Tonight 48 Hours will present the Jon Hayward, Rebecca Friedli and Vicki Friedli murder case on its documentary series. The Pinyon Pines murder case made headlines in 2006, when police discovered the charred bodies of three people on a property in the remote mountains south of Palm Desert. It took the police years to work the case. Eventually, with few leads, the case went cold. It wasn’t until 2014 that police opened up their murder book to drum up new leads on the case — leads that eventually led to the arrest of two people seven years after the murders. But instead of a conviction for the two alleged killers, the grand jury dismissed the case.
The story began in September, 2006, after police were dispatched to the scene of a fire in the mountainous area just south of Palm Desert, according to The Desert Sun.
When detectives arrived, what started out as unfortunate fire, turned out to be a triple homicide. Police were able to make that determination after the bodies of three people were recovered from the bizarre scene. There were three victims: one white male and two white females. The people were identified as 55-year-old Jon Hayward, his girlfriend, 53-year-old Vicki Friedli, and the girlfriend’s teen daughter, 18-year old, Rebecca ‘Becky’ Friedli — a recent high school graduate.
As the Riverside County police sifted through the scene, they found Jon Hayward and Vicki Friedli inside the gutted home. But, Rebecca Friedli’s charred body was found outside inside of a wheelbarrow.
The tragedy took place in the 68500 block of Alpine Drive in Pinyon Pine. An autopsy would later confirm that all three people were killed before the fire was set.
Over the years, the case went cold. But family members were determined to keep the case in the public eye.
By 2008, police were still baffled by the case. In 2009, a $50,000 reward was offered to anyone with information about the case. In a follow up interview, family members of Vicki and Rebecca Friedli told the media that they knew that someone had to know exactly what happened at the home, and that they refused to give up on finding the killers.
In March, 2014, it looked like the case was finally going to be solved after two people were arrested. The men were identified as 25-year old Robert Pape and 25-year old Cristin Smith. Pape was charged with capital murder with special circumstances, making him eligible for the death penalty.
But just when the family was prepared to receive a conviction in the case, it was abruptly thrown out, and the two men were released.
And now, CBS’ 48 Hours will examine how and why the case was ultimately dismissed. They will examine whether the evidence seems to clear the two individuals, or if two killers were let on the loose.
Here is the tease for tonight’s 48 Hours episode.
“A CALIFORNIA COUPLE IS SHOT DEAD, WITH THEIR DAUGHTER’S BODY FOUND BURNED IN A WHEELBARROW – AFTER SEVEN YEARS, INVESTIGATORS THINK THEY HAVE SOLVED THE CASE, BUT A COURTROOM BOMBSHELL CHANGES EVERYTHING.”
The Pinyon Pines episode will air on Saturday at 9 p.m. central. Today, Inquisitr reported on the case of Yamisha Thomas, and her lover, Sylvester Davis. That Alabama case will air on TV One’s Fatal Attraction on Monday, January 19 at 9 p.m. central.
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