Episode Twenty-Eight: The Eastburn Family Murders

Episode Twenty-Eight: The Eastburn Family Murders

On May 7, 1985, Tim Hennis, a twenty-seven-year-old Army sergeant in Fayetteville, North Carolina, responded to a classified ad from a local woman trying to sell an English setter. 

Hennis attends the home of Katie Eastburn and talks to her briefly about the dog and her three young daughters. Katie's husband, Gary was away at squadron officers’ school in Alabama. Hennis buys the dog from Katie and leaves. 

Five days later on Mother’s Day, the Eastburns’ neighbor, Bob Seefeldt, noticed three uncollected newspapers in their driveway, suggesting that Katie and the girls were away. But their Toyota station wagon hadn’t moved in days. Bob went next door and rang the doorbell several times. He heard a crying baby inside and told his wife to call the sheriff’s office.

An officer arrived at the Eastburns’ house. Inside, twenty-two-month-old Jana was wailing in her crib. There was a strong odor in the house. What is inside is the bodies of Katie Eastburn and two of her young daughters.

What follows is three murder trials, questionable DNA evidence, mysterious postcards, threatening phone calls and a man on death row. 

Some of our research

20/20 Episode

New Yorker article

Lab Scandal

Episode Twenty-Nine: The Crew of the Sarah Joe

Episode Twenty-Nine: The Crew of the Sarah Joe

Episode Twenty-Seven: The Indiana Sand Dunes Three

Episode Twenty-Seven: The Indiana Sand Dunes Three