In the Dateline episode “Out There in the Dark,” Dennis Murphy reports on the mysterious death of Brandy Daniels, a young working mom in Zanesville, Ohio. On May 5, 2014, the 25-year-old was shot three times at close range in her car on a dark lonely road. She was just a half mile from her front door and her 5-year-old daughter. “If only she had called in sick for her evening shift that night,” says Murphy. Daniels worked at the department store Kohl’s. On her way home, she called her boyfriend Craig to tell him someone was tailing her. “And the phone just went dead,” says Craig.
The police called Brandy’s soon-to-be ex-husband Josh Daniels. Brandy filed for divorce in December, just five months before she was shot dead. Prosecutors say Josh’s motive was that Brandy knew about his criminal activities in Ohio with his friend Sirius Underwood (robberies and attempted robberies). Crimes that could have put both men in prison for more than 40 years. In April 2016, both were indicted for Brandy’s murder and the robberies. Both pleaded not guilty, at first. Daniels eventually talked and told police Underwood offered to kill Brandy. While he didn’t pay Underwood, Daniels texted Underwood Brandy’s movements from Alaska. Daniels and Underwood eventually (more than two years later) pleaded guilty. Both were sentenced to life in prison. The Times Recorder reports it took “took thousands of phone records, thousands of man-hours and more than $100,000 in investigation-related expenditures” to close the case. Dateline airs Fridays at 10pm on NBC.