Dateline   |  September 20, 2013

'The Officer's Wife' part 2

Levi Chavez comes home to find his wife Tera shot to death in their bed.  Investigators quickly determine Tera killed herself.

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

>>> it was a blus tery october neither over the sandia mountains . albuquerque police officer levi chavez called 911 from his own home.

>> please.

>> he told please he found his wife lying in a pool of blood in their bed. in a panic, levi begged for help.

>> okay, sir, on the way. levi , is it going to be easier for you to go to another room?

>> i can't leave her alone.

>> okay.

>> oh, my god.

>> aaron jones was a detective with the sheriff's department in suburban los lunas .

>> when i received a call from the sergeant saying there had been a police officer 's wife that had been shot.

>> it was just after 9:00 p.m . when jones got to the chavez home.

>> it was disturbing. i mean, it was a young handsome police officer , a young, beautiful wife.

>> jones saw tera lying on the bed with a gunshot wound to her head, and he found this glock 17 by her body. it was the same gun levi said he had given her for protection.

>> it was his service weapon?

>> it was his service weapon.

>> that he left at home?

>> yes.

>> and beside the bed on the night stand there was a three word note. i'm sorry, levi . jones quickly determined tera hadn't been a victim of crime but had turned the gun on herself. she was only 26.

>> we do have a lot of suicide out there unfortunately, valencia county has a high right of suicide, it is not uncommon. what was uncommon was the fact it was a police officer 's wife.

>> within minutes members of levi 's own police department in neighboring albuquerque came over to the house to offer levi support as the news of tera's death spread, one officer's wife called tera's best friend , melanie. she just came out and said it, mel, tera is dead, and it took me a minute to process it, and i was like what do you mean? i don't understand.

>> at the scene police saw an inconsolable husband.

>> kept referring to himself as a piece of crap and other things, that he should have been a better husband and should have just been with her.

>> jones , the local detective took a statement from levi , the big city cop who bared his soul.

>> for the rest of my life, i will negative be able to move on.

>> he blamed himself for tera's suicide. his wife prone to drama and depression, he said, but at times he didn't take it seriously. now it was too late.

>> the detective did his best to bring a weak levi under control.

>> whatever is going on right now, take a deep breath.

>> you're trying to make this guy feel better.

>> i am. i was concerned possibly sympathy and empathy -- that he may hurt himself.

>> tera the writer kept a journal tucked under her mattress.

>> parts of it were very dark, described a young woman that was having some dark times in her life.

>> tera had laid bare the depth of her despair, writing sometimes i want to just disappear, and i'm depressed. i want to fall off the face of the earth.

>> every day i feel my time and work, kids and endlessly trying to make my marriage work, i am getting nowhere, i never do. that sounds like depression to me.

>> classic depression.

>> and police found another page of writing that sounded desperate, torn up and buried in the trash can. and levi showed detective jones something else.

>> a text.

>> a text he received from tera earlier that day. says i am afraid i am going to hurt myself. i am so, s-o-o-o upset.

>> they were wrapping up work at the chavez house and went to tera's parents' home to break the news.

>> he introduced the deputy and chaplain, he said it's about your daughter. so i'm already feeling weak.

>> what did you think?

>> i thought there was a terrible traffic accident. i never, never thought to hear otherwise.

>> i asked him what happened and aaron jones said it's an apparent suicide .

>> possibly the most painful news a family can ever hear, but the cordovas weren't prepared to accept it and felt a deep conviction no one outside the family saw coming.

>> when you hear suicide.

>> no way. no. no way.

>> that girl loved those children and i knew right then and there she would not