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Watch the Dateline episode “Behind the Closet Door” now

Josh Mankiewicz reports.  

Andrea Cincotta’s answering machine told a story.

It was a hot summer day in August 1998. 

Around 2 p.m. on August 22, Andrea’s friend left a message checking on her.

She had missed their lunch date.

Her boyfriend, Chris Johnson, left a message from work around 2:15 p.m.

Chris left two more messages around 5 p.m. -- the last saying he’d just left work.

It was odd that Andrea missed all those calls when she had the day off.

And she wasn’t there when Chris got home. Her car wasn’t there, either.

Chris checked the answering machine.

Andrea’s friend Judy had left a message saying she had bad news.

Chris thought maybe Andrea was with her, so he called Judy. He also called Andrea’s son, Kevin.  

But there was no response from either of them. 

Chris called a hospital thinking maybe Andrea had been in an accident.

But there was no sign of Andrea Cincotta.

It wasn’t until later that night that Chris noticed that the door to the bedroom closet was basically closed.

Odd, considering Andrea always kept it open.

So Chris opened the door. And found Andrea dead.

What followed would be a 20-year investigation and a son’s relentless search for justice.

To find out what happened, watch the full episode, “Behind the Closet Door” on Peacock now.

You can also watch on the NBC app or listen to the podcast.  

Friends and family remember Andrea Cincotta as an intelligent woman, loyal friend, and dedicated mother.