TWO YOUNG MEN'S SCREENPLAY TELLS THE STORY OF A TRIPLE MURDER -- BUT DID THEY ACTUALLY COMMIT THE REAL-LIFE CRIME?
"48 HOURS MYSTERY: 'WRITTEN IN BLOOD,' " SATURDAY, SEPT. 25
Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns, two brilliant best friends who once wrote a screenplay about two boys wrongfully accused of murder, are now caught up in a real-life murder mystery. They are accused of murdering Rafay's family, from the upper middle-class community of Bellevue, Wash., near Seattle. The brutal murders took place in July 1994. Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on this 10-year mystery that led investigators to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and involved secret videotaped operations by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Written in Blood" will be broadcast Saturday, Sept. 25 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The summer after their freshman year of college, Burns and Rafay were visiting Rafay's parents when, they say, they stumbled upon Rafay's mother, father and autistic sister, Basma, beaten to death in their Bellevue home. Detectives questioned the boys repeatedly about the murders over three days. Although the police had no physical evidence that the young men were involved, they were still considered suspects.
Three days following the murders, Rafay and Burns headed to Vancouver, where they tried to rebuild their lives. On the advice of a lawyer, they stopped cooperating with the Bellevue police investigation, but what they didn't know was that while they weren't talking to the Bellevue police, the RCMP were listening to them.
The RCMP secretly recorded Rafay and Burns' conversations at home and in their car. Two undercover agents posing as high-rolling mobsters lured Burns and his friends into a make-believe world of crime. The agents told the boys that they would invest in their screenplay, but the real purpose of the relationship was to get them to reveal the secret from their past -- what really happened in the Rafay family home the night of the murders.
Months of undercover work finally paid off when the mobsters convinced Rafay and Burns to tell them everything about the murders -- and caught it all on tape. The authorities arrested them, but both Burns and Rafay claimed they confessed out of fear for their lives. The now 28-year old men were extradited to the U.S. and went on trial for the Rafay family murders last fall.
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Written in Blood" is produced by Nancy Kramer, Gayane Keshishyan and Jenna Jackson. The senior producer is Katie Boyle and the executive producer is Susan Zirinsky.