Dateline   |  January 24, 2014

'In the Dead of Night' part 3

Detectives want answers, and turn to Rob Fischer, the other adult in the house that night. Only, he can't remember much. 

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

>> narrator: the death of lee radder apparently by suicide was a heart break of course. made worse, said lee's wife belinda when the cops got tough with her during that long dismal morning.

>> i was freezing cold in a room, i'm in shock, i'm shaking, i asked for a blanket numerous times, i asked for water numerous times. i asked to go to the bathroom numerous times and wasn't allowed anything like that.

>> narrator: but the detective needed answers, and he turned the same focused attention toward rob fischer.

>> the father of my grandchildren, the husband of my stepdaughter and a friend to me.

>> narrator: rob was still in his pajamas when the detective ushered him into the interview room. he was just beginning to sober up after that night of drinking with his now deceased son-in-law.

>> can you tell me what happened?

>> lee and belinda and i were talking like we always go. everybody went to bed and i heard a popping sound. came out and saw somebody laying on the ground.

>> what condition was he in when you talked to him?

>> he was intox caugicatentoxicated. he wasn't fall down, stupid drunk. i was carrying on a conversation with him.

>> he said he was in the bedroom. then he said he heard the shot, saw the body and in his confused state.

>> i didn't know it was lee. i didn't know who it was.

>> did that seem strange to you? didn't recognize that person?

>> somewhat.

>> narrator: and the gun, the detective wondered, where did that come from? well, said rob, it was his gun. one which as an ex-cop, he always carried.

>> how much do you beat yourself up that you allowed yourself to take that gun into their home?

>> it was my normal practice. do i wish on that one particular trip i wouldn't have? of course.

>> narrator: how did rob's gun get from a holster in the guest room into lee's hand? good question. rob couldn't seem to answer it.

>> mike, i was really drinking and i don't remember a lot. i'm not even sure it was lee. we drank two bottles of vodka. who knows?

>> narrator: hard to know what to believe. except remember that first cop on the scene? sergeant lafco? he was stone cold sober of course and what he saw didn't look right, not to him.

>> i keyed in on the gun that was in his right hand. argument it just didn't look like, it looked like it was placed there.

>> narrator: the detective pushed rob for answers.

>> it doesn't look like he committed suicide . and that's why i'm turning to you to help fill in some of the voids.

>> wish i could.

>> narrator: thing is, wasn't just the gun in lee's hand the officers noticed. it looked to them like somebody moved things around, particularly the body.

>> somebody moved him. what do you feel happened?

>> i don't believe i shot him. i would never shoot him. i loved him. we have never fought. we hadn't fought. i'm trying to remember as best i can. you know, i will say i don't remember everything. and it is -- it's -- and that's maddening in and of itself.

>> by the end of the interviews with both belinda and with rob. what were you thinking about their stories, taken collectively? were there questions?

>> absolutely. i didn't know what it was dealing with.

>> right.

>> narrator: but for all the immediate suspicion, the police investigate didn't seem to go anywhere. rob went back to his wife and his law practice in california. belinda tried to learn how to be a widow and single mother . but lee's mother and siblings up in buffalo, they felt starved for information, they wanted answers. so lisa tried to play amateur detective, wondered if there was evidence she could get their hands on.

>> i have seen it on tv whatever there's an accident, people call 911, and i was like how did they get that? so i called and asked if i could have a copy of it.

>> narrator: what she heard on that recording was very odd.

>> 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. he's like my wife's cousin.

>> narrator: to lee's mom, the 911 call was shocking.

>> it doesn't make sense to me. i mean if you've known a guy for 12 years, you certainly knew who it was that was laying there.

>> do you know how old he is?

>> he looks -- no, u i don't know his age, but i'm looking at him.

>> narrator: and the voice they thought they hear but didn't was belinda 's.

>> i don't have a frantic wife in the background screaming oh, my god, my husband's dead.

>> why didn't belinda doing cpr on my brother? she's a nurse.

>> narrator: so lee's family drew the only conclusion that made sense to them.

>> do you have any firm ideas about what happened to your son.

>> somebody killed him.

>> beyond that?

>> there were only two adults in the house besides him.

>> narrator: but a case to be made for murder? maybe. maybe not. go by and it seems like the case has stalled. then it takes a major turn.