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THE HUNT WITH JOHN WALSH

Deadly Lust

Aired July 19, 2015 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:16] JOHN WALSH, CNN HOST: Back in 1981, I had the American dream, the beautiful wife, the house in the suburbs and a beautiful 6- year-old son. One day I went to work, kissed my son good-bye and never saw him again. In two weeks, I became the parent of a murdered child. And I will always be the parent of a murdered child. I still have the heartache. I still have the rage. I waited years for justice. I know what it's like to be there waiting for some answers.

And over those years, I learned how to do one thing really well and that's how to catch these bastards and bring them back to justice. I've become a man hunter. I'm out there looking for bad guys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUGO FUNES, HAWAIIAN GARDENS, CALIFORNIA: We don't like calling each other brothers and sisters. We just go based on nephews and uncles. We're trying to put everything behind us. We're trying to live away from that situation. The only way you can understand is being part of this family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

FUNES: I was born at El Salvador. When I was about 3 years old I was brought here with my sister to the States to reunite with our mom after she came here looking for something better for us.

My sister and nephew was about six years old at the time. My mom, Lydia, got into a relationship with Tomas around 1986.

RICHARD RAMIREZ, HOMICIDE DETECTIVE, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT: Tomas had met her and then a relationship blossomed from there wherein they ultimately lived together.

FUNES: So he was a father image for me and everybody in the family, he basically raised us. I mean, him as a person, it was an average person at that time. There was really nothing that would say, you know, this person is going to be a monster.

WALSH: Immigrants come to this country with stars in their eyes. They're looking for a better way of life. But it puts them at risk because they just may grab that first opportunity for stability.

FUNES: When I was 8 years old, my mom was sick in the hospital. We all slept in one room. I couldn't sleep at night so I was actually awake. I witnessed Tomas walk in, woke my sister up and told her to follow him.

[21:05:15] They did not know I was watching. I got scared and walked back into the room and waited for my sister to return. I told her I just saw you guys on the sofa doing it.

She said, well, it's something that I have to do because if I don't what he says, then he's going to leave my mom. She told me I want you to promise me that you will never say anything so I just went with it and did not say anything because I didn't want anything like that to actually happen?

WALSH: That threat is used by pedophiles on many, many occasions. Usually they're children of divorce to begin with. So this huge burden of guilt is that we're going to be abandoned, we will be poor again or we will be less fortunate again but most of all, it will break mommy's heart. It's disgusting.

RAMIREZ: Tomas forced her. He forced himself on her at the age of 9.

During those intervening years, Tomas sexually molested her continually.

FUNES: It was about 1994 and I was about 16 years old. My mom went out to work. So that day she called them and let them know that she was getting off later. But it wasn't true. She was already on the way home.

Tomas saw an opportunity, and my mom showed up to the house. When I see my mom come in I automatically think this is it. This is where everybody is going to -- everything is going to explode.

He put her at gunpoint and he told her if you ever leave me for any other guy, I will kill you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:11:53] FUNES: My mom got Tomas and Ana. She started screaming. They went at it for a while. Tomas takes off. My mom and my sister were not talking to each other for a while.

Two weeks later, Ana picks up her stuff and leaves. She ended up taking off with Tomas to an apartment in Long Beach.

RAMIREZ: When Ana runs off with Tomas, she's 15 years old. She has absolutely no family in this country. She has no friends and she has this man who has his own place and has his own job and so that's why she went ahead and ultimately ended up living with him.

FUNES: One day she came in to the house and she was carrying a little baby. And I said Ana, who is this? She said, this is my son. This is Moises.

MOISES FUNES, ANA'S SON: I always thought it was just my mom, because my dad was never around. So every time I would ask my mom, she would always say, oh, he passed away or he's not around. So I never really knew who my dad was.

FUNES: Tomas came to the house to speak to my mom. I guess he went with the intentions of convincing her for him to move back. So she ended up accepting him. About a year later, my mom has my sister, Gabby (ph), and now he has a kid with my mom and the kid with my sister at the same time, and they're only about a year difference and now we're all living together.

RAMIREZ: They were under the impression that they were cousins. Unbeknownst to them, they were actually brother and sister.

FUNES: It was about 2001, my mom starts getting sick. It was kind of failing her lungs so she was struggling to breathe. All I remember is my mom walking past and I said, you know, take care of yourselves. She said take care of yourselves and, you know, I will see you guys.

RAMIREZ: When Lydia died of cancer, Ana now becomes the mother figure for both Gabriella and Moises and becomes the surrogate wife, if you will, of Tomas.

[21:15:11] WALSH: I can't imagine going to my mother's funeral and knowing that as she was going through that torturous death process that she knew that the devil incarnate was going to take over her family.

FUNES: In 2003, my sister was pregnant again. Bringing to life Rachel. And I asked her who's the dad and she looked at me in the eye and said Hugo, who else do you think?

In May 2007, she gets into a relationship outside Tomas.

RAMIREZ: No one had ever known Ana to have a relationship. That's what enraged Tomas the most. And the fact that because she was going on her own, he was now losing complete control.

FUNES: He put her at gunpoint and he told her, if you ever leave me for any other guy, I will kill you.

Tomas had taken advantage of her since she was 9 years old. And he wasn't going to allow her to be with anybody else or to have any happiness in her life.

GABRIELA GONZALEZ, LIDIA'S DAUGHTER: My dad told me he wanted to confess something. He said I love Ana and I loved her for so long. And it seemed like everything he was saying, it feels like it was an obsession. It was like creepy.

M. FUNES: He said I need to tell you something. He kept like wanting to cry and finally he just kind of said it like one final blow, he said, I'm your real father. I'm your dad. And I was just like I finally know who my dad is. But then once he left and I kind of analyzed it, I was like so I guess my life was kind of a lie.

FUNES: So Ana calls me and she is very happy. She tells me, Hugo, guess what, a miracle going to happen. I said what. He said he's leaving me alone now and that he's leaving to Mexico and he wants nothing to do with us.

I said oh? Yeah? So is he really leaving?

I spoke to him man to man. He said once you clear the kids from the apartment, call me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:22:16] FUNES: September 12, 2008, I get a phone call saying hey, have you heard from Ana? Ana should have been at work at 12:00. I am like why, what's going on? And they said, we're doing a barbeque for the employees and Ana was the one purchasing everything that was supposed to be cooked so everybody is wondering where she is at.

I called her around five times and left a message. She never called me back. She was very good at calling back. So she never called me back. We were just waiting in the living room, waiting to see if Ana would call back.

GONZALEZ: I had seen Ana's purse and shoes. And I was like, where is Ana?

FUNES: This was about 8:00. I said if it comes to 9:00, I'm calling the cops because it's very weird. I get a phone call and it was Tomas's brother asking me if I was in the apartment. Are the kids there? I said yes, we're all here.

And I said what's going on? He said, once you clear the kids from the apartment, call me. I spoke to him man-to-man, what do you do? What do you do to her? And then he started crying.

RAMIREZ: Tomas's brother had told him that Tomas told him that he had done something stupid and that they would find Ana under some blankets.

FUNES: We were all there just waiting for a phone call not knowing that my sister was, you know, her body was right behind the sofas. I decided to call the police because there was no more point in waiting.

[21:25:15] They spoke to me and they told me, you know, we found the body. There was a dead woman up there and gave me one of her little bracelet with three elephants. And that kind of did it for me because I knew it was her.

M. FUNES: My dad killed her. And we were like, what? Are you serious? Is this really happening?

GONZALEZ: It was just hard to believe, hard to wrap around my head that she's gone and she's gone forever. And my dad was probably going to be gone forever as well.

FUNES: Tomas flew out to Guadalajara, Mexico. He took about $40,000 from my mom's social security. So he kind of had everything planned out.

I always thought that by me carrying Ana's big secret maybe made me an accomplice of what was going on. What would have happened if we hadn't waited so long? I would still have my sister.

WALSH: I don't think that I could or anybody could feel the feelings that Hugo had. When he said that he feels that if he just spoken up, he might have save Ana's life, I think that was a course that he couldn't have changed. He couldn't help his beautiful sister, but he could save the rest of the family instead of letting them be split up and spread out all over in social services and foster care, and make their life a continuing nightmare.

He stepped up to the plate and said this is what Ana would want me to do. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going be the patriarch now. I'm going to save this family and he did.

RAMIREZ: The fact is Tomas is still out there and Tomas needs to be apprehended.

FUNES: It's not over until he's caught. None of this is over until he's actually caught.

WALSH: Tomas Gonzalez has two L-shaped scars, one on each elbow. He's a native of Mexico and was last seen there. His last known job was as a roofer.

If you have seen Tomas Gonzalez or know anything about his whereabouts, please call 1-866-THE-HUNT, or go to our Web site at CNN.com/TheHunt. You can remain anonymous. We'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities and if requested, we will not reveal your name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told me to take my clothes off and touch me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it's a police officer, yes, there is a desire to get him off the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He never said anything about him having a wife. He was leading a double life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: I have been looking for Dan Hiers for over ten years. I had the John Walsh personal ten most wanted and Dan Hiers is still on that list.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:32:55] KAREN NIX, POLICE INSPECTOR: I worked cases against pastors and preachers and schoolteachers, but it being closer to home because it's a police officer, yeah, there is a desire to get him off of the streets. To bring him in and bring him to justice. Having been one of us.

WALSH: He crossed that line. Hi gives cops a bad name. He's cunning, he's smart, former cop and lucky and some day his luck's going to run out.

DENNIS SUSZKO, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: Ann is from the town of Hampden, South Carolina. He grew up there. Was raised there.

NIX: It's a lot more rural country setting.

SUSZKO: He has very brilliant blue eyes, very blond hair, athletic build, but his voice was more of a high pitch and had a very southern drawl to it.

DANIEL WILLIAMS HIERS, EX-COP ACCUSED OF MURDER: Look it. People don't want to see your hand. They want to see your face. Mila, look at the camera.

NIX: Dan Hiers first met Mila in Miami. She was approximately 15 years of age at the time. Dan Heirs was 23. Mila is Brazilian. She is from Rio de Janeiro.

ALESSANDRA COHE, MILA'SISTER: Mila thought she was in love and she started imagining a lot of things including asking him if he has courage to come to Brazil. Things were very fast.

[21:35:00] Very strange, Mila liked him very much. And she asked my father to allow her to get married. And after a lot of conversations, my father allowed her.

Mila was 16 years old when she married him. She was very happy that day.

NIX: The wedding certificate is inaccurate. It's not 1998 when they married. That was falsified because I don't think he wanted people at his work knowing that he married a minor.

SUSZKO: Dan received the job offer with the Charleston Police Department. They moved to the Charleston area and took up residency in Goose Creek, which is a suburb of Charleston.

NIX: Mila, her relationship with Dan from almost the beginning had been difficult. Mila was saying how Dan did not show her attention or affection. It was very difficult for her having her family so far away, being in Brazil, and her being alone.

COHE: We used to talk a lot. And once she told me she was having problems concerning her sexual life because Dan seemed to lose interest in her.

SUSZKO: Dan was very much into martial arts. And he would frequent a dojo in a part of Charleston. When his session would be over and he would be leaving and another session would be starting where there was a much younger class.

LAUREN RAMSEY, NORTH CHARLSTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: I was nine years old and wanted to pick up something new. Do something different. So karate.

Made a few friends. One of them was my age and then the other was Dan Hiers. Well, it all started, we are playing, I think it was like a game of tag going on between me and two other kids. Dan started running around playing tag with us. He was like a big kid. NIX: Dan became friends with the child's mother and offered to be some sort of role model because the girl's biological father was not in her life at the time.

RAMSEY: He offered to start taking me to karate classes, actually. Anything that was going on around town, we would be a part of it. Going to the fair, bike rides, going fishing. Showed me how to shoot a gun.

NIX: Mila did question Dan's affection to this young girl and was reassured multiple times that it was just a friendship, that he was trying to be a role model and a father figure.

RAMSEY: He never said anything about him having a wife or even a girlfriend or anything. It was like he was just living by his self, just him.

NIX: The juvenile mother actually came to Dan and Mila's resident in Goose Creek, where Dan cooked dinner for the two. He also had pictures of the little girl hanging up in the home and had taken down pictures of he and his wife, Mila.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAMSEY: He only let us know what he wanted us to know about him. He was living a double life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:43:50] SUSZKO: When Dan first came into contact with the girl, she was 9 years old.

RAMSEY: After four or five months of knowing him and then, you know, it started happening. Sometimes it would just be an empty parking lot. In the park, he tells me to take my clothes off and touch me. Touch my chest area, my crotch area.

I was, what's going on? What are you doing? And he just he wouldn't even say anything.

[21:45:00] One time we actually got a hotel room. I would hide on the floor board of his truck so the surveillance cameras wouldn't see a child in the car. He would make sure that it would be the hotel with the doors on the outside. I had an idea, I already knew what was going to happen.

The hotel, I mean it was a little more. For the most part, I would just try not to remember and just try to block it all out. But it was starting to get harder so I just came out and told.

NIX: On November 23, 2004, I was contacted by Lieutenant Sauderburg (ph) and requested to go with him to try to intervene at Dan Hiers's residence. He was going to be arrested for charges of lewd act on a minor. SUSZKO: Dan ultimately turned himself in. I believe that had some bearing or impact on whether or not he was provided a bond, which he was granted.

NIX: During this time frame, he did lose his job at the City of Charleston Police Department.

COHE: Mila thought it was a big mistake, a big mess. She didn't believe. I think she was protecting her heart of that situation because it was very difficult to her to face what was going on.

WALSH: One of the saddest elements of this case is the phenomenal loving quality of Mila. That she wanted to be such a good wife to Dan Hiers, she felt guilty that somehow she wasn't meeting his needs. She had no idea what his needs were. His needs were to rape little girls.

COHE: In March 2005, Mila called me from Morro Beach. She called me to say she was there for her second honeymoon and she was very happy because Dan was very romantic. That they

MILA COHE, DAN HIERS'S WIFE: Crazy taping yourself.

COHE: And she told me she wished he was like that, everyday.

SUSZKO: It was possible that Dan wanted to spend one last weekend with Mila before executing the plan that he may have premeditated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE OPERATOR: 911, what is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a big problem. A big crisis here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please tell me what happened to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be a homicide, ma'am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:53:10] SUSZKO: On March 15th of 2005, Dan was supposed to turn himself in to the Dorchester County sheriff's office and he was supposed to meet his attorney there at the magistrate's court. He failed to show.

NIX: When Dan's attorney could not reach Dan, he began calling Linda Hiers.

SUSZKO: Dan's mother and sister-in-law arrived at the residence later that evening at the request of Dan's attorney to try to make contact with him.

NIX: Linda Hiers later states that she knew that something was wrong with the situation, and then goes out to a neighbor's house and says that she needs a man to see what's going on. When they walked down the hallway, they saw the master bedroom door had been closed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE OPERATOR: 911, what is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a big problem. A big crisis here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please tell me what happened to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's lying in the bed, and she's very stiff, and very cold, and she's not breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all.

Hiers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE OPERATOR: That's his name, Danny Hiers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dan Hiers, yes, and Mila.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE OPERATOR: And he's not at the residence right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see him anywhere. This is going to be a homicide, ma'am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:55:00] NIX: It just appeared she was just lying there, most likely in her sleep when she was shot one time in the back of the head. We contacted the federal police in Brazil and requested they make contact with Mila's parents.

COHE: I received a phone call. Someone said, Mila is dead in Portuguese. I think it was the only thing the person could speak in Portuguese. It's very hard. I never thought to see my sister dead like it did. It was horrible.

NIX: There were two neighbors that observed Dan Hiers coming and going from his residence the morning of the homicide. One neighbor observed him in a blue and white windbreaker type outfit.

SUSZKO: Roughly about an hour and 45 minutes after that, he was seen withdrawing money from an ATM machine in Walterboro, South Carolina, which is about halfway between Goose Creek and Hampton. The image at the ATM machine is the last known photograph of Dan.

RAMSEY: I think he killed her because he didn't want her to find out what was going on. He didn't want her to know the truth. He didn't want her to know what had been going on the whole time.

NIX: He had been doing quite a bit of research the evening before Mila's death on rat poison, how to commit suicide, the effects of cyanide. Our belief was maybe he was contemplating a homicide, suicide situation. However, Dan Hiers's body was not at the scene and is yet to be found, so --

RAMSEY: At a time, I was like oh, my gosh, this is my fault. Like, you know, I didn't know what to think. I don't know, it's just a lot for a little girl to go through, to have, you know -- you come out and tell what happened, you know, about how he was touching me, molesting me, and then his wife is dead, you know? It's just a lot. It was very -- I blamed myself for a long time. I didn't tell anyone that, but I did, I blamed myself for a long time.

NIX: The murder occurred March 15th 2005. I think it's time to try to find closure for Mila's family, to bring Dan Hiers to justice, to be able to resolve this case.

WALSH: This is a coward, a child molester, and a brutal murderer of a woman who loved him so much. And how did he pay her back for all her loyalty and her love and her passion for him? He shot her in the back of the head.

This is one guy I want to see caught and pay for what he did.

RAMSEY: I want him caught because he killed his wife and because of what he did to me, but more for what he did to Mila. Yes, I want him caught.

WALSH: Dan Hiers is an ex-policeman, trained in martial arts and known to maintain a high level of physical fitness. He enjoys basketball. He plays the piano. He speaks in a distinctive high- pitched Southern drawl.

If you've seen Dan Hiers or know anything about his whereabouts, remember, he may be armed and dangerous. So please, make that call, 1-866-THEHUNT or go to our website at CNN.com/TheHunt. You can remain anonymous. We'll pass your tip on to the proper authorities, and if requested, will not reveal your name.

RAMSEY: After many years of not doing an interview, I'm grown up now. I want this justice for not only me but Mila as well.

WALSH: It always strikes me the common decency, the kindness, the courage of child victims. It makes you matter and you say that girl deserves justice.