Wes and Ellen have a child together. Sex has gone from constant to rare. Hannah and Robert met at a club where Robert was a dancer. Bi-sexual Hannah decided she wanted him immediately, and they had sex before dating due to their intense attraction, and have been married for eight years. Language English.
Indie rock , post-punk revival. I'll Be Your Eyes Box of Secrets Fire like This The Guardian. Drowned In Sound. Susan Waller: he was released, sent back home. Or to his motor home, on Shana's property. Still, the old man's time was running out. Susan felt sure of it. As sure of that as she was desperate that he did not die with his secret intact. Greg Myler: She had a case file in her hands.
And she believed her father killed her mother. A woman walking in off the street, a case folder 16 years old. A mother mysteriously vanished. For Myler, who was part of a newly formed cold case unit, it was perfect. And that's how the box of documents moved again, migrated from Susan's closet to Greg Myler's desk. Greg Myler: I read the case. And I told her that I had the same feelings that Robert did in fact kill her mother, Janet. Greg Myler: A confession. It needed a confession. I told her that I was gonna go for it. Myler now prepared himself to face the old man, vowing not to leave until he found out what happened to Janet.
But Robert Kirkup had his own story to tell. Not necessarily the one that any of them expected to hear. The young detective might learn as much about the mysterious loyalties of sisters as he did about an old man's secret. There is a long, straight ribbon of road that cuts through the miles and miles of California desert from Susan's Hemet to Shana's Big River.
An ocean of desert. Early on the morning of June 17th, , Detective Greg Myler and his partner drove that desert road to the motorhome in Shana's back yard.
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Greg Myler: Shana came outside and-- questioned us as to why we were there Undeterred, the detectives knocked at the motorhome. Kirkup invited them in. Said he'd be happy to answer their questions. The detectives turned on their digital audio recorder The three of them. Now inside the cramped motorhome. The very same motorhome in which Robert and Janet had been traveling when she disappeared. And if it can be said that an inanimate object can keep a secret, then the secret of whatever happened to Janet is in the motorhome.
The same secret detectives so wanted Robert to reveal. Will the motorhome now bare witness to the final act in this story? Greg Myler: It was very cluttered, very dirty. He had been smoking non-stop as we-- we spoke to him. He went through six or seven packs of cigarettes. Greg Myler: I know you didn't drive the motorhome around there laughter.
We let him tell us his story-- and we listened to him very intently. Kirkup : I don't know where she is. The last time I saw her was out in New York State.
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She, she left me. I didn't leave her; she walked away. Greg Myler: Once we felt that he was comfortable with us, we started applying the pressure. Greg Myler : You actually admitted that your wife was dead and it wasn't an accident and you're the person responsible. Greg Myler: Bob, you killed her, we know you killed her, I don't know why we're having such a difficult time with you coming clean. Kirkup : You know, it just goes against my better judgment to say I did something that I didn't do. Greg Myler: We all know you killed her.
We all, Bob, Bob, you know you killed her too. Kirkup : You know, I don't know what else to say. I mean, I know what you'd like me to say, but I can't do it. Based on my inner thing about not confessing to something that I didn't do. Kirkup : I had a good relationship with Shana, but the other two you guys already know about. And Shana is the only one that believes me. Greg Myler: We-- told Robert-- that we were gonna go talk to his daughter, Shana.
So they left the motorhome and walked to Shana's house. And they took with them that box -the one the other sister, Sherry, started all those years ago Before she passed it on to Susan, who put it in a closet, then made it her life. And gave it to detectives, who now, finally, carried it here, to Shana. And had so ardently believed. Greg Myler: She cried for a long time. And-- she thanked us. No one had let her read the file prior to that because she was always a defender of her father. Greg Myler: We told her she was the key to getting her father to confess to what he did.
And that we needed her help.
Now it was Shana's choice. If she refused the detective's request, Robert Kirkup would remain a free man. If she cooperated, she might - or might not - finally learn the truth about her mother.
Now or never. For six hours, Detective Myler and his partner had tried to get Robert Kirkup to confess to killing his wife. Greg Myler: You killed Janet. There is no denying it, Bob. You killed Janet.
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You killed her. You killed your daughter's mother. But Kirkup, despite his failing health and advancing years, stuck by his story: He was telling the truth. Kirkup : First of all, I have -- I didn't kill her. I wouldn't kill anybody period. It's not in me. To tell you I did something I didn't do, is, to me is, not good, it's kind of insane. Their last hope now lay with his eldest daughter, Shana.
They showed her that box - the case against her father. The father she still believed in. Would she talk to him, they asked? She had a choice. And she said yes. Keith Morrison: Did you think that that was a time when he might actually be ready to tell the truth? Shana and the two detectives made their way back to Kirkup's motor home. And there in that tiny space, Shana faced the father she loved, and made her case.
Shana Thomas : Take this test and prove to me that you did not kill my mother. Shana Thomas : I'm the only one that's been there, not Susan, not Sherry. I'm the only one that's cared. Greg Myler: He needed to know that she was going to be there for him no matter what. Kirkup : Well, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of, you know, of all the questioning. Tired of going through what I've been through. Would it be the truth? Or would it be, at least, truth enough for the one daughter who seemed to love him? Shana's two sisters had spent nearly sixteen years trying in vain to get their father to say these words -- and with them the truth about their mother's disappearance.
It had taken Shana twenty minutes. Kirkup : She started a big fight with me. Kirkup : Yeah. And we struggled. And, I was just, I was trying to, you know, defend myself, I didn't want a shiv stuck in me. And, we struggled, and ended up back there in, on the floor in the bedroom. She was trying to stab me, and by the time it was over, she was lying there. He didn't have, uh, a pulse or anything, and that scared the hell out of me.
You'd have to say that was strangulation or whatever. Keith Morrison: Finally, somebody who cares about him walks into the room. The only person he had left in the world, and therefore, the only person to whom he was prepared to make his confession. Kirkup : I left that campground and took her somewhere, you know, I don't think I could even find it, and, uh, buried her. Kirkup : Yes, I wasn't just going to leave her lay there on the side of the road or something.
Sitting there, listening to her father describe the final moments of her mother's life, hearing him claim that he was really only defending himself, Shana felt reality slip beneath her.
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Keith Morrison: You can hear it in your voice when you're talking to him. You could hear how terrible it was for you. Because you did believe in him all those years, didn't you? Susan Waller: I had a picture of my mother in my arms. And I walked around the corner, and I just collapsed to the floor. Law enforcement finally had their confession.
But still, no body. Kirkup was unable to help them locate Janet's burial place in upstate New York which left prosecutors with only his version of events. Self defense. Not enough for a murder charge. Kirkup : And if it wasn't her, maybe it'd be me with a knife in me. I don't know, you know, it was self-defense. In September , Kirkup was charged with second degree manslaughter. He pleaded guilty. And the youngest, Susan, spoke at the sentencing.
And released the pent up anger of a lifetime. Susan Waller: I told him what an evil man he was. And I told him that he robbed me of sharing all of-- all of the things that a mother shares with her daughter. She wasn't there when I got married. She didn't get to see my beautiful daughters. Kirkup was sentenced to a term of years in prison. Because of his advanced age and failing health, few believe he'll live long enough to make parole. But Susan wants to be sure. Susan Waller: I will be at every parole hearing, and I will fight to make sure that he's, doesn't get of there.
She held a memorial service for her mother, invited her sisters to attend. Shana, despite her fractured relationship with her baby sister, was there. Shana Thomas : The memorial was beautiful, and I'm glad I did go. Susan Waller: sniffing I think it's gonna take some time. Robert Kirkup declined to be interviewed on camera. The box of documents did its work, solved the mystery, found justice - after 16 years - for janet kirkup. But not for her family.
Keith Morrison: He murdered something in everybody. In you too. Shana Thomas: I lost both of my parents. Both of 'em. My mother and my father, at the same time. Susan Waller: I'm never gonna give up looking, and trying to find out where my mother's remains are. And if it takes the rest of my life, I'll do it. Show more text. Show discussion. Dateline wires the home of a volunteer, Jenny, from top to bottom with hidden cameras. Then she called repairmen to her house for a simple problem we created as a test with Jenny's pool. NBC's Chris Hansen reports. Crime reports on Dateline NBC.
Secrets in the Box When a mom vanishes on a cross-country trip, a daughter suspects her dad Below: x Jump to text There it is, in a corner of the closet Dateline NBC. Keith Morrison: Were you a surprise? Keith Morrison: Huh. A good surpri-- Advertise. Discuss: Discussion comments.