INVESTIGATORS THOUGHT THEY TRACKED DOWN A MISSING SOUTH CAROLINA GIRL TO AN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL, BUT DISCOVERED INSTEAD, A YOUNG CON WOMAN WHO IS OUTSMARTING THEM ALL
"48 HOURS MYSTERY" ON SATURDAY, DEC. 1
In the summer of 2006, Lisa Henson received the call that she patiently waited seven years for - police had found her missing niece, Brooke, enrolled at Columbia University and were on their way to meet her. But just as Henson's greatest hope was realized, it was quickly dashed when police discovered that the woman they had found was not Brooke. In fact, they had stumbled onto the trail of Esther Reed, a young woman who is still outsmarting them all.
Esther Elizabeth Reed disappeared from her Seattle home in the summer of 1999, right around the time of Brooke Henson's disappearance from her home in Travelers Rest, S.C. While Brooke was a free spirit, Esther was a sullen teen, a gifted chess player whose intelligence far exceeded her age and, as police would uncover, one whose life became a cross-country con of fake identities and frustrated dreams.
From Seattle to Arizona to California, Chicago, Boston and New York, among others, Reed has reinvented herself as a career chess player, a debate champion and even an Ivy League student attending Columbia and Harvard Universities. Over the course of her journey, Reed has used at least four different names, seduced military personnel, and allegedly stolen over $100,000 in student loans.
With a federal indictment and the Secret Service on the hunt, Reed, a high school dropout remains one step ahead, giving authorities a run for their money. "She is not Esther Reed. She is not Brooke Henson," says Seattle Police Sgt. John Urquhart, "but she is somewhere and she is somebody."
Now, 48 HOURS MYSTERY launches its own investigation in conjunction with local police, private investigators, friends and family, and obtains exclusive interviews with one of Esther Reed's victims, a number of former lovers, an ex-con in Chicago, and a medical student who remained best friends with Reed for years, never suspecting what she was really up to. Additionally FBI consultant Frank Abagnale, whose exploits as a phony pilot, lawyer, and doctor inspired the motion picture "Catch Me If You Can," weighs in on the case.
Peter Van Sant reports 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Capture the Queen," on Saturday, Dec. 1 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The broadcast is produced by Miguel Sancho. Chris O'Connell is the associate producer. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.