Dateline   |  June 08, 2013

‘A Sister’s Search’, Part 3

Aasha and her husband tell what they know to two LAPD detectives… and what the detectives hear is troubling.

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

>>> chris gable was working the homicide table that night at the lapd's hollywood station when the officer from the front desk walked aasha , jesse and their baby back to detectives.

>> we went back to the detectives, and we explained everything about lesley and about how worried we were. we didn't know what was going on.

>> reporter: lyle and lesley were both missing and unreachable. maybe they were together. maybe they weren't. maybe they were safe. and maybe they weren't.

>> my instincts are that there's something suspicious going on. i still don't know what it is. they could have both taken off. i don't know these people. they live a pretty isolated lifestyle, but from the thins that i found so far it seems suspicious. hospitals, coroner's offices and the highway patrol and came up with exactly nothing. he put out a bolo, be on the lookout for, asking police throughout southern california to look for lesley and lyle herring, and he brought cousin malcolm in to hear firsthand about lyle 's strange behavior. most of the family is telling you that the relationship between lyle and lesley is terrific?

>> yeah.

>> reporter: malcolm's the only one who sends up some sort of red flag ?

>> based on his conversations with lyle that previous days after she was missing, yes.

>> reporter: whatever had happened was beginning to feel like foul play. gable knew he had to move fast, and so at 3:00 a.m ., some 11 hours after first meeting aasha , gable and his partner vicky binumb were in the herring condo search warrant in hand. the apartment didn't appear to be a place where a murder had been committed.

>> it didn't, but the apartment was real telling to me about the two people that lived there. we didn't know much about them, but it was almost like an apartment divide. the part of the apartment that was lesley 's, for example, was very orderly and put together. then there was a room that was lyle 's. and it was just like a tornado had been through it.

>> reporter: but still, no sign of a struggle.

>> no.

>> reporter: no blood.

>> no visible blood. the only thing that caught my attention that night was there was a large amount of towels hanging over the showers of both bathrooms. i just made note of it, but i thought there was some sort of a flood or something that they sopped up.

>> reporter: inside the apartment, he also saw spilled candle wax . if the ocd intensive lesley had seen that, she'd have cleaned it up right away. so did it happen after she left? and gable and bynum found something else, a receipt from starbucks dated february 9th at 9:17 p.m . that was the first day lesley missed work. where did you find that receipt?

>> that receipt was found inside of a purse inside of lesley 's purse inside of her closet.

>> reporter: so presumably it was lesley who went to starbucks?

>> exactly.

>> reporter: it was 6:00 a.m . when they finished collecting their evidence and night turned to day in hollywood. and what had dawned on these detectives was this may not have been the happy home of a happy couple. a visit with aasha and lesley 's mother vivian gave them a glimpse behind the bright picture lesley had always painted.

>> that weekend lyle cooked some food and he put a certain spice in the food. when she asked him what spice he had in the food, he couldn't tell her.

>> reporter: vivian knew that certain spices strigerred lesley 's debilitating migraines, but vivian also knew and was the only one who did know, that this fight over spices was just a symptom of so much that was going wrong between mr. and mrs. lyle herring. things had not been good between your daughter and lyle ?

>> no, they had financial problems.

>> reporter: to say these were financial problems is to understate what had been happening. vivian said lesley had told her that lyle needed cash badly, so badly that he had committed identity theft against his own wife.

>> he forged her signature and took money from her credit cards .

>> reporter: and she found out about that?

>> yes.

>> reporter: and i'm guessing was pretty furious.

>> she was furious.

>> reporter: it turned out that for months lesley had been telling her mother she was nearing the end of her rope. vivian cautioned lesley not to tell lyle she was thinking of leaving him.

>> i said if you want to leave, you cannot let him know what your plans are. just leave.

>> reporter: so don't tell him the plans, don't leave a note.

>> no.

>> reporter: was this mother just trying to hold on to anything that might mean her missing daughter was still alive or did she know more than she was saying?