Dateline   |  March 25, 2013

'The Fugitive', Part 4

FBI agents dig deeper into Jason Derek Brown's past, in an attempt tofigure out where he might be hiding. 

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> he became a ghost once he was aware that we were looking for him. and that's when he went off the grid.

>> as the f.b.i. ghost busters continue their search for brown , veteran agent lance lysing found himself perplexed by the apparent paradox that is in his suspect.

>> i've seen people desperate like this. they've risked 20 years of their life to rob a bank. this guy, though, jason , how he grew up, the opportunities he had in life to lead a good life and be prubloductive in society, i don't think i've ever seen anybody like this. if you're hunting a fugitive, you get to know them. you go back deep into their family history .

>> investigators believe that somewhere in brown 's family history , they would uncover some clue to his wrblts. whereabouts. they discovered their unlikely suspect grew up in the sunny affluence of orange county , california. raised on this block in lagna beach just down the street from his grandparents. brown graduated from laguna beach high school before attending college in idaho. and then he served two years as a mormon missionary in france where he became fluent in the language. and not long after he returned home, he married a fellow missionary in a temple ceremony in los angeles . he earned a master's degree in business administration . but somewhere on his path to a corporate corner office , brown 's marriage went south and his life took a sharp turn.

>> as investigators dug deeper into jason brown 's past, they found that by the time he had completed his nba, he had undergone a fundamental transformation. the eagle skout and former missionary had reinvented himself as a player. a party boy with a taste for speedboats, sports cars , pretty women and high-stakes gambling.

>> cops concluded that the roots of the mystery could be traced back to childhood and relationship to his father, john brown .

>> his father was described as going to tiauana to pick up large sums of money and come back. having some side jobs.

>> his father was a bit of a flimflam guy?

>> yes. the apple didn't fall too far from that tree with him and his son.

>> he learned from him. absolutely.

>> a man of mystery with a criminal record . brown , senior, was, like his boy, a gambler and player who spoiled jason .

>> had a silver spoon in his mouth. had money. he had the nice things. he had a father that taught him how to get those nice things maybe without a traditional job. there were other things in his past that lead us to believe that he followed the path of his father.

>> agent's suspicions were particularly heightened when brown 's father vanished in 19 9d 4, ten years before his fugitive son disappeared.

>> do you think there's a possibility that jason is hiding out with his father, john?

>> conspiracy theorists may believe that. i don't.

>> jason 's sister and brother declined to talk to "dateline." and investigators say they had been less than cooperative with them, as well. f.b.i. agents pressured david brown for information that might help them locate jason . but blood proved thicker than water . for instance, there was the matter of jason 's silver bmw.

>> david told us many times, i have no idea where it is. no idea where it is. ultimately, david , unbeknownst to us, traveled to las vegas , accessed one of jason 's storage units in las vegas and grabbed the bmw. not just to have it for himself, but also to completely clean it out.

>> david brown moved the vehicle to california and had it detailed. when the f.b.i. found out, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to the felony of making a false statement. he got three years probation.

>> how important would it have been to you in this investigation to get a good look at that bmw before david ?

>> extremely important. fingerprints, the dna, the hairs, anything could have been in that vehicle.

>> do you think his brother or any other family member knows more than they're letting on?

>> i think it's extremely dift difficult for somebody like jason -- anybody -- to go this long without ever communicating with friends or family.

>> undeterred, investigators burroed further. uncovering scam after scam their charming young fugitive had allegedly perpetrated. he excelled at buying thingings on credit.

>> from boats to cars and everything. never paid for them. walked on the lot and did the initial purchase and they never saw him again.

>> brown was also suspected of running a string of bogus businesses across the southwest. picture-perfect modelling was the name of his texas venture.

>> he had a modelling agency in austin, texas.

>> yes. he conned female coeds from the university of texas to do modelling shoots with them. he would take $5,000 from them and move on. total scam.

>> right.

>> jason even posed for some modelling photos of himself in austin. but how did a man suspected of running con games become the violent criminal cops allege he is?

>> for jason , i think it came down to his greed. his desire for money. his desire to be that millionaire. the life of the party . and how that desire extends to the point where you can kill somebody is something i'll never understand.

>> investigators might have been despairing of ever understanding jason brown . but they still had hopes of catching him. and the stakes were high.

>> on the surface, everything looks normal with this guy. but he is the portrait of a sociopath. and when he runs out of money, again, then what happens?

>> coming up, the suspected killer could easily be the guy next door. think you know your neighbor? she thought so.

>> he was generous. he'd help people out. he'd golf with some of the neighbor guys.

>> did you believe he was capable of doing something like that.

>> no.

>> when "dateline" continues. we replaced kate's smart phone with a smartphone from straight talk wireless. she'll get the same nationwide coverage for half the cost. let's see if she notices.