Dateline   |  April 19, 2014

The Beauty and the Beast Mystery, Part 1

Lisa and Scott Pattison marry on a fairy tale day and build a life together in central Indiana. But one day in July 2009, their marriage comes to a horrifying end as Scott races his gravely injured wife to the hospital, calling 911. Dennis Murphy reports.

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

>> the images are fuzzy. but anyone there remembers it vividly. the bride all in white and the groom, he's the dance partner in the goofy beast costume. kind of a strange way to begin a marriage some guests murmured. but it was a union that would end strangely. last dance still more than ten years away at that point. lisa , the bride, of course, had no idea what was in store for the two of them. she glided about with her signature 50,000 watt smile.

>> you can't fake a smile like that. i mean, that was just her.

>> lisa had been a single mom raising her small son when she joined her sister at a ft. wayne, indiana, dance club . a bodybuilder guy small talked her and flipped her his business card before lisa called it a night. in the car going home , lisa pulled out the business card and showed it to her sister christine.

>> it said, jean claude van dam look alike .

>> you're kidding?

>> i said, you're not going to call that guy, are you?

>> but she remembered him, hadn't she?

>> not only remembered but was soon dating and being pursued by the guy from the club. who turned out to be scott pattison who worked in construction. within a year, they were married. lisa 's mom, lucy rich.

>> she came in on a white carriage horse. very beautiful. she was so happy that day.

>> i'm scott pattison . i'm the groom here. this is my wife.

>> as you left the wedding that night, lucy , how did you feel about your daughter?

>> i was happy for her.

>> the newlyweds set up housekeeping in central indiana. he eventually became a self-employed roofing contractor and she the go-getter marketing manager at a local mall. her son dillon from a previous relationship grew to call scott "dad."

>> growing up i didn't really have a fatherly figure. i slowly and surely called him dad.

>> and 13 years on, all were living a comfortable life together in a nice, big house with acreage out in the country. there were vacations in the caribbean, soaking in hot tubs, snorkeling with the stingrays, island hopping . scott liked that people thought of him as a good-time guy, mr. big.

>> if you knew scott , then you would know that he wanted everything to be the biggest and the best.

>> and he kept up on his fitness regimen. the former bodybuilder didn't want to slide into flab. he kept onto lisa to stay in shape with him. her best friend from the mall a woman named leah frazier, became lisa 's workout buddy.

>> lisa was always conscious about what she was eating, how she was exercising. she would do aerobics. she would do the stair-stepper.

>> scott installed a few pieces of gym equipment in the basement of the house, a treadmill, tanning bed and a weight machine . it was there that something catastrophic had happened on the morning of july 2, 2009 . and now scott was in his truck racing for help, calling 911.

>> 911. what's your emergency?

>> yes. my wife has had an accident at home.

>> as scott sped through summer cornfields his wife lisa was in the back of the cab in very bad shape as he told the dispatcher.

>> i need an escort or something to get to the hospital quicker.

>> okay. what kind of accident has she had?

>> she -- i found her in the workout room with bars on top of her.

>> scott would say later he had gone downstairs just before noon and found his wife straddled face up on the exercise bench with the barbell weight crushing her throat.

>> she's blue, not breathing. nothing.

>> paramedics intercepted scott 's truck minutes from the hospital. a police car followed behind, dash cam rolling. doctors could not revive her and at the age of 36 lisa pattison was gone. how could any of the friends and family adjust to vibrant lisa with that smile just being a memory now.

>> always in good spirits. she was always smiling.

>> she was just an amazing woman through and through.

>> dillon had been up early that morning off to the job site where he was helping his stepdad and his crew. it had been the quickest of goodbyes to his mom.

>> my last words to you were "i love you" and she said the same thing back. now suddenly they were all gathering at the hospital. dillon got the news from his dad.

>> i just lost it. i mean, i -- you know, the one person i depended on my whole life was gone.

>> lisa 's mom lucy rich didn't -- was taken in to see her daughter's body.

>> i just walked around her body. i couldn't believe she was gone.

>> lisa 's best friend from the mall, leah frasier, was likewise enormously saddened.

>> i've lost probably my best friend , someone who made me a better person, someone who was good.

>> because lisa had been in her prime and in sound health, her death was categorized as unattended, which meant that the police would take a look before it could be ruled an accident. but what else could it be? a woman home alone working out, a husband who comes back to the house for lunch only to find such a ghastly scene in the basement. it couldn't be anything but