Jerry, Jerry Ambrosi Diane Babcock, DAN discussed on Dateline NBC
Days of August in one thousand nine hundred eighty two Canadian search and rescue had been scouring the mountains for a week for probably a crashed airplane and the missing teenagers. Jerry Ambrosi Diane Babcock. What happened then stopped them? Cold back in Vancouver. A close friend of the couples had received a phone call and ED is hard to believe that the call was said to be from the missing pilot himself. Jerry Umbro's nick. What did you think when you heard? That is just floored. I couldn't comprehend I. I don't think anyone could when I first heard this. I'm going. You've gotta be kidding me but it was true at least according to the friend. A young man named Tom Paulauskas reported the Jerry called him with an astonishing story. A story that explain what happened that small plane they been looking for the plane had been ditched. Jerry claim to his friend crashed on purpose onto the surface of lake across the border in Montana and Dan was still in the plane deep in the cold. Cold water a little bitter Root Lake at Gerry in shock he. I told a friend in that phone call had fled the scene of the crash calling his friends somehow now from a bus terminal in New York City I I think one of the things that was so captivating about the story for everyone was. Yeah this notion that somehow this young couple could actually pull off if this incredible magical disappearing act the idea that they'd successfully run away to be together right and that they had defied all odds they made it. And then you hear that well. He's crashed the plane and her bodies at the bottom of the lake. And he's on the run. It becomes a completely different that story but investigators reporters alike wondered. Was Jerry's friend Tom Telling the truth about that phone call. They put him to the polygraph and he was to be truthful. All this was pre Internet of course. And that's probably why the RCMP. Had No idea that a sheriff down there in Montana Santa had just begun investigating oil sheen on the water and reports of a stranger wandering the shoreline and then after that phone call from Jerry the rcmp called the sheriff and told him about the young couple on the plane. Way Down deep in the young woman still inside constable beaters in what Montana to help out and in Vancouver. The mounties put a tap on Tom's phone. Just in case Jerry called again and sure enough he did this. I talked to Tom. Pilaff from Louisville man the pro where search for Lewis Show Mayor in Dallas Yeah the Jerry would use an alias strange but that he was at a phone booth near this store in East Dallas Texas while doing then as they talked. Jerry offered a version of the story. That didn't sound much at all. Like the story of Romeo and Juliet and all the headlines. Our Yeah because I was going to shoot them because she wasn't lois or something like that but it wasn't because we both want to run away from home. It was because I wanted to get away a long cat. Liver's okay you're Berkeley. Like he didn't really care what she did but then later same conversation. Jerry said that losing Diane. Dan was like half of him. Dying regard alone. Jerry was calling. He told his friend. Try to make sure Diane was found but given the circumstances of Dan's death. He said he would not be coming home. Would not turn himself in. They find a place where the dead bodies. And I'M GONNA be a killer license. LICEU wants to somebody look for you. Know the only real listen. I mean you can be so you don't want somebody that can do doing anything like pick the wounded overpriced overpriced but Jerry and already told Tom his decision was made. He wasn't coming home. Ever come by Jerry Doc was stupid. Everyone's looking for you everyone. Listen they're gonNA look funny report ever did you wonder why he wouldn't launch a lost his girlfriend why he wouldn't kind of throw himself on mercy of the court and come back and apologize and try to get all of his life. I believe that too and Tom. His friend really really worked on him to do that. Because you know the longer you leave it the worse it gets the story gets bigger and bigger as to why you ran away. You know you know becomes more suspicious and a bigger story. So reporter. Margot Harper embarked on her first international assignment. Two little bitter Root Lake where they believed they were very close to finding the airplane. And Diane and I remember thinking Amit kind of hoping against I hope that that somehow maybe maybe she escaped. Somehow you know I mean it seemed inconceivable that the body and the plane could be anyone but her. But you just don't know until you. Actually we see and see she did. She arrived at the lake shore. Just in time to see the plane emerged in the water with that indelible image. The girls hair stuck in the door or long blond locks wet from waving around in the water. I remember looking at it and thinking. Oh my God you know it God she looks like Oh feeling From Hamlet I remember just walking over to the plane and I looked inside and and she ah she was perfectly Preserved in the lake was so cold she was kind of slumped over my recollections. Her head was against the side of the door her hair was streaming out and she just looked like she was asleep. You've never forgotten that image with her hair streaming out the window and coming out about that. Watery grave is one that has really haunted me. I think almost like like no other image in my career after Diane. Dan was taken away. The sheriff invited Margot back to the hangar. To see what else was on the plane they had taken out a life raft. There's some kind of disguises survival gear. There was another Duffel bag with sleeping bags and extra clothing and it became in that moment crystal clear what the plan had been. It was clear that they were going to you. You know crashed the plane dump the plane ditch it and jump into a life raft and make their way to shore and try to disguise themselves somehow and so. I've filed a story the next day in the Vancouver Sun which was front page confirming the I want to say the elopement theory. But it's hardly an elopement now. Is that the at something else. It's a it's an escape fantasy really but the reality an was dead and to law enforcement agencies suit two countries were now at work to solve the mystery of what really happened. Little bitter root late coming up it could have gotten her out of there. That's my opinion more questions about what happened and suspicion about why did he really want to run away with her forever. If that's the woman I was going to Elope with an I couldn't get her out of the airplane. You would have found me in two when dateline continues..