Dateline   |  October 12, 2013

'Burning Suspicion' part 4

Suicide or something else? Investigators search for evidence as Brett's brother reveals what he learned.

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

>>> the facts were stark, quite clear vashti seacat was dead a fatal bullet wound to the head. her house burned around her, her boys motherless, her husband a widower. now, the trick would be finding evidence for or against the story behind the apparent suicide brett seacat's story. which wasn't long in coming said the lead kbi agent.

>> in vashti 's purse they found a post-it note with a list of expenses.

>> indications of money that she needed in her life insurance .

>> the list included funeral expenses. and then they had a good look through vashti 's volkswagen and in her trunk they found printed material with coping with stress and anxiety, but more important, investigators discovered something the detective knew was key.

>> in the front driver's seat was a journal. as you open that book and go past some of the note she had written in reference to her children, kind of bookmarked with the stream that you usually find in those types of books was what appeared to be a note to her two children and to brett . and in that note, she's trying to explain, tell the children i love them and she'd tell her children to keep -- take care of each other and made the comment and brett , i took care of the house for you.

>> the note also said, she'd be watching over her sons from heaven. all those words on that page seemed pretty clear, it was a goodbye note. investigators also talked to vashti 's friend and family, colleagues at cox communications where she worked in human resources and others who knew her well. they said she had been going to a therapist for several months and losing a lot of weight recently and taking the hormonal supplement hcg. could it have affected her mood. brett 's half brother bobby was dumb struck and peppered him with questions.

>> none of it made sense to me. i said were there problems? he said yeah, she filed for divorce and he told me they had been going to a counselor, been going to to a counselor for six months. i said what would cause her to do this? i said i used the boys as a weapon. something i never should have done. if she tried taking custody of the boys, i would take the boys and runaway with them. and he was beating himself about that. i, of course, said probably half of all of the people that have kids involved in divorce have said something similar.

>> bobby was learning things about vashti he had never known, he said. like when brett told him before vashti died, she had been spending evenings out.

>> going out partying and dancing and drinking.

>> so where would the kid be when she did that?

>> with brett . i'm not saying that those kids didn't mean a lot to her. she was a wonderful person on the surface. and there was a different vashti that we were unaware of. it's upsetting to be made aware of it.

>> to brett , vashti 's going out was a sure sign she was sinking into depression. a pattern he had seen before. just as he told the investigators. and, again, bobby was shocked, didn't know a thing about it.

>> before this happened, i had never heard anything about her being suicidal. and that's why i have some disappointment in my half brother. i mean, if he felt the duty to protect her, i understand. but there are other people there to help you through this. in hind sight, i'm sure he wishes he would have shared these things.

>> one thing jumped back at bobby , the weekend before vashti died. she seemed sad and withdrawn sitting by herself in the house. while her young sons were hunting for easter eggs outside.

>> she was not typical vashti who was usually bubbly and talkative and it was unusual that an easter egg hunt occurred and she didn't even get off the couch and come outside.

>> bobby and his wife noticed. asked how she was doing.

>> all show told us that day is she didn't really like work and work was a struggle for her daily. she said i got into hr to give people a future and hope and i don't remember the last person i hired.

>> according to bobby , vashti said when she had to lay off employees, it was difficult for her. especially if she was close to them.

>> she said, if they're not your friends, they take the news and they leave. if they're your friend, they stay in your office and cry on your shoulder for an hour.

>> as brett filled in his half brother on everything, bobby came to understand that apparently the emotions of vashti 's job, the strain of her divorce, her depression and brett 's threat to take the kids from her proved too much and sadly, she took her life, leaving brett and the boys to go on somehow themselves.

>> i've gotten past anger towards her, now it's just -- it bothers me. there's just things i think in her life that derailed.

>> but to set the house on fire with her own little boys inside?

>> we're trying to assign rational thinking to someone i believe was getting ready to take their own live.

>> for brett 's family, it was starting to make sense. but for vashti 's family, it just made no sense at all.