Dateline   |  July 12, 2013

'A Cold December Morning,' Part 3

Detectives investigating the murder of Chanin Starbuck discover her cell phone and begin to wonder, could this be the clue to finding her killer?

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

>> narrator: if there is such a death, then certainly someone in a manner to bring disrespect to her.

>> and now shannon starbuck was not blessedly wonder embarrassment, her family and friends were not.

>> just the way it ended, she did not deserve that at all. she did not deserve that, whatsoever.

>> and that she was found that way, you know? awful and embarrassing for her. it makes me mad.

>> narrator: who could be so cruel? well, of course, it's the homicide detectives ' job to figure that out.

>> it could mean many things, it could mean somebody very close to her that was very upset and angry with her, or it could mean somebody else.

>> narrator: the investigation began the very day shannon 's body was found. and as luck would have it, mon those just beyond the yellow police tape that night was a man that police surely would have looked up sooner or later , didn't have to. shannon 's ex-husband clay was clearly looking for them. what was going on, he wanted to know? his ex-wife was missing, was she okay?

>> he was asking to talk to the lead detective, he wanted some answers.

>> narrator: first responders at the scene wouldn't tell him what was found inside the house, not even that shannon was dead. an ex-husband after all is no longer next of kin. he went down to the police station and met the detective.

>> i said we need to have a chat. he said well your jacket says major crimes, what's going on? nobody will tell me anything.

>> narrator: the detective broke the news, waited for him to collect himself and then.

>> i asked him very simple things , tell me something about shannon 's history, was she on medication? does she have any enemies? and what i ask anybody in that situation, is what do you think happened?

>> he asked me, do you know anybody that would want to harm her? do you know when she was last seen? when were you over there? when did you see her last? do you have any idea of these things?

>> narrator: clay told the detective he knew his wife had been dating again. in fact he was pretty sure that shannon had a profile on a website that caters to more among singles.

>> the last i knew there was an lds planet website, i don't have any idea who she was seeing, you would have to talk to someone else .

>> narrator: they would talk to plenty of others, this was just day one of the investigation. and in a case like this, the exhimseex himself would have to be checksed out. but now the detective had no more questions for clay starbuck .

>> narrator: but even as he left the station, detectiveses recall, clay starbuck seemed willing to help.

>> he said look at her phone and her computer, it will tell you you what you need to know .

>> shannon 's computer and cell phone was right there in the bedroom.

>> it was sitting on a table that was right next to her bed. right next to her body.

>> like she had just been using it?

>> we wanted to look at the contrcell phone right away because it would tell us who she was in touch with last.

>> narrator: there was a text message saying she had car trouble, asking clay to take the kids to school. and then there was some exchanges about who would pick them up. not terribly interesting stuff. but that wasn't all they found on shannon starbuck 's phone. and the what else that was there, was very interesting.

>> she had had communications with at least two other men. it appeared that she was planning on meeting with one or two of them.

>> now that got the detectives' attention.

>> narrator: and then it fairly jumped at them, a particular text, a request, a very specific, very explicit one.

>> there was a text message that was to shannon asking her to pose a specific way.

>> narrator: the hair rose on ricket's neck, that was almost the way the killer posed shan