Dateline   |  October 12, 2013

'Burning Suspicion' part 5

Vashti's siblings are suspicious of Brett's behavior and dispute his version of events.

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

>>> the vigil for vashti seacat was held across the street from her burned-out house.

>> her life was grounded innier love.

>> kathleen and rich were there, so was brett with his two sons. not easy for any of them. and true as vashti 's siblings knew, has a way of looking different depending who is doing the looking. which is why the minute rich found out something happened to his sister, he called the sheriff's office.

>> i said i don't care what you're being told, i don't care what you think you're seeing, i said you're dealing with a murder.

>> a murder. even as they grieved, kathleen and rich had become suspicious of brett . ever since brett called kathleen to tell her the news and phrased it in such an odd way.

>> he said vashti killed herself and then set house on fire . so how it was said to us was backwards. and just from conversations, her and i had had, i knew, i just -- i knew.

>> what did he sound like?

>> no emotion. very calm. no tears. no hysterics. just --

>> very matter of fact.

>> i'm hysterical. i'm not married to her and she's not the mother of my children and i'm hysterical. but he wasn't.

>> a week or so later, brett drove down to oklahoma to speak directly with kathleen and her husband.

>> and he had answers for everything. like why she did what she did. why she thought what she thought. it was like a script. answers for everything. where normal people would be confused. there was a picture of her that was a poster size picture on my fireplace, and i looked over at it and said she was such a good mother, and i broke down and he said, oh, i'm over that. i'm just kind of angry at her and ready to move on.

>> but they had to admit that brett 's social interactions had always been a little cold, sometimes inappropriate and his reaction to vashti 's death was not out of character.

>> he didn't like people. he more wanted to isolate my sister and have her all to himself. i almost felt like vashti and the children were more of a possession than --

>> they were his.

>> like your clan.

>> everybody stay away from my stuff.

>> yeah. so it was a different kind of love than maybe what i would define as love.

>> early on, at least according to her siblings, vashti questioned her decision to marry brett , wondering if she should stay in the marriage, that is until she found out she was pregnant with the first of her sons.

>> i do think brett treated her well while she was pregnant. he was very proud he was going to be having sons. and the seacat name was going to be, you know, pushed on. but several times in their marriage, it didn't feel right. i know she missed family. she wanted to reconnect with friend. she felt forced to not have the same friends. and that bothered her.

>> did it change the way she was or personality?

>> those boys were her life. so i think she was so focused --

>> focused and wrapped up in the children that she probably didn't notice it like we did from the outside.

>> by the fall of 2010 , said kathleen , vashti was miserable again. she was feeling depressed then and so she and brett started seeing a therapist together and alone. but things didn't get any better. and so in the spring of 2011 , vashti filed for a divorce.

>> this wasn't a spontaneous, i think i'll get divorced. and i know she had thought it through well enough.

>> she had had enough of him and told kathleen so.

>> she said he's a grandiose narcissist. it's not going to get better. it's not going to change.

>> but was vashti depressed as brett was saying? not anymore said kathleen and rich. they talked to her all the time they said. and though she was sad about the divorce, she was looking forward finally to a happier life. she felt liberated, they said. was excited about her job, was losing weight, starting new friendships and planning a vacation with you.

>> and april concert and a hawaii trip and a springfield trip and we had just gone shopping the week before, and the clothes were still in the bag at her house. in fact, she had so many things lined up for us to do that i was thinking i can't keep up with her.

>> so they didn't buy brett 's story at all.

>> she was not depressed. she was anything but.

>> the wednesday before vashti died when brett was served with the divorce papers , she spent that night with their sons at a friend's house and was going to stay there until friday when brett was supposed to be out of the house. that was the plan, said kathleen .

>> he got ahold of her on thursday and told her to come home, that she owed it to him to let him say goodbye to his kids. he told her he couldn't be out by friday, he had nowhere to go. his parents didn't even know they were contemplating divorce. he didn't have any friends to go stay with. he said he needed a few more days to get out. could she please come home and let him tell his boys goodbye and just talk. i begged her to not go and she said, kathleen , my only way out is to try to reason with him. she said i'm not a monster. i'm not a monster. he has nowhere else.

>> rich talked to vashti that friday about dinnertime.

>> the whole conversation was hey, sis, how are things going in light of the situation. everything she said was, well, brett 's having a really hard time with this. and brett 's really struggling with this.

>> it hurt her. it hurt her that he was so torn up.

>> less than 12 hours later, vashti was dead.

>> kathleen and rich told investigators that's the truth as they saw it. they were certain brett killed vashti , made it look like suicide and because he was a man who actually trained law enforcement officers --

>> you were worried because of his training, he would beat the system.