“Dateline NBC” can be seen each Friday at 8/7 p.m. & Sunday at 7/6 p.m. Last night's episode on Jan. 3, 2014 was called, “Killing in Cottonwood.” In the overnight TV ratings it grabbed 7.85 million TV viewers overall. It reached 1.5 million TV viewers in the all important 18 to 49 adult demographic. “College Football” (FOX) (8-10 p.m.) garnered 7.24 overall & 1.9 with adults. “Undercover Boss” (CBS) nabbed 5.58 overall & 1.2 with adults.
Cottonwood is a tiny community that rests above Redding, CA. “Mount Shasta” is near by which is a popular monument by visiting tourists. Mark & Karen Duenas were parents of Jason, Casey, Tyler, Jacob & Troy. Karen was a part time teacher at Shasta College & Mark worked for UPS. They believed in family & lived pay check to pay check.
By 2012 - Karen & Mark were proud grandparents. Karen went back to nursing school as Mark retired to collect a pension. On Saturday May 5, 2012 at 12:30 a.m. Casey returned home & went directly to bed. He was awakened by his father to go & get his brother Jason. Mark called 911. The fire department came & found Karen lying on the floor with multiple stab wounds.
Logan Stonehouse came in as the leading detective on his first homicide case. He had been on the police force for a year & went to high school with Jason. Crime was on the rise in this small community & Logan had questioned Mark Duenas. He was the only person in the house with Karen that night. They held him for three hours.
The family saw how devastated Mark was after losing his wife. They gathered behind him with a strong support system. Rumors began where it was said that the detectives didn't look at anyone except Mark. The families called those rumors preposterous. The town began to believe that it was Mark & not any intruder who killed his wife.
When Mark was interviewed at the police station he confessed that he reconnected with a female high school classmate on Facebook. They talked & "texted" each other. Mark claims that they both sent pictures back & forth, but it was innocent. They decided not to meet up because it might hurt their own spouses. Karen found out & was hurt, but he told her he would stop.
Mark didn't stop however & bought a secret phone. The classmate ended it by writing a letter to Karen three months before she was killed. Karen it had seemed to the detectives that she wasn't happy in her marriage. They had asked Mark when she was going to leave him. - Was Karen really going to leave Mark? Were they going to get a divorce? Did Mark kill his wife?