to be a homicide.

- So now I know I have
my first homicide.
And it's scary.

NARRATOR: Who would want to
kill a sweet girl like Candice?
Investigators take
to the streets
to hunt down her killer.
- We have teams out
doing the canvassing.
Did anybody see anything?
- But no one knew anything.
[school bell rings]
NARRATOR: Then, they
turn to her school,
Forest Park High.
Candice was popular.
She had many friends.
Any of them could know
something, anything,
and any of them could have
been capable of anything.
Even My'Lik.
- The detectives questioned me.
They asked for my phone, trying
to see what text messages
in between us.
I believe they were
looking at me as though
I might have perpetrated
the event or something.

NARRATOR: Could one of
Candice's closest friends
somehow be involved
in her death?

NARRATOR: My'Lik Hamlett
is now a person of interest
in Candice Parchment's murder.

were doing is called victimology.
And that's learning the habits,
the social workings
of the victim.

- "You wasting your time
looking at my phone,
"trying to see what text
messages in between us.
You wanna see what
we talking about."
investigators continue
to look at My'Lik
and other friends
- Literally, no
one knew anything.
NARRATOR: everyone is
a potential suspect.
MY'LIK: There are
so many rumors.
She ran away with a trucker.

She was in Tennessee.

NARRATOR: But some of those
rumors were a little too real
and hit a little
too close to home.

MY'LIK: There was a rumor
that there was a serial
killer in the area
picking up people.

Ambriz disappeared
on October 16th, 2010,
just outside Atlanta.
The girl was 17.
They found her ten days later
in an abandoned building.
And Detective Melvin and
his fellow investigators
start to see similarities
between Monica and
Candice's cases.
is similar to Candice.

Young girls, same vicinity,
both stabbed in the chest.
NARRATOR: There's one
person investigators think
could have killed
the two young girls.
Artemio Hernandez.
He killed Monica
a 17-year-old girl,
just a few weeks earlier
in the same area,
approximately two miles away.
He did a lot of things.
And if Candice was
his first victim,
then we had a serial killer
in our midst in Forest Park.

NARRATOR: Artemio Hernandez.
Armed robbery, rape, murder.
Did he kill Candice? Stab her?
Just like he did to Monica?

[telephone ringing]
With the prime suspect in their
sights, investigators launch a plan.
They put a request in
to DeKalb County Jail
to interview Hernandez.
And while they wait for the
request to come through,
their focus shifts back
to Forest Park High
and to Candice's friends,
like My'Lik.

MY'LIK: "I didn't
do anything wrong.
Y'all are looking in the wrong
place. I love this girl."

NARRATOR: But after doing
a thorough investigation,
the detectives don't find
anything incriminating
and My'Lik is removed
as a person of interest.

- I never took offense
to it 'cause I, you know,
I knew what she meant to me.
So, I never took offense to it.
It's all I ever wanted ♪
How could I run from you ♪
If all I ever
wanted was you? ♪

NARRATOR: In August 2011,
sixteen months after
Candice's disappearance,
detectives receive authorization
to speak with convicted
murderer Artemio Hernandez.
- Hernandez is one of the
guys that if he did something,
he would tell you.
We made arrangements to speak with
him in the DeKalb County Jail.
MAN: [over PA] 23-20.23-20.
You have a visitor.
This is the big time.
Hey, I'm gonna crack
this thing wide open.
I get there and we sit down and
we build a rapport with him.
He wants to talk to us.
I laid it out, like,
this is what we got.
Did you kill this girl?

I showed Hernandez
pictures of Candice.
And he looked at the
pictures and he said,
"I never seen her before."
He said, "I didn't do it.
I did the other ones.
I didn't do that one."

That took the wind out my sails.

The guy who we just knew was
the killer said, "It wasn't me."
And I got nothing
to say that he was.
In the back of our minds, we
still kept his name in there.
But at this point in time,
we didn't have any proof that
he was related to the case.

NARRATOR: More time goes by.
No leads.
But then, investigators identify
another person of interest.

There's another guy, another
guy who's done bad things.

- And looking at suspects, one
person came into the immediate radar.
NARRATOR: A young guy
named Trey Jenkins.

Before Candice went missing,
detectives learned that Trey
brought two young girls,
one 17, one 18, to his
house and raped them.

And police find
that this same guy
has a connection to
Candice Parchment.

- We did some interviews and
we did some background on him
and we determined that somehow
or another Candice knew this guy.
They had some communications
and he had been arrested
for some sexual
assault-related crimes.

NARRATOR: There's a possibility
investigators can't ignore.
Did Trey assault Candice?
Did he escalate
from rape to murder?

- He's suspect number one
at this point in time.
So we looked at him,
attempted interviews.
We had to make arrangements to
communicate with this individual.
[line ringing]
NARRATOR: But can detectives place
Trey at the scene of the crime?
It's a lot of work.
[knock on door]
[telephone ringing]
Phone calls,
endless files
pounding the pavement.
And after all that?

- Ultimately we determined
that he was not in the area
the whole time she was missing.
He likely had some
words with her,
but was not the person who she
met in the woods that night
or took her to the
woods that night.

So he was eliminated.

So now with Candice's case,
I'm back to square one.
It's not looking good.
It stinks, 'cause I got nothing.

You should be treated
like royalty ♪
NARRATOR: It's been almost a
year since they found Candice.
There's only a couple
of months left in 2011.
Detectives are frustrated.
They still got a
whole lot of nothing.
And Candice's loved ones?
Maybe they'll never get answers.
How do you make peace with something
if you don't even know what happened?
If Candice was still
with us in 2011,
she probably would've wanted to
see the new Harry Potter movie.
She would've been dancing
to Rihanna's new album.
Instead she's a memory.
A memory of joy for
some, pain for others
and a haunting figure
for investigators.
Hard to break a habit ♪
When it's hard
to break a heart ♪
NARRATOR: They work
hard to find any leads.
And then one day
[telephone ringing]
Our detective gets
a call that changes

October 18th, 2011,
I get a frantic phone call
as I am leaving the police
station for the day.
It's Candice's mom.
And she's like, "Detective
Melvin, Detective Melvin.
I found something."
And I have to calm her down.
Like, "Slow down, tell
me what you found."
She says, "I found Candice's
diary. I have to give it to you."
So Candice's mom comes
to the police department.

Months and months and months
of dead ends have come to this.
Like this, it's all or nothing.

And I crack it open.

And I start reading.

NARRATOR: There's one entry,
one dark secret
that catches Detective
Melvin's attention.

- This is from Candice's
diary dated January 5th, 2010,
that she titled "A
frightening experience."

"I snuck out of the house
to go meet with two friends.
Both were guys."
- "I went walking down the road.
It was dark."

an abandoned house
"where one of my
schoolmates used to live.
Jermaine and Marshae set
me up to go to the house."
MY'LIK: "So at that
moment I wasn't thinking."
the house, it was dark.
Only light I had
was my phone light."

[scream echoes]
MY'LIK: "Jermaine
hit me with a rake
in the head."
I thought it was an accident.
It wasn't."
MY'LIK: "Marshae was
blocking the door
"so I couldn't get out.
"I tried to make up excuses,
but they didn't care.
"Jermaine grabbed
me and choked me.
"I was struggling for air.
"'Please let me go, ' I said.
"I tried to get away.
"My pants unzipped.
Really, I was scared."

boys, you know who,
"tried to take my phone.
"I put up a fight.
"They couldn't get it.
A few minutes later, we seen a car
light in front of the abandoned house."
- "I was so excited yet scared.
"They let me go.
"They panicked and
begged me not to tell.

Well, diary, this night
has scared me to death."
Now's the time to ♪
Stand and fight through ♪
All the pain and misery ♪
We will stand tall ♪
When the rain falls ♪
- Yeah. Yeah, for sure.
For sure, for sure.
Yeah, it's the first
time I read that.
I didn't know the
details of all this.
It's sad situation right here.
Now's the time to
stand and fight ♪
NARRATOR: Two names
Marshae and Jermaine.
But who are they?
The investigators know
whose door to knock on.
MY'LIK: And they asked
me about Marshae.
Me and Marshae we
probably met in 2008.
The thing that brought
us together was music.
He liked to produce music and
make instrumentals and beats.
Electronic music playing ♪
And I like to sing and rap.
So naturally we came together.
This is someone I trusted.
My mind was going a
million miles an hour.

- I went to our jail system.
On a, on a hunch.
Typing "Marshae."

And I find a name,
Marshae Hickman.
He's in jail for a burglary.
He'd been there
for several months.
But during the time that Candice
disappeared, he was free.
He was roaming around.
And he lives on Sylvia Drive,
right in the area where
we found Candice's body.

NARRATOR: So Marshae
actually went
to Forest Park High with Candice
and Jermaine ran in
his circle of friends.
For authorities, this arouses
some troubling suspicions.
name is Bill Dixon.
I was the deputy chief
assistant district attorney
in Clayton County.
If she began talking
about the rape at school,
the motive for killing, uh,
Candice could be shut her up.

NARRATOR: But that's
just a theory.
Investigators need
to know for sure
if the assault Candice
wrote about in her diary
is actually connected
to her murder.
Luckily, they have access to
the one person who'd know.
Marshae Hickman is
currently locked up.
- I was able to arrange for
Marshae to come and talk to me.
We did question Marshae
about the sexual assault
and what we found
in Candice's diary.
"Tell me when the last
time you saw Candice."
"Oh, well I was
playing basketball
in a cul-de-sac at
415 Sylvia Drive,"
where she was last seen alive.
"And she was walking home.

There was this guy
following her."

Marshae tells me it
was a Hispanic guy.
"It was dark.
"He was creepy looking.
Then she went in the woods
and I guess she went home."
"So while you were there
"and you watched this guy
follow her into the woods,
did you hear anything?
Did you see anything?"

"No, I didn't hear
or see anything."

NARRATOR: It's a description
that gives investigators pause.
That description loosely
fits another suspect,
someone they spoke to before.

Artemio Hernandez,
a known killer.
He denied everything.
But people lie every day.
The question is, is
Marshae telling the truth?

There's only one
way to find out.

Marshae Hickman claims
that a man was following
Candice into the woods
the day she disappeared.
Investigators still have Artemio
Hernandez on their radar.
Was he the man Marshae saw?
challenged Marshae.
I said, "Well, if this
person is following her,
why didn't you walk her in
the woods, walk her home?"
"Well, she said she was fine.
She said she had pepper spray."
Marshae is trying to play
the dancing game with me
about where he saw Candice.

NARRATOR: But even though
he's cast some doubt,
after the interrogation
Marshae moves to the
top of the suspect list.

lives in the area.
He's less than a few feet
from where the body was found.
He has a history with Candice.
And he is mentioned by Candice as a
person who tried to sexually assault her.

NARRATOR: But police need
another piece of the puzzle.
They need Jermaine.
arrangements to get Jermaine
to the police department.
And we're gonna talk to both
of them at the same time.

When we talk to Jermaine,
we tell him Marshae's
in a room next door.
First thing that comes out
of Jermaine's mouth was,
"Man, Marshae killed that girl."

"How you know he killed her?"
"Because, man,
Marshae is crazy."
"I was scared of Marshae."
And then I asked him
about the sexual assault.
And of course Jermaine put
the blame squarely on Marshae.
It was all Marshae's idea.
according to Jermaine,
it all had to do
with the assault,
with exactly what Candice
wrote in her diary.
after the sexual assault,
Marshae started freaking out
thinking that Candice
was gonna tell people.

Jermaine told us Marshae
typed on his phone,
"Hey, we should
go kill Candice."

NARRATOR: They were
just neighborhood kids.
Marshae and Jermaine
from the apartments,
just through the cut.
Seemed harmless until now.

Police have Jermaine's
side of the story,
but what they really need is
a confession from Marshae,
or it's all just hearsay.

Marshae, "We found her body,
"and we found some
DNA on her body.
"And when you were locked up,
"they got your DNA.
You remember that?"
- We can actually make him think
that we already have his DNA.
- Marshae thinks we found
his DNA on Candice's body.
Then he started talking.
NARRATOR: That's when
the truth comes out
the tragedy.
Candice was walking home.
Marshae started to admit that he
followed Candice into the woods
as she was walking
through the cut,
and that he, you know
"I put my arm
around her like this
and I was just holding
her and hugging her."

have him act out
where he's putting his arm
around her neck and actually,
you know, lifting her feet
completely off the ground.
- And at some point in
time, Candice fell limp.

can you say 100% certain
that you are the one that
hurt Candice in that cut?
And he admitted yes.
And he also told me
that he's 100% sure
that he is the only
one that did this.

went back several times
throughout the course of months,
checking on Candice's body to
ensure that it was still there
and that no one had found it.
NARRATOR: Even with
the confession,
Detective Melvin wants
to do one more thing
to help bring some peace
to Candice's mother.

to Marshae and I say,
"Hey, do you want the
whole world to see you
"as an uncaring monster
or do you want to
"show people that you
really genuinely feel bad
about the things that you did?"
So he writes a letter.

- "Dear Mrs. Parchment, I'm
sorry for what I've done.
"I ask for you for forgiveness.
"I feel so bad for
this tragic accident.
"I was in the wrong
state of mind.
"I know that you miss her
"and I wish I could
give her back to you.
"Please forgive me.
"I'm glad this is off my chest.
Candice is forever missed."
This guy can't be serious.
Me, me, me, me.
Yeah, can you forgive
me? It's not about you.
This Man, this Man Man,
that's ridiculous right here, man.
Sick, twisted individual.

having confessed,
this isn't over.

July 11th, 2012,
Marshae Hickman is indicted for
the murder of Candice Parchment.

case first started,
police had skeletal
remains and some clothing.
What we had going into the
trial was a world of difference.
We had Candice's diary.
The diary was huge.
NARRATOR: And when Candice's
diary is read in court,
members of the press
can finally see
how important this
case really is.
I was a reporter
for the Atlanta
When the diary entry was read,
it was hushed in the courtroom.

You got something to hide ♪

Secrets behind these lies ♪
MY'LIK: "I tried to get
away. My pants unzipped.
Really, I was scared."
Danger follows behind ♪
GARNER: Candice's words,
crying out from the dark,
from so many months before.
Finding justice for
herself and for her death.

MY'LIK: "Marshae was blocking
the door so I couldn't get out."
GARNER: I've been in
a lot of courtrooms,
and that was a moment
that it kind of
sent a chill up my bones.
I see trouble ♪
MY'LIK: "Jermaine
grabbed me, he choked me.
I was struggling for air."
- People who weren't
following this,
I think after this did
pay more attention.
MY'LIK: "Well, diary,
this night had
scared me to death."
JURY MEMBER: [off screen] We, the
jury, find the defendant guilty
of count one malice murder.
NEWSCASTER: The mother
of a murdered teenager
says her daughter's own words
helped convict her killer.
A jury found Marshae Hickman
guilty of several charges,
including murder
and attempted rape
of 15-year-old
Candice Parchment.
- That diary
pinpointed the truth
and landed the right
perpetrators in jail.
sentenced to life in prison
without parole, plus 20 years.
Jermaine Robinson, who
was a cooperating witness,
pleads guilty to the
attempted rape of Candice
and is sentenced to ten years.

NARRATOR: This is a story
of a 15-year-old girl
and her diary.

- Candice solved her own
murder from beyond the grave.
Show me ♪
Everything is clearer ♪
- It would've just been another cold
case had it not been for the resilience
and for the brilliance of our
dear friend Candice Parchment.
You ♪
It was always you ♪
- I got to go to see
her mother again.
And I got to tell her
that I kept my promise.
That I found out who
killed her daughter.

NARRATOR: This is a story
about how we see the world
and what we choose not to see
to make our own lives easier.
And it took some time ♪
Just to realize ♪
MY'LIK: When it was
first notified to us
that she was missing,
no one took it serious.
She just ran away from home.
You know, it's
just so unfortunate
that so many stories like
Candice's story happens daily
and it doesn't get the
recognition that it deserves.

NARRATOR: But mostly, this
is a story about a girl
that lived in a place you've
probably never heard of,
a clever girl with bright
eyes and a big smile.
It's about why we should
all know her name.
It's a story about how Candice
Parchment caught her killer.
Running out of time ♪
Running through my mind ♪
I keep running ♪

I don't know where
my head is lately ♪
Have I lost my mind? ♪

But I know that
I have a secret ♪
And it's only mine ♪

And the only way to find me ♪
Is to go beneath the lies ♪

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