The Detectives (2018) s01e01 Episode Script

The Wells Gray Gunman

1 How did six people disappear off the face of the earth? There's a lot of speculation as to what actually happened to them.
Anything from that they'd run away to join a cult, they were lost, joined a commune, or something like that.
Everybody had their fingers crossed hoping that they were going to be found safe and and sound.
And, as it was, it didn't turn out that way.
[EERIE] Six innocent lives [SNAP] gone like that.
[SOMBRE OPENING THEME] I think when I was about fourteen years old, I'd made up my mind that I was going to join the RCMP.
Call from the Sergeant, Mike.
It sounds important.
At that time, I was transferred to Kamloops.
Had about twenty years' service.
Yes, sir.
I was in charge of a detective office and all of the serious crime that happened in that area.
Yes, sir.
Right away.
Never in my entire detective life did I ever expect to be the lead investigator of one of the most expensive investigations in Canadian history.
[HELICOPTER BLADES SPINNING] There was a grandma and grandpa, George and Edith Bentley.
The parents, Jackie and Bob Johnson.
And their two little children, Karen and Janet, who were both 11 and 13 years of age, respectively.
[ENGINE BUZZ] We were advised by our detective office that these people are missing, and it doesn't look good.
And quite possibly, it's gonna be something for you homicide boys.
Who found it? Mushroom picker.
Plates made it through the fire.
It's registered to the Johnsons.
Anything else? Yeah.
It's bad.
You've got a pretty good idea what you're dealing with.
You know that you're going to be looking at something you don't want to see.
You know it's going to be horrible, you know it's going to be smelly, you know it's going to be somebody's life that's been snuffed out.
[CAR DOORS CLOSE] Walking towards that car, I mean, you could feel it.
I don't want to say you could smell a death, but you could smell a death and you just knew what you were going to walk into.
There's a lot of ash, melted plastic.
And there's a body in there.
You said it was found with the driver's side door open? Yeah.
More oxygen to fuel the fire.
[SIGH] Mike.
[MOURNFUL SOLO CELLO] I want the area secured immediately.
Establish a perimeter, organize a grid search.
I want a full forensic team, ident techs and a pathologist on site.
When I looked into that car, into the back seat, you could see some bone fragments.
Possibly a rib bone or something like that.
And it was evident that it had been a person.
At that point in time, we didn't know if it was one or two people in the back of that car.
Any chance this was an accident? Just a car fire? Two bodies in the back seat.
They would have had time to get out.
This was someone who wanted to cover their tracks.
They drove the vehicle off the road and into the bushes.
Is this the only way up the mountain? Yeah, the old logging road.
There's no camping here.
So whoever did this knew the area.
Knew how to hide something.
It's probably a local.
You think the grandparents' car is around here, too? Maybe.
It's a long way up the mountain, though.
Probably have to drive back.
Could have a partner follow you in the grandparents' truck.
Do you have a crowbar? [CREAKING METAL] The sight that we had to look at was indescribable.
Two little skeletons what was left of them, um, these two little skulls, um looking at us with their hollow eyes.
One of them had what looked to be a bullet exit wound above one of the eye sockets.
And it was quite evident at that time that it was the, the two children, Karen and Janet.
[HELICOPTER BLADES SPINNING] The press is already here.
FEMALE ANNOUNCER: RCMP in British Columbia made this gruesome discovery.
They found the remains of people who'd been burned alive in their own car.
MALE ANNOUNCER: The murders took place in the wilderness of Wells Gray Provincial Park, north of the town of Clearwater.
Their bodies were found in the trunk of the Johnsons' car, burned beyond recognition.
MIKE: When it hit the news, the local residents of Clearwater were terrified.
They were scared.
Ah, hell.
Let's go around the side.
People want answers, and people want to feel safe.
Something like that adds pressure to the investigation.
MIKE: We have a multiple homicide on our hands.
Sergeant, walk us through this.
How did we get here? On August 2nd, Bob and Jackie Johnson and their two daughters, Karen, 11 years old, and Janet, 13, joined Jackie's parents, George and Edith Bentley, for a two-week camping trip.
Three weeks later, on August 23rd, Bob's boss called the police when Bob didn't show up for work.
The Johnson and Bentley family were reported missing officially.
We have what looks like two adult bodies in the car, and two children's bodies in the trunk.
And we haven't found George and Edith Bentley's vehicle either, it's a truck and a camper.
Gerry, check with the relatives, find out anything you can about the family.
You got it.
How much of the park did you cover in your initial ground search for missing persons? All provincial and private camp sites.
Let's expand that search to all service roads and skidder trails in the park, I think we're dealing with someone local, someone who knew the park well.
So, talk to all park employees, forestry department, tree planters, loggers, campers.
Plaster posters everywhere.
Let's get creative.
Four innocent people have been murdered.
Two more are missing.
We don't rest until we find out what happened.
Let's get to it.
I got all my detectives up from Kamloops, up from Vancouver.
We're going to speak to every individual, whether you're nine or ninety years old.
We're going to ask you a series of questions, and we're going to get the ball rolling.
[CRICKETS CHIRPING] [DOOR OPENS] What's up, partner? Well I spoke to George and Edith's son.
What'd he say? He said they'd been to the park many times.
So, they're familiar with the area.
They preferred isolated camping spots.
They used cash, didn't believe in credit cards.
Ah, which is why there was no paper trail.
Anything else? Apparently, George kept a .
22- caliber hunting rifle in his truck.
The family says there's no way the parents or the grandparents have anything to do with this.
It's sad.
Well, we better get some shuteye.
The focus right now is on where is that damn truck and camper? What is the motive for this crime? Number one priority, where is it? And why? I had it in the back of my mind that I would be using the media, because we had very little to work with.
With the right publicity, they were going to help us solve the crime.
You look at that family I've got a young daughter who just turned 15.
It wasn't easy.
Hey hon, it's me.
Oh, I don't know, I think it's gonna be a while.
It's a bad one.
Hey, is uh, is our little princess, Terri, up? You know, of course, you miss your own child but you You're thinking, you know, the first time you see your kid you want to give her a big hug, you know.
That, that could have been anybody or anybody's family.
You know.
[BIRDS CHIRPING] You have anything? Area's pretty clean.
No shell casings.
So, they were killed somewhere else, and the bodies were dumped here.
What about the car? The fire must have had an accelerant like gasoline.
It burned pretty hot.
But I did find a skull fragment that wasn't completely destroyed.
With a bullet inside.
Any idea what caliber? Well, it's in pretty rough shape.
Most of it is melted.
We're still working on it.
It's a mess in the car, but uh But what? I'm not sure yet, but I think there are more than four bodies here.
The whole family's been murdered.
Three generations.
These six people were just reduced to ashes.
What monster would come out in the middle of the night to destroy a wonderful, loving family? This is not gonna be easy.
This is gonna be a tough one.
We've got six dead bodies in a burned-out car, we know that.
We know they've been shot.
Where in the hell's that truck and camper? That's what we've got to find.
The search day began at the Clearwater RCMP headquarters with an early-morning meeting of those involved.
The search area continues to broaden, and now involves half a dozen RCMP detachments in British Columbia and Alberta.
ANOTHER MALE REPORTER: There is one very important missing piece: the Bentley's camper.
The one thing that could lead to the killer or killers.
As a result of the media attention, we receive a telephone call from one of the park rangers who works in the Wells Gray Park area.
So, where exactly did you see the truck and camper? Yeah, I saw it parked up at Bear Creek Campsite a few weeks ago now.
A few weeks ago? Why did you wait so long? It's been all over the news.
I was staying at a Ranger cabin deep in the park.
I hadn't been near a TV in a while.
I came in as soon as I heard about it.
OK, OK, well, just can you tell me what you remember? Bear Creek camp site is a very pristine area.
You can hear this babbling brook going by.
You're in the forest, you have mountains above you.
It was what the Johnson and Bentley family were looking for.
These look like they were used to level off something.
Like a camper.
George Bentley's brand.
Looks like a .
22 caliber.
EASTHAM: What if somebody comes to loot the campsite when the family's gone? DALEN: Finds George's rifle The family comes back Surprises the killer The family gets shot.
The bodies are loaded into the car, driven up Battle Mountain.
Maybe there's a second killer.
Follows in the truck and camper, drives back after ditching the car.
And the evidence goes up in smoke.
[EERIE DRONE] We found six spent .
22 caliber ammunition shells.
[EERIE DRONE] I knew we'd found the murder scene.
There was no question in my mind.
Where is that damn truck and camper? That was the big question.
The camper was the key.
One thing that I had in mind was to utilize the media to our best advantage to try and get the message out there to the public.
I knew that the media was a valuable tool, there's no question about it.
And I knew that uh, that if, with the right publicity, they were going to help us solve the crime.
Hey there.
Got a light? [CHUCKLE] The way you smoke, you expect me to believe that you don't have a light? That's what they call investigative journalism? I guess so.
What are you really out here for? You got something for me? Or do you want something? A little bit of both.
We found the murder scene.
Pretty sure.
Where? We're holding that back.
Can't tell you, you know the drill, not yet.
Still need your help.
I'm listening.
We found the murder scene because someone saw your news coverage, they came forward.
And now we're looking for the truck and camper belonging to the grandparents.
We're hoping someone saw something.
It happened over a month ago, we need to jog their memories.
We find that truck, we find more evidence, we find the forensics, we find the people responsible for this.
We just need the public to focus.
I need your help with that.
You've got it.
Thank you.
REPORTER: The police are asking residents where they were in the first three weeks of August.
And if they took any photos in and around Wells Gray Road, did they see the Bentleys, or the Johnsons in their travels? Did they see the Bentley's missing camper? Each card here represents the hundreds of people across Canada who have phoned with information.
But the RCMP want more calls.
You got something? We've got some things.
- What? - People have been calling in sightings from all over the place.
You're saying the truck wasn't ditched? [SIGH] It doesn't look like it.
A man in Vancouver said he saw the truck parked in the underground parking of his building.
It was gone by the morning and he didn't see the driver.
And a waitress just walked in.
She said she saw the camper at a diner in Clearwater.
Two drivers.
She's waiting to give a statement.
I want to talk to her.
These guys, they're on the move with a murder victim's car.
I want to talk to the waitress.
I'll have someone send her in.
EASTHAM: You said you saw a truck.
That was it.
You sure? There's lots of trucks and campers out there.
Well, it had a boat on top of it and everything.
You see the driver? Yeah.
These two guys came in like a few weeks back.
Um, they were dressed like all the guys around here, like loggers and tree planters.
Um, I think they were French Canadian, they didn't seem to speak much English.
Get me a sketch artist.
I have found throughout the years that you've got to follow up every lead.
Now we have a face, we have two faces.
Bingo! This is the big break we'd been looking for.
We began looking for two suspects who were described as French-speaking Canadian males.
One dark hair, one blond hair.
We know we had the murder scene, we know we had a weapon, but until we found that truck and camper and who was driving it, we had very little to go on.
So, we publicized those composites on national television, along with a composite of the truck and camper.
Within the first couple of weeks, we had about 300 people telling us that truck and camper is going across Canada.
We're tracking it.
The focus was on the truck.
National news.
Where is that damn truck and camper? DALEN: What are you thinking? Hm.
People care about what happens in their own home, in their own backyard.
But you live in Manitoba, you don't pay attention to the BC news.
We need to make it personal.
We need to make it local.
All the way across the country.
How do you feel about taking a road trip? When you come to a dead end in an investigation, you gotta come up with some pretty creative ideas on how the hell you're gonna move forward.
How are you going to keep this in the public's mind? I set one of my investigators onto this, trying to find the exact same truck and camper that the Johnson and Bentleys had.
With the boat and with the motor, and the whole thing, identical.
Put two big signs on each side of the camper, "Have you see this truck and camper? Johnson and Bentley murders, phone your local police.
" And send it on the same route that these 1300 people have told us that that truck and camper went across Canada.
The RCMP admits this is a desperate attempt to bring in more evidence, but the unusual investigation is already paying off.
The mock van will be set up at some shopping malls across the country, and police plan to talk to as many people as they can.
EASTHAM: Saskatoon, Winnipeg And two more in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
They're taking the highway all the way home.
In a stolen car.
Guess it's time to follow along.
We set it up so that there was television coverage on every stop, and it was front page news.
I was usually in a major city publicizing the fact that it's coming into town.
I mean, you need information from the public.
The public solves crime.
We believe these two men are somewhere in Quebec, and they could be staying at campgrounds or RV parks.
If you see them, do not approach them, they're considered armed and dangerous.
And if you see this vehicle, with or without a camper, please call our hotline.
It could be the key to cracking this case and helping us find the people responsible for this terrible crime.
We received a telephone call from an individual in Windsor who believed that he had seen the Bentley truck.
MECHANIC: I saw those boys driving the same truck.
I talked to 'em face-to-face.
Yeah? What happened? They drove up, middle of the night.
No camper, but they said they had just detached it.
They were looking for a paint job.
Offered cash.
This guy described this truck as having modifications to the front and rear bumpers.
George Bentley had made those particular modifications.
Nobody knew that.
And how this guy come up with that information? He had to be telling the truth, that's the way we looked at it.
Anything else? They showed me a rifle.
Wanted to know if I could get rid of it for them.
What'd you say? I said I didn't want to have nothing to do with it.
I've had some trouble with the law in the past.
I wasn't looking to have any more.
They weren't happy to hear that.
Do you know where they went? I told them they could find what they need in Detroit.
Sent them on their way.
A Canadian investigation in the United States, I gotta go through my headquarters, and they go through Interpol, they go through the FBI and then all the way down.
I didn't have time for that nonsense.
Well, screw protocol.
I'm calling Detroit Homicide direct.
And then I'm going down there.
That information was bang on, and there's the Bentley truck, there's the murder weapons, there's the two bad guys.
Let's get on it.
[PHONE RINGS] Um, Detective? There's another call for you.
I received another call.
It's a day I'll never forget.
We were ecstatic.
Mike, we found it.
The truck and camper.
Where? BARUTA: Here in the park.
A couple of forest rangers.
They were aware of it because of the press coverage.
No, there is no way.
We've been following them all across the country, and we just got a tip that they're in Detroit.
Yeah, well, I'm looking at it right now.
It's here.
You need to come home.
I'll never forget that day in my bloody life.
[HELICOPTER BLADES SPINNING] I got on the telephone and Frank Baruta said, "Mike, we've found the truck and camper.
The license plate, 4836FY, is the only thing in the damn thing that's not burned.
" He said, "You better get your asses up here.
" [ENGINE HUM] We worked 16-, 20-hour days, 24/7.
We never took time off.
And here's this damn thing on top of a mountain.
You couldn't see it from an aircraft passing by, it blended in so well.
It was in our back yard.
BARUTA: License plate confirms it's the Bentleys' truck.
It's the same as the last time.
They drove the truck off the main routes into the bush.
Yeah, some of the camper's left.
I don't see a boat anywhere.
Ah, looks like it got stuck on those logs.
And it was evident to me at that time that this is where the bad guy was going.
He was going to dispose of that truck and camper in that canyon, and it would never have been found again ever.
You were right, this is a local.
Knows the area.
Knows where to hide.
No way someone unfamiliar with the park knows the gorge.
We hit the community hard.
And we talk to them over and over till we've found what we're looking for.
I'd say that's a bullet hole.
We keep this to ourselves, we hold it back.
That way we weed out any false confessions bad tips.
No one outside of law enforcement knows about this.
Whoever placed the truck on Trophy Mountain knew what they were doing and knew the area.
As investigators, we know the persons responsible for this, they're local.
They have to be.
Now we're back to square one.
I need my 40 or 50 detectives back here again.
We're going to go knock on every door again.
Who is the local person that could be responsible for such an evil deed? [DOOR CLOSES] On our door-to-door inquiries, one of the most amazing things happen.
One of my young detectives, he knocked on a door and he received that piece of information that we'd been so desperately seeking.
[KNOCKS ON DOOR] [DOOR CREAKS AND OPENS] Yeah? Hello, sir, I'm Officer Haslett.
WOMAN'S VOICE: Who is it? Nobody.
What do you want? Well, you may have heard that we recently found the truck belonging to the Bentleys.
Yeah, I heard about that.
That the one up on Trophy Mountain? He's asking me.
What about it? Well, we're wondering if maybe you remember seeing anything suspicious.
Anything that might help us find out who put the truck there.
I already told you guys, I haven't seen anything like that.
What about you, Ma'am? No.
There's nothing.
You're not gonna tell him about David and the truck that got shot up? This isn't our business.
I told you everything we're gonna tell ya.
That's it.
[DOOR SHUTS ABRUPTLY] The investigator was smart enough to realize that was a piece of information that was going to be very important.
He went back out to his police car and he radioed in and said, "I may have something here.
" He had enough brains to leave and to turn around and come back when the husband was gone.
[BIRDS SQUAWKING] Excuse me, Ma'am? [SOLO CELLO RETURNS] I was wondering if you could tell me about David.
She told us that there's a guy by the name of David Shearing and he lives on a ranch out in the Wells Gray Park Road, and he made mention of finding a vehicle up in the mountain with a bullet hole in the door.
All of a sudden, we've got a name.
[DOOR CLOSES] David Shearing.
Who the hell is David Shearing? David Shearing.
Recently worked in the park as a logger.
Record for drugs, assault, DUI.
DALEN: I asked around.
Rumour has it he's got a thing for young girls.
There's also talk he got away with a hit and run of a teenager a few years back.
I looked into it, and a kid named Dave Carter was found dead on the highway two years ago.
No arrests.
Does Shearing live in the park? You won't believe this.
[OMINOUS] Battle Mountain.
We find the Johnson car and the bodies.
Bear Creek? The murder site.
Trophy Mountain? The Bentley truck.
And here is our friend, Dave.
Shearing didn't have to drive 20 kilometers down logging roads from location to location.
He knew the land and the terrain.
He could have bushwhacked it all on his own.
David Shearing developed as a major suspect in our mind, and somebody that we had to get our hands on right now.
[DOOR SMASHES OPEN] David William Shearing lives three miles away from where we believe the murder scene was.
I mean, as an investigator, my heart's thumping, and my mind's going, and the adrenaline's running and man we've got to find this bugger now.
[REVVING ENGINE] We had information that he'd moved to Tumbler Ridge, where he was working in the construction industry.
I knew that we had our man.
I mean, there was no question in my mind, I knew that I wasn't leaving there without a confession.
David Shearing.
Thanks for being here.
You can call me Mike.
We're just gonna have a little chat, is that all right? I guess so.
If you want a lawyer at any time, you just say so.
You don't want to answer my questions, you don't have to.
You can get up and walk out any time you want, you understand? Yeah.
Now, if a lawyer was here, he'd tell you not to answer my questions if you're guilty.
But you're not guilty, are you? So, you and I are going to have a little talk.
I knew that we had our man.
My guts were telling me, that's our boy.
I was sure.
A hundred percent.
We weren't leaving without a confession.
To get him to tell you that he killed six people that's a lot of pressure.
Want a cigarette? Yeah.
My focus was just to get him to be nice and calm, quiet, cool, collected.
Sit him down and have a smoke with him.
Now Dave.
I tend to forget things so you mind if I write stuff down? Your folks still alive? My mom.
I take care of her now.
Good Canadian kid.
She doesn't know I'm here, does she? No, she doesn't.
Not yet, at least.
He mentioned his mother, and that he had a lot of respect.
I knew that I could use that as a little bit of leverage.
You have to figure out some way to get him to relax and to start having that conversation.
You like fishing? Yup.
Hunting? Yeah, some.
Yeah? I have a .
22 Cooey for shooting grouse.
Single shot? Yeah.
But I always wanted one of those uh, uh, pump action ones.
I got one.
A .
22 Remington.
Where is the .
22? Hanging in the front room on the gun rack at the ranch.
Strike one, David! So, um, Dave, you know there's a reason we're here.
Yeah? What's that? A few years ago, we found a kid by the side of Wells Gray Road.
Is that what this is about? I was going to talk to somebody about that.
Make things right.
Now's your chance.
You could see the body language change.
You could see that all of a sudden, he just went, "Oh, is that all this is?" It just made all the difference in the world.
I was driving.
You already know that.
I saw a shape on the road.
Teenage kid, passed out drunk.
Anyway, by the time I saw him, it was too late.
You didn't mean to hit him, did you? No.
It was just stupid.
I feel terrible about it.
That was, to me, strike two.
He admitted to hit and run.
The fact that he had killed a guy and had left him there on the highway.
So now I've got to keep him in that comfort zone to keep him talking.
So, if it was an accident, why wouldn't you tell anybody about it? I didn't want my mom to find out.
She would have been crushed.
She's got a really good heart.
I bet she does.
I bet she has a really good heart.
How did she feel about um, Karen Johnson and Janet Johnson? And uh, Karen and Janet's grandparents? And their mom and dad.
The whole family.
Did she have an opinion on that? That happened right in your own backyard, so close to home.
She was really sad.
Broken up over it.
What about you? When you heard about the car on Battle Mountain? You go up there? Yeah.
Trophy Mountain? Remember, where they found the camper and the truck? Yeah, I think I worked there once.
So, you worked at Trophy Mountain once.
I guess.
And, what about the campsite where they were killed? You spend any time there? No.
I don't like Bear Creek much.
[OMINOUS] Strike three, David! Nobody knew that.
Nobody knew it was Bear Creek camp site.
And when he said it, I could just say "Oh shit, why'd I say that?" I could just, I could just tell him regretting saying what he said.
I think I need to speak to a lawyer.
You're right, David.
I think you do.
I think you do need to speak to a lawyer.
You wanna cry? Go ahead.
Go ahead and cry.
You wanna cry? Your mother will definitely cry.
You want to make things better? You want to make her proud of you again? You take responsibility for what you did.
You own up to what you did.
I know you want to tell me the truth, I know you do.
And if you ever want your mother to speak to you again, you will do the right thing.
You knew that we would find you.
You knew it, didn't you? Yeah.
So now, you do the right thing.
[ECHOING LAUGHTER AND CHATTING] [ECHO STOPS] [GUNSHOT] [GUNSHOT] [GUNSHOT] He tells me he shot the mom and dad, grandma and grandpa.
The two little girls.
He bends down with the .
22 and he shoots them both in the head.
I put the bodies in the car and drove it up the mountain to burn it.
I hiked back to get the truck.
Why did you do it? I told you, I wanted their stuff.
You wanted their stuff.
So why did you burn the truck and camper? I took the boat and the motor, some of the tools that they had in the camper.
I was hoping to keep the truck, just replace the door with the bullet hole.
But then I saw it on all over the TV all the time and I knew I had to get rid of it.
You killed a whole family, six people, for a truck, a camper, a boat and some tools? H-hm.
NEWS ANCHOR: David Shearing got the toughest sentence he could get.
No parole for 25 years.
He brutally murdered six vacationers near Clearwater, BC, more than a year and a half ago.
ANOTHER ANNOUNCER: The judge called it senseless, brutal, cold-blooded slaughter that devastated three generations of a family.
As an old cop, I had good reason to believe that the motive that he gave me for killing those people was garbage.
It made absolutely no bloody sense whatsoever that he killed those people for the truck and the camper.
I knew with my gut that there had to be another motive.
It's over, David.
You've been convicted.
Nothing you say now will make a difference to your sentence.
I want you to tell me what really happened.
I want the whole truth.
I'm not leaving here until you do.
Those girls.
I saw them at the campsite.
I just wanted to be with them.
I didn't kill them.
Not right away.
He sexually abused them.
[SOMBRE] He told me he wasn't exactly sure about how long he kept them alive.
Maybe nine days, maybe ten days.
I can't describe the emotions, but it was just It didn't make any sense.
There's not one case in my entire career over hundreds of homicides as horrendous as this one.
To this day, I open that trunk in my dreams and uh, I see them still staring at me.
You never forget.
And all of a sudden, it's not over and he's applying for parole.
I've done dozens and dozens of interviews.
If I can keep the two young girls in the minds of Canadians, he's never gonna get out on parole.
And I know that.