The Dateline episode “Endgame” investigates the 2009 death of millionaire Shele Danishefsky Covlin in New York City. On New Year’s Eve day, Covlin’s 9-year-old daughter found her 47-year-old mother, a successful finance executive, dead in the bathtub. Covlin’s death was originally ruled as an accidental drowning, and police did not dust for fingerprints or collect DNA. A rabbi was allowed to clean the bathroom with peroxide and Covlin was buried without an autopsy per the wishes of her Orthodox Jewish family. But when suspicions grew regarding her estranged husband, Roderick “Rod” Covlin, who lived across the hallway and had a key to her apartment, the family had her body exhumed. She had been strangled to death.
Shele Covlin filed for divorce seven months prior to her death and was planning to remove her husband from her will, which reportedly would have bequeathed him approximately $5 million. The custody battle over their two children (the second child was a 3-year-old boy) became bitter. According to court records, prosecutors said Rod Covlin told his wife’s employer that she used drugs and coached his son to falsely accuse his mother of sexual abuse. He also took $84,000 from his children’s college fund, among other — even more disturbing — schemes.
When Covlin was charged in his wife’s murder, he tried to frame his then 12-year-old daughter by writing a fake confession in her email account. On March 13, 2019, a jury found Rod Covlin guilty of murdering his wife. Dateline airs Fridays at 9 pm and 10 pm on NBC.