Dateline   |  September 20, 2013

'The Officer's Wife' part 4

The detective learns that Tera Chavez had a secret - and that secret leads him to two potential suspects.

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

>>> the more detective aaron jones looked at the scene where tera chavez died, the more questions he had. then he says a light bulb went off, something that seemed like the key to the case. jones says when he found the gun next to tera, the magazine with the bullets wasn't locked in place, it had been partially released, suggesting what?

>> suggesting the scene was tampered with.

>> so someone uses the gun to shoot tera,recycles, and what, they accidentally release the magazine?

>> that's what i believe, yeah.

>> if tera didn't shoot herself, then who shot her? now jones would have to delve into tera's life and relationships and soon jones learned that tera had a secret.

>> she had met another man.

>> yes.

>> jones heard from melanie and others that tera and her husband had been growing apart for years. and three months before she died tera stepped over a line. his name was nick wheeler . like levi , he was another handsome police officer in the albuquerque pd. nick would get his haircut by tera every thursday and sparks flew.

>> what drew tera to this guy, to nick?

>> his personality. he treated her great. another guy that comes in and is nice to her and shows her attention and treats her good.

>> and you get the recipe for an affa affair?

>> exactly.

>> but there was a problem. tera was married to levi , and nick.

>> he was married to a friend of ours.

>> of yours and tera's?

>> yes, it is a big triangle, messy triangle.

>> now that big, messy triangle was suddenly part of detective aaron jones ' investigation and a tricky one. jones and nick wheeler had been friends.

>> back in like 2005 we had worked together in the field. he was a very likeable guy.

>> but jones said he couldn't let that get in the way of his investigation. he was going to take a long, hard look at his friend and he remembered something that now seemed suspicious. the night tera was found nick had called him digging for information.

>> probably within an hour of me getting on the scene, i started getting texts and phone calls from him.

>> nick wants to know what.

>> wasn't sure at first, he was just asking questions about what was going on, if i knew anything.

>> was nick concerned about keeping his affair with tera under wraps or something else? melanie told the detective that tera had broken things off with nick before she died and told melanie that it had not ended well.

>> she just told him it is not right, you know, we're both married, what we're doing is not a good thing.

>> her conscience?

>> uh-huh. he didn't want to let her go.

>> i don't think so.

>> now jones thought nick could be a potential suspect. he and another detective visited nick's home and didn't tell him the conversation was being recorded. nick quickly admitted the affair. his wife samantha was right there to hear all of it.

>> there's going to be things you hear. this is your husband, this is your wife.

>> tell me. tell me.

>> detective jones found himself witnessing the kind of domestic argument that investigators usually hear about after the fact.

>> how many times did you sleep with her?

>> well she kissed me.

>> how many times did you kiss her back? why didn't you just leave me?

>> then samantha said something that surprised jones . she had known all about the affair because tera had confessed and apologized.

>> i told her, i said tera i am not saying anything until nick tells me, that's his responsibility as my husband.

>> what did she say.

>> she said she wanted --

>> if you believe that, the two women in this love triangle made peace, if you believe that.

>> did you think it was possible that nick wheeler or his wife killed tera?

>> absolutely.

>> let me ask you a question, did you kill her?

>> i really loved her, really i did.

>> that left one more question about the man in the middle, nick. where was he that weekend tera died?

>> he was her alibi, she was his?

>> pretty much.

>> and that doesn't necessarily mean anybody is lying, sometimes that's the way it works out.

>> it is because they were a couple, and i knew from experience with them they spent a lot of time either with friends or family or with themselves at home.

>> the investigator says he didn't dismiss the wheelers as potential suspects but he had no evidence to link them to tera's death, so jones started focusing on the man any detective would need to look at, tera's husband levi . and jones says there was plenty to examine.

>> their whole relationship seemed like it was just a roller coaster.