Dateline   |  June 08, 2013

‘A Sister’s Search’, Part 5

Detectives decide to hold a press conference.  It would go from informative to bizarre.

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

>>> lesley herring was still missing. she hadn't turned up dead or alive . now detectives turn to lesley 's family with a request, and it wasn't an easy one. that you and your mom all give police a dna sample.

>> mm-hmm.

>> reporter: now, you know that when police get to that point --

>> yeah.

>> reporter: they're probably not looking for a live person any more.

>> that was --

>> reporter: hard to do?

>> yeah. it's like you end up talking and dealing with all these morbid things, talking about finding bodies and where is she? what kind of ending did she have?

>> reporter: those were questions detective gable had, too. questions he wasn't close to answering. so 44 days after lesley went missing, the lapd held what started as press conference and ended as something quite different.

>> i thank you all for being here this morning.

>> reporter: gable 's hope that getting lesley 's story in the news might jog someone's memory in a way that would roll the investigation forward. aasha and her entire family were there. and so was lyle . did you think he was going to speak at the press conference?

>> he didn't want to speak.

>> i'd like to introduce lyle herring, the husband of lesley at this time.

>> our captain just went ahead and said the next person to speak is lyle herring. i think he had no choice at that point.

>> if lesley 's out there, please give us a call, let us know what's going on.

>> reporter: then it was aasha 's turn.

>> very unusual for her not to be in touch with her family. she's a creature of habit. and this is why her disappearance is so alarming to us.

>> reporter: for aasha , the actress, this day played out more strangely than any script she had ever followed.

>> the press conference was really difficult because it was the first time i was going to see lyle since it happened.

>> reporter: how did you not run up to him and start shaking him?

>> to me, approach everything with love. i didn't think shaking him was going to get an answer. you know, i hugged him like i always do when i see him.

>> reporter: but that didn't work either.

>> no.

>> she did not run away .

>> reporter: unlike his sister, aasha and lesley 's brother did not approach lyle with love.

>> i would like you, lyle , to tell me what's going on here because we came a long way to know what's going on. this is killing our family.

>> reporter: through it all stood lyle herring, either a husband worried about his wife or a killer worried about being caught.

>> i'm the lead investigator for this case.

>> reporter: when detective gable began to speak, a reporter asked if lyle was being helpful in the search for his missing wife.

>> has he been cooperative?

>> reporter: i would describe his cooperation as fragmented and less than helpful.

>> reporter: at one point reporters asked detective gable is lyle cooperating? and with lyle standing right there detective gable says, not really.

>> i was, you know, just floored by what was happening.

>> reporter: and gable wasn't done laying out the inconsistencies in lyle 's story to an audience of eager listeners that included lyle .

>> he left the condominium on tuesday, the following tuesday and went down to san diego to apply for a job at some colleges down there. following that, he went down to mexico for a day.

>> reporter: then reporters turned on lyle .

>> less than cooperative? those are some rather charged statements.

>> reporter: lyle told gable he did not want to answer.

>> i need an opportunity to speak.

>> reporter: and lyle took it.

>> we will be taking things out of context. okay? i had an opportunity to take a trip -- we've had an opportunity to take a trip to mexico to celebrate for valentine's day. i went down there to look for her. look for all the places that i thought she would be. that's one of the places that we had planned to go, okay? so for you -- for detective gable to take out of context and throw that out there arbitrarily, he went to mexico , yes, to look for my wife.

>> reporter: but gable had never believed that lyle went to mexico to look for lesley .

>> it's obvious he's lying and i can see he's lying.

>> reporter: seeing through lyle 's lies was one thing, but what gable really needed was a break. i kind of get the feeling that what you were hoping for with that press conference was not somebody who had seen lesley alive but maybe somebody who had seen lyle in the process of moving or disposing of her body?

>> yes, that's what i was hoping for.

>> reporter: somebody you maybe hadn't talked to before?

>> correct.

>> reporter: and it paid off.

>> it paid off immediately.

>> reporter: thank you very much for coming down.