Dateline   |  January 24, 2014

'In the Dead of Night' part 1

After a night of drinking, a fatal gunshot rings out. Lee Radder is dead. Was it suicide or something else?

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

>> on the 29th of december 2010 , rob fischer kissed his wife goodbye, got into his car here in an upscale neighborhood in california and pointed east into the desert. phoenix bound.

>> it was a short trip just to kind of exchange presents.

>> narrator: she was once again a lucky man, rob fischer . it didn't seem like it when an injury ended his police career or when cancer claimed the love of lhis life. now his family law practice was thriving and his marriage was as happy as a marriage could be. and across the desert, hiss grandchildren were eager to see their pop pop.

>> they throw up their hands and scream papa and come and almost knock you over.

>> they were ecstatic to see him, they would run and jump into his a arms.

>> he would see his stepdaughter too of course.

>> i don't have any biological children, so that was my family.

>> narrator: he didn't know the future, of course. heart no little voice telling him, turn around, go home. no. but how life can change, in a moment.

>> 911, what's your emergency.

>> he shot himself . i don't get it. he shot himself .

>> okay, who shot himself ?

>> i don't know who he is.

>> narrator: so confusing these panicked hours before dawn that night in december, 2010 .

>> i was in too much of a state of shock to answer any questions.

>> i'm trying to remember as best i can, i don't remember what happened.

>> narrator: what happened here in the desert night, under a star speckled desert sky. rob fischer 's stepdaughter and son-in-law, the family he was headed to visit, had built a good and happy life here in arizona. belinda feel for lee radder when he was tending bar.

>> you either loved him or hated him. he was loud and large in some ways and, you know, his ego could fill a room. but so could his heart.

>> narrator: lee radder grew up in buffalo. this is his sister lisa.

>> what did you admire about him?

>> i think his ability to always see the glass half full. he was not a negative person. he was a self-made entrepreneur. barely graduated high school . started several companies.

>> sometimes it worked. sometimes it didn't.

>> if one wasn't going the way he liked it, he would try another angle with it.

>> he loved motor cross for example, so he launched a magazine about it, "mx rider" and when that and some other ideas didn't go so well --

>> it's always, well, i can always make more money. is kind of the way he lives his life.

>> narrator: when the recession hit, it was particularly bad for the radders.

>> we didn't do a lot planning wise to save up for a rainy day and there was a lot of rainy days coming in our future.

>> narrator: that's when lee turned for help to his father-in-law rob fischer .

>> he went from owning a very successful company to being bankrupt and needing money to rent an apartment.

>> belinda went to school and got her nursing degree while lee tried to support the family.

>> i'm going to find me a husband who can make a living or something. but i always interpreted it to be joking around.

>> narrator: everyone who knew lee was used to the roller coaster. the close friend and sometimes business associate eric lampole.

>> i have seen lee rich, rich, rich with a new jaguar to losing the house.

>> narrator: something came up in 2010 and it looked good.

>> we started the company called senecon where you could use computers to track gaming trends.

>> narrator: and lee began closing some deals to install and apply his software in their casinos.

>> we were on the verge of doing that and lee certainly knew it was going to happen in the new year.

>> narrator: but until that happy day could materialize, lee devoted himself to family.

>> i mean, he loved his family. he would be the one to tell the girls to pick up the phone and call their papa.

>> narrator: and now papa bearing presents was coming to visit.

>> he was just going to come and spoil the girls and have dinner and go home.

>> narrator: they had dinner out then went back to the house. lee poured the nightcap.

>> lee was a good host.

>> glasses never empty.

>> he liked to make sure that you had, you know -- that there was beverages there if you wanted to partake.

>> narrator: wine for belinda and vodka for the men. lots and lots of vodka.

>> they started drinking and the girls went to bed.

>> and one of them wound up dead?

>> one of them wound up dead.

>> narrator: then what happened? that's where it gets truly mysterious.