Dateline   |  November 20, 2013

'Secrets in Seattle' part 4

Investigators delve into the relationship between Nicole and David Pietz, and uncover strains in their marriage.

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

>>> at the latest gym, where david pietz worked, co-workers like troy wagman understand full well why david looked so rough. still, it was a hard thing to witness.

>> he looked very bad. he looked like he hadn't slept, lost weight, dark circles under his eyes and he seemed a little bit more sad.

>> while david pietz slowly got back to work after taking time off to mourn his lost wife, detectives intent on solving her murder began interviewing people from the gym world who knew the couple. starting at the facility where nici and dave had first met.

>> bally's was the type of the place were most of the rumors weren't really rumors. they were true.

>> staff members agreed that dave , the alpha dog of the sales department, and nici , the nice girl, were a hopeless mismatch.

>> the more nici liked him, the more i knew she shouldn't.

>> what dave saw in nici , according to some co-workers, was a cynical way to climb the corporate ladder. nici was everyone's favorite, and their boss in particular loved her like family, as cj brady saw it.

>> nici and our supervisor were very close. almost like a father/daughter relationship. and that is why i think he dated nici , from the start. i don't think there ever was an attraction there.

>> but if he was chilly about his wife, he was super heated about some of the female gym members and his co-workers.

>> dave chased women inside the club, outside the club, onside the club, on top of the club.

>> detectives found the tales about david pietz' roving eye intriguing, but hardly damning.

>> i guess to describe it in current terminology, he thought he was somewhat of a player.

>> did it make him a killer?

>> didn't make him a killer, no.

>> but david pietz's behavior towards women at the gym, did get him fired, detectives learned. several female co-workers filed sexual harassment complaints against him with bally's management, including jackie morales.

>> david was very verbal when it came to his comments. what looks better on jackie today, her legs, her butt, or breasts. i finally got the courage to go to the boss.

>> after getting booted from bally's, david moved on to a job at 24-hour fitness, where troy kagman remembers david talking about how he and his wife nici wanted to invite others into their sex life .

>> more than once, he would approach me and ask me what i thought about three-ways in a relationship. and he and nici were exploring the idea of swingers' clubs.

>> nici 's good friends knew it differently.

>> she was very appalled at that idea.

>> she was like absolutely not.

>> a wobbly marriage, a hound dog husband, straining at the leash. the circumstantial smoke was getting thicker for investigators.

>> it was very apparent to me that, you know, he was leading an alternate lifestyle.

>> what i'm not hearing, captain, is motivation.

>> that was a concern for all of us, too.

>> maybe the husband did it. but then again, maybe he didn't. as weeks became months, the solid proof, the hard evidence that the investigation needed, just didn't fall into place . an investigation hitting a brick wall . devastating news for nici 's family, by now convinced of david 's guilt.

>> when you were out in the emotional wilderness, gayle, '07, '08, '09, what was your lowest moment?

>> oh, there were so many low ones. i didn't want to live. just cried my head off every day, and -- just didn't want to live.

>> nici 's mother marked the passage of time by making public pleas to find the killer.

>> it has been 839 days since my beloved nicole was murdered.

>> years went by. david pietz quietly left the fitness industry for a position at chase bank . he started attending church. fellow church member, kim can adams, says she got to know a dave who was very different from the heartless philanderer described by nici 's friends and family. the dave kim knew was a forlorned widower who spoke fondly about his lost wife.

>> when he would speak of her, i could see a sadness in him. we would have conversations about, you know, he was struggling, because he missed her.

>> meanwhile, at the county sheriff 's office, the three-ring binders that made up the pietz file moved from desk to desk, until in 2010 , they were picked up by two cold case cops, jake and mike mellis. each was determined to apply some heat.

>> i called gayle up and said i've got this case now and it's my intent to be the last detective to have this case.

>> they laid out the entire investigation, and then homed in on day one. that saturday morning nici pietz presumably left the condo she shared with dave and headed out to her special aa meeting. to the cold case detectives' fresh eyes, a few key pieces of evidence from that morning jumped out. common sense stuff, really. like nici 's wedding ring . a photo taken in 2006 showed it in nici 's bathroom near the jewelry cleaner she kept it in overnight.

>> and here's the wedding rings left on the counter. and she was proud of the rings, according to all of the family, and here she is going to this big meeting the next morning, but she is going to go and not take her rings with her?

>> another red flag , this from the autopsy report. nici 's body had been recovered with her retainer still in her mouth. why did it seem odd you found the body with the retainer?

>> again, that's something people typically wear when they go to bed. she was in the habit of wearing at night, but no place else.

>> the wedding ring left on the bathroom counter. the clunky retainer still in her mouth, added up, concluded the detectives, and you had a wife who never left the condo for that meeting saturday morning. one who never made it through the night alive, and the only person known to be with nicole pietz that night, her husband, david pietz.

>> when you look at each piece of evidence and figure out how does it relate to everything else, lo and behold, we've got our picture at the end.

>> six years after nicole pietz was reported mitssing, her husband david was arrested and charged with second degree murder in connection with her death.