Dateline   |  September 20, 2013

'The Officer's Wife' part 1

Police officer Levi Chavez and his wife Tera live in suburban Albuquerque, New Mexico.  After mysterious incidents at their house, Levi comes home to find a horrific scene in their bedroom.

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

>> officer is full of danger and stress.

>> they have rough days at work and they end upholdi holding it in.

>> they're our first responders.

>> it is hard work.

>> you never know what you'll end up with.

>> our story is about what happened when a first responder had to face a crisis in his own home. a cop pleading for help from his fellow men and women in blue.

>> please tell them to hurry.

>> in one moment a family was shattered.

>> it was like disbelief, a surreal moment.

>> and over time , an entire community's secrets will be revealed.

>> i laid there and cried. it doesn't make sense.

>> it starts here in the village of los lunas , new mexico, 25 miles south of albuquerque. tera chavez grew up in a loving family with her twin brother josh and younger brother aaron. joseph and theresa cordova are the parents.

>> a girly girl , very loving.

>> she always was working with drawings and poetry, always writing.

>> melody gonzales was tera's best friend growing up.

>> she was amazing. she was shy. i know a lot of times in school people thought that she came off kind of stuck up.

>> but that wasn't her?

>> not at all.

>> then one day at summer camp that shy girl met the handsome boy that would change her life in so many ways, levi chavez.

>> how did she talk about him?

>> she loved him. it didn't take very long before she fell hard for him. he was charming towards her, and she thought he was gorgeous.

>> tera was quiet and artistic. levi was a guy's guy who loved basketball and boxing. their love bloomed in the new mexico desert. tera got pregnant while they were still in high school and they got married just before her graduation.

>> he was happy about it. scared as well, just like she was. something that they, neither one of them expected, it just happened.

>> every time we would see them, they were happy.

>> michael romero is levi 's uncle, as town magistrate he performed the ceremony.

>> on that wedding day, the whole family was there?

>> yes, our family was there, it was a joyous occasion. they were a lovely couple.

>> together they dreamt of the life they'd have. tera worked as a hairstylist but had bigger goals.

>> she was really wanting to start her own business.

>> her own business meaning her own salon?

>> yes, so she approached me. i'm all for it. i'll be a silent partner , although she did laugh at me because dad, you're not silent.

>> levi worked long hours as an officer with the albuquerque police department . it was his dream job . in levi 's world, police work was known as the family business .

>> his grandfather from his father's side was a police officer and he has four or five uncles that are police officers , and i am an ex- police officer myself.

>> he was a natural police officer ?

>> he was natural.

>> by 2007 , they were raising two children, andrea and little levi . and had settled into a new house in los lunas . but while levi was out fighting crime in the big city , tera was finding out that life in the suburbs wasn't entirely crime free. tera's brother aaron.

>> she called me and told us i think somebody tried to break in my house. so we immediately, let's go to the house. we checked and the door did look like somebody messed with it a little bit.

>> whoever did that didn't steal anything but it put levi and tera on alert. he said he suggested she keep a gun in the home.

>> in general, they have a high crime rate, they tend to have a lot of break-ins in that area.

>> and levi and tera were about to experience it firsthand. levi had recently bought an expensive new truck. late one night, tera was home alone , heard their dog bark, she looked outside and the truck was gone.

>> she said hey, guess what, levi 's truck got stolen. i was like well, what happened, are you okay? is levi home? she said no, he was at work last night.

>> that made melanie worry. and it turned out there was plenty to worry about. two weeks later on a sunday the kids were away visiting levi 's dad. levi himself had a pretty quiet weekend on patrol. but when he stopped to check on tera and saw what was in front of him, this police officer found himself on the other end of an anguished call to 911.