Dateline   |  September 27, 2013

Toxic, Part 5

Detective Sgt Mike Quinn takes over the investigation and soon discovers some troubling stories about Matt’s fiancé, Holly McFeeture.

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

>> narrator: three years after matt podalak died of anti-freeze poisoning, holly 's family suspected somebody at work had it out for him. but mark and his family were looking close to home . let's put it this way. the two sides of the family weren't talking anymore. an already existing mistrust ramped up that night in the hospital years before when matt was in the icu. that's when matt's brother mark began to wonder if holly was in some way responsible for matt's mystery illness.

>> my mom and i had a conversation, i remember it. you don't think she could have did this to him, do you? and we were kind of like, i don't know, may be. but at the time, we didn't know why he passed.

>> narrator: and then there was a funeral. holly 's family said she was very upset, cried in the car before she went in. but when quinn read the old case file, she found a curious statement from holly 's friend rebecca vega.

>> she was back and forth talking to different individuals, almost like a flirtatious, that intoxicating friendliness that she had, as if her fiance wasn't laying there in front of everyone.

>> was she talking to men or women or --

>> mostly men.

>> flirtatiously?

>> narrator: that's how she was, her family says, friendly, magnetic, even, but didn't stay that way for long. later, mark told them, holly became controlling and demanding.

>> did he everybody explain about his relationship?

>> of course he did. she's nagging at me, she's yelling at me. she's calling me all the time. she's doing all this stuff. there were some incidents that happened. times that they had to have the police show up.

>> narrator: matt's protective big brother called it down right nasty.

>> he was afraid he wouldn't see his kids if they were apart.

>> narrator: now he was dead and his family was raw with suspicion. when they went to collect some of matt's personal effects, like his computer, they told sergeant quinn , holly told them that she no longer had it, the hard drive was being fixed. which sounded suspicious to the detective.

>> was she destroying evidence?

>> that's what people do when they have a computer that may be connected with a crime, they're going to get rid of it.

>> narrator: according to them, matt sa holly said to them that matt wanted to be cremated. an idea, matt's family quickly shot down. but still, why would she have said that? when asked for his clothes and other effects, she said that she had already gotten rid of them. it was as if she wanted to erase malt from her life.

>> was there anything left of him at all in her house?

>> not much.

>> narrator: then there was the big deal about the money. the big was --

>> she went to the atm machine and used his card. two days after his death, she cleaned out the bank account and left one penny yes it.

>> what did that say to you?

>> obviously a huge red flag .

>> it was a measure of suspicion, a broken trust, that malt's brother in charge of the estate reported it to the police. holly was arrested and charged with theft and three counts of forgesry. she agreed to make restitution and put on probation for a year. in return, prosecutors dropped the charges.

>> she was given a first-time offender's program, so she didn't do any jail time.

>> narrator: matt's 401(k) amounted to just over $15,000. but here's what made matt's brother mark suspicious.

>> my brother was talking about removing her from a life insurance policy, removing her as a beneficiary of the policies and the 401(k) and that's how serious it was gettin getting.

>> narrator: and so when holly asked for that amount of insurance, it confirmed to mark what he had been thinking from the beginning.

>> in my mind, there was nobody else , there was no other way that it could have happened. none.

>> so the first reaction is shock, what's the second reaction?

>> anger. and then sadness. how dare anybody do that to my little brother , how dare they?

>> really, $10,000 in life insurance , a motive for murdering the father of your children?

>> what did you think when you heard that, that was a very serious allegation, wasn't it?

>> i thought it was ridiculous that somebody would actually think that.

>> narrator: oh, yes, holly and her family heard all the whispers, they heard all the podalak's suspicions. did she steal the money are the bank account for example?

>> did she know she was stealing?

>> no, absolutely not. she was thinking that she had take cave of her children and his. what else was she supposed to do?

>> narrator: as for getting rid of his stuff, erasing him from her life?

>> that's not true. in fact she still has a lot of matt's shirts that she actually wears.

>> narrator: quietly, four years after matt's death, sergeant quinn collected the stories he heard. but there was one story he hadn't heard, nobody had. holly 's story.