Dateline   |  June 28, 2013

'Suspicion,' Part 1

Kay Mortensen, a brilliant retired professor, a man who was prepared for just about anything finds himself in the most unimaginable situation. Dateline NBC’s Keith Morrison reports.

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

>> reporter: there are people on this glorious sun-kissed planet of ours who get up each morning to the miracle of being alive and worry. not that there aren't things to worry about, of course, whether or not be can do anything about them. some people worry a very great deal indeed and do try to be prepared for whatever. and one of the prepared people was a brilliant retired university professor named kay mortenson,sils sister named fern.

>> he wouldn't. but he was -- he was definitely willing to protect what he had.

>> reporter: yes, he certainly was. and sure enough one night --

>> 911, what's the address of your emergency?

>> reporter: but we are getting ahead of ourselves. what happened that night was a long time coming. it was long before that when kay became a survivalist with attitude.

>> he knew exactly what he thought about everything. and even though he knew what he was saying was going to be outrageous, not accepted, he -- he would say it anyway.

>> he had a black belt in karate. he owned scores of firearms. kem kept guns in every room of the house and in all of his cars. a fully stocked concrete bunker outside his home in payson , utah.

>> he had food, he had everything there. water, way to go to the bathroom. magazines. books to read.

>> kay was very clear about it with his wife darla . he said this is where you hand i are going to end up. there is going to be a nuclear war . i said i deon't want to live if everybody else was dying. he was a true patriot. he worried about things. he wanted to be prepared for the civil war that was going to erupt. he was a little over the top .

>> reporter: darla wasn't thrilled about it. but she accepted him and his radical views. after all they were still kind of in their honeymoon phase .

>> it was all kind of surreal. i think we both felt look we were back being teenagers again. so, because weep bot both really hadn't had love for quite a few years.

>> reporter: they found each other late in life after both had raised families. kay had three adult children by then. one of whom his eldest roger stayed close.

>> he was my best friend . we did everything together.

>> reporter: mind you, roger was not at all like kay . for one thing, he had suffered a brain injury in an accident years ago, so, unlike kay , he couldn't work much. lived on disability. but he looked to hang out with his dad.

>> we lived less than a mile apart because we did enjoy spending so much time together. if i ever needed help, he was, he would be there in a minute to help me.

>> reporter: although said roger 's wife, pam, it wasn't always easy. that any just the way kay was wired.

>> roger 's dad was a very strong-willed person. it was his way or the highway.

>> reporter: so roger learned army to shy away from confrontation with his father.

>> if he said something that roger maybe disagreed or wanted to do it a different way, roger would leave. he would come back. everything would be good again.

>> reporter: not at all how it was with his new love, darla . when she was around, they said, kay 's tough hide melted.

>> we knew then that he really loved her and that he was willing to compromise and do some things so he could make her happy also.

>> reporter: did it seem to kind of soften him up a bit?

>> yes, it did.

>> a lot.

>> reporter: so kay and darla got married.

>> married couple.

>> reporter: and they were as happy as either one of them had ever been.

>> he would say what else do we need to do? we are retired. we have plenty of money. we will just have fun.

>> reporter: kay was a rich man. made most of his money buying gold at $250 an ounce, said dar ra.

>> he just had the foresight. he was always, the dollar bill is not going to be worth anything.

>> reporter: he put his money into a trust so roger and his children would inherit everything once he was gone. heaven knows he wasn't spending it. worth millions, but --

>> he was very frugal. very frugal. i just, i used to say to him, like, he just, i said, when is it you are going to spend your money? what are you waiting for?

>> reporter: so kay promised darla he would travel with her, see the world . but he made sure his bunker was stocked. and he kept his guns close to hand, just in case. and then it was november 16th , 2009 . darla was away watching her granddaughters. kay was alone at his house in payson .

>> 911, what's the address of your emergency?

>> reporter: evening when the call came in.

>> i have help on the way, i just need to get some information. are you sure he its dead.

>> reporter: darla was on the way hope, her cell phone chirped. a neighbor.

>> he said something terrible happened up payson canyon. i think it is your house.

>> reporter: darla 's mind flashed to kay and his guns.

>> i thought, oh, my gosh he probably shot somebody an invader or someone.

>> reporter: she phoned a family friend, chris andress. something is going on. i am alone. i need to be with somebody. can you come down and be with me. chris rushed to meet darla . police blocked the road that led to the house. now darla and chris thought exactly the same thing.

>> he probably shot someone.