Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack – Season 4, Episode 15 – Full Episode

This program is about
unsolved mysteries. Whenever possible, the
actual family members and police officials
have participated in recreating the events. What you are about to see
is not a news broadcast The breathtaking beauty
of Canada’s Yukon Territory has captivated travelers
for generations. But when Philip Fraser
of Anchorage, Alaska picked up a lone hitchhiker,
the wilderness became the gateway to a nightmare. In 1990, four men were cast
adrift when their fishing boat sunk off the coast of Georgia. After an incredible four
day ordeal, one of them was rescued. As for the other three, a
series of strange phone calls suggests that they are being
held against their will in a foreign country. When he was 20, Mack
McDonald fell madly in love with a girl next door. A year later, Mack met his child
for the first and last time. Now that child could inherit
Mack’s estate, estimated at more than $1 million. Free-wheeling Las Vegas
was a perfect locale for Max Carson, a fast-talking,
self-styled film producer. In reality, Carson was
a hustler and ex-cop named William John Wood. He is now wanted for rape. Join me for these
intriguing new stories. Perhaps you may be able
to help solve a mystery. [MUSIC PLAYING] [MUSIC PLAYING] Alaska, America’s last frontier. Highway 1 is its lifeline,
a thin asphalt ribbon which cuts through Canada’s
Yukon Territory to connect Alaska to the
continental United States. On June 14, 1988,
25-year-old Phillip Fraser, the son of two physicians,
left his home in Anchorage to enroll in a pre-med
course at Evergreen College in Washington state. Philip had packed up everything
he owned for the trip, including two handguns. On June 17, after losing
two days to car trouble, Philip crossed the
border into Canada. – Hi, where are you coming from?
– Alaska. Alaska.
Where are you headed? Washington.
I’m a student. You’re going to
school down there, then? Yeah. Anything on board, any
goods that you purchased that you’re bringing across? Um, just my books and
things like that for school. At Beaver Creek,
Philip was entering into Canada from Alaska
into our Yukon Territory. And Philip did declare that he’d
had two firearms of his own. And at that point, our
Canada customs people seized the firearms from him,
as it is illegal for Americans to enter Canada with
any kind of a firearm. After a one hour delay,
Phillip Fraser was on his way. His guns became the property
of the Canadian government. The next day, 600 miles south
of the border checkpoint, a hitchhiker was dropped
off at the 40 Mile Flat Cafe, owned by Gay Frocklage. Gay and her daughter,
Tina, were on duty. The individual
that dropped him off didn’t come into the cafe,
just dropped him off and left. And just looking at
him through the window, it was something wrong. He didn’t– there was
something wrong with him, you know, in appearance
wasn’t comfortable. And I said to Tina,
we’ve got a winner here. There’s something
wrong with this guy. I remember saying
to mom, you know maybe he escaped from
a mental institution, because he was so strange. I think we got a problem here. Yeah. Are you going to stick around? Yeah, I think I better
best not leave you alone. I wouldn’t leave all
alone in the building with him, as there was nobody
else there at the time. And so I said to Tina, well, you
go ahead and take care of him and I’ll just hang around. As I passed the side window, I
seen a small black car pull up, right to the side of the cafe. And the young man in the car
didn’t get out of the car but proceeded to act
like he was searching his car, like he had misplaced
something that he needed. During this time was when
another vehicle pulled up to the service station. Yeah, Tina, there’s
a car at the pumps. Do you want to serve him gas,
and I’ll just stay in here. OK, sure. Tina Frocklage went
to the parking lot to pump gas for
another customer. She and Phillip Fraser
exchanged hellos. Is that everything? Yeah. Gay and Tina were
relieved when the hitchhiker finished his meal. They remember that he paid
his bill in Canadian money. I watched the hitchhiker
go out and approach Fraser. – Where you heading?
– Down south. Yeah? I’m heading that way, too.
– Good. How about a ride? Uh, I’m going
to go in here yet. – You sure?
– Yeah. All right. The car sat for a few minutes,
and then he pulled ahead like he had second thoughts. Still heading
in this direction? I thought you were going
to have a bite to eat. Mind if I go with you? The hitchhiker just ran beside
him and pulled the door open, and the young man in the car
proceeded to let him enter. The strange thing was was
as they left the yard, Tina made some remark about
he’s going to live to regret this day he picked this man up. It was like a sixth
sense that this man was capable of anything. Eight hours later and 200
miles south of the 40 Mile Flat Cafe, Eddie and Pauline
Olson of Katwanga, Canada pulled over to
help a stranded motorist. Oh, wow, am I glad
to see you guys. Hey, I think my
car ran out of gas. I don’t know what
happened, because I stopped at the last gas
stop, but it just quit. I’m on my way to college
and I’ve got all my stuff in the back of the car. You could tell he was
nervous, but I thought that– well, you know, he was just
scared of being out here this late at night, didn’t
want to stay out here, because it’s kind
of a remote area. And at that point I just
said, well, I’ll tow you home and we’ll figure it
out in the morning. Now, you can sleep down here. We’ve had quite a few
people stay down here, and they have pretty good sleep. No, this will be great. I really appreciate everything
you guys have done for me. You can just pick out
whichever couch you want there, and there are some
blankets right there. OK. Have a good sleep, and
we’ll see you in the morning. All right, thanks.
I’ll sleep good. He slept downstairs
in our basement, and I have about 12 or 15
guns in a gun case down there. And where he slept, the guns
were just right beside him there. Oh, good morning. How did you sleep? Oh, I slept great, thanks. Oh, sit down, have of coffee. Thank you. The next morning,
the young man told the Olsons that his parents
were both doctors in Anchorage and that he was on his way
to college in the States to study medicine. And I really wanted
to thank you guys. Well, I got talking
to him about his car, and he told me that
if I was interested, he would sell it to me. And I said, well,
I was interested, because all he wanted was
a plane ticket to Seattle. But I said, the only
way I would buy it is if he waited till Monday
and we went through customs. And he said that would
be too late for him. I can’t wait till Monday. I need to be in
Seattle on Monday. I really can’t wait. I really need to get going. Is there something I can
do for your hospitality? Anything? The Olsons were surprised
when the young man pulled out two wallets and
began to behave secretively. He gave the Alston’s
$20 in American money, then left to fix his car. Thank you. Within an hour, the young
man was back on the road, headed south. The car trouble had
turned out to be nothing more than a broken fan belt. 12 Hours later, the charred
ruins of Phillip Fraser’s car were found at a
car wash in Prince George, British Columbia, 300
miles from the Olsons’ home. The condition of the
car after it was burned, it was almost totally
gutted out on the inside due to the fire and fire
damage to the outside, as well. Nothing was found in the
car of any significance. In fact, none of Phillip
Fraser’s belongings have ever been found. The parents were
contacted in Alaska, and there was a great
deal of investigation done at that point, as
Phillip was considered a missing person and
potentially a homicide victim. I was sure that there
had been foul play, but I kept hoping, thinking
of all sorts of alternatives, like maybe he decided he
wanted to ditch his car and being on his own. And I knew– intellectually,
I knew that was wrong, because he really loved his car. Six weeks later, a
body was discovered in a gravel turnaround area 70
miles from the Olsons’ home. At the time of the
discovery of the body, it was already well
known about the incident of the car burning in the
car wash in Prince George. And almost immediately,
investigators who are looking at the remains
being that of Phillip Fraser. In order to do a
positive identification, we required dental
records from Alaska, which we obtained very quickly
and were able to make that identification. I think– excuse me. Any parent who loses a kid feels
like he’s lost part of himself. I think that’s the– one of the things you definitely
feel, you feel like you aren’t intact yourself. I just think it’s very difficult
to describe it in words. You felt like your
life and your family has been truncated, cut off. I felt angry, bitter. I wondered, what sort of a
person, what kind of a person would destroy someone who is so
idealistic and so full of life? What really happened
along that lonely stretch of Highway 1? The Royal Canadian
Mounted Police theorize that the
mystery hitchhiker learned everything he
could about Philip Fraser and then killed him. They believe the hitchhiker
assumed Phillip’s identity, stole his possessions,
and finally attempted to destroy the car. In my mind, he most definitely
is a dangerous person. He’s taken one life. He has the capability
of taking more. As to whether he has done
this type of thing before, I couldn’t say that. But we know he has
taken one life, and I would consider
him very dangerous. These are composite drawings
of the hitchhiker, based on the descriptions of
Gay and Tina Frockledge and Eddie and Pauline Olson. He is Caucasian, about
five feet nine inches tall, and weighs approximately
225 pounds. He has a flabby belly
which overhangs his belt, and is between 20
and 25 years old. He has brown hair
and brown eyes. The authorities believe
that the hitchhiker is familiar with the Toronto
area and the Seattle, Washington area. He may be masquerading
as Philip Innes Fraser. Among the items
never recovered were Philip Frasier’s
birth certificate, visa, passport, and checkbook. Next, three fishermen
are lost at sea, but some believe
they survived and are being held against their will. [MUSIC PLAYING] The vast oceans of the world
have captivated humankind since the dawn of civilization. The young especially
seemed drawn by the promise of adventure and
romance, but there are also 1,000 hidden dangers. Sometimes the sea can be
an unforgiving mistress. In 1990 alone,
865 people drowned in American coastal waters. April 12, 1990,
Richland Hill, Georgia, just south of Savannah. Four commercial fishermen
prepare to embark on a seven day expedition in the Atlantic. The Captain is 23-year-old
Billy Joe Neesmith. The crew includes
his brother, Nathan, his nephew, Keith Wilkes, and
a friend, Franklin Brantley. You’re ready,
let’s go fishing. Franklin, you in?
– I’m in. I’m in, let’s go. All right, it’s all your. In the late
afternoon, they set off on the Casie Nicole, a
snapper boat owned by Billy Joe Neesmith’s employer. The boat had recently
been returned to service after five weeks
in dry dock for maintenance. We were headed out probably
approximately close to 90 miles offshore. I guess it was
somewhere around 3:30, 4:00 in the morning
that next morning. It was still dark. I had got up and was
operating the boat, and the boat just seemed
to be sluggish, you know, like it wanted to bust
through the waves, kind of like a
submarine or something. It didn’t want to
ride over the waves. Something’s wrong. Man. We’re going to the right. Billy Joe! So I told my brother,
he was laying in the bunk. I woke him up. I said, Billy Joe, I
said, all of a sudden, I said, something’s
wrong with the boat. What’s up, man? It won’t stay on course. What do you mean, it
won’t stay on course? I’m losing 10,
15 degrees, man. I tried it manually,
and it keeps going off. And then I tried
it automatic pilot, and it just– it
won’t hold, man. Jesus. We got to nosing around,
the boat was riding pretty deep in the water. Yeah, [INAUDIBLE]
two foot down. Did you check the engine? It sounds like sputtering a bit. No, I ain’t checked it, man. We better check it, though. Oh man, Nathan, we got two
foot of water down there. Let me see that light. There you go. Nathan, did you
get them pumps yet? No. Hit him a couple times. And we started
working on our pumps, trying to get our pumps to
work to pump the boat out. How about now? Nothing. We got to get them boys up next. We got to start bucking this
water out here right now. The other crew members
slept down in the bow, and when we turn
on the light, we notice there was
water about a foot deep down in the bunks
were they were at. And we got in a line and
started passing the bucket, trying to bail the boat out. In the meantime, we
took the life raft out. It was a two man life raft. We’d been hollering
mayday on the radio. We had Billy Joe
on it, working it. Casie Nicole. We’re taking in
water, going down. Somebody, come back
with it, please. We never did get
anywhere with that. And the engine finally stalled. Casie Nicole, we’re going– All power in the
Casie Nicole was lost. The radio was useless. The four men abandoned ship. The life raft
was kind of rotten. It had a hole in the side
of it, up on the top. We don’t know for sure if the
anchor snagged it and tore this whole in it, or if the
whole thing was just rotten and it eventually wore in it. We don’t really know
what happened there, but we do know that
it had a hole in it about the size of a quarter. By sunrise, the life
raft was sinking fast. Then salvation
came floating by– the hatch cover from
the Casie Nicole. I think I got it. You got it? Oh, his head. What you doing, feet? Come on, buddy. Oh, I’m tired. Come on, buddy. The four men tethered
the raft to the hatch cover and clambered aboard. It was then that Nathan Neesmith
spotted the hull of the Casie Nicole in the distance. It looked like it was maybe
three or four miles from us. I said, I don’t know what
kind of chance we got, but at least maybe one I was
going make it to the boat and get some kind of help. Well, that’s what
I struck out to do. And they started hollering,
no, no, you come back. You stay with us. We can’t separate up. If we separate up, we’re
going to be split up, and there ain’t no
telling what go wrong. I just kept swimming
and kept swimming. I swam from oh, about
9 o’clock that morning. And just before dark that
afternoon, I got to where I thought was what the boat was. And I got to looking around and
I seen the stern of the boat sticking up at a
distance, probably another 100 yards or so to
the right of it. So I just kept swimming. I done swam till I thought there
wasn’t no more swimming in me. And I drank so much salt
water trying to swim in it. And I was just real weak. As darkness fell, Nathan
lost sight of his companions. He spent a long, harrowing
night clinging to the hull of the Casie Nicole. The next morning,
a freighter passed within three miles of Nathan. This ship here looked like
it made about four stops, maybe five stops. And each time it
would stop or circle, I could see a fog of
smoke boil out of it. And it was in the direction
that my other mates had went, so I figured that maybe it
had stopped to pick them up. The freighter continued
its odd maneuvers for nearly three hours, then disappeared. For 2 and 1/2 days,
Nathan Neesmith drifted and prayed
that the Casie Nichole would stay afloat. All seemed lost, until a
large wood and Styrofoam bait box ripped loose from the boat’s
deck and popped to the surface. I couldn’t tell what
it was for a minute, because I was scared and
everything like that. And I swam over to it, where I
could get a better view of it. Like I say, I was pretty weak. I couldn’t– I about starved
down I was hungry and thirsty, and really weak. And I got to the front
of it and blessed god, the whole front was out. I mean, it was just
like a boat to me. I mean, it looked
like just something that I needed at the moment. [MUSIC PLAYING] It was really hot. I mean, I was getting
real sunburnt. My skin was turning
real, real red. And I was very close to dead. I mean, actually I was
to the stage of death, but I knew I couldn’t
give up because I had two kids and a wife at home. And I remember
saying, God, please let me go home to
my wife and kids and be able to raise my kids. Don’t let me die in this ocean. At 10:00 AM on April
15, 1990, Nathan Neesmith was finally rescued, 20 miles
off the coast of Georgia. He had been adrift without
food or water for four days. Nathan Neesmith’s
companions were never found. A large scale search
mounted by the Coast Guard yielded no trace of the life
raft or the hatch cover, but Nathan and his family never
gave up hope that the three men might somehow have survived. It seemed a futile hope
until a strange telephone call was made to the home
of Nathan’s sister, Oneda. [PHONE RINGING] It was October 5,
1990, six months after the Casie Nicole sunk. Oneda’s mother-in-law
answered the telephone. Hello. [SPEAKING GIBBERISH] What? I can’t understand you. Can you speak English? The caller, a man,
spoke in Spanish and seemed unable to
understand English. No. I can’t understand a
word you’re saying. Can you speak English? All this person would keep
saying is repeating our phone number and saying our name. And that’s all. Then it was just like a cut off. It wasn’t anything after that. And you know, we just
kept Hello, hello. And it was just cut
off, static cut off. STACK: That same day,
an unusual call also came into the home
of Doug Tyson, owner of the ill-fated
Casie Nicole. Hello? ROBERT STACK: Once again,
the caller was a man. The only English words
he said were the Tysons’ name and telephone number. That was strange. What do you mean? They were speaking in Spanish. In Spanish? DOUG TYSON: We didn’t say
anything about the call when we got it. Six weeks later, after
that, about six weeks, we were down visiting
with the Neesmith family, and they started telling
us about their call. And after they got through, I
said, how long ago was this? I asked them. They thought back a minute,
and they said about six weeks. I looked at my wife. She looked at me,
nodded her head. He said, about the same time? And I said, yeah. ROBERT STACK: Over the next
year, five more calls came in– three to Oneda and
two to that Tysons. Finally, on March 6,
1991, a caller spoke a single sentence in English. Hello? Excuse me? ONEDA DRAWDY: He said
just very simple words. Not, “I’m bringing it home,”
“I’m bringing him home.” He just said, “I’m
bringing them home.” That was it. Hello? Hello? ROBERT STACK: After
only a moment, the connection was broken. There have been no calls since. The Neesmiths and the Tysons
are convinced that the three missing men were taken
aboard the passing freighter and perhaps transported
to a foreign country against their will. I think they’re
somewhere being held. I really do. And I think that whoever
called us is putting theirself on the line because my brother
or my nephew or our friend, one of the three has made a
friend, a very dear friend because this person
that’s doing this is probably putting himself
on the line to do it. In my mind, people
are lost at sea. They’re never found. I realize that. But there’s no explanation
for where the debris went. And then the fact that
Nathan’s seen his ship stopped the first day– you add all those together
with the phone calls, and I think it adds up to a
tremendous amount of hope. In my heart, yes, I
feel like they’re alive. I think they had a lot– I know they had a lot better
chance of surviving than I did. I don’t think that I would’ve
ever made it not knowing that they couldn’t make it. ROBERT STACK: What really
happened to the lost crewman of the Casie Nicole? A Coast Guard search
was the largest ever conducted in the
area of the Atlantic Ocean where they disappeared. Officially, Billy Jo Neesmith,
Keith Wilkes, and Franklin Brantley are presumed dead. Unofficially, there
seems reasonable hope that they may still be alive. When we return, one
man’s poignant search for his long-lost child
who stands to inherit more than a million dollars. MARY HELEN: It’s our baby, Mac. Beautiful baby, huh? It’s ours. ROBERT STACK: For
most parents, seeing their baby for the
very first time is a moment of unrestrained joy. But for this young father,
it was a moment of confusion and panic that drove him
away from the girl he loved and the child he
has not seen since. Don’t go. Don’t– ROBERT STACK: Four
decades later, the young man is 63 years old. WB Mac McDonald is now
a wealthy businessman with a sizable estate,
yet he is very much alone. Mac has never been married. No one from his immediate
family is still alive. For 30 years, Mac McDonald has
been searching for his child, but has found only frustration. Those lost years are the one
thing his money cannot buy. Mac’s story begins in 1948
in Pomona, California, when he fell madly,
perhaps tragically, in love with a girl next door. Her name was Mary Helen Carr. She was just 16 years old. MAC MCDONALD: The first time
that I noticed my neighbor she was in the swing on
her front porch she was in a pair of white slacks
and a light-colored blouse and very pleasing to look at. While she was
there on the swing, there was a definite
attraction both ways. However, I guess I was a
little shy at that time. I didn’t speak to
her at that time. It was several months before I
finally began to speak to her. Nice bike. Yeah. I like to keep it clean. My name’s Mac. Mary Helen. Nice to meet you. I’ve seen you before. Uh, I’m just cleaning my bike. Would you like to go
for a ride sometime? My mother would forbid me to
ride that, especially with you. Is your mother always here? ROBERT STACK: The
romance progressed slowly and discreetly. Mary Helen’s mother
was distrustful of Mac’s intentions. Still, the two young
lovers saw each other at every available opportunity,
until the inevitable day came when Mary Helen’s
mother caught them together. We were planning
on a future together and here were these
tremendous stumbling blocks being thrown out into the path. ROBERT STACK: Mac felt he had
no choice but to pack his bags and leave. His destination, the
oil fields of Texas. I’m sorry. MAC MCDONALD: I was very
much in love with her. My whole life was revolving
around her at that time. But with the disturbance that
I was causing her at home, I thought, well,
I’ll get away a while and maybe it’ll solve
some of these problems. We can be sure that what we
were feeling for each other is going to last the
rest of our lives. We both agreed that this
was the best thing to do, but it didn’t make
it any easier. I went directly to Houston. The only time I
stopped on that trip was just for gas because I
left part of me in Pomona. And it didn’t get any easier the
more miles I got away from her. ROBERT STACK: Three
weeks later, Mac had established himself in Houston. He had no idea
that Mary Helen had run away from home to join him. MAC MCDONALD: Mary Helen
called me from the bus station there in Houston and she
says, I’m here for good. And I told her,
I’ll be right there. And I tore the
streets up getting down to the bus station. It was a very happy reunion. Here we are. ROBERT STACK: The next
day, Mac and Mary Helen, posing as husband and
wife, found an apartment and began planning for
the rest of their lives. We’re here for the apartment. You called. ROBERT STACK: Their troubles
seemed far behind them. You just got married, right? Yeah. Well, congratulations. Thank you. Well, it’s right here. Let me show you. MAC MCDONALD: It was
happiness itself. It was the ultimate dream. The feeling that she gave you–
she was beautiful to look at. She was beautiful to talk to. And she gave you the incentive
to tear the world up. – I met a new neighbor.
– You did? – Yeah.
– Are they nice? Yeah, real nice. ROBERT STACK: One month later,
Mac and Mary Helen’s world would collapse again. It’s very good. [PHONE RINGING] Hello? Just a minute. ROBERT STACK: A friend tipped
Mac off that the police were on their way to the apartment. Hello? ROBERT STACK: Mary
Helen’s mother had made good on her threats. The authorities carried
warrants charging Mac with statutory rape and
illegally living with a minor. Right now? I’m so sorry. I don’t know how she found out. It’s not your fault. She must’ve talked to
your mother or something. It’s OK. It’s not your fault. – I don’t know how she found me.
– That’s fine. That’s fine. I’ll call you. ROBERT STACK: Mac made his
escape with no time to spare. MAC MCDONALD: I left Texas,
and it was in the afternoon. It seemed like
afternoons is when all these departures took place. And I didn’t stop till I was
out of the state of Texas. I was devastated again. They jerked her
back to California and I had no way of
contacting her again. ROBERT STACK: A year passed. Mac returned to California
to take a new job. One evening, he and
a friend stopped off at a drive-in in Long Beach. Mac? Mary? MAC MCDONALD: I almost
fell out of the car. The waitress– the carhop
that came to wait on us was Mary Helen. Los Angeles is a big city. It was a big city then. And the possibilities of
driving into a restaurant and having her the
waitress was like hitting a keno ticket here in Reno. Well, listen, I can’t
really talk to you, but I get off work at 9:00. Do you want to come
by my apartment? Yeah. Here’s my address. Great. You can see our baby. I have a baby? MAC MCDONALD: I almost
had heart failure. It took my breath away because
I had no idea she was pregnant. There was that
possibility, though. So I told her I’ll
be right over. When I– Mac. Come on in. MAC MCDONALD: –with
this baby in her arms. Come in. Look. MAC MCDONALD: I thought,
well, the police department is probably on premises. Honey? MAC MCDONALD: This is
just a matter of time till I’m going to be shackled
and in jail over this. I’m so glad to see you. MAC MCDONALD: I
was so distraught when her mother opened the
door that I overlooked the fact that she was about
half-civilized– the first time she’d ever spoke to me civilly. I was in such a
traumatic state of fear, the benefit of
being able to hold your baby for the
first time, I missed that because all I could
think of is either the law is in the bedroom or
they’re on the way. ROBERT STACK: Mac was terrified
that Mary Helen’s mother still had a warrant out
for his arrest. In California, statutory rape
was punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Mac McDonald stayed for
less than five minutes. He never even learned if the
baby was a boy or a girl. MAC MCDONALD: I feel that I made
the greatest mistake of my life by not staying there
and riding it out. I don’t think there was– probably– well,
it’s been 40 years? That’s what it’s cost me. I feel that the youngster
is entitled to my estate. I’m not entitled to be
its father, probably, but I would want that
youngster to know that, even with the mistakes,
that I love him and I want him to have the best. The night of our
broadcast, Mac McDonald learned that he had a
daughter named Sherry. The long-awaited news came from
a viewer in Dallas, Texas– Mary Helen Carr,
Sherry’s mother. Unlike many of the
reunions we have feature, the end of this search evoked
decidedly mixed emotions for Mac, for Mary Helen, and
especially for their daughter, Sherry, who’d been raised by a
loving and caring stepfather. I’m 43 years old
and pretty well set in my life and everything. And I didn’t know what to think. I’m very happily married
and have two great kids and we just are a
normal, American family. And this is quite a
shock to everyone. ROBERT STACK: One week
after our broadcast, Mac McDonald arrived at Sherry’s
home in Denver, Colorado. For Mac, the reunion would bring
a bittersweet, and at times unsettling, reconciliation
with the past. Hello. Hi. Come on in. [INAUDIBLE] right place? Yes. Hi, Mac. MAC MCDONALD: It’s hard to
describe the feeling that I had for my daughter when I opened
the door and she was there and I was able to hold her. – Sit down.
– I don’t want to sit down. I want to hold you. SHERRY BLACKMAN: I just try
to come to the realization that it really was my
father standing there and I just wanted to see,
does he took like me? Does he act like me? I have all these things I
need to learn about him. I don’t know what to say. I’m still in a state of shock. SHERRY BLACKMAN: At
this point in my life, to find that there is
someone who is my father and who wants to establish
a relationship with me, is just emotionally
very traumatic. Apparently, he wants
to be part of her life. And if that’s the
case, that’s OK. I hope, since he’s gone to
this much effort to find her, that he doesn’t bring
any sorrow to her. MAC MCDONALD: The
fact that I didn’t stay and fight the battle,
it’s most unfortunate. I don’t believe I would
do it that way again. However, yesterday,
unfortunately can’t be redone. I’d like to. No matter how
you look at it, he left my mother with a tiny baby,
and I have to deal with that. I have to deal with
the fact that I have a father who loves
for me, who has raised me, who’s cared for me. But I believe
there’s enough room in this family for everyone,
and I sincerely mean that. ROBERT STACK: Next, an
ex-cop, masquerading as a movie producer, is
wanted on charges of rape. Every year, more than
20 million tourists descend upon Las Vegas,
Nevada, the gambling capital of the world. Most come for only one reason– to spend and win money. It’s no wonder
that Vegas is also a mecca for every
kind of hustler and con artist imaginable. Yes. Well, I talked to two
of the guys yesterday, and they seemed to be excited
about this whole thing, and so– ROBERT STACK: In May of 1988,
a self-styled star-maker named Maxwell Carson
arrived in Las Vegas. Carson was a smooth talker
who dabbled in anything that might make money. Carson owned and
operated a sports betting business,
a fledgling film company, and a modeling agency. But Max Carson was a
man with a dark past. He was an ex-cop
gone bad, whose real name was William John Wood. In 1972, Wood resigned from the
Toledo, Ohio police force while under investigation
for misconduct. Between 1977 and
1985, Wood served time for a number of offenses,
from passing bad checks, to impersonating a federal
officer, to assault with intent to rape. In 1986, William John
Wood moved to Las Vegas and became Max Carson. BOB SCOTT: Max was
absolutely obsessed with good-looking women. He would, especially
with actresses, models, any good-looking women,
use the movie industry or use his clout
as, quote, unquote, “a movie producer to be,” could
get them whatever they wanted. – Tiffany?
– Yeah. Hi. Mr. Carson will see you now. ROBERT STACK: In
November of 1989, Carson began holding auditions
for an upcoming film. One striking 19-year-old
model caught his eye. We will call her Tiffany. Hi.
How are you? Hi. Great, thank you. Have a seat. You’re–
– I’m Tiffany. Tiffany. TIFFANY: I went in. I talked to him. And he told me a little bit
about what the movie was about and what I would be doing. I think there’s a
role in here for you. Of course, it’s a speaking part. Oh! That’d be wonderful. TIFFANY: He had started
talking about money, and I felt strange that he would
offer a large amount of money to someone in my
position that’s never really had any acting before. So I talked to a
couple of agents. And they’d all heard of him. They had done their
homework on him and found that there was
nothing wrong with him. Super. Well, we’ve got your
address and phone number and how to get in
touch with you. And I appreciate you coming in. ROBERT STACK: Tiffany had
several other meetings with Carson, but the movie
never got off the ground. Max Carson’s empire was
on the verge of collapse. We have employees
that haven’t been paid. Now, Bob, just relax. Have faith. We’ve been through
so much together. ROBERT STACK: By
January of 1990, Max Carson would shut
down his offices. Yet he would maintain
the illusion that he was still in full operation. Hello. I’d like to speak to Tiffany. ROBERT STACK: In February,
he called Tiffany and hired her as a
last-minute replacement model for a photo shoot. –problem down here. We had a photo session
this afternoon and– ROBERT STACK: Carson arranged
to meet her later that day at a restaurant on the strip. Max? Oh, hi. Hi. We’re all set up. We got two rooms set
up, one for wardrobe– TIFFANY: I had met him in
front of the coffee shop and he said that we needed
to go to the motel there, where they had set up
a dressing room for me. Oh. Here’s the limousine
we’re gonna be using. And– oh, I wanna thank
you very much for coming here on short notice. This shoot should be
probably about two hours. You’ll be done in– those dresses are just fine. TIFFANY: I started
to feel a little uncomfortable just because
there was no one around. Tiffany, why don’t
you just go over there and fill out those
forms and I’ll make a call. TIFFANY: So I’d left the
door open with my bag sitting between the
room and the door so that it would
make it a little bit difficult to get the door shut. This Is Max Carson. Listen, I’m expecting
somebody in very shortly and– TIFFANY: Supposedly, he was
calling the makeup artist and the photographer
to let them know that we’re here and waiting. Yes.
OK. Well, I appreciate that. Thank you very much. TIFFANY: And about
that time, he had asked me if I would
give him a hug, and I knew that
I was in trouble. Max, I don’t feel
very comfortable, OK? Um, I’m not gonna do the sh– What do you mean you
don’t feel very comfortable? Let’s just forget
about the whole thing. Max! You’re not going anywhere. Max, please– Don’t make a sound. Do what I say and
I won’t hurt you. I thought at that point
that I was going to die. I thought I was
going to be extremely lucky if I walked out. I tried very hard to cooperate,
hoping that that would keep him from becoming more violent. This was scary. ROBERT STACK: Later that day,
Tiffany called the police, even though Carson
had threatened that he would accuse
her of prostitution if she told anyone. Max Carson was charged
with kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery. But by then, he had disappeared. Two months later and
3,000 miles away, Max Carson surfaced in
Cocoa Beach, Florida. Once again, he tried to work
a scam on a beautiful woman. Hi. I hope I didn’t
keep you waiting. No. I just got here. Well, I’ve been here before. Why don’t we go
upstairs in the lounge. How about downstairs?
I just want you– ROBERT STACK:
Carson and the woman had arranged to meet in the
lobby of a Cocoa Beach hotel. Carson wanted to continue
their conversation in a private room upstairs. He had convinced the woman
to accept money for sex. –get something upstairs. Hold it right there. Cocoa Beach Police. You’re under arrest
for solicitation. ROBERT STACK: Max Carson had
walked into a clever trap. The woman was wearing
a concealed wire as part of a sting operation. Carson pleaded guilty to
solicitation of prostitution. At the time, police in
Florida had no idea that he was wanted in Las Vegas. Take this guy downtown. ROBERT STACK: Two
days later, Max Carson was released from jail and
disappeared once again. Only then did police finally
discover his true identity. William John Wood was
last seen in Reno, Nevada in March of 1991 still
using the name Max Carson. He tried to run one of
his scams on a model he had known in Las Vegas. When she confronted him with
his past, he disappeared. Authorities believe he
may be operating anywhere in the country, though he
seems to prefer Florida, Nevada, or Southern California. They are certain that he is
still masquerading as a film producer or talent agent. [MUSIC PLAYING] Join me next time
for another edition of “Unsolved Mysteries”. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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