A YOUNG WOMAN VANISHES FROM A CASINO AFTER GAMBLING ONE NIGHT-- BUT WHAT DID THE CASINO SECURITY VIDEO CAPTURE ON TAPE? "48 HOURS MYSTERY," SATURDAY, FEB. 17
Christie Wilson was a beautiful 27-year-old woman beloved by her family and friends. One October night in 2005, she spent six hours in a California casino gambling at the blackjack tables with a man she'd just met. Wilson left the casino that night with him and was never seen again. But the casino itself is outfitted with 700 cameras capturing movements of gamblers everywhere. Correspondent Erin Moriarty follows the story and examines the never publicly seen before videotape that may identify a killer. 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "The Biggest Gamble" will be broadcast Saturday, Feb. 17 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
After her disappearance, Wilson had one powerful advocate on her side. Her stepfather, Pat Boyd, a well-respected and well-connected detective in California, told investigators he had a hunch who was responsible for his daughter's disappearance: her boyfriend, Danny Burlando. In fact, Burlando and Wilson were arrested for a domestic disturbance a few months earlier.
But the Wilson case was not quite that simple, especially when investigators got a look at the casino's extensive security system that had videotaped nearly every move Wilson made that night.
Wilson is dramatically captured on tape leaving the casino and walking into the parking lot with a 54-year-old man named Mario Garcia. She walks out of the frame with Garcia leaving her exact whereabouts in those last few critical moments a mystery. The cameras do show Garcia driving off, apparently alone, moments later.
The mystery deepened because Garcia was a successful upper-middle class husband and doting father to two teenage sons with a million dollar home-making Garcia a seemingly unlikely suspect.
But that was before detectives learned about his arrest for allegedly raping and kidnapping an ex-girlfriend more than 25 years earlier. Wendy Ward, a woman who alleged Garcia violently raped her in 1979, talks publicly to 48 HOURS for the first time about her ordeal.
That was not all Garcia was hiding. A long-forgotten cold case in which two other women died in a suspicious car accident was brought to light. Investigators could never prove who was driving the car, only that Garcia was lucky enough to be the sole survivor.
But despite Garcia's past, the murder case against him is still hardly a lock. It will come down to circumstantial evidence and the question of whether the prosecution is able to convict a man whose past cannot be entered into evidence. Prosecutors also have no body, no eyewitnesses, no murder weapon and no cause of death.
Garcia speaks to 48 HOURS' Moriarty in a network exclusive about his violent past and his interactions with Christie Wilson that night. Is he innocent or is he hiding something deadly? And what will he say to Moriarty under intense questioning?
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "The Biggest Gamble" is produced by Paul LaRosa and Melissa Sanford. The senior producer is Peter Schweitzer. The executive editor is Al Briganti and the executive producer is Susan Zirinsky.